Urakawa HALF-MARATHON : 2015

2015 HM #10
2015 Race #12
Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Price : 3000 yen
Course : Two out and backs. Hilly!

Up at 3:45am to watch the All Blacks play France in the quarters of the RWC, then off to Urakawa. Fortunately it’s only an hour twenty away. Kinda tired when I got there and my gut was a bit rough, but managed to get to the start line. Thought it would be sunny, but ended up being cloudy and cool. Good enough.

Did the 10K here last year and vowed never to do the HM… Hah! I just had to try it. Basically the HM is two out and backs. The out being an uphill. Anyway, got started with just the slightest incline at the start. After about 2K you enter a private road, which is normally blocked off to the public (it’s a facility for breeding and/or training horses). At 2.5K or so was the first sports drink station followed up the road by the first water station. Drank a little of both there as from 3K you definitely start to climb more.

Hard work to 5K (and the turnaround for the 10K), but got up there at a steady pace. Of course, being on the half you had to go a little further to the HM turnaround…except you had to go down to get to it. That kinda threw me. I just wanted to get to the top…and then turn around and go down. Instead, we climbed then dropped down a little bit to the turnaround, then climbed back up a little before we could finally go down. That kinda sucked! Anyway, hit the turnaround (at 5ish K) at 33 minutes.

Was planning on hitting my first jelly drink up there, but really wanted to cruise down and drink it at the first proper water station. Of course, that wasn’t until just before 9K. Long time to wait, but it was worth it.

Hit 10K at 1:00 and got back to the actual HM turnaround and then started on my second out and back. Heading out for the second time was rough though! Oh man, just had to do it all over again… Hard to get going even on the (very) gentle incline at the start. Eventually I just stopped and stretched, walked about ten meters and that seemed to do the trick. It was still tough when we really started to go uphill though!

Hit my second jelly drink at the third set of stations and 15K at 1:32 (faster to that point than on the flat course at Tomakomai, but even on a downhill, the last 5K were pretty tough today). Hit 18K at 1:54 and then finally finished in 2:15:07. Seven HMs in seven weeks. DONE. Tenth HM for the year, too!

Tough course! Of course, people at the back end of a hard course are usually pretty friendly. As I was coming down the second time, I encouraged a bunch of people who were still going up. Pretty fun. (I wasn’t actually being a jerk here! FYI.)

Anyway, another beautiful course in the countryside with lots of horses. Pork soup, a free ticket to the hot springs and some local(?) food to take home (salmon and wiener sausages) at the end. Won some more seaweed in the prize draw too. Won a big box of frozen fish here last year. When am I going to get something I actually want?! Ha ha…

Anyway, as I was running this, I vowed never to do it again. But…I probably will. Ha ha. That being said, I did have to give up the Shikaoi Trail Run (with eight river crossings) to do it. Downer… Last year they were on different weekends… See what happens next year!

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