Sunday was one of those beautiful winter days where there was no wind, the sun was out, the frost had gone and for a moment you think winter is over. Actually looking outside from my perch at the work computer Monday also looks like one of those days. Unfortunately I've been assured that winter is far from over and February is the coldest month of them all, Oh yea!
Anyway getting back on track. A while ago I was asked if i wanted to participate in a 5km "fun" run. I had been doing the occasional run after work, a nice 3.5km circuit along our (yes we own it) waterfront and figured an extra 1.5km as part of a fun, social, slow and relaxing "fun" run wouldn't be a bad idea. long story short I am now of the opinion "fun" runs are just not apart of the Japanese psyche. Apart from spending half the day lazing in the sun at the beach, the absolute euphoria of finishing without stopping after no training for a month (damn that Christmas break) and seeing the kids run two great races there wasn't actually anything "fun" about the run at all.
note the old gramps in the back with the blue nappies, don't let him deceive you, he's a quick wee whipper snapper
Strangely the event was setup like a national time trial!!? With each category broken into small groups so every person could be timed. This meant instead of a mass start with 200 odd kids running 1 or 2kms they had about 15 races with 15 kids in each. Needles to say this dragged on a bit. We were OK though, we had secured a highly prized section of the beach and were enjoying the spring like weather. It wasn't until I learnt I was running in the under 30 category (no problems so far) with a bunch of super fit high school track and field athletes (oh crap). You see the thing is school clubs train everyday. This meant a bunch of high school kids who were already in prime physical shape now had the added advantage of having trained everyday for their junior and seniour high school lives. I smelt a hammering. My "fun" run had just turned pear shaped!
Not wanting to finish 10minutes behind everyone else and stick out anymore than i already did (as the only "foreigner" running) I asked to have my entry changed to the 0ver 30 category. Figuring my lack of hair would aid me in `looking` 30 I didn't see any reason why they wouldn't let me. Obviously i am bald enough and there was no problem with me joining the older ranks, as long as my time wasn't counted in that category and I couldn't win a prize. Like I was ever going to finish anywhere other than at the back!
Standing at the line warming up I was sizing up my opposition, feeling slightly happier I was racing people nearly twice my age I started to pick out the slow ones in the group. Yip I thought, i'll beat him, him and him. Bang, the gun went, we were off. It was about 8 steps into the race I realised these old buggers might look slow and as though they need to lean on a pole while standing around but obviously once they had forward momentum they were unstoppable. As the race progressed so did I - towards the back - I went from wanting to beat a handful of people to just wanting to finish regardless of my position, this was supposed to be "fun" after all, right?