Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chihiro Tanaka

At the end of the year I'm posting this as a reminder of what can be done, to inspire all of us to do the best we can, this coming year and always.

Chihiro's story holds special meaning for me as last week she was the ladies winner of the Kakogawa Marathon. The one I did my recent PB in.

I spotted her twice on the turn arounds, she was about five minutes ahead of me, and both times she yelled to me to, in English, "Come on let's go!" This meant the world to me and helped motivate me to keep running strong. She really is a champion and if we can, like her, all be so friendly/supportive kind and hardworking then, not to be too melodramatic, the world will be a better place.


(The following taken from JAPAN RUNNING NEWS)

Chihiro Tanaka
Born: Nov. 13, 1969 in Hyogo, Japan
Marathon PB: 2:29:30 (Nagoya International Women’s Marathon 2002)
Other PBs: 5000m: 16:14.50 10000m: 33:32 Half-marathon: 1:12:00

Other key marathon performances:
2:33:30 (winner, Hokkaido Marathon 1997)
2:34:11 (winner, Hokkaido Marathon 2003)
2:37:03 (Tokyo International Women’s Marathon 2008)
2:38:08 (Nagoya International Women’s Marathon 2009)

Chihiro Tanaka is one of the great originals of Japanese distance running. Her PB of 2:29:30 stands as the best performance ever by an amateur Japanese runner, male or female, and is all the more remarkable in that it was the first and, until this past January, only sub-2:30 by a Japanese mother.

A talented 800 m runner and long-distance relay specialist in her school days, Tanaka bowed to pressure from her parents not to become a professional, instead taking a regular job. Later in life she discovered the marathon and was transformed. Working with her high school era coach, Tanaka went from a 3:19:49 debut at the 1994 Honolulu Marathon to a 2:33:30 victory at the 1997 Hokkaido Marathon. Her win made Tanaka a national name as it was almost unprecedented for an amateur to come out on top of one of Japan’s major marathons.

From 1998 to 2000 Tanaka took time off to have her first child and returned stronger than ever. She finished 2nd in the 2001 Nagano Marathon in 2:32:05, then in 2002 had the run of her life, clocking her best time of 2:29:30 and finishing 4th in Nagoya, one of the most competitive women’s marathons in the world. Far from through, she won Hokkaido again in 2003. Then it was time for her second child.

Three years later Tanaka was back for Phase III of her marathon career. These days she runs six marathons a year, but her quality is undiminished. In November 2008 she ran 2:37:03 to finish 10th in the world class Tokyo International Women’s Marathon. Three weeks later she won the Naha Marathon, and after only two weeks more she won her second-straight Kakogawa Marathon. She put in a strong 2:38:08 at March’s Nagoya International Women’s Marathon to begin her 2009 season and followed with a 2:41:21 8th place finish at the Nagano Marathon on Apr. 19.

The Copenhagen Marathon will be Tanaka’s second time racing in Europe and she is confident of her chances for both a win and for her best time in recent years. As she nears her 40th birthday Tanaka’s running continues to lead the way for women marathoners both in Japan and worldwide.

By the way she won the Copenhagen marathon too.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

marathon run down

Notice anything strange about my 5th place medal? It is one of the reasons I still have a job in Japan.

I won’t go into too much detail just a general overview and summing up. We started in a light drizzle, the first 2Ks I worked my way into marathon pace. I didn’t feel so good, the pace felt a little too fast for me, I guess I was just adjusting to the cold. By the 10K mark I was on pace and getting faster with less effort. The next 10K the sun was trying to break out and I was warming to the task ahead.

One thing I was making sure of this time was to take a drink at every station and I think it helped at least to keep the carbs and concentration high. You may have noticed two of my later 5K splits saw me slowing down. The reason for one of these was comical (still not at the time). Passing one of the water stations I noticed a big plate of chocolate. I grabbed a handful and shoved them in. I didn’t realize that eating a mouthful of chocolate at speed with no saliva causes uncontrollable gagging and loss of speed. I spent a good K getting things back on track.

From the 35K I determined to go after my goal and frankly I felt great (Perhaps the chocolate?). I was enjoying this lasts stretch like I haven’t before in a marathon and pass about 20 people spread out from there to the finish. I made sure I gave some encouragement as I passed each person but nobody came with me and I was smiling through to the end. It was interesting there was one guy I spotted about 2k from home and he kept turning back. He seemed to notice I was coming and he was determined not to let me pass him. By the big smile and pat on the back he gave me at the end it seemed that I helped him finish the marathon strong,I just missed passing him on the line. Glad to be of assistance!

The day after, I felt fine. I had a strained right hamstring and a little DOMS but really pulled up well this time so much so that you wouldn’t have notice, by my gait, that I’d even run a marathon. I sort of wish I was limping then I could tell someone that I ran a good race and get a pat on the back ;) Anyway as you know it is mostly only other runners that appreciate what it takes or care so thanks for your previous comments ;)

The plan for the future is to focus on getting my times down in the 10K and half marathons over the next few months and start in May to do some distance again for a marathon in July or August.

