Monday, October 27, 2008

Nissan Cup Rikubetsu Cold Wind Marathon

In Japan, any race 1km or over is called a marathon. So basically, all foot races that we attend, whether they be 10k or 42.195k, have “marathon” in their title. I often translate them as “half marathon” just for the sake of clarity.

Last weekend I went to Rikubetsu with my father in law for the second year in a row. Rikubetsu has as it’s claim to fame the distinction of being the coldest place in Japan and they call their marathon the “kogarashi marason”, translated as “the cold wind marathon”. True to its name, there was a cold, cold wind blowing on the back half of the course.

From last year they added a half marathon to the event. The event is run on the closed circuit Nissan test track in Rikubetsu, Hokkaido Japan. The event is sponsored by both the town of Rikubetsu and Nissan and there are many Nissan flavored goods as prizes for winners and other lucky participants. Last year I got a Nismo jacket for being the runner coming the farthest distance to the race. This year I got 5k of rice. The course itself is on the Nissan secret test course. Secret in that the course is usually closed to the public and no cameras/cellphones are allowed on the course. You can use your favorite mapping software to find it at lat=43.61457542 and lon=143.66365492. The first 10k of the half is run on the “country road” on the inside of the course and the second half on the high speed road that goes around the outside. There is a lot of up down with a difference of 100m up and down steep hills. At one point there is a sign on the road that shows a car going over an upside down U and taking off into the air. The word on the sign says “jump!”. I can only imagine what the test drivers and engineers are doing there on the course. Must be exciting.

I ran the half in 1:37:28 seconds, a minute slower than last year and two minutes slower than the race the weekend before. That is several minutes slower than my best time this year but considering the amount of practice I have been doing since the end of June, I would say that it is not a bad time.

I thought this year would be the year for some PRs but not so. Maybe next year.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yoichi Mikaku Half Marathon

We went to the Yoichi Mikaku Half Marathon on 9/28 in Yoichi-cho on the North South Coast of Hokkaido. Yoichi is famous for fruit and fish and you get a good dose of both during the race. The first few kilometers take you past some fishy smells and then right after that you are surrounded by fields of grapes, apples, pears, plums and whatnot. The grapes are especially fragrant and you can smell them during the race.

Before the race at reception, many runners were happy to leave with boxes full of fruit and vegetables. There was a drawing held, before the race by the officials, and runners who had their bib number drawn, got a tag attached to their bib and were notified that they had won that way. We didn't get anything in the drawing but everyone did get a plate full of fruit to eat at reception. I saved mine for the kids.

The course is an out and back course towards the Yoichi Dam. Yoichi is on the coast so you run inland and uphill for the first 10k past fields of fruits and other crops until the last few km before the turnaround which are run in the forest. After the turn around it is all down hill from there.

For this race I had a lot going on in my head before the start. I haven't been training much recently, only 2 or 3 times a week, so I didn't have much hope of doing well. But my mother in law, who I race with, had been encouraging me to run hard and try to win something since the prizes at Yoichi are boxes of fruit! I had also recent read an article in Runner's World Magazine that encouraged me to run harder. Well, not to run harder but to keep running hard. The article said that our brain takes signals from our body and determines, very quickly, the pace that you can maintain for the duration of your race. It also takes signals from your body and tells you "I'm tired" when you may actually be able to keep up the pace for longer than you think. After reading this I thought, it's just a matter of mind over brain. That and just gutting it out till the end. I was also thinking of how my wife keeps giving me a hard time for running each half in 1:36. She said you could set a clock by me because my times were always about the same and I never got faster. I wanted to run faster. I wanted to run under 1:30. I didn't have any hope of doing that on this day however.

