I spent the last eight days in Tokyo in absolute bliss. I’ll do a rundown of how I spent my week there as a tourist, but let’s go over the most important part, the marathon! Being a part of Marathon Tours was quite the experience. I met runners with all different backgrounds – from running the seven continents to over 100 marathons, even someone who was only doing his second marathon! I felt like a baby in the group with the Tokyo Marathon being only my fourth, but it was nice to be with a pretty encouraging group. Some were a bit elitist, but that will happen with any club; I don’t think they meant any harm, just very proud of what they had accomplished.
How did it go? Well, I PR’d! Not by much, but hey it counts.
I felt good in the beginning except one problem – I needed to pee. Well, great. The lines were already so long that I knew I could kiss a PR goodbye because waiting was going to eat away at my time. However, after the first mile I knew there was no way I’d last if I didn’t stop. So I looked for a line that wasn’t too bad and made the stop right before the end of my second mile. First mile: 9:20. Second mile: 13:44. Over four minutes lost to the bathroom break. I was upset.
I decided to not let it bother me. I could still PR, but I’d have to kick it up. Yet, I would have to do it so that it wouldn’t hurt my performance — could I really do negative splits? I wasn’t sure, but I decided I’d try for it anyway. My next couple of miles I kept it easy at around a 9:20/9:30 pace. After mile 8 though, I was feeling good and was willing to go for it. Was it too soon? Maybe. But I feel like I’ve been playing these marathons too safe and I didn’t fly all the way to Tokyo to get my second best time. From thereon out, every mile averaged around 9 minutes. In fact, for miles 9-26, 10 of the miles were done under 9 min pace, which gives me serious hope that I can get faster.
I felt tired towards the end, but my final 10K was my fastest. I was pushing myself even with all the hills that were saved for the end. Again, I had to tell myself, Jenina, you didn’t fly all the way out here to get your second best time. And I did it! My unofficial time: 4:09:26.
Overall, I’m really impressed with my time considering my performance at NYC last fall. Also, if I hadn’t stopped for the bathroom, I would have at a 4:05! The weather wasn’t too bad either. After training in NYC for the winter, 30 degrees felt pretty nice. In fact, I should have stuck to my guns and kept my original outfit that I had planned for the day, but I got nervous when I saw everyone else freaking out about the cold. Oh well, lesson learned.