29 November 2015

Tokyo 10km 34:58

Managed to nab the inside lane this time

Cold and wet = gloves and beaney

It was painful

The Japanese Victory blessing I pinned to my Team Victory singlet didn't work

Following on from the track race I was in no condition to run till the following Wednesday when I met up with Mikes club, Namban Rengo ~ Tokyo International Runners Club.
With the track closed for resurfacing , club founder Bob Poulson (Bob's blog ~ http://bobs-training.blogspot.com.au) swapped the session to nextdoor Yoyogi Park.
Unfortunately it bucketed down all evening and we were absolutely drenched. Mike and Andy sat out the session, 2km, 3x1km, 2x500m.
My back continued to give me pain which I described as like a 300lb bear jumping on my back and squeezing! It was really difficult to breath deeply and it achedlike feck!
 I got through the session and headed to the Hachimanyu bath house, another club ritual.
The steaming hot baths eased my back and I was able to enjoy an Indian meal following and a few beers later at the Aldgate an old English style bar in Tokyo.
I did not run again till the following Monday's race north of Tokyo as part of the 28th Otawara Marathon festival.
Another Bullet train journey at 300km an hour!
Conditions were cold and raining, a couple of thousand runners, starting with 800m around a track then a level out and back course.
I started hard and was able to hold Mike for the first 2km.
The town itself puts on this race and makes an immense effort at getting volunteers to help. The organisation was amazing and it seemed like the whole town came out in the rain to cheer us on. I think I got lots of special cheers being a rare Westerner. The gap ahead to Mike got wider and I couldn't hang onto any of the guys passing me. We finished with another lap of the trak. My official chip time was 34:57,  Mike ran 34:05.
Mike was 3rd over 40 and I was 6th over 40, a beautiful inscribed metal medal and certificate along with a carton of Asahi beer (race sponser) and a sac of rice! I kid you not! Mine was alcohol free but Mikes was the proper 5% Asahi we'd been drinking during the week! I gave my beer rice prizes away to Hiroe, a former triathlon prodigy Mike used to coach, who had hosted us during our stay in Otawara.
Quality medal for 6th over 40.

It's hard to put into words how beautiful these trains look and how incredibly fast they travel.

Asahi Super Dry sponsor for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Otawara 10km

35 years since we last raced together at the 1980 English Schools Cross Country Championship in Newcastle UK.

28 November 2015

Tokyo 5000m 16:21

We planned this race about 12 months ago, Mike lives half in Tokyo half in UK, and in previous years had run some super fast times at these meetings in perfect conditions. Unfortunately our physical condition was disastrous . Andy Green 5km road 15:31 at 52 in May this year and 31:30 10km road was a non starter!
Mike put out his back (disc and nerve related) after running with me in October, and I managed to injure my own back (ribs) the week before going to Tokyo.
I thought I'd be fine as I was able to run steady post injury but following on from a tempo run around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo the Wednesday prior (36:00 10km) [ 2nd overall on the one lap 5km loop Strava segment!! ] I was in a shocking state, back ache pain and spasm.
I was unable to run the next day and started downing the anti inflammatory drugs like they were smarties.
Not suprisingly I had to cancel my original intention of running a 10,000m the day before!
Race day dawned and early on, the conditions were perfect, about 15oC and overcast for Jack's (Andrew's 23 year old son) race, but the clouds had cleared and the temperature had climbed to 20oC with the humidity had up to Brisbane levels by race start!
We were allocated the 2nd row of the outside bend!
I got off to a shocking start, unable to get off lane two or three for two laps I drifted to the very back of the field before I was able to hug the inside curb.
I settled down and slowly started to move through some of the others. My back was sore and mentally I was struggling. Mike had  gotten off to a flyer, hugging the inside lane and running in a nice group at some stages.
Mike #47 me #46
I caught Alexander Holm Viborg, a Danish research student studying 'sugar' at Uni in Tokyo (runs for Mikes Namban Rengo Tokyo running Club). I managed to pass him but he clung onto me.
I worked hard to pass a few more guys but the effort to get off the race line and around was immense. I could see Mike up ahead coming back to me and at one point he was the next guy ahead of me albeit with a 50m gap!
Alex and a couple of the other students out kicked me but I gave it everything.
Post race Andrew told me I was the biggest guy in the race ~ height and weight !
When the Uni students had finished their respective races they went up to their coaches and bowed their heads reverentially whilst the coaches appeared to bollocks their charges, when this was finished the kids bowed again.
Deep respect.

