Up early on Monday the 4th to make the drive into the city for half-marathon #5 of the year. Weather looked amazing, clear skies and no wind, but it was definitely chilly at the start line at 9am as we were in the shade between the buildings in the middle of town. Didn’t know whether to just run in shorts and a singlet like always, but ended up wearing long tights under my shorts and a long top. Didn’t need them in the end, but didn’t really overheat either.
Lot of people in a small area at the start line, so it took a while to get running. Had to be careful not to trip over people or trip anyone else either – wonder how many people were actually lined up according to their projected finish times at the start. Got going eventually though…
First 5 kilometres were just a straight line up the main road, which was an ever-so-slight incline. Just felt like a grind at the start, but I never really enjoy the first 5K anyway! Passed by a lot of businesses who were out to support and had quite a lot of unofficial aid stations too. The butadon restaurant handing out rice balls at 2K may not have gotten a lot of attention though – don’t need to be eating at 2K, after all!
Eventually we turned off the main road and the course got a little more interesting. Still hadn’t hit the first official aid station (I was holding off on the unofficial ones…) but finally got there around the 6K mark. Bit of water and gel and I was back into it, keeping pace fairly decently. As this was an out and back course, we started to see the frontrunners on their way back. Pretty much the coolest thing ever to see the leading runner flying past well ahead of number 2 and everyone else.
Then… I hit the hill. As with my first half-marathon of the year back in June, I wasn’t expecting it. Obihiro is a pretty flat city too. Where did that come from?! Managed to grind up it, pretty happy knowing I would be cruising back down it later, and kept on to the turnaround and the second aid station at the baseball stadium.
Once I turned around and started heading back in the right direction it was a cruise. The constant support on the way back (both ways in fact!) meant there was little time for any sneaky walk breaks though… Definitely a fun race to run in!
Calf muscles started to cramp up a little in the last two K again though. Didn’t slow down the pace, but just meant I couldn’t pump it up. Thought I had a little left in me too! Times are gradually improving though so got to be pleased with that.
Fun race. Definitely want to do it again next year.