This morning (or rather last night..) I had to get up at 4 AM to drive someone to the airport, which is way too early even for me. After mission was accomplished I strugglee for a bit between the choices of either go back to bed or to go for a jog in the park. I am so giving my back an imaginary pat for choosing the latter option and it felt really good to be done with the jog-of-the day before 7 AM.
For the first couple of rounds of the 1.2 km course, it was completely dark and not at all that fun being in the park alone, with only a few ducks to keep me company. After a while, however, the sun started to appear, and so did other earlybirds, and the powerful sunrise made the rest of my run rather magical.
OK, so the plan after Tokyo Marathon was to just throw in the towel, call it a quits and just burn my running shoes and start fresh with another sport where I at least have a trace of talent. But, during the maaaany hours, soaking wet, in the rainy streets of Tokyo got me thinking…
I mean, wouldn’t it be nice for once being a bit mote prepared than a lousy 15 km before a marathon? That would be new, right? To have time for more longruns, not to be in incruciating pain for the last 30 Km, being dragged half unconcious away from the finishing line (clutching my medal, of course…). So, from nearly raising the white flag I have done a 360 and am now not only aiming for my 14th marathon, but I am also aiming for a personal best within the next 2 years.
Whether I’ll make it or not is still uncertain, but after reading about 70 year old Gene Dykes who rushed through a marathon in 2:54:23, I am at least not concerned about age being a risk factor. I should still have a few good years left before the decay engulfs me completely.
After finalizing my goal, I started with a couple of days with rest. To my defence, it was due to me having to paint an apartment and assemble junior’s gaming chair and desk (which is quite time consuming when you ate all thumbs). Tomorrow, however, I will start my journey towards a personal best, so wish me luck..
After a terrible night with hardly any sleep, I woke up at race day at 5 AM, not exactly in top shape for 42.2 km. One look at the rain ouside, and I was tempted to crawl back into bed and forget about the whole thing. But, we are after all doing this volunteerly, we have worked for it for several years an we have actually paid a small fortune to come here, so I managed to give myself a kick in the rear and get ready for breakfast.
When it came to transportation to the starting area, it was already timed perfectly by our group’s Tokyo-Transportation-system-whisperer, so we others really only had to meet up in the hotel lobby, walk to the next building (Tokyo Station), walk for a few more minutes without concerning ourselves with which direction to take and volià, there was our train and after a 15 min train ride we reached our destination.
Yhe bib-number control and baggage checked were done real quickly (have I mentioned how efficient the Japanese are?), so we had over an hour to kill before the run started. I choose to spend that time in a stair case, after a trip to one of the many outdoor toilets, which was quite an experience indeed. The most organized line ever, with a guy standing in the end of the line holding a sign saying the line starts here. There were also multiple persons actually telling which toilet to go to when it was our turn. Perfect system and no cutting in line..
Even if the lines seemed endless, I didn’t have to wait too long before it was my turn. On drawbavk, however, was the fact that these were squatting toilets and small, which made this. 1.78m, 40+ year old with bad knees struggle so much that I almost fell over at one point. I did make it though, but a repeat visit was out of the question, so I made myself hold it in until the race was over and more comfortable facilities could be located.
One our before my starting tine, I went to my starting block to get in an as good as possible position. Tokyo Marathon practices gun-shot timing when i comes to cutoff times, and they are strict on enforcing those times. My starting block not crossing the starting line before 30 minutes after the gun-shot, made it a real threat that I might struggle with some of the earliest cutoff times, which I incidentely also ended up doing. It did not help either that I wad, due to the heavy rain, both cold and soaking wet, so it wasn’t the most amusing hours of my life that marathon.
I must admit that the race itself was a struggle from Start to Finish and I wad really hurting from all the longruns I never took prior to it. But, I did manage to crawl over the finishing line in the end and was handed both the regular Tokyo Marathon medal and the big Six Star Finisher’s medal, the proof that I have made it through all the major marathons in the world (Boston, Berlin, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo), something approx. 4000 have done before us, but only 36 Norwegians.
Something very uplifting during the race and which really made my day, was of course our anazing cheerleader, running through town to cheer for us at three different locations. ❤️
So to sum up: rain and windy, soaking wet, painful race, but two more medals in the bag. Now it’s time for celebrations.