Japan is truly the home of distance running ~ you gotta go and just experience it.

Andrew Green said I was the biggest guy in the field (that's a first) height and weight

My prayers to the Shinto gods of the track went unanswered!

This one was posed! Tucked in vests/singlets or you could be disqualified!

37x50x5000 made for the biggest field in a track race I can ever remember running in (ours was race 13 with seed time 15:30 ! )

Little wonder I got a shocking start

Mike got off to a flier and nabbed an inside lane position

Great support all around the track and the effort these kids put in was phenomenal (at finish coach bow berate respect)

Mike had his own injuries leading up to this race but his focus and professionalism have inspired me for 2016

I'm going to run with one of those headbands ~ super cool

No Mike I'm not quite that far behind you! I started to catch him and at one point he was the next runner ahead of me on the track but he still managed his standard 5 second win😕

My back and the effort making me run hunched

the races are organised by the university students for the university students, entry cost ispeanuts money is saved by hand painting our own numbers/bibs

Mike cropped this shot to give me future motivation

It was such an amazing experience even though our goals went well wide.
The universal language I'm giving it everything and so was he.

Alex , me Mike, Andrew and Jack

11 November 2015

Life in Tokyo

After last week's parkrun I managed to hurt my back whilst gardening would you believe?
Either mowing the lawn or digging out cycads pups, probably the latter! Had a couple of tortuous visits to the Chiropractor to see if some manipulation would put it right but unfortunately I'm still suffering and only able to run with frequent doses of anti inflammatory drugs. I only felt capable of steady running but at least managed to get one long run in.
So the big meet up with Mike Trees and Andy Green sees Andy crocked by his Achilles, Mike crocked with his back and me in jeopardy with my back! The joys of Masters athletics!
Mike has been able to swim daily and is renowned for his cross training ability where as poor Andy has been heavily hampered by his injury so the prospects for all three of us lining up and completing a race are slim!
I had planned to run 10000m track on Saturday and 5000m on Sunday as well as 10km road race the following weekend but now may limit myself to just the 5000m and 10km road race.
The reason for wanting to do both track races was purely the prospect of racing in low temps low humidity meeting with graded races 30 heats of the 10000 with 50 runners all cruising around in your graded time ~ I entered 33:00. But with my back the way it is and Mike and Andy only entered in the 5000 I'm probably going to scrap the 10. I may need all I have to give Mike a race even with his limited training.
There are something like 30 heats of the 5000m with 50 guys entered for what was originally hoping for a sub 16. Now with limited interval training and a bad back I will be just glad to beat Mike and Andy!
Forecast for Sunday is looking like heavy rain so hope that doesn't impact too much.
I always loved the Japan song Life in Tokyo so looking forward to seeing some in a few hours time!
The English Schools Cross Country Championships .The last time the three of us raced together was 1980 

02 November 2015

North Lakes parkrun 1st 16;10

Conditions were warm and humid but at least it was benign.
I left the house at 6.30am ran 2km warm up to the start line, did a few strides.
I hit the start hard and felt rough after the first KM but pushed on, through the first lap in 5;22. Started overtaking people at 1.5 laps. Concentrated hard on trying to get the best racing line with the least chance of running into the back of unsuspecting lapped runner moving off line as they hear me approach. Judge it pretty well but there were quite a few very close shaves.
Through the second lap in 10;51 and thought I'd be doing well to close out in 16;20.
Continued to push hard as the conditions started to bite. Backed off a couple of times when the gaps where just not opening up to go past on the final lap but was very happy to cross the line in 16;10 which is worth 94.23% age grading my 3rd best AG on this course and my 5th fastest time.
Steady long 19.7km recovery run yesterday (4;17kms) and another easy run today (roo+lake), long intervals on Tuesday if my hammies are feeling Ok (felt slightly strained yesterday).
I didn't push myself at all, just took it easy!