Saturday, January 2, 2016

Kyoto Marathon 2016: Race Preparation Jitters

I kicked off the first day of 2016 with a 9km run starting and ending at Padang Merbok before joining up with the Kuala Lumpur New Year 2016 run for a 10km (it was actually 11.2km) race around the city center. You see, I was training for my first ever marathon, the Kyoto Marathon set to take place on 21 February.

Why I picked a marathon with a 6 hours cut off time, I have no idea.
Why I picked a marathon with cutoff points, I have no idea.
Why I picked a marathon set in winter, I too have no idea.
But I do know that I love Japan and running my first marathon in Japan is the dream.

By a stroke of beginner's luck, I won the lottery for the Kyoto draw. Not by a stroke of beginner's luck, my mum won the lottery too. I saw it as an encouraging sign from the Powers That Be. Then I recalled I have never ran further than 21km in my life. I also remembered that running is not my forte. I would sooner swim through an ice-cold river and climb up a rope than run. Running a marathon was going to be my toughest challenge both physically and mentally. Oh boy...


So I started training like I have never run before. Weekdays 5km fast runs, weekend 10km pace training and on the first day of the new year, 21km total at my ideal marathon pace - 7:30. Now to many, that is tortoise slow. To me, this is survival.


Kyoto wasn't going to be easy but it'll be rewarding with a route that ran past Kyoto's historical landmarks and scenic nature, its cheering crowd and exciting atmosphere. Watch the video below to get a sense of it.



The more I read up on it, the harder it seemed. We will start in the Nishikiyogoku Athletic Park Stadium and in separate blocks depending on our pace. The slowest runners starts from the back and I've heard that it can take up to 20 mins to reach the start line. That means 20 mins to catch up on for the first 10km to avoid getting cut off and forced to board the sweeper bus aka DNF bus. There are multiple cut-off points to pass throughout the race.


It would suck to get pulled out at 19km even though you know you can still go on.

The start point and the cut off points are my main concerns for this marathon (why, oh why did I pick Kyoto to start my marathon journey). I am not aiming for a sub-4 or even a sub-5. I am aiming to complete it and still be able to walk back to the hostel (with dignity) which is why I am training as smart and as hard as I can.

Yes, the fear is real and it's good motivation to fuel my training. But whatever the outcome, it'll be a journey I won't regret.

Racer Guide from Kyoto Marathon 2015: link 

I'll be running with my Nike Air Pegasus+ 29 and using Polar M400 to track my training process and manage my pace on race day.

To know what running events and OCR races are available in Malaysia, check out my new Running and OCR guide.

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