Monday, October 25, 2010

We came. We conquered.

We ran the 1/2 marathon yesterday. I surprised myself by running it in just over 2 hours with the help of some fast friends I ran with. John came in a little later overcoming knee issues and chaffed bloodied nipples. It was actually pretty darn....FUN. There, we said it.

We've never run a race in the US, but we're guessing these are things that you wouldn't see there.

1) Pre-race group calisthenics. Japanese people love doing stuff in groups. When we got to the race site there were scantily clad women on a stage leading the runners in warm-up aerobic moves. Hilarious.

2) Instead of firing a gun, they set off fireworks to begin the race. (Incidentally, they set them off at the end too - you had to finish in under 2 hours, 40 minutes to be counted among the finishers.) So, we were waiting for the race to start and we see a guy and a van across the water on a little strip of land. He lit the fireworks. At that exact moment, some birds were flying by. One bird was struck down by a firework. Just like that - bam - fish food. It seemed like a bad omen, but actually the race went swimmingly. The rain even held off until later that afternoon.

3) I'm sure all marathons have some runners in costumes. Sure enough there was a guy dressed as a cow, a monkey, a few dressed in drag, etc. But we also saw a guy in a samurai outfit, complete with sword. Plus, there were guys running in ninja shoes - you know, cloven shoes with rubber soles. Like this:
4) I have never seen so many fit elderly people in one place. It seemed like everywhere you looked there was some one with white hair who looked at least 65 and they were probably passing you. At one point there was an old guy practically running circles around our group of 4 very tall gaijin in bright yellow shirts (think we stuck out a little bit?). After exchanging a few smiles with us he asked where we were from. Once satisfied with our answer, he trotted off ahead of us. Pretty inspiring really.

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