Have you ever run a 20K race around a 1.25K lap? This is exactly what I did yesterday afternoon in Odaiba, which is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay. I registered to this race about a month ago with one objective: work on my speed before my 55K trail race in Belgium on December 27th. Interestingly enough, I have enjoyed the race a lot with perfect conditions: sunny weather, warm temperatures and good organization!
- Date: November 24th
- Start Time: 13:30 PM
- Distance: 20 km
- Bib Number: 675
- Time: 01:22:19
- Average Speed: 14.6 km/h
- Overall Ranking: 4/130
- Category Ranking: 4/108
I love those pre-races when you don’t need to wake up early and where commuting to the starting line is really fast. In fact, I woke up at about 8:00 AM to leave home at about 10:00 AM. Odaiba is about 45 minutes from Yokohama, which is exactly the time I needed to set myself in motion.
I arrived to Daiba Station at 11:00 AM and looked for a convenience store straightaway. I needed to buy a cereal bar to snack before the race. Starting a 1:30 PM is always a bit tricky, especially when you have had breakfast early in the morning.
I then headed to the park to collect my race bib. It was very warm, and it clearly motivated me to run. I realized the race was composed of 16 laps around a 1.25K course. I received my race bib, as well as a towel and a Red Bull. With only one recovery day since my last trail race, I decided to warm up gently by running two laps on the course. It clearly helped me memorize the difficulties of the course: mainly the several U-turns that would make me lose time later on.
With a 30-minute delay, the whole crowd was sent off at 1:30 PM. I had decided to start very conservatively to enjoy the race as much as possible. I was also aware that we would have to run next to people registered to the 5K and 10K distance; so I didn’t want to get carried away too early in the race. Thus, I ran the first kilometer in about 03:58, which was just enough to be in front of the pack and be well-positioned for the first U-turn.
Remembering my 10K experience of early November, I was anxious about my ability to speed up. However, I quickly realized that I was doing a decent job on the first portion of the race passing the 5K mark in 00:20:10. Continuing my own race, I realized that I was in 5th position; I was also closing the gap with the runner ahead of me. He was a foreigner that had started the race too fast, and I almost lapped him once by the end of the race.
I passed the 10K in 00:41:10, but my pace was slowly decreasing to 04:15. However, I was happy to see that only a few interval trainings over the past two weeks helped me build back some speed. I took the next opportunity to refresh and throw some water to my face. It was damn hot!
With 10K left, I was decided to keep my spot in the ranking as well as continue at the same pace. The U-turns were starting to be hard to handle as I was trying to gain back some speed. With about 4 laps to go, I was overtaken by a faster runner; but I also overtook one runner in front of me almost at the same time.
Pushing until the end, I crossed the finish line in 01:22:19 ranking 4th out of 130 participants. Of course, this is way behind my half-marathon pace of earlier this year; but, this is a good sign that I can quickly recover some speed if I do some serious speedwork.
I received my certificate and then headed to the Odaiba City Mall to get some lunch. It is always crazy to see so many people shopping around and lining up in front of restaurants! Anyways, I grabbed a soup and a sandwich at the convenience store before heading back home to Yokohama.
I took the monorail back to the main island, and I got a surprised on my way home. The train was packed with people: it was hot, and I was tired. Feeling dizzy, I fainted in the train! Hopefully, a kind man caught me and helped me stay up in the wagon. In this context, I decided to stop and recover. I was tired, I felt really hot in the train and I lacked oxygen with so many people around. It got eventually better, and I happily made my way back home.
Overall, I had a fantastic day! Not only performance wise, but also because I had a very nice time out there… This is what running is all about for me: I want to enjoy every run! With a long season behind me, this is why I decided to run only one more race by the end of this year. It will be a 55K trail race in Belgium on December 27th. Until then, I will continue enjoying my runs and prepare seriously for this 18th race. See y’all!