Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mt. Fuji Marathon Race Report - I Can't Get No Satisfaction

Well my fall racing season is now in the books with the completion earlier today of the Mount Fuji Marathon.
So as I always do for my widely read blog posts... my Mom (does she even read them(?)), and a few web trolling bots, I offer a video which summarizes my race.  And actually after today's race I have two.  First here is a video which summarizes my day today:
The Rolling Stones - I Can't Get No Satisfaction!

Due to the new course and a big incline in the middle of the race I couldn't get no satisfaction of a new PR (Personal Record).

And then here a video which summarizes my fall season in total - specifically the two full's I ran this fall:  one in the sweltering heat and this race which had a new course since last year (same marathon with a new name and new course) - "The Mount Fuji Marathon" which earned it's name as they added a mammoth climb this year.

I Get No Respect!  Meaning that I know that I have improved as a runner since this spring, but my times don't reflect it (No really!  Really...!  Please believe me...)

Actually irrespective of The Mount Fuji course, I really do get no respect!  Ask the Mrs, the kids, and my co-workers... No Respect!

So here is my 2nd summary video, the awesomely funny late Rodney Dangerfield getting no respect just like me for my running times this fall.
This video is hilarious

So anyway, at the time of the race start it was 3 degrees below zero Celsius.  I love it cold!  I don't know why but my body responds best in the cold.  So that was awesome.  The high for the day was 8 degrees Celsius (although never got to that during the race).  So perfect weather.

Before taking me to near the starting area in the early Aki snapped off this great picture with Mt. Fuji in the background right at the little pension we stayed at (same place as last year).

The race was so awesomely beautiful the whole way, lots of views of Mount Fuji, falling leaves, beautiful colors.  Awesome.

Here was another one of Mount Fuji as we drove around to the starting area which I snapped off - the picture does it no justice, it was absolutely beautiful.

Then when Aki dropped me off she snapped a quick picture of my ugly mug:

So then it was down to the starting area for all of the normal stuff, check you bag, hit the porta-potta, blah, blah, blah.

Although by the time I got that done (and first wandering around which I shouldn't have) it was only 15-min to the start time and I didn't want to start way in the back so I walked around where I wasn't supposed to and snuck in right at the very front near the super-fast people and then walked backwards to the beginning of my coral.  Worked out great as I didn't have to fight too bad the first few miles and started probably right around where I should have - as like any race the world over too many people start out too far up for where they should be.

So anyway, the race was underway, my iPod was a rocking and I was off enjoying my day.

Running races is so fun from a people watching perspective, you see so many different kinds of people running the race, so fun!  It is like going to the mall but much more fun.  I have decided this is one of the many-many-many reasons I enjoy running races - especially bigger ones, you get to see so many fun/different people.

So anyway, the first 15 kilometers was quite uneventful I would say, I was aiming to run a 7:15 min per mile pace and I was able to quite easily drop in a bunch of miles faster than that.  It felt so easy.  I was in total cruise control just enjoying everything about the race.

Then around mile 9 or so I saw the Mrs and the kids and I mugged up for the camera and they snapped off a few fun pictures:

And another:
It is all smiles and joking around at mile 9 isn't it!

Then I wound my way around mile 14 where there was an absolute confidence breaking mountain incline from Lake Kawaguchiko to Lake Saiko.  About 1.5 miles of total suffering!  Basically here was me (and ever other runner) during this time:
It wasn't actually up Mt. Fuji or nearly as bad as my cheap image manipulating skills here, but it sure sucked at the time!

Everyone was absolutely suffering.  I was pretty much holding my place going up the steep incline, passing some people and getting passed by some, but one thing that stuck out was that I was absolutely clobbered and chick'ed by a chick big-time.  Literally by a "chick" .  This lady who had to be about 5 feet 1 inches who was dressed up as the Looney Tunes character Tweety Bird.
I was chick'ed by Tweety Bird.  Gack!

So here was this short, somewhat chubby, chick dressed up as Tweety Bird abolutely laying the wood to me.  As she zoomed by me I was thinking "This chubby short Tweety-Bird chick has absolutely no business passing me, let alone on this massive hill!"  But pass me she did - and pretty easily may I add.  And moreover I didn't see her the rest of the race.  When I saw her after I finished she was already done and in full chill out mode.  Curses!  Much props for the total beat down she applied to me.

Speaking of characters wearing costumes, just as last year, there were a ton of them again this year same as last year - especially in the lesser distance race (it is a weird like 16 mile distance).  Here is a sample of the costumes the girls and Mrs snapped off (I am pairing down here - there were a bunch more):
This guy is carrying a... ?  A rectangular Pumkin?  What the heck is going on here?!?!

One of Santa's Helpers.  In great shape with a great stride length.

Santa himself!

Or was this the Japanese Santa?  He seems to have more of the Santa body.

How about a Ninja runner!!!

This guy was a Strawberry Head (I guess...?)

A guy in an attractive (?  you be the judge) dress

Somebody dressed up as Stitch (popular Japanese cartoon character)

Finally the same disturbing outfit/guy we saw last year.  Give him credit though as he has on a pink bib which means he was running the full.

So back to the race... after killing myself up this hill around mile 14 - 15, it took something out of me.  It was definitely not a PR course with that big climb in there.  And I knew it as soon as I finished the climb.
We drove this climb the night before and when we drove it I knew a new PR was not in the cards.

So after the mountain climbing, it seemed to suck about 20 seconds per mile out of my legs the rest of the way in.  And even though I turned in a bunch of 7:35 and 7:40'ish crap miles from there in I was passing people left and right.

So I sucked it up the rest of the way in, and finished up per my Garmin (official results not yet published) of....


And that is about 1 minute and 25 second off my PR at the Nagano Marathon in April of this year.  Ugh!  And it is 7 minutes faster than my time in this same race from last year on a much tougher (new) course.

The thing with my PR at The Nagano Marathon in April of this year though was that that that course was/is pretty much pancake flat the whole way, thus perfect for a PR, and this course is no PR course for sure.  Thus I know this race, even though almost a minute and a half slower, I turned in a better time/ran a better race.  So I guess in spite of the slower time as Mick Jagger would say "I can't get no satisfaction", or as Rodney Dangerfield would say, for this run... "No Respect"!

So I do think on a flat course, given good conditions (how many "if this" and "if that's" do I need :-)) I am around a 3:10 runner, which was my goal for this fall.  Oh well.
And I believe it will translate into my spring races.  I have got to believe it...  :-)

But setting aside the time portion of it and more than anything else, I had such a great time.  I just feel so "alive" out running races.
With every 1/2 or full marathon I run I realize how much I love running.  It is absolutely so addictive.  I don't know what I was doing with myself before I became a total running lunatic.

I can't wait for the 2013 spring running season to try to kick some hiney!

Running is absolutely 100% awesome!!!


  1. 7 min off your time on a tougher course sounds impressive to me! Congratulations!

  2. Thanks Colleen. A great race as the area around Mt. Fuji running around two lakes was/is absolutely beautiful.

  3. I had several friends who ran Fujisan as well and they said it was freezing. But so beautiful. Your timing isn't bad as long as you enjoyed yourself :)

    1. I *always* enjoy myself running races - especially Full's. You always find out things about yourself running Full's.
      Hope you enjoyed running the Osaka Marathon.