The race started and I fell into a pretty good rhythm. One that I have been running pretty close to during my training runs. I have been concentrating on running hard since I'm running so little. No reason for easy runs with so many days off, I thought. At the 5k check point I looked at my watch for the first time. It read 23 minutes. Not bad, but about average for my first 5k of a half. After that the incline got steeper. I started telling myself "we can do this, we can do this". Then I started having inner dialogue. "Why are you saying 'we'? It's 'I' isn't it? I can do this. I am the hill master! Ok, that sounded a little corny." But I kept up positive thoughts like this. Hills are nothing. I run hills like this for breakfast. No problem. You can do this. I didn't look at my watch until the 10k check point. 46 minutes. Hmm, that's about average too, BUT, I had just run uphill for 10k! Hmm, this is pretty good I told myself. Then of course my usual negative thoughts kicked in. I'll probably slow down a lot during the next 10k. But then I caught myself thinking those negative thoughts and countered them. NO! I've just run up a 10k hill and run in the same speed I always run 10k in races. And it's all down hill from here! From that point on I concentrated on positive thoughts and on keeping my head up. Chin up, thoughts up. No more hills to run up, just one long down hill run. Now my thoughts were "keep up the pace, don't slow down, keep up the pace, you can do it, keep up the pace". And I kept it up, too. I actually ran the next 5k 3 minutes faster than the first 5k. I didn't look at my watch again until I entered the track and the last 200m and my watch said 1:28:50! Whoa! If I hurry I can get a PR! I ran across the goal in 1:29:45, a new personal best! I was so happy. I placed 31st out of about 130 in my age group. I won nothing but I got a PR and I learned that I can run faster, if only I try. It's kind of like a little engine that could story.

Keep positive!

Monday, July 21, 2008

25th Karikachi Summer Road Race

25th Annual Karikachi Summer Road Race


Karikachi Summer Road Race

Date: July 20, 2008 (Sun)
Reception: 8:00
Start 9:30 (short) 10:00 (long)
Place: Shintoku (新得町)
Distance: 5.275, 10.549
Meet at: Shinsui Hiroba inside the Sahoro Riverside Park Golf Course
Fee: 2000yen
Places: 1-3 medals
Certificate of completion with space to write your time on.
Participation prizes.
Apply to:
井上 茂
Kamikawa-gun, Shintoku-cho, Kuttari Midorimachi 1-chome 89

Tel/Fax: 01566-5-2458
Apply with
Team Name:
Reading of name in hiragana:
Date of birth:
Tel #:
一般女子 10.549k Women's
一般女子 5.275k Women's
一般男子 10.549k Men's
一般男子 5.275k Men's
A. Jr. high school to 29years
B. 30s
C. 40s
D. 50s
E. 60s and up

Monday, April 21, 2008

Haru Ichiban Date Half Marathon


21st Haru Ichiban Date Half Marathon

Date: April 20, 2008 (3rd Sunday)
Deadline: March 17th
Place: Date City, Hokkaido
Date Rekishi no Mori Culture Center

Reception: from 9am
Start: Half 10:50
3k, 5k, 10k,: 11:02

Awards: to 6th place

Other: All participants get a printout with their record and a participation prize.
There is a drawing to win prizes. (Potted flowers one year.)

Fee: 1000yen for Elementary and Junior High School, 2000 for High School, General and Wheel Chair, 3000 for Half Marathon participants

Can apply by money transfer to the following account.
Include your name, address, sex, age, distance you will run, and team or school name.

※口 座 番 号:02750-0-37336
※加 入 社 名:春の合宿村まつり実行委員会事務局

Questions about Entry to
〒362-0003 埼玉県上尾市菅谷1-49テクノプラン

伊達市教育委員会 生涯学習推進課 体育係
TEL 0142-23-3331<内線510>

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Races available at Runnet.

These races are now registered at and you can now sign up for them online.

May 18, 26th Running On SAPPORO
June 8, Bie Healthy Half Marathon
June 8, 8th Run Around Rishirijima Island
July 6, Kitahiroshima Elfin Road Half Marathon
August 10, 2nd Mt. Taisetsu Lake Chubetsu Triathalon in Higashikawa
September 7, 9th NAC Trail Run in Niseko
Limited information is included in the calendar entries. For more information, leave a comment. I try to post the deadlines for the races. The place where the race is held is also included. You can see where it is by clicking on the map link.