Last weekend, I attended the Takaoka Half Marathon for the second time. Last year, the race was in November, and it was a much cooler day. I wrote about that here: November 18th.
Last year, although, I trained and was in alright shape, the time limits set by the race prevented me from finishing. I made it to the 17.3km gate at 1 minute too late. So, I definitely planned on signing up again and vowing to complete the marathon!
Well, I did not train nearly as much as I did last year. Last year, there were other people I signed up with, and we trained a few times together, and had some fun. We were a team. This year, it was just me. And I had been so busy and tired with school that I barely trained at all. I am still doing Kendo, but even then, I still occasionally miss Kendo practice due to the amount work needed to teach at my schools.
So, I was not nearly in the shape I was last year. I was totally prepared for not finishing. In fact, my time probably would've been better spent had I simply skipped the event. But whatever… I'll still drive down there, and make it as far as I can.
This year's course was identical to last year's. Of course, this year it was in June, rather than November. The morning wasn't too bad. There was a nice breeze, and the clouds prevented the sun from heating everyone up.
At 8:30am, they had the opening ceremony, where the Takaoka athletic association said some words, and last year's winners came up to the front and said their words, too. Blah blah blah, I have no idea what they said.
After the opening ceremony, the half marathon race was the first to gather at the starting line. Then the clouds started to open up and let the sun in. Ugh, it was hot. At 9am, some old guy fired his starting pistol and everyone was off.
Once again, just like last year, the race had a time limit of 2 hours and 30 minutes. This limit is enforced by 2 intermediary checkpoints throughout the race. The first checkpoint is at 12.7km for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The second checkpoint is at 17.3km for 2 hours. If you make it to these checkpoints late, the volunteers will stop you, and force you to quite. Then you must wait for a bus to pick you up and bring you back to the start.
Last year, I made the first checkpoint, but could not pass the second one. I was only 1 minute late. :/
With the shape I was in this year, I had no intention of doing any better. In order to complete the checkpoints, and the race, I needed to keep a pace of less than 7 minutes per kilometer (that's around 11 minutes per mile).
Whatever… let's get this marathon over with.
Again, the course was the same. But, since I was running at a much more leisurely pace, I stopped to take a few more photos than last year.
I really tried at the beginning, but after 2k, my body was too fat, and heavy, and I was not going to have the energy to overcome it. Additionally, I kept thinking about all the crap still outstanding on my to-do list, and the increasingly little time I had to complete them. Ugh, why am I here? Why am I doing this? This isn't fun. I'm not really getting anything out of this either.
The increasing pressure of all my responsibilities kept me from actually enjoying the run, and thinking about things clearly. Usually during a marathon, I can push away all of my thoughts, empty my mind, and think about things without any noise. My brain stops trying to analyze everything, and I can simply think…
All I could think about were my upcoming classes, and all the preparation work I still needed to do, and try to figure out when I could actually do the work. And then think about my classes after, and how was I going to have the energy to do any of this after running this race.
So, this marathon sucked, and I did terrible at it. Though, there were a few sparing moments I could lose myself in my music, but then came the crushing reality of my fat ass.
Anyway, at around 10 o'clock, I passed the 9km marker. I quickly thought to myself that I was still alright for time. Only 3km left to the 12km checkpoint. I can make that in 30 minutes. 15 minutes later, I remembered that the checkpoint was actually 12.7km, and that my pace was terrible.
I passed the 12km before the 10:30 mark, but arrived at the checkpoint more than 6 minutes late.
I wasn't the only one there, and there were still people behind me, too. I still have not broken my cardinal rule of not placing last in a race. I was only 7th or 8th from last!
Once everyone else behind us got to the checkpoint, the bus of shame arrived to transport everyone back to the start. We traversed the course backwards, and made it back to the start before 11am. So, there were still people finishing the race as we arrived. Our tracking chips were returned in the bus, though, so we couldn't just jump back on the track and finish the race. :)
So, while I didn't finish the race, and did much more horribly than last year, I was able to leave much earlier and not damage my legs too much. The race was still finishing as I walked back to my car to return to Takayama.
I still vow to complete this race in the future! I wonder if this race happens twice a year, which explains the date change from last year. November was way more comfortable to run, too. The heat was terrible for this race. :(