Urakawa 10K : 2014

Rolled into the Urakawa Yushun Village Aeru on Sunday the 19th of October for registration at 8:30am and was impressed with the hot spring complex they have here. Totally wasn’t expecting it though, built during the bubble maybe? Then again, this town might have a lot of cash due to all the horse breeding/training they’ve got going here… Something to look into. Well, maybe!

The race started at 11am and it was the perfect day for it. Neither hot nor cold, but still really clear and sunny. Wasn’t sure how I was going to go in it though. Wanted to beat my time from Asahikawa, but the course sounded hilly… and I hadn’t done that much hill training…

Didn’t realise it at the time, but I started at the very back of the race, almost last, in fact. Passed a lot of people straightaway and was a little worried I was starting off way too fast. Decided to keep pace with Black Shirt Guy to stop myself from gassing out. That seemed to solve things for the time being.

The course here is an out and back (two for the half marathon) on roads that are not usually open to the public and I was running amongst a big bunch of people – until we got to 2.5kms where the turnaround for the 5k was. At that point… everyone turned around and started to head back, including Black Shirt Guy. Turned out the 5K and the 10K started at the same time, but all the 10K runners were further ahead and I had no one to pace against. I almost wondered if I had started in the wrong race, but I could definitely see the other runners further ahead. Kinda strange to be suddenly on your own though!

Just past this point was the first drink station. Felt too early to be drinking (and it was), but I took a couple of sips anyway. From here the road started to very gradually go uphill. This had me a little worried…

However it wasn’t until 4K when it really kicked in. Now this wasn’t that big or steep a hill, but when you are trying to run at pace with not a lot of hill training under your belt, it felt pretty tough. The scenery was amazing with all the mountain peaks in full view so I just had to tough it out and get up there. Managed to keep it together and got to the top (and the turnaround), although I did let out a bit of a grunt when I got there! Walked a couple of steps before letting momentum take me back down. Was hoping it would take me all the way to the finish, but no such luck there.

At about this point the front runners in the half-marathon started to pass by. Pretty impressive. I would have to log a lot more mileage to run that smoothly. Do I ever want to do that? Hmmm, not sure… Kinda like surfing and snowboarding too… They were on the second out and back, as well. Not a hot day, but not cold either so I was starting to heat up by this stage. Pretty glad to hit the second drink station at 7.5K.

From 8K I was starting to feel it running at the pace I had set, but I definitely felt like I could beat my time from three weeks ago. As long as I could hang on, that is. Forced myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and even had enough gas for a strong finish. Got over the line in 54:07. Was hoping for under 54 minutes, but close enough! Really liked the race (more in retrospect to be honest!) and would definitely be keen to run it again. Need to log some more hills though first…

Free pork soup and entrance to the hot spring was good, but it turned out I had won a spot prize for the first time ever. Ended up with a big box of…frozen fish! Not a big fish eater though. May have to share the wealth a bit here…

Two more weeks left in the season. Really wish I could run a bunch more races though. Starting to enjoy it again…

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The only foreigner in the race and he doesn’t even bother to watch me finish. Doesn’t he know who I am? Come on!

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Fish. Yeah. So stoked!

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