Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jubilo Iwata 10k


This past Sunday I ran my first 10k! It was also my first race in Japan.

I ran in the Jubilo Iwata Marathon. The word "marathon" here is used loosely. It basically means any long distance race. The Jubilo Iwata Marathon had a 3k, 5k, 10k, and half marathon. So despite the name, there wasn't even a full marathon.

Jubilo is the name of Iwata's soccer team. Jubilo means "joy" in both Portuguese and Spanish. Thank you, Wikipedia. 

I had to get up at 6:30 so that I could meet up with Jonathan at the station around 7:40 and take a bus to Yamaha Stadium. The line for the bus was super long and wrapped around the block, but luckily the line moved pretty quickly because buses came often. I think we got on a bus around 8:00.

When we arrived at the stadium we walked a bit to find the place to turn in our bags. We attached our numbers to our shirts, our time chips to our shoes, and checked in our bags. A few weeks ago we had received packages in the mail with our numbers, safety pins, time chips, luggage tags, and t-shirt tickets. It was a really nice, organized system.

The 10k started at 9:40. It was very crowded at first and a little hard to get around people, but it thinned out pretty soon for me because I'm slow. Jonathan had a hard time during most of the race though.

 I felt good for the first 5k. I started getting some side cramps around 5k (and was also a bit hot and was wishing I had worn short sleeves) which is kind of opposite of how it usually is when I've been running. Usually I have problems with the first few kilometers but once I get past about four I'm fine. Every time I went downhill (they were hardly even hills) they got a lot worse. So on one downhill section around 8k I walked for about 15 seconds. Just that tiny bit of walking helped and after that I felt a lot better.

I really enjoyed the course because there was quite a bit of variety. When we first started out we were on main roads with stores and restaurants and stuff. Near the beginning there were also several different groups playing music including a taiko (Japanese drum) group and a junior high school band. There was a group of little cheerleaders (like kingergarten and early elementary girls) that were soooooo adorable! There were also plenty of random people on the sidelines cheering all around. It was a very festive atmosphere!

After a few kilometers we were in a more residential area and then eventually we ran past a lot of rice fields. The weather was really nice and clear and I could see Mt. Fuji! So pretty! Even in the more rural area there were still plenty of people, mostly old people, cheering "Fighto!" and "Ganbare!" (Do your best!)

I think a lot of people watch the race because it's almost like a parade with many interesting costumes. During most of the first 5k I was behind a girl dressed as a skunk. Then during the 2nd half I was behind 3 guys dressed as beer, a hot dog, and squid. They were crazy and loved giving high fives to people and just being crazy, haha. Also for a while I was near a couple and the girl was dressed as Mario (it was actually really cute!) and some kids yelled, "It's Mario!" and the guy yelled at the kids saying, "Not just Mario! SUPER Mario!" Haha.

As I neared the finish line (only a couple hundred meters left) a group of my students saw me and started cheering, well screaming really, for me. They were so into it! It was really cute and made me happy. :)

After crossing the finish line I was handed some sort of lemon drink that was super delicious. I forget what it was called, but if I see it stores I will definitely buy it again! Then someone cut the time chip off of my shoe. Next, someone typed my number into a computer and a certificate was printed out right there. It's really cool that they did that! No waiting for my results to be posted on the internet! They're still also posted online.

I crossed the finish line at 1:12:26, but since I was toward the back when the race started so I didn't cross the start line for a while so my actual time was 1:07:43 (the time chips are awesome!). My goal had been 1:10:00, so I beat my goal! My original goal had been to just finish within 1:30 and walk a couple kilometers, so I definitely beat my original goal! Oh, and when training, the furthest I had ever run was 9k so it was also the furthest I had ever run.

Looking at the results online (which only have the time crossing the finish line, and not the time from crossing the start line) Jonathan ran the race in 55:49, but it was really several minutes quicker than that.

Haha, that guy has beautiful pants. And a nice hat. He's definitely not the craziest costume I saw though. I saw one guy dressed as a female ballerina. He had sunglasses and a crazy curly wig too. I also saw a lot of men in super super short shorts. One man's butt cheeks were hanging out, ew.

I found a picture online of some of the costume winners! Lol...

After picking up our bags we got our t-shirts. Yay!

Hahaha... I love it!

We took the bus back to the station and then went out to eat for lunch. We went to Kagetsu Arashi, a ramen place near my apartment. We both had the golden miso ramen (which looks very red in this picture for some reason). So delicious! :)

Then we went shopping at Cainz Home and Super Drug Store, mostly just for Jonathan. I saw some super hideous shoes at Cainz Home. 

No... just no...

I felt really tired the rest of the day and went to bed earlier than usual. It wore me out a lot more than running usually does! I don't really know why except maybe because it was in the morning. I usually run in the evenings. Anyways, it was a really fun experience and I hope to do it again next year! :)


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