Sometimes life throw you a curve ball that takes you totally by surprise and forces you to re-evaluate all plans…. 1 week ago, with only 1 month to go before Tokyo Marathon, my biggest concern was whether I will be able to complete at all and get my big, fat six-star-finisher medal. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and suddenly Tokyo seemed inconsequential. After 10 days back and forth to the hospital for MRI, CT, colonoscopy and you name it, we finally got the good news yesterday that the tumor seems operable and that the cancer seems not to have spread to any other organs. Safe to say we cried of relief of that message.
So, given the good news, my trip to Tokyo is back on. But, of course, having used all my energy on worrying, my immune system was quite beat, so no I am out cold with fever, sore throat and an aching body… In other words, I think it will take a few more days before I am wearing my jogging shoes again.
Even being quite unprepared (but then again, what else is new?), I am starting to look forward to my trip to Tokyo. My knowledge of the city is quite below par, and what springs first to mind is sumo wrestling, sake, supporters who actually pick up their own litter after world cup football games (even when loosing big), and of course the a bit too close proximity to a sometimes trigger-happy Kim Jong Un. After reading “The Runner Handbook” that arrived last week, I must also found some of the warnings to be quite interesting and new: First was a list of what was prohibited to bring to the starting area. I mean bottles and cans, unless for commercial unopened container for less than 500ml are prohibited. A bit strange, but OK. Then to the a bit more bizarre: it is not allowed to bring advertising, boom boxes, animals (!) and plants…. But, what really got me freaked was the necessity of actually having to specify the prohibition of bringing pepper spray, knives, poison, fire works and explosives!
A couple of other warnings in the handbook are also new to me in marathon settings.
» If the Japanese Government’s nationwide warning system J-Alert sends an alarm related to ballistic missile launches, follow the instructions.»
»If an upper 5 or greater earthquake strikes Tokyo, the race will be discontinued immediately»
Not very comforting, I must admit, but hopefully it will be OK. At least I feel my lack of preparation is not my biggest concern at the moment…
Coming as a constantly freezing Norwegian to Dubai awakes feelings in me that are hatd to put into words, but to sum up: AMAZING!
Since the Friday Brunch took up most of our time yesterday, I decided to get an early start today. I jumped out of bed at 7AM, which of course is a lie, since it was more dragging of body involved at that was after I had argued with myself for a while why I couldn’t just relax since I was on vacation and all… Well, me and myself came to the agreement that instead of doing the 120min Z2 today, I would to 10 min warm-up + 4×5 min Z4 intervals instead.
After just the first interval, with legs feeling as if I was wearing led shoes, my goal was readjusted to only 3 intervals. After my second interval (and also after a mental slap to the back of my head for not sticking to plan) it was readjusted back to 4 again. Timewise I did OK with a 25 sec/ km improvement from the last time I did the same session back home (but again, that was with three layers of clothing and shoes with spikes, so maybe I didn’t do so well after all.
But time aside, just the feeling of wearing normal jogging shoes, T-shirt and shorts again was incredible and the beautiful scenery with the beach, palm trees and Ain Dubai in the background was a much appreciated bonus.
First time I tried to run the Stochkholm Marathon was in 2012. Race day started out with heavy rain and stormy conditions and it hadn’t been so cold on June for almost 100 years (#luckyme). As if that was not enough, I had come down with a cold and was a bit feverish. Safe to say the conditons were not exactly excellent,
At 10 km I was soaking wet and at 20 I start loosing sensation in my fingers. At 25 km, most of my fingers were blue, and I started to fear for my life. At around 30 km I caved, and surrendered to the medical personell who brought me back to the starting area.
It was a real downer to get a DNF (Dod Not Finish) on my resume, and I was a bit bummed out when I later went for dinner with my boyfriend and a couple of collegues who had actually made it through. In a moment of severe lapse of reason (with his finisher’s rock in his pocket; they did not start with medals until 2 years later), my boyfriend managed to mention his favorite quote later that night: “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts for ever”. Safe to say I could have killed him on the spot, but I settled for a promise to myself that I would eventually complete this course.
The next year, I was about to try again, but ended up at a cardiologist right before the race due to chest pains, so had to forfit once again.
The chest pains turned out to most likely be benigned, so then I signed up for Stockholm Marathon for the third time. This time I finally made it and was 5 minutes away from setting a PB. This year they also started with real medals instead of rocks with bo other function than serving as a door stopper.