Creeeeeaaak. That's the sound of the blog being opened. I'm still not all that upbeat and excited about my running at present, but I guess I have a little to report with two race efforts and logging 85-km for the past week. The races were Inagi Ekiden, a low-key affair (3 km per person), last Monday and the TELL charity race (I did the 10 km) yesterday (Saturday 5/5).
Last year my team won the Inagi ekiden mens masters category. This year we didn't have quite the same talent in the team. My 11:26 was a few seconds slower than last year. Everyone busted their balls, but we just weren't in the hunt for the prizes unfortunately. One thing that caught my eye was that Mr Keren Tryhard recorded a time only a few seconds slower than me. He has been gradually gnawing away at the difference between us over the past year, especially on the back of his herculean ironman training -- and that difference was once quite substantial. He is strong on hills and Inagi had a vicious little hill near the end. Still, the world was in it's natural order because, marginal though it was, my time was faster.
Well, that natural order came crashing down at the TELL (Tokyo English Lifeline) race yesterday. This photo tells the story Keren (black Namban singlet with yellow writing) ahead, me 20 m or so back in the shadow (both figuratively and literally in this instance).
I started the race 10 or 15 m adrift of Nambanners Keren, Stuart and Christian (the young Swiss guy I met at the start at the Shinjuku Half Marathon -- he has now become a regular Namban member). We all started too fast and the conditions were very warm ... perhaps 25 degrees. I can't remember if it was the first or second lap, but Stuart eventually faded more than I did and I passed him. I had Keren in sight the whole way, but sometimes the gap was pretty large. I worked really hard on the last couple of km, despite the pace getting more and more ugly. On the final hill I pulled back 10 or 15 m or so and may have been reeling him in until he heard someone call my name and that spurred him on to stay 20 or 30 m ahead to the finish. I suppose every dog has to have his day (the bastard!). No, just joking. We are mates and he thoroughly deserved his victory. I'm not sure exactly how many seconds ahead he was, but I ran a 39:24, which given my current condition I was pretty happy with. I think I strained my left hamstring though. Christian powered away to record a low 38 minute time. He has a lot of improvement left in him too, that boy.
After the race I went to an awesome homebrew party out in Chiba, but somehow managed to not get too under the weather. But I was afflicted enough that it was still a slow start to the day and I did not make it to Yoyogi Park. But once the fog lifted a bit I managed to get out for a steady 21 km to round out a reasonably solid 85k week.