Week 3 went very well and I feel I am making progress despite the summer showing up after the rainy season. The key event this week was the Obuse Half Marathon and I was hoping to make a good go of it. I finished in 1:31:36 which is my second best half marathon time and I feel that I am getting back to the condition that I was in at the start of 2013 when I ran my best half and full marathons. I was also happy with my HRV readings with ithlete Pro showing 9 consecutive green readings.
Not a lot to say about Monday. I had hoped to do some swimming on my rest days, but I am grateful of the time at home and the early night if I can manage it. I took the opportunity this week to make a nice juice. We had been in Costco on Sunday and I got a bag of baby kale, carrots, grapefruit and lemons and juiced them all up on Monday evening.
MAF 1 hour
It is always good to see a bounce in the HRV after a rest day. Maybe it was due to the juice but who knows. It gives you a feeling that you are doing something right and motivates you to go out and train more. The plan called for 45 ~ 60 mins at MAF pace so I took myself down the Tamagawa to the Todoroki Stadium and back at a 5:50 min/km pace.
Namban Rengo Intervals
We a had a slightly different work out this week. It was three sets of 1200m followed quickly by 600m. Bob explained that the idea was to run the 1200m at an easy pace and then run the 600m after a short break as fast as you can. For the 1200m I fell in behind Bob and he kept a very even pace. For the the 600m I went out and ran as fast as I could and ran each one faster than the previous one. It was good to be running fast and I will try to continue to do it as much as possible.
1200m 4:58/ 600m 2:03
1200m 4:56/ 600m 2:02
1200m 5:01/ 600m 2:01
MAF 1 hour
I got up early on Thursday morning and ran my MAF run before work. It felt good to get to out of the way. I also went to my osteopath about the pain in my shoulder when I run. He told me that my back was bent and then proceeded with the exercise were I hold my arms out straight from my body to the side and he pushes down on them. He then made some changes to my neck and back and repeated the exercises and seemed happy with the result. On Sunday I felt no neck pain when I ran the half marathon so I guess what he did worked.
MAF 1 hour
I got home from work about 8:30pm and was out the door in 20 minutes doing MAF run down to Todoroki Stadium and back. It has become my standard 10km of late.
Although today was a rest day it was also a travel day. The Obuse Half Marathon starts at 6am so we had to go up to Nagano the day before. Chika san had arranged our accommodation in Nagano City and we were to take the 4:24 train the next morning to Obuse. I was not able to go up with the rest of the team during the afternoon so Chika san also kindly collected my number and goody bag from the organisers.
I arrived at the hotel around 8:15 and enjoyed a nice bath and a couple of cans of Nagano’s finest, Yona Yona, before turning in.
Obuse Half Marathon
I woke up at 3:28 on Sunday morning, 2 minutes before my alarm, to see that my HRV had dropped 11 points from the day before, a rest day, and ithlete Pro was showing yellow. Of course I knew the reason was that it was the morning of a race when I am always a little stressed and about 3 hours earlier than I normally wake up on a Sunday.
At 4:10 I took the elevator downstairs to meet my team mates and was duly confronted by a woman dressed as a tomato. It was then that I realised that it was going to be this kind of race. When we got to Obuse at just before 5am I came to understand the full extent of the costumes and they were pretty spectacular. My favourite was the group of men and women running in wedding dresses. I was sorry that my children were not there to see them all.
After some brief, and amusing, introductions by the Obuse town major the race got underway. My plan was to try and run 4:15 min/km pace for a 1:30 race. I knew that that would be challenging as I had never run under 1:30 before and today was starting to warm up. Actually we were very lucky with the weather. At 5 mins to 6am, the temperature changed from 21 degrees C to 22 and did not go above 23 for the rest of the race. In previous years I had heard that the temperature had reached 30 or 33 degrees but today remained within the realms of what could be considered acceptable.
My initial pace went well and I ran the first 5km in 21:39 and the second in 21:10. There was a bit of an incline at the start but after 6 or 7km it was fairly flat and easy to run. Actually it is a great course and I soon found out why this race had become so popular. We ran along backroads, across trails and through people’s back gardens. There were many twists and turns and 2,000 volunteers out to make sure that you did not take a wrong step and to provide drinks at every km or so. This morning all were not needed but if the temperature had been the same as previous years I would have gladly taken advantage of all the drinks, ice, fruit and ice cream that was provided to the runners. As it was, I stuck mainly to water and reluctantly passed up the peaches, nectarine, tomatoes and bananas.
At 17.5km Terri from my club came screaming (literally) past me as he
did in Ohtawara three years ago. He had told me that he was going to start out easy and then reel me in and he was true to hs word. The only sad part about it was that he did not make much distance on me and only finished 16 seconds ahead of me. This meant that I spent that last 3km of the race looking at his back and wondering if I had it in me to catch him. I didn’t but I managed to keep my pace respectable. I ran the third 5km in 21:42 and the fourth one in 22:58. I think that that one might have been a bit faster if I was fitter but I was happy with it.
The end of the race was the best ever. There was trays of cucumbers, water melon, orange and cherries which were constantly being replaced. Without a doubt the best race finish I have ever had.