Sunday dawned just as cool and rainy as Saturday. The Arakawa Ekiden is a mass-participation event and I remembered how the transition area last year was a dust bowl. So with all the rain we have had recently, the words "hippopotomus" and "wallow" came to mind in close proximity. We had to meet at the ungodly hour of 8:15 at Shinjuku and then made the short trip out to Akabane. Light rain was falling almost constantly. We found a position under a railway bridge and with only 20 minutes before the race, quickly sorted out our teams. I suddenly found myself being one of the first-leg runners, i.e., 10 km. So without much time to really think about it or get warmed up I hit the start line with Anthony and Peter and Juergen and Dayan. My goal was to run hard, but not absolutely all out. I was thinking that maybe 40 minutes flat, 4:00/km, would be a good hit out, but not too painful.
Despite being less than 10 m back from the start line, it was a very crowded start. The pace was OK, but no clear path and lots of jostling. I think my first km came up in about 3:54. The only other splits I got were 4k: 15:39 (3:55/k average), 6k: 23:39 (4:00/k from 4k-6k), 8k: 31:44 (4:02.5/k from 6-8), Finish: 39:49.
I was pretty happy with that, but it hurt a lot more than I wanted, especially the second 5k. I was breathing very hard and couldn't pick up the pace over the last kilometer. I am sure there was fatigue in the legs from the hard 5k on Saturday. And that hippo wallow - yuck...We had to run through it twice -- between 4k and 6 k and again at the end. A couple of hundred meters of pure unadulterated mud. We reckoned that we must have lost at least 30 seconds through there. Chiba-san got a good photo of my mud-caked legs -- I'll have to post it if I can get a copy.
In the afternoon I begged off from the Namban lunch because I'd had an offer to attend a Scandinavian themed lunch at my brewing friend's house. It was pretty funky. There were many types of Aqvavit (Norway, Denmark), smelly cheese, pickled herrings (Danish), rye bread, and some re-constituted dried mutton from Norway. Plus a few different craft beers, including the two that Bryan and I bottled recently. I was very measured in my drinking, taking plenty of water and rests, and finished the day in good shape. Our two beers were declared good by most, though one guy, a professional brewer, reckoned there was an abundance of diacetyl (buttery taste) in our steam-style beer, but nobody else thought it was there at all. Pro brewer? What would he know phhht!