I received a late request from one of the ladies in our club to pace her through 20 km at 4:50/km. That's a bit faster than I do my long runs, and I was keen to do at least 25k, but I am an obliging sort of chap so agreed, especially if we started at 8:30 so that I could still maybe fit in 25 and keep my 11:00 appointment to bottle beer at my brew-buddy's place.
So I met Ma at a shade past 8:30 and after a few preparations we started with a slow warm-up Pettau lap (2.5 km) and then a steady Fulton lap (1.9 km). Then we had a short break to meet the others at 9:00. We were joined by a guest, Tim, who works as a stage hand for the New York City Opera, which, it seems, is coming to town.
With the group re-start, Ma and I started our pace run. To get the target pace we had to run Pettau laps in 12:05 minutes. The first one was in 12:09, so about right. The problem was that Ma's ambitions exceeded her capability as she has had some time off with a cold, and basically wasn't quite in shape for that pace and duration. It didn't go pear shaped too soon and the next three laps were in 12:20 plus or minus. I asked her how many more laps, thinking to myself that six at that pace would probably do, and she actually opted for one less than that, and then on that fifth lap, she really fell off the pace. So that was that and we joged back to meet the others and ran another slow lap with them as we coaxed katakura san through his longest run ever (20km). Ma's run was all by way of preparation for a half marathon that she will run next week, so I wish her all the very best of luck.
In the end I finished up booking 20.2 km for the day, but not nearly enough of them at that pace Ma had wanted to run. Never mind. The five laps at 4:50/km was a decent sort of aerobic run and probably suited me pretty well coming into next week's two 5k races.
And the big news: Satohi ran 3:27:15 and qualified for Tokyo International Women's Marathon...wooo hooo!!! I was a bit overwhelmed when I got her email yesterday and had to explain to my wife that I just had some dust in my eye, that's all.