Marathon REPORT: Tokyo Marathon

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Yesterday I ran the Tokyo Marathon. It was my 35 th Marathon and my 8 th since I made a comeback at the age of 61 after a break of 23 years.
Sunday’s race had neither super highs nor super lows. I learnt a few things and was also happy with a few things as well.

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BEFORE the RACE
Got up at 6 AM ( race start 9.10) and had my usual breakfast of homemade bread,low sugar jam,625ml of water and a coffee. Never try anything new on the day of a Marathon.
I massaged my legs and took an anti inflam pill on the advice of my Doctor. My knee hurt but not very much.
Weather was looking to be OK.

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In fact it did not rain once during the entire race. Thankyou Tokyo Weather
Gods.

Tamami got us to the race in plenty of time and we did a short warm up and then moved into our starting area. We were in E group ( The groups are A-K based on ability or something?).
I wore my plastic poncho that the organizers had given us and binned it before the start.
During the race I wore my Namban Singlet and shorts….most around me were more warmly dressed. But I thought that this is a race not a trip to the snow ( or NYC) so no need to rug up in multiple layers. But i do admit it was damn cold.

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START-10 Km. 56.31
Very crowded at the start. First Km 5.55.
Tamami and I moved off at a very conservative pace although a few Kms were a little fast for my liking. People everywhere. As expected I suppose …35,000 runners.
Met an aboriginal girl who is running with Rob De. Castella’s Project group and had a short chat with her. Told Rachel she looked good and then left her.

10-20 55.55
Tamami and I ran together till about 14 Km when I met a nice girl from Iceland and ran with her discussing Chess and the World Championship of 72. Tamami took this opportunity to get about 200 m ahead of me.
I said good by to Ingrid and tried to catch Tamami but it was too late. 😦

Saw the Namban cheer squad at the turn at 15 Km. They were very vocal.
Namban sign. Gave me a bit of a lift.

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Tamami was away and I did not see her again. She went on to run really well and qualify for Boston 2016.

20-30km 56.23
Did not appear to be a clock at half way and I did not want to know. I knew I was running a steady but not very fast pace.
At about 25 Km my knee started to hurt …actually both knees….but I ignored and ran on. Thinking about pain is negative thought….no negative thoughts permitted.

Actually by now I was finding the run a little boring. I did not know what part of Tokyo I was in and frankly did not give a damn.
About 30 Km I started to feel a little sick…but I put this down to hunger…it was a long time since breakfast.
Had a small amount of water at 25 Km and that did not make me feel great either…but I knew it was a must and would be needed later.
Passed a guy dressed as a banana. Sad day when I am battling it out with fruit.

30-40 Km. 58.46
My Garmin decided it was low in battery and kept telling me this so I could not read my pace. This upset me no end.I. Am not very tolerant of Mal functioning gadgets when I am in pain. I knew I was getting slower even though I was still passing a lot of people.

When I passed 31 Km I had run further than I did at any time in training. I was pleased that I had not stopped at any stage and did not stop until the finish.
Two weeks ago I collapsed at 24 Km on a training run and Tamami had to get the car and drive me home. So flying through 31 Km was uplifting. ( well it really was not that uplifting but that sounds good to say 🙂 .

I did very few long runs…well actually only ONE and that was just over 30 and I struggled then.

I was still passing a lot of people. Always pleased to pass someone in the A group. 🙂 But I was not feeling crash hot and decided that this was my final marathon.

34 Km a young women ran across my path and tripped me…we both staggered but did not fall…I used her back to steady myself ” Gomen,Gomen” I said…although it was her fault. She ran ahead but I caught her and did not see her again.

Starting to slow and my knee still hurting. I developed a blood blister which later burst causing an impressive amout of blood on my sox. Battle honours.

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36 Km met Garvin from Ireland. From Dublin and living in China. It was his 43 rd birthday. I told him I won a Half Marathon in Ireland last year in my age group. He said he was amazed that I turn 63 in a few days. I did not think I was amazing. I thought I was just slow.

It was nice to chat with Garvin as I was struggling.
Running with him I slowed but was still passing people….but a few were passing us which was not a good sign.
I pushed him to run faster but could not,so told him he looked good and left him at 41km. Our last Km together had been well over 6 minutes which is a bit of a shocker.
But I must say his company was helpful when I was feeling bored and a bit ill.

40km-Finish 12.31
With one Km to go I tried to increase the pace. ( not that this was apparent maybe)… I was passing a lot of people but really any sort of increase in pace passes people at this level.

I was thinking of taking off my hat to get a good photo at the finish ( most important) when I noticed the time clock at 4-05.45 with 50 m to go. I estimated that we did not start the race until 6 minutes after the gun went….so if I could run the last 50 m in 15 seconds I would be under 4 hours. Hey…I have a 100m PB of 11.5 so how hard can it be? True that was in 1973 but so what…I still have the same legs.
I launched into a mad ‘ sprint’ and crossed the line. Officials must have thought this guy is crazy.

My Garmin said 3-55.45….UNOFFICIAL time 4-00.06. So who knows ?
I tried to keep the thought away but in the back of my mind I was not sure I could finish yesterday’s race. Apart from perhaps my first Marathon in 79 I was never in doubt about finishing…slow….limping…walking….but I could always finish.

After I finished a turned and bowed to the course. I saw a Japanese guy do this on TV and thought it was rather cool. I do some odd things sometimes.

AFTER
I got my towel and my can of non alcohol beer. When the women put the medal around my neck I said ” Sugoi ” ( Great). She laughed at how clever I was. People handing out anti inflam sprays were high giving the crowd….nice touch.

I went and got my clothing bag…everything was laid out in order according to trucks…I was truck 81. Every truck had about 5 attendants and they all clapped me as I arrived. Ok…they clapped everyone….but it was still nice …not too many people clap me…well actually no one does.
I was pleased to see few E bags had been taken….so I had 5 attendants getting my bag…took about 15 seconds.
Said ” arigato ” ( Thank you ) and everyone laughed at how clever I was.

Then it was walk walk walk to meeting place. There were 20 numbered balloons hanging from the ceiling. Tamami and I met ( eventually) under number 13.

Tamami was shocked to see my lips had turned purple. Is this good or bad? Some how I do not think it is good. I told her that was my last Marathon and I would go back to being a 100m runner. No more Marathons for this little black duck.

TAMAMI and I have now both qualified for BOSTON 2016.

AFTERWARD:
I awoke at 4.30 AM drenched in sweat and with my heart racing. I dropped my heart rate to 55 so that was ok. I changed clothes.Putting on whatever was handy in the dark. I ended up wearing my running shorts and running singlet….an omen?

PARIS marathon is 7 weeks ( less one day ) away.

It continues……

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