Monday, May 05, 2008

A wet dash around the Imperial Palace

A mixed bag of tricks so far for Golden Week '08. 
Saturday found me waking very early, with Miyu and Jay (who were off to Fukushima to shoot a video for Miyu's friend's wedding), in order to take part in the 9th Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) Runathon. I'd decided that I needed some sort of target to all this running I was doing, so I combined testing myself in a race (5km), with contributing some funds to a very worthy cause (TELL provide a free telephone counselling service to foreigners here in Japan, the only one of its kind in the country, as far as I know). 
I was a bit nervous, as I hadn't been in a race for about 10 years, but I thought, with about 200 runners competing in the 5km run, if I could come in the top 50 I'd be very happy.
It was pissing it down with rain, which meant I'd stay cool and not over heat. The trains to the starting point were not crowded, and I plugged into my ipod and listened to some fast beat tracks to get me in the mood for speed. Upon arrival, I got my registration number and my number to stick on my top, and warmed up. B chance I bumped into Akio, who's a Account Exec at my office and who was running the 10km course. We chatted until it they called for the 5km to begin. 
I didn't have any real strategy as such, apart from try to get out in front of the pack and then keep a steady pace. The starting gun went and I sprinted forward, dodging around people and trying not to slip on the slippery concrete. I soon found some space and settled into a more reasonable pace. I could see the front runners, who were going at a tremendous rate, and thought if I could just keep them in sight, that'd be good. 
The rain was really coming down hard, and visibility was dire. It didn't help that I was wearing glasses, as the water pooled on my lenses, lending my view a distorted vision. Anyway, I focused and kept moving, occasionally getting cheered on by some early morning tourist parties, all following a brightly garbed tour guide with a long equally bright flag. 
A couple of runners passed me, and I tried to keep up, but they were really fast. Mentally I said no more will pass me, and I kicked in to finish. At the back of my mind was the prize money on offer for the top 10 finishers, but I thought no way will I be in with a chance. The finish line approached all of a sudden, and I couldn't believe it was almost over! The two faster runners in front were sprinting to the line, and when they crossed it, they were given a sheet of paper - 9th and 10th. I looked up at the big digital clock, 20 minutes and 40 seconds! Blimey! Not only did I make it in at 11th place, but I'd beat my personal best by about a minute!! 
My lungs felt like they were about to burst, and walked off my thundering heart beat. I couldn't believe it - 11th! This racing lark is well good. 
I found out that the winner had got in around 16 minutes, which was a long way away indeed for me, but it gives me a new goal to achieve. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wow Tom, 11th, that's bloomin marvellous! Nice one!

Lot of respect for that. (I'm finding a few times round the football pitch a struggle at the moment!)

For next time you run in the rain, I'll bet if you went to one of Tokyo's upper-class glasses shops you could get some with mini-windscreen wipers on, perhaps powered by the blink of your eyelid.

6:18 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home