And they all get put in boxes
I’ll start off the blog with a race re-cap of the Chiba Ekiden. The last time I ran the Chiba Ekiden I lead-off, which gives you a regular race because everyone starts together. Being on the third leg this year was a little different because I didn’t know when Tarah Korir was going to come into the relay exchange zone. After a warm-up all the guys running the 3rd leg are waiting together, staring down the road in anticipation of their teammates. It turned out that Kenya and Japan were well in front, followed by Russia, the Japanese University team, the States and the local Chiba team all within one minutes. After another 35 seconds I got the sash from Tarah with New Zealand four seconds behind me.
In the first couple of minutes I couldn’t tell if I was running too fast or too slow which made me believe I was running my proper pace. Jake Robertson from New Zealand passed me in the first km and I felt he was going too fast for me. Earlier this year I did a 45 minute tempo with Jake in Kenya and he gapped me early on and I rolled him up after 35 minutes, so I figured it was his style to go out hard. And hopefully my style to reel him back in the last few km would again be the case here.
Jake kept pressing hard and extended his gap to over 20 seconds mid-way through the race. He caught the guy from the Chiba team and I could tell I would catch him too. I had already lost a spot to Jake so I felt it was really important to at least give the sash in the same position (7th) as I got it. After I moved ahead of the guy from Chiba I could tell I was gaining on Jake but I was too far back to make a run at him. I kicked hard and passed off the sash to Krista Duchene and then looked down at my watch and saw 29:00. I figured I would squeak under 29 in the official results, which was my time goal in the back of my head.
It turned out Jake ran the fastest leg #3 (28:40) which made me feel better since I was getting my ass kicked by him. I ended up running 28:58 and had the 3rd fastest leg (Jake Riley of the US ran 28:46). I was pleased with my race and figure it bodes well for my half marathon coming up.
When I got back to the stadium the word was we were in a heated battle for 6th place with New Zealand. Lanni came into the stadium one stride in front of the NZ runner and it was on for the last 500m! Lanni put some distance on her with 300m to go and extended her small gap to the finish line. I was very pleased with a 6th place team finish at Chiba Ekiden. It’s Canada’s best placing since the mixed gender race was introduced in 2007 and our fastest time by 55 seconds.
1. Kenya – 2:05:06
2. Japan – 2:05:16
3. U.S.A. – 2:06:36
4. Russia – 2:09:13
5. Japan Univ. Select Team – 2:09:31
6. Canada – 2:11:01
7. New Zealand – 2:11:04
8. Chiba Pref. – 2:12:12
9. Poland – 2:13:02
10. Romania – 2:13:41
1. Jake Robertson (New Zealand) – 28:40
2. Jacob Riley (U.S.A.) – 28:46
3. Reid Coolsaet (Canada) – 28:58
4. Evgeny Rybakov (Russia) – 28:58
5. Shinobu Kubota (Japan) – 29:01
Full Results: http://www.inter-chibaekiden.jp/2012menu.html
Track at Nihon training centre (where we stayed)
Woodchip trail right by our cabins.
Bus ride back to training centre after the competition. Unfortunately the beer tap was not working.
Getting ready for the general election.
The next morning I took a bus with the Romanian and Russian teams to the airport and caught an express train to Shinjuku station in Tokyo. This place is nuts! Tons of people and tons of signs.
Thankfully I had the foresight to email myself detailed directions to my hotel. This is where my Tokyo experience gets authentic… I checked into a capsule hotel for the night because it was cheap (regular $40/night but I found a sale for $22), I figured it would be an interesting experience and I wasn’t staying there long (one night).
When you enter the hotel you take your shoes off and put them in a locker. Then you check-in and they take your shoe locker key and give you a bag locker key. In your bag locker there are towels and pyjamas. There is a public bath on the main floor and the capsules are on upper floors. I left my bags in the locker and took my phone, book and earplugs to my capsule. Each floor has a washroom and about 200 capsules. Since the capsules are stacked on top of each other I would say 12-16 capsules take up about the same amount of space as a regular hotel room.
My room for the night.
It kind of looks like there should be glass on the capsule door but there isn’t, there are blinds that you pull down (you can see a couple of capsules with blinds pulled down on the upper picture). There is a TV and alarm clock in each capsule. I think if you’re over 6 feet tall you’d have some problems.
I felt like a Jedi in these pyjamas.
I had a solid sleep, thanks to a pair of earplugs. It’s not loud but there are people coming and going so it could be annoying without earplugs. Since I’m still adjusting to the time difference I was in bed by 8pm and up at 5:30am and was surprised to see quite a few people on the same schedule. I would recommend a capsule hotel if you like camping in a tent and are just there for one night.
In the morning I met Mr. Ogushi at 7:30 and we took a bus to Haneda airport and flew to Fukuoka. I’ll be here in Fukuoka until December 7th.
Tokyo is massive!