Saturday, March 29, 2014

Matsuzaka Castle traipsing

Last year the whole family hoped in the MPV  for a long drive on the expressway from Kani in Gifu to Matsuzaka in Mie.
I forgot to publish this blog post and now its almost time for Mom and Dad to visit us again!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guess I forgot to post these last year.  

Race report for Wakura marathon

The full name of the race is the Noto Wakura Manyo no Sato Full marathon.

Gulp, what a mouth full.
Thanks to my wonderful family for going to all the trouble of  joining me in Wakura.  I had a great race and got a 40 minute PB.

What did I do right? 

Stayed at a hotel literally a stones throw from the start line and picked up my race packet the night before the race.
 I didn't have to wake up early and struggle to the check in then  stand around with my shirt off trying to pin my bib on with frozen fingers. 

No drinking leading up to the race. This is a great hardship for me. 

 I got plenty of sleep leading up to the race which can be difficult for me. I work irregular times and eat late at night so I'm often up a 1 or 2 am twiddling my thumbs waiting to get sleepy. 

My pre race breakfast was light. No biggie there since I often run in the morning on an empty stomach.  One egg with a touch of rice, some pickles and a half bowl of broth. Also some water and a couple spirulina tablets. 
Pre and post race hot spring baths. 

Since the hotel was so close to the start I had time to take a hot soak before breakfast hoping to warm up my legs early.  I think this worked because I felt great when I got outside for my warmup jog.  I did about 2 km alternating between walking and jogging while checking out the rest of the field.   

I bought a very light weight wind breaker the day before the race and was glad I did!  Coastal weather is always very changeable. Even though the start was quite warm by the afternoon the wind really picked up. When I switched to crisis mode at about 35 km I was glad to be able to get a layer over my arms.

I debated about carrying a pack with water and nutrition  or relying on race course aid stations. They looked to be about every 3km so I threw 2 SAVAS PIT-IN gels, a pack of caffeinated cliff shot blocks and a Shotz cola gel in a small waist pouch. That gave me about 150 gr. of carbs on hand.  Knowing sports drinks would be available at all aid stations I planned to ration out the gels in 20g helpings every 30 minutes then hit the caffeine blocks near the end when I'd want a boost.  I walked through the aid stations sucking on a gel and chasing it with about 150ml of water.  That got me to the 30 km and I started taking one or two small cups of Amino Value sports drink at each station.  I grabbed  a 1/4 of a banana and rolled it in salt at one point and thought it was the most delicious thing at the time.  I guess it all worked because I didn't need to pee until well after the half way point and never felt like I had to poop or puke. I decided not to take my Iphone with me on this run since I had my trusty Garmin 305 and my tiny little Ipod shuffle was loaded with my favorite podcasts and tons of songs including my favorite hill climb song by Simon and Garfunkle. Comment if you think you know what it is.  

Garmin fail. 
I planed to use the Garmin to run by pace but I accidentally hit the stop button and lost about 2 km so running by pace was awkward.  I switched to heart rate pacing but since I forgot to replace the battery in my heart rate monitor strap I was getting wildly fluctuating readings and by 10km I gave up and went by Perceived rate of Exertion or PRE.

The Race,
The first half went by without a hitch except for the issues with my Garmin.  As I said there were plenty of aid stations.  All the roads were blocked to traffic.  I was off pace for my dream finish of a four hour marathon but I found myself ahead of the 4:30 pacer runners.  That was enough to keep me churning over the 11 hills on the first part of the course.  I really appreciated the signs at the bottom of each big climb stating its length.  There were 11 significant climbs on the course.
Around the 30 km point I needed a bathroom break and wasted time queuing up for a "Johnny-on-the-Spot". That's when the 4:30 pacers caught up to me.  I tried to out distance them again and but eventually they got past me.  It hurt to watch them pass.  I took a walk break and switched into crisis mode since my knee was bugging me.  From here on in I relied on 30 second walk breaks between what ever I could grimace through running.  Sometimes I'd manage 2 or 3 minutes.  Other times I'd only get 30 seconds down the road before I had to walk again.  I was diligent in keeping my walks to only 30 seconds.  As I got closer to the finish I was actually stretching the running intervals out. I managed to run the last bit and cross the finish line en forme. 
 My family was waiting along the last hundred or so meters of the course.  It was fantastic to see them there.  I tried to get my daughter to run the last bit with me but she wasn't up for it.  
Down by the (Japan) Sea

Pre Race Dinner.  Yummy!
Sunrise on Race morning.


Monday, March 10, 2014

2 weeks to go.

Exactly 2 weeks before my next attempt at a full marathon.  This time I'll finally be able to try my feet at the Nano city wakura onsen marathon. 

  I was so ready for itback in 2011. I was all tuned up and boom world's biggest earthquake. I know it's a pretty good reason for a DNS but I feel like I have unfinished business there. 
I'm not as tuned up this time and feel a bit nervous since I'm going to be dragging the whole fam damnly up there with me for moral support. Hope I don't disappoint them.