Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tokyo Five Foot Runner :: Race Day

I did it! The girl who very rarely follows through saw this whole running a half-marathon thing to the very end. To be completely honest, race day really snuck up on me. The weather was perfect, even a little warm for a January morning.  For anyone interested in running a race in Japan, I highly recommend the Tanigawa Mari Half Marathon. It is very well organized and has a great atmosphere. There were over 7,000 runners for the half-marathon alone plus a unicycle half marathon. Apparently, unicycling was very popular in Japan in the '80s. Boys, girls, men and women - it doesn't matter. It looked AWFUL!

No race day drama for me this time around. Blammo was an incredible stage dad from start to finish, making sure I was well hydrated, properly warmed up and stylishly dressed. I also got a wonderful surprise with a mile left and no gas left in my tank -- my 1 Japanese friend remembered that I was running that day and tracked me down to cheer me on. It was such a shock that I ran right past her attempts to flag me down. It was exactly what I needed with just a mile left to go. I even started to get a little misty eyed. That is until I came to the homestretch and realized that I'd be ending these 8 tough weeks of running to Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You" blasting over the loud speakers. I was pretty confused by the music choice but it was a good distraction from my heavy legs and swelling feet.

On the matter of race day music, here's some good advice. If it's a good karaoke song, it's a good running song too. I'm pretty ADD when it comes to running music. If the first 3 seconds of the song don't catch me, I'm hitting the shuffle button. But I got really lucky on race day because it was hit after hit after hit. If I recall, around mile 6, I was treated to this little gem:

Erasure's "A Little Respect"
Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"
Weezer "Buddy Holly"
Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Can't Stop"
Rihanna "Rude Boy"
Beach Boys "California Girls"

At around mile 3, I stumbled upon "Look Down" from the Les Miserables soundtrack, but it was too early for that kind of revolutionary passion. It's a great workout song though. "Look down, and see, the beggars at your feet!"

I'm signed up for another half-marathon in Yokohama in April and plan to shave 10 minutes off my time. I'd love to be able to complete a half-marathon in under 2 hours, but that's a tall order for a short legged gal like me. But I'm up for a challenge and this might be the perfect goal for that daruma I picked up during o-shogatsu.  

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