Monday, November 11, 2013

Hiroshima International Peace 10km

Can’t believe the last time I wrote a report was back in June for the Grandma’s Marathon. Fast forward three months and not much running later, and I’ve been settling in a rural village named Uwagi in Hiroshima, Japan.

As you can see, have not been running much and/or updating Strava------->

I had signed up for the Mikan 10km that was October 21st but finding out that week, I had school obligations attending a culture festival, I was unable to run it. Luckily 2 weeks after that, I was signed up for the Hiroshima International Peace “Marathon” (10km) with that being the longest distance available (In Japan they consider every distance a marathon}).

After running Kettle 100 June 1, and Gma’s June 24th, my legs felt like garbage for a long time. Don’t think it was very smart to run a 3:04 just a few weeks after my first 100. Tried taking sometime off after Gma’s but kept finding myself trying to run. Once arriving in Japan at the end of July, my legs still didn’t feel normal but I could occasionally go out for a few mile jog. It was strange because I would struggle through a 5-miler and be sore the next day. It was a scary feeling how setback I felt and it left me wondering how long it would take to feel “normal” again. The heat was another challenge here with it being 88degrees and. over 80% humidity.

The legs didn’t have much spring but I still continued trying to run. September rolls around and I set-up a 10km training schedule to shoot for a PR at the Mikan 10km race. After a tempo, interval and hill workouts on consecutive days (pretty stupid), I tried to do a 5km time trial that weekend and ended up walking home after a few minute warm-up jog. Decided it was time to officially take break from running. :(

 Put the GPS watch in the back of my closet and didn’t officially run for almost a month. Would often walk in the AMs, bike to school or into Kure city, hike up the mtn near my apartment but no obligated running. Think I was getting so excited to see fast numbers on my Garmin Connect site that I was completely disconnected with my body and how it was feeling. It was a struggle to take off so much time from running. I realized it was my everyday stress reliever and essentially what I was living for.  I felt pretty lost without that release and was anxious all the time. That led me to move in other ways whether it was biking/hiking.

Even though I am writing this post in my “race diary” blog, I didn’t really consider it a race as far as preparation is concerned. The last time I was even able to run 6 miles before this race was more than a month ago. Even on short runs, it was strange to feel my heart beat after jogging just a mile or so but the legs were starting to feel better. I’ve done relatively a ton of hill work hiking Hiyama a few times a week since arriving here. Usually it is just a slow jog/hike on the way up and slow jog back down wearing sandals. Definitely a nice cathartic get-a-way experience doing that.

The day before the race was filled with 7+ hours of commuting and 5+ hours of hiking a mtn and waterfall trail (BLOG soon). Usually the legs feel fine walking around the day before a race so was looking at the hiking as a good way to stretch the legs out. Thankfully the day ended at a hotspring and was able to relax the tired legs.

Woke up the day of the race and commuted from Kurahashi to Hiroshima City. Unfortunately, it was raining which made the commute in sandals a bit sloopy. Had a bit of a mix-up on the train to Hiroshima and ended up having to take a taxi to the Coca-Cola Stadium. Thankfully, the race started at 11:20am so there was time to spare. Picked up the race packet and ran into a group of about 6 other JETs.  Found a spot in the stadium and continued to meet more JETs. It was very comforting being with such a large group of people and nice to communicate in English so effortlessly.
 Hung out and tried to stay as dry as possible. About 1.5 hours before the race I ate a riceball, pizza-man, and had a cup of coffee for breakfast. It was nice to have some warm food and especially the coffee after being out in the chilly rain for some time.

With about an hour before the race, put on running clothes and did some warm-up laps around the grass field inside Coca-Cola Stadium. It was only my second time wearing the new RC1700s and they felt awesome. Headed over to the start and did some warmups down the side streets. Was already regretting wearing the USA t-shirt because the air felt very humid and warm once beginning to move. Lined up for the race and there was a 5 minute speech were everybody was in the squatted position listening. The announcer led some stretches and warm-ups. Without much warning or announcement everyone was off.

It felt so good to be finally running a race where my only job was to run as fast as possible. Without much running in the prior months, I wasn’t sure what kind of pace was possible so was just running on feel. Looked down at the GPS watch and saw 5:35min/mile and knew I had to slow down. My PR before this race was 5:56min/mil so planned on hitting around that. Felt the speed plateau and looked at the watch again to show 5:45s. Didn’t feel like slowing down much so in the midst of all the excitement, decided to maintain and see what happened.

  Unfortunately, it didn't take me long to realize that I forgot to lace up my right shoe completely Usually before a race I don't like to tie shoes until it is necessary because it is more comfortable to have them loose fitting. Not much could to about it now though. 

Tried to relax and keep a quick cadence. Runners were starting to fall back at about the 1.5 mile mark,  as well as a guy dressed in a business suit with dress shoes and all. At about the mile 2 mark, I was surprised to come up on another JET ALT whom I hadn’t known would go out this quick. Was curious to see where he would end up! Nearing the turn-around I was surprised to see the leaders were not a crazy distance ahead of me. Had I been in decent shape, I felt like I could have ran with them. At the turn-around, was still maintaining about a 5:45 pace aside from during a few rolling hills. It was funny to hear several runners w/ super goofy breathing techniques. Passed a few of those “in-labor” sounding runners and saw a few JETs on the other side of the road.

Looked at the watch and only had about 2 miles left and knew I could maintain the pace . Breathing was controlled but the legs were not feeling very fresh. Just kept trying to NOT think about how little I had ran in the last 3 months. Starting seeing signs indicating 4km left, 3km left, and was getting tired. Was trying to speed up but it seemed that the additional effort was needed just to maintain the pace. As we got closer to the stadium there were more spectators which made it a bit easier to keep pace. Cruised into the stadium and finished relatively strong.
does it say "Do not copy"?

GPS said finish time was 35:11

a tad short^

  Was happy to be done and walked around the track feeling semi-confused how I just pulled off a PR with the least running I’ve done in 5 years. Regardless, I was happy and excited to watch the other JETs finish. Found out Mark finished at 37minutes which is awesome. Cheered with Danny and Mark until near the end of the race and headed back to grab our stuff in the bleachers.
 It’s pretty funny that everyone just left their stuff unattended during the race. It’s a comforting feeling knowing you don’t have to worry about someone stealing any of your stuff!  After a cold return trip to Hiroshima Station, went back to Marissa’s place in Kaitaichi and had ramen and coffee. MmmmM
Now it’s 4 days after the race and the hammys are still sore but the joints feel OK. Excited to start trying to run more and sign up for more races. Want to actually train for a 5k or 10km. So fun to race in Japan. Such a different atmosphere.
this photo from the race website captures the spirit of this race quite well!

Big differences:
Many costumes
Everyone dressed in fancy work out clothes, matching brands, many people seem very overdressed
Many skinny people, most people look like elite distance runners

Next Races:
December 1st: Miyajima 15km Cross Country Race
January: Need to find a race near/around Tokyo because plan on spending 2 weeks up in Honshu.
February 23rd: Souja Kibiji Marathon 42km
March 30th: Setouchi Trail 22km
April 25th: UTMF 161km
May-July: Prob just hiking and easy running