The next marathon goal is sub 2:40:00. It might seem a bit ambitious but I reckon I can do it. I’ll have to again withstand to high mileage and I reckon if I’m to do better I’ll have to hit the weights and be stricter with my diet, no more binging on weekends , beer, wine and food, and spending the following week running it off.

For the next week or so I’ll enjoy indulging in the things that go with Christmas and the New Year and give a little back to my family that have been so patient with my absence. Or at least I’m going to try to let them know that it is better with me than without. All the best!



氏名:スコット ブラウン

出場種目 第5部フル40~49歳男子
距離 42.195 km
タイム(グロス) 2:45:20
タイム(ネット) 2:45:11
種目別順位 5/605
総合順位 9/2172

計測ポイント スプリット ラップ
Start 00:00:09
Finish 02:45:20 2:45:11

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2:45:11 (net)

Had a good race today. Pretty much did what I set out to do and I'm good to go for a week or so rest and then back into it. I'll sum up this race next post and talk a little about plans for the future. Again thanks for keeping up your blogs your support in this way is invaluable.

I wish you and yours all the very best for the coming year.

I'll up load a short video I took, with my ipod, after the race today. This and the race splits tell almost the whole story.

Marathon splits by my watch.

1st 5k 19'27
2nd 5K 19'28
3rd 5K 19'08
4th 5k 19'09
5th 5K 19'02
6th 5K 20'26
7th 5K 20'33
8th 5K 19'34
last 2 and a bit 8'30


Monday, December 21, 2009


Toyokazu Yoshimura, a local runner I see while training here, pulled out a great run yesterday and has now inspired me to do the same, albeit a little slower.

Here comes another PB, I'm feeling spring loaded and like I could eat bullets!

The following taken from "Japan Running News."

"Yoshimura, the #1-ranked amateur in Japan, hoped to improve on his 5th place finish last year and 3rd place finish in 2007 but was only able to overtake the fading Watanabe for another 3rd. His time of 2:15:05 was, however, a nearly two-minute PB over his 2:16:58 best from March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon, meaning his three marathons this year have been a win and two large PBs. Yoshimura will be racing again in February and then hopes to run for the win overseas this summer in either Grandma's Marathon in the U.S. or the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, where he was the 2007 winner."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Xmas marathon KAKOGAWA

I’ll run my next full marathon in a week from today, The Kakogawa marathon on Dec 23rd, it is being held next Wednesday a public holiday here.

I’m very excited about this one as I feel I’ve put in a good block of training and finally feel that I’m entering a race where I have given myself a good chance of success. I reckon that I’ve left little to chance this time and I think that if all goes well I will have a result that is pretty close to reflecting my true ability. This “true ability” is nearing my “career goal” a goal I’m loathed to share lest I’d be seen as a braggart ;)

I’m defining success in this race the following ways.
Challenging yet achievable: Sub 2:45
Not too shabby: Sub 2:50
Happy but wondering why I couldn’t go faster: PB Sub 2:56
Anything over 3hrs would be disappointing but unless I spend half of the race convulsing on the road covered in my own vomit and feces I’m not going to be too worried as there is always another marathon, as they say.

While I don’t want to risk the wrath of that God that likes to turn our best plans into a punch line, I think that it is better for me to have some confidence and hope that helps carry me through on top of the base I’ve built.

Here is a list of why I dare to dream this time.
And why I think I’ll, at least, do better than my last marathon.

I’m lighter. 2kgs
I’m fitter. More mileage.
I’m faster! Pbs at lesser distances going in.
I’m as strong or stronger. No injuries going in.
It’ll be cooler! About 12 degrees cooler and low humidity. Expecting 5 degrees.
I’ll be better tapered and peaking. Did preparation to peak for this race.
I’ll have less pressure/ I’ll be more relaxed now that the sub 3 monkey is off my back.
I’ll be better prepared mentally and as Central Governor has been talked to better prepared for the pain to come.
I know the course, it’s just as fast and flat as Townsville (wind may be an issue though).

I’m happy to hear any ideas on what time you think is possible for me based on my preparations, a worst case or best case would be interesting to hear, and don’t be soft on me if you think I’m dreaming and I’m not ready for these kinds of times please tell me. I can take it.

Here are my weekly Ks for the last 12 weeks: 103, 146, 167, 129, 190, 119, 160, 174, 182, 135, 114, 80K: The 80Ks will be my last weeks taper. The 129K and 119 weeks were a little less as I raced those weeks (I believed it was worth it as I could rest up a little and PB these races the same time).

Anyway, what do you reckon?

Just one thing worries me, that is, this nagging feeling that I might be too old for all of this and that I might not have the talent, I know that others, much older, have done such times but I’m still not 100% sure that I can count myself amongst them. It’s a worry but one that I’m happy to say replaces my former worries about life after death and genital warts.