The Story Behind The Run

We always have self-doubt if you are a high achiever because when we try to go to the next level and there is thought we are not good enough, but that’s okay because that means we are hungry and we are committed to elevating ourselves..

By Eugene

KIX Senshu Internatinal Marathon

Power is nothing without control

In my last marathon (Osaka Marathon), I did so without a half marathon tune-up and suffered horribly. I was limping away in the final 6km and finished in a 5 year worst timing of 3:41.

In my next marathon, I was determined to get the body used to running at slightly faster than race pace, to be able to pull home the remaining kilometres.

I arrived at Kansai International Airport with #worldbestwife at 4pm on a friday, transit to our hotel before going out for our regular dinner.

We started the next day with an easy run along the pavement of Midosuji street. The run was ok as weather was relatively forgiving that morning. The run too was full of memories as that street is part of the Osaka Marathon route. We finished the run at 5:49 pace which is good enough for an easy run. Proceeded to get some shopping done and prep for race day.

Race day arrived and we reached the race site with 45 mins to spare. The Japanese are early arrivals and the marshalls quickly hurrid us to deposit our bags and change as the baggage vans are leaving in 15 mins! My heart rate swelled and rushed to change and scramble to locate the van for my bib. Once deposited, I have 30 mins to spare and proceeded to do some warm-up.

The uptempo music ensured an exciting atmosphere and the constant calls to get into the pen was evident. I did some light warm-up and strides before going in with 20 mins to spare.

I was wrapped in plastic cover to prevent wind from biting. Thanks to Japan Athletes, I am allocated into B pen despite my late entry and that helped a lot in setting the pace right from the off. Japanese are pretty disciplined and honest peeps. Unlike our local races where everybody would submit overly ambitious targets which they are unable to meet.

After a slowwww 20mins wait, finally we are down to the last 10 seconds. I took off my plastic cover and placed it nicely at e side of the park. This is it, my half marathon race is here.

I was pretty relaxed, and I have no idea why. I seem to have no target this time and that help to relax my mind and body ahead of the race. I had a wonderful sleep the night before and showed no jitters at all during the warm-up.

BANG!

And off we go! The sky turned dark and a drizzle came! The locals would typically start slow in the first 200m as they wave the mayor and cameras goodbye before escalating a progressive pace to the pace we are running. For Senshu marathon, both half marathon and full marathon participants start together. The first 5km was a mad rush, everyone seem to be running as fast as they possibly could to secure a certain spot on the road. For me, I started off progressively and bid my time.

First 5k seem to go by quickly and we would uturn back to start point where there are some crowds waiting for us. At 8k mark, we are back to Hamadera Park and I was still on track, progressively going upwards by effort as I was no longer look at my pace. The drizzle turned slightly heavier now and I was starting to feel the temps going down…

At 10km, I decided to overtake as many as I could but the locals are really good runners. The full marathon runners would be cruising at 4:30 pace while that’s probably my threshold for half marathon. Soon I find myself in groups intermittently and tag along a certain group until the group slowed; and I proceed to find another group. Rain had subsided abit in this part of the course

Once I pass the 15km mark, I decided to clock the fastest 5km and step on the gas. Took my final gel portion and whack as fast as I can. Some of the other challenge run participants too did the same and it was a race to the finish.

Bumped into Japan Athletes at the 18km mark and was so happy to see him as the official photographer! I wished he have more pictures of me though!

The last km was a climb up a steep slope before one final turn onto the finish line.

Once I pass the 15km mark, I decided to clock the fastest 5km and step on the gas. Took my final gel portion and whack as fast as I can. Some of the other challenge run participants too did the same and it was a race to the finish.

Bumped into Japan Athletes at the 18km mark and was so happy to see him as the official photographer! I wished he have more pictures of me though!

The last km was a climb up a steep slope before one final turn onto the finish line.

It was done. 1:34 for 20.6km. While it wasn’t a personal best upon extrapolation, it was by no means a bad timing. In terms of effort, I wasn’t going all out until the final 5km and I felt really good going into peak week!

The certificate was delivered on the spot and the medal was hung on my neck by kawaii students. There was an leg soaking onsen for participants but I skip it due to coronavirus. Got myself changed and rain started to pour! Went out and stand at the sides to cheer #worldbestwife through the line. It wasn’t her PB as well but one of her better timings. She did really well while managing period and a slightly dampen cough since arriving in Osaka. The dry weather didn’t help.

She got changed and we made our way back to Kishiwada station. We took some pictures by Kishiwada castle – which was our first time there despite our multiple visits to Osaka. It looks like an exact replica of the Osaka castle!

All in all, the race experience is a positive one. There’s nothing to complain. Pocari was there, water was there, I had a preference for Pocari and this race is one of the few that supply Pocari as sports drink. There were kilometre marks every km and I think the cheering was nicely done. There’s a race pack collection the day before which always helps. Itabashi City Marathon on the other hand is on race day itself and that doesn’t really help with prep time logistics.

Senshu is located near the Kansai International Airport and this part of town is quiet and away from the rowdy Namba/Umeda area. Mediocre finisher medal and tee but the real-time certificate is a definite plus!

Will definitely consider next year – unfortunately the date is awfully close with Hong Kong half marathon which I join every year. Due to coronavirus, we give that a miss this time round!

Once again, thanks to Shimpei(Japan Athletes) for the race photo and helping us register for this race. Japan Athletes’s service is top notch and I highly recommend anyone whom is a newbie to Japanese races to seek his consultation!

Eugene  (@runningcomposer)

Runner, Singapore

February 2020

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