Hi everyone! It has been about 2 weeks since I ran the Tokyo Marathon and we are now back in Sydney.  The day after the race, Jamie and I went to Niseko, Hokkaido for some vacation and snowboarding.  The good thing about Hokkaido(and Japan in general) is that there are lots of natural onsen(hot spring) baths to recover in.  The onsen at our hotel was a welcome sight for my tired legs.  Thankfully my legs held up for the next few days of snowboarding, but I could definitely feel the fatigue from the race.

Needless to say that the Tokyo Marathon was the most incredible race I have completed to date.  The people of Tokyo put on a great race and I have nothing but praise for the organizers and the volunteers.  There were approximately 35,797 runners that started the race and 34,528 finished.  This represented a 96.5% finish ratio of all the participants.  The oldest participant was 90-years old and completed the race at a time of 6:45:28!  Approximately 1.07 million spectators lined the streets of Tokyo and it certainly made a difference to my running morale.  Along the route there were Taiko drummers, marching bands, dancers, singers, and plenty of Tokyo residents cheering the runners along.  Adding to this cheer element was the surreal feeling of running through Tokyo’s iconic areas of Ginza, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, and Asakusa.  The Governor of Tokyo, Yōichi Masuzoe, started the race with the starter pistol and much to my surprise showed up to give runners a high five about 10km into the run.  As I approached I saw lots of security guards surrounding someone as runners dashed up quickly to the sidewalk.  Getting closer I noticed that it was the Governor cheering everyone on and giving out high fives.  I grabbed my high-five and continued on the course.

The weather had been cold, clear and sunny days leading up to the race, but on race morning there was some early rain drizzle which was concerning.  Thankfully the rain held off and the race was held under a cold, grey sky which was actually a preferable running condition.  Most of my training and races in the past have been in much warmer temperatures, so running in the cold was a nice change.  It did feel as if it made the run a bit easier.

Finishing the race at the Tokyo Big Sight was a great feeling.  The race had been a relatively flat course until the end when a few uphill bridges were thrown in to keep everyone honest.  All of the volunteers at the finish were fantastic and made sure the runners were looked after.  I beat my goal time of 4 hours with a new personal best time of 3:58:50 which was my first sub-4 hour marathon.  Thanks go out to my physiotherapist, Michael Bushell, at Runner’s Physio/Coogee Physio who helped me with running technique and special exercises to get me prepared for the race.  His advice and help clearly paid off in knocking almost 10 minutes off my previous best time.

Now that Tokyo is complete, I have a relatively short turnaround time until the Marathon De Paris on April 12th.  Shortly after returning to Sydney last week I was back running again with a 5 mile(8km) run to get back into the routine.  On Saturday morning, it was back to the early morning start with a 17 mile(27km) run to get back into it.  I have had a little bit of tenderness which seems to be my Iliotibial Band(ITB) around my knee acting up.  This affects a lot of runners and has affected me before.  I am wearing a compression knee brace to be extra cautious and have been using some anti-inflammatory cream.  I was able to get through the long run, but definitely felt some tenderness in the ITB area.  This week will hopefully see the return of running four times a week and some ocean swimming added in. Depending on how the leg feels, I might wind it back to three runs this week.  This weekend will be a 18 mile(29km) run, so I need to be cautious not to strain the leg too much.

Jamie and I will be heading to Europe a little over a week before the race so that we can get our body clocks on the right time zone.  The day before the marathon, Jamie is joining me on the Paris “Breakfast Run” which is a 5km warm up run in which you get croissants and pan chocolates at the finish line.  The treats were the only way I could convince Jamie to join the race. 🙂

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