Well, the company ekiden is just a week and a half away now. This involves a 5-k lap around the palace and the prospect of a top three finish for individual times for me. First prize is 10,000 yen (about A$100) in shopping vouchers, 2nd place is 5,000 yen worth. Three years ago I got first, but the last two years Mr Nakagawa has beaten me into 2nd place. I have been a bit late getting my ass into gear, but finally the last couple of weeks I have been gradually getting more motivated towards improving my condition for this race. I racked up 85 km two weeks ago and 75 km last week. A few lactate threshold and VO2 max workouts thrown in for good measure, but perhaps not enough upper aerobic miles. It is probably too little, too late I suspect. Last year Nakagawa-san ran more than 10 seconds faster than 18 minutes. So I have to get down into the low 18s to be even in with a remote chance (I have no idea of his relative change since last year).
I had an easy 10 km run yesterday morning, and then in the evening got out for a training run on the actual ekiden course with my team. We ran our own paces so I decided to give it a blat and see what I could come up with. What I came up with was 18:54. I don't know whether that's good or bad. It isn't a bad time for a training run, but then again, I pretty much kicked it in the guts. I'm not sure I can find another 50 seconds or a minute in there!
Anyway, with fatigued legs I did a 6k warmup in good company this evening before joining the Namban ladder intervals workout: 600 m, 800 m, 1000 m, 1200 m, 1000 m, 800 m, 600 m. My times were as follows: 2:07, 2:49, 3:35, 4:18, 3:35, 2:50, 2:00 ... not too bad at all really, especially hitting so close to the same times on the way back down as on the way up. That seven second improvement on the 2nd 600 was also encouraging. I did push very hard on the last one and was happy with the result. My left knee, groin and achilles are all complaining about it now though :-(