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Showing posts from February, 2018

Kyoto Marathon

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A beautiful day for a marathon today in Kyoto: blue sky, light dusting of snow on the mountains, and 16000 people to share it. So I’m trying to put aside my disappointment with my time. Running marathons in Japan is about so much more than the running; it’s the food, the spectators, the never ending ganbatte, fight-o and the little challenges that make you realise you aren’t at home.
I had difficulty finding the correct subway line at Kyoto Station, for one thing, so that I could get to the race start, and getting to the start involved a change of subway lines (meaning I had to stop part way to buy a second ticket); I wasted a lot of time both at Kyoto Station and when I had to change lines and I couldn’t understand the ticket machine, but this meant I had less time for standing around in the cold on the start line. It was freezing in the stadium where we  had to stand through one of those long race introductions that the Japanese love. It’s ok for the officials because they’re all wea…

Kumano Kodo hike

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Kumano Kodo Trail, an old pilgrimage route across the Kii peninsula, through the mountains from Kii Tanabe on the west coast to Kii Katsuura on the east coast. From Kii Tanabe to Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine (the goal of the pilgrimage) it’s the Nakahechi route and from there it’s the Kogumotori-Goe route to Koguchi and the Ogumotori-Goe route to Nachisan near the coast.
Monday  Train from Himeji to Osaka, dropped my main bag off at Osaka left luggage, train to Kii Tanabe, bus to Takijiri and then I could start walking.
There was a little shrine at the start and then the path went straight uphill into the forest. Mostly it was big, rocky steps or steps made from logs. I was taken aback at the steepness, having assumed the route description was an exaggeration. But it was lovely and quiet. I stopped at a cave, some tiny shrines and lookouts over the mountains and had lunch at the top of the first hill. The path was crisscrossed by tree roots and rocky, and the forest was dense with spindly,…

Himeji Castle Marathon

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So here I am, again, at Mister Donut to write about today’s marathon. I was so pleased when I woke up this morning that the rain had gone, and I was also pleased that the large amounts of food I had eaten yesterday had not upset my stomach. 
I ate breakfast in my room - coffee and a bun, luxury after my race breakfasts in India - and walked to the start by Himeji Castle. It was absolutely freezing and I was in no doubt that I had made the correct decision to wear tights. The wait in the starting chute seemed unnecessarily long, with a drumming interlude, lots of speeches, introduction of elite runners etc and I wanted to get going, but surprisingly the race started dead on time. It was just very cold so the wait felt longer.
We ran away from the castle and through the town. The field was very dense with runners, 7000 in this marathon apparently. There were masses of spectators, all cheering, and it was generally extremely noisy. I settled into what felt to me like an average sort of pac…

Training run in Himeji

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I thought I should go for a little run this morning, here in Himeji, Japan. I mean, there’s a marathon tomorrow and I can’t keep up this theme indefinitely of running marathons without doing any training. But I was reluctant for several reasons. Mainly laziness. Also I was worried that running would enliven my stomach upset which was about the worst one I have ever had and was showing signs of retreating. 
I looked around for my running clothes, which were alarmingly few for a day of just 3 degrees. To the usual tights and T shirt I added some elbow length gloves I had salvaged from an op-shop pile at home and my buff which I think is dead unattractive. I felt warm enough - while inside. 
At the entrance to the hotel I got a surprise: it was raining! I couldn’t see the rain from my bedroom window. By chance a runner was just entering the hotel as I left and I muttered about the rain and cold to him; he recommended the covered shopping arcades adjacent to the hotel. That would be a first…

Kolkata Full Marathon

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My last day in India and the day of the Kolkata Full Marathon. The race started at 5am, close to my hotel, so I’d set my alarm for 4am. Just before 3am I woke up to odd sensations; please don't let these be stomach cramps, I thought, as I’d been so pleased not to have any dietary afflictions in India. But small stomach cramps they were, and followed up by a vomiting session. What terrible timing. For three milliseconds I contemplated not doing the marathon before continuing with my preparations. I had no more problems although all I could face for breakfast was a black instant coffee and I didn't fancy the dry biscuits I had planned to eat.
This was a much smaller field than Mumbai (in fact there were only to be 121 official finishers and this included just 9 women, but I think a few women missed the 6 hour cutoff) and I positioned myself well to the back. I only saw two other non Indians. I started out slow and to summarize my performance: I got slower. It was dark until 6.30a…