Saturday, November 3, 2007

はしりましょう! (Let's Run!)

It takes a very secure woman to post "I-got-up-at-friggin'-6 a.m.-on-a-Saturday-to-run-a-marathon-and-look-at-the-great-tan-I've-gotten-in-cloudy-Japan" pictures online for the universe to see. But I'm convinced that only friends and family look at this thing anyway, and that you love me unconditionally.

So this morning some fellow JETs and I ran the Kikka Marathon in Takefu, a town just south of Fukui City. Japan is a magical place for a runner - not only is it home to MIZUNO, the best running shoe ever made, but it's also one of the only places in the world where you can say you ran a "marathon," when in reality you only ran a 10K (that's 6 miles, plus some change).

My blonde (ish) ponytail stuck out at the start line - I stood a full six inches taller than many of my fellow runners. Despite any advantage that my long legs might bring, Japanese men more than twice my age (and seemingly half my height, and, er, weight) passed me without breaking a sweat. A humbling experience, though I still pulled off a 47-minute race time.

Overall, Kikka was a well-oiled machine. For the 2000 yen ($20) registration fee, I got my name in the newspaper as part of a pre-race article (and, thus, the admiration of all of the teachers at my school: "Sara-san, you're running a MARATHON?! Wow! Gambatte!"), a nice course to run through at the base of Takefu's mountains, and all of the post-race tea a girl could drink. I also scored a gaijin-compliant XXL race t-shirt. Nice.

Another reason Japan is good for runners? You get to do the post-race pig-out at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Back home, I'd nosh on a sandwich or maybe some pasta after a race, but here in Japan, it's raw fish and rice all the way.

Makes the blood, sweat and tears all worthwhile.

1 comment:

Mark P. said...

WOW, even 6 miles is impressive, considering its about 5.75 miles more than I could run. Nice! i am very impressed....