Monday 24 September 2012

Tango 100km Ultra: Part 1

Saturday, Sep 15th, up at 8am and 20min run.  'Last run before the big one.  Hard to believe it's here!'  Leg speed naturally picking up, 'uh, no, not today, cool it.'  Long stretch and breakfast: yogurt, oats, banana and raisins.  Shower, double check the bags, and we're off!

essentials (clockwise from top left):
nutrition, camelback, sunglasses, shirt,
shorts, ticket, socks, Garmin, belt and hat
(shoes, obviously, already packed!)

Train from 11am for a 4hr ride.  Kyotango, marked by A in the pic, is almost directly north from Kobe which is in the middle.

thanks to Google for the pics!
birds eye view of Japan for context

A couple transfers and an hour sitting on the floor later, and we arrive with a train full of endurance athletes.  Everyone donning technical t's from other 100k+ races covering long, lean structures with skin darkened from hours training under the sun.  Intimidating for sure.

near Kyotango, 'not bad scenery for 100k'

As I've come to expect in Japan, the logistics were faultless.  The organizers had several buses waiting to take us to registration.  This is where the excitement begins.  I've missed race atmosphere, and this was just what I needed.  The positive energy and excitement, the anticipation, it's all great!

start and finish
runner 1515
cheeky pic
only in Japan have I seen runners prepping
with beer and even cigarettes!

Registered and armed with my race pack, off to the ryokan (Japanese style inn).  Again, the race organizers had buses taking runners to their hotels.  First rate organization.

Welcome to Lakeside Kotobiki.  A little more pricey than other places, but offered a marathon package with 2am breakfast on race day, 3am ride to the start line, and free beer post-race.  Sign me up!

our room, no bed
in ryokan, you sleep on futon on the floor

Stiff back from the train, so stretching and onsen (natural hot spring bath in the ryokan!) to loosen up.  Next, goodies from the run bag (clockwise, top left): Tango t-shirt, bag of California raisins, bag of rice, VAAM sports drink, 2 different electrolyte pills, Phiten bag, run number and some kind of muscle relaxing stickers.

Finally, dinner time!  And what a dinner it was.   A boat, literally, of sashimi, sushi, prawn and seaweed salad, crab and cooked fish, chawanmushi, accompanied by the non-captured two bowls of rice, grilled fish, Tajima beef and final plate of fruit.  A meal fit for a team of runners!

Post dinner sloth followed by another onsen and prepping my kit for race day.  Set 4 alarms (1.45am, 1.50, 1.55 and 2.00, 'maybe a fifth is overkill?!?') and in bed by 9.30.  Short visualization and surprisingly not too anxious, z'ing in no time.

Continue with Part 2

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