They say every year try visit somewhere you’ve never been to and it’s Japan for me 😍 Oh and I’ve visited Vietnam too this year!
Had always wanted to go Japan since my younger days, since the era of Slam Dunk, One Piece anime and Japanese Drama many many years ago when I was still in early teens. Had been finding excuses such as Japan is expensive, troublesome to commute, communication break down etc but thanks to running, I’m finally going to Japan 😍
This was the most expensive runcation had so far! Air tickets cost about $1k already, but the good thing was the direct flight, some of my friends took transfer flights and paid about $700. But bo bian, I had exams 2 days before the marathon 🙈 So, I went home after exams on Friday night chop chop took my luggage and head straight to the airport 😎
I’ve been looking forward to running in cold weather since my experience in Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon s few months back. It was about 10degrees, I ran the full marathon and had about two drops of sweat that entire run seriously. It was so cooling and shiok! Whereas running in Singapore just for a few hundred metres will be soaked in sweat already 😩
Willis and I had both balloted for Osaka Marathon and got the slots, we don’t know what were the odds of getting the slots but many of our friends who balloted for it also got it.
We reached Kansai International Airport on Saturday morning, head to hotel and deposit our luggage and head out again immediately to collect our race packs. We reached the race pack collection site with a huge crowd and thought it will be hours to collect or race pack but luckily it’s just about 20 to 30 mins wait and collected our race pack. The race expo was huge and pretty awesome but I’m not a full time sports reviewer so it’s not my job to look around and write a full report about it and watch my grammar in this post to make it perfect. This is just my diary, my blog, my experiences 😊 We didn’t stay long and left as we would prefer to sight see and want to include a short run at night to get used to the cold weather.
Cut off time was 7 hours and I had aimed to complete it within the cut off time at least but was also actually hoping for a PB at 4hrs30mins. Don’t dare place my hopes too high as the higher disappointment it will be then I tell myself just run whatever I could.
Flagged off was near Osaka Castle at 9am Japan time. It’s super cold, it was 6 degrees and I’m super underdressed in singlet, shorts and a raincoat. I thought I could tahan the cold but think too highly of myself. Gei Khiang somemore lah 🤣 I’m shivering and have goosebumps all over me but I saw a men running in swimming costume and a women running in sports bra along the way! Really idol sia 😆
There were volunteers picking up bottles around and to help runners throw away ponchos and jackets that the runners wants to discard. There were also plastic bags to collect those ponchos and jackets. Runners have to be at their start pen by 8.40am. Those runners who are late for their pens are sent directly to the last pen.
Once flagged off I tried to maintain my pace. After a short while I realised a Japanese guy running near me for about 5km before I lost him. His bib was different. Mine were in numbers but his bib was his name in Chinese characters. Something 隆木 and he’s possibly a celebrity as I heard ladies high pitch screams as he ran passed them and he’s very good looking 😆
There were Doctors and Nurses printed on bibs on some runners and I guess they were volunteers runners to help runners along the way who needed help. Many AEDs were seen and the interesting part is I saw “sweeper” printed on some runners shirt. And they are really sweeper as in they were holding garbage bags as they run and we’re picking up litters along the way! Wow! 👍🏻
The supporters were just so amazing! They were all so full of energy, in high spirits and they are all so smiley! It’s 42.195km of “ganbatte” and “fighto” from them 😍 There were also many music bands and dance performances along the way as well! It’s really an eye opener for me! 😍 There’s runners and supporters all dressed up as characters such as minions and famous Japanese anime characters etc
Hydration point was just as great as the one in Hong Kong, a super long stretch and the water and isotonic drink was cold. It’s naturally cold because we are already in a natural “refrigerator “ 😆
When I’m at 21km mark I’m at 2hrs10mins, I was happy with my timing and I still feel full of energy but a while shortly my right foot feels weird. I don’t know whether it’s in pain, numb or cramp but I stopped. I thought it’s because of the cold. I’ve never encountered this before in my runs. I decided to walk and run. And for each km I took about 9 mins. It felt so damn long. I was really disappointed and I never thought that I was really really wishing for a PB but I was ☹️ See my super disappointed look:
At 30km, it’s like a “Buffet Street” for runners! Many types of fruits and food like sushi and other Japanese snacks are all lined up in a long stretch and I there lunch’s settles. Since I’m no where getting near my PB I just spent my time eating and enjoying the food 😆
Finally it’s over. The volunteers hang the medal on my neck and wrap me with the finisher towel. I think it’s a meaningful gesture to hang the medal on te finisher’s neck as a sign that we are winners and we earn the medal unlike many runs in Singapore which just pass the medal to the finishers. The medal and finisher towel was so beautiful 😍 This was 5th marathon with the second best timing of 5hrs9mins after HKSCM of 4hrs42mins. Not that bad after all. The funny thing is that Rey and I was so near at the finishing line and we didn’t notice each other! 🤣
I was shivering after the run as we did not deposit any of our belongings as we thought the baggage deposit van is too far away from the start line. I was shivering and thanks to Yiheng, he doesn’t feel cold and kind enough to lend me his finisher towel to cover myself
I couldn’t tahan to take the public transport back to our hotel and we flagged a Taxi instead. The hotel was just 16km from the finishing and the taxi fare cost us about SGD$70! 😨
Though it’s not a great run for me but it’s a great vacation! Though my leg was not fine at all but I’m determined for sight see and explore Nara, Kyoto and Osaka the next few days after the marathon 😊 We woke up as early as 4am Singapore time to head to the attractions to avoid tourists crowds and it’s really worth it. We had the attractions to ourselves and took awesome photos without photo bombs 😆 Will definitely be back to Japan again!
Unfortunately, I have to give up running SCSM, one of the biggest running events in Singapore which they are trying to get in as one of the WMM. But from my overseas runs experience, SCAM really needs to improve a lot, whether be it route, time of race and support for runners. I had registered for 21km and was looking forward to it but my right foot had been getting worst daily after Osaka Marathon. Guess too much of sightseeing already and every day is about 30k steps of walking 🤣 Within a week from just after the run had a painscore of about 3 to painscore 7 on the the day of SCSM 😭 Though it’s a pity I thought but I do not want to abuse my foot as it is really really painful and screaming for help in every step I took. My friends said it might be plantar fasciitis. But this is not time for me to play doctor, will consult a doctor. Hope I will be fine and ready for my SCHKM in less than 2 months away! 💪🏻