Monday, February 24, 2014
One day many moons ago in the 2H of 2013, I decided I wanted to seriously train for Boston marathon qualification, which was 3:25:00 for my age group. Several months and two +30k long runs later, I toed the line at Shinjuku for the 7th time, planning to hum along at 4:50 per k pace.
In the end, I came up short of my goal, my legs deserting me at the 35k point, but I did improve from last year and ran my fastest marathon since my PB in 2007 (3:08:49). You could say it is a good ramp for the all-important triathlon season featuring Miyakojima Strongman, Japan 70.3, etc.
My prep was mediocre. Of course you never get to do as much as you would like to and this year was no exception. I managed two long runs of 30k in Yoyogi park and 32k on Oda field (27k) one very long Wednesday night last month. Thanks to the crew at Yoyogi park Sunday mornings for the great company over the winter. I managed 40-50k average per week in January and February, much too low for a decent time I thought. Race week prep did go smoothly. I thought I ate right, slept well, tapered ok, etc. My right calf was bothering me after the 32k run the last 2 weeks, but I wrote it off as a mild strain. On race morning, I met and reunited with some Nanbanners at the traditional Shinjuku Starbucks, greeted the nervously happy barbarian horde, sipped coffee, did my morning constitution, and headed for the B gate. I joined Keren, Jay, Don, and Frank at the gate, which was great company during the long wait before the gun....
My pace was ok at about 4:55 for the first 5k, but somehow I thought I was going too slow. The next 5k was about the same. My garmin was showing crazy splits of 4:20 and 4:05, so I knew that I couldn't trust the watch for the rest of the race. My first 10k was about 49 minutes, about 1 minute under my goal pace, which bothered me. I told myself to keep cool and not accelerate too quickly. I finished the 1H in 1:44:10, now about about 2 minutes under my goal pace.
I tried to step on the gas pedal slightly at the halfway point but really couldn't get back any of the lost minutes over the next 10k. At the 33k point the wheels really came off. I was putting in more effort but my splits were actually getting worse. 4:45, than 4:55, than 5:05....Boston was now becoming unrealistic. Than I hit the hills on the final 7k and laid a big old 27:40 split for 35-40k. A 3:30 marathon was even becoming tough. I just didn't have the legs or the motivation after knowing I was going to miss Boston, and cruised the final 2.2k at 5:40 pace. It was great to see our contingent on the course: Chiba san, Bob, Mika and Meeks, Stan, Derrick, Luke, Harrison, and some others I missed (sorry I wasn't feeling like superman this year). I came in at 3:33:33, my best time in 7 years, but missed my 3:25 goal.
My 5k splits:
27:40 uh oh
Being a veteran of Tokyo marathon, I went straight to the massage tables, changed, and got on to the train before the masses arrived at Big Site. Next I enjoyed several Yona Yona beers at the post-marathon party with the glowing finishers and supporters. Many thanks to Paddy for setting up the venue. I had no major physical problems, only sore and tight legs. It was great to see Mary and Gary visiting from Hong Kong. Of course my wonderful and lovely wife Megumi, who put up with my long training runs, deserves my greatest thanks.
Next stop, paradise city, Miyakojima Strongman!