In its 14th year, the Ayahashi Kaichu Road Race consists of three categories; a 3.8km, 10km and a half-marathon (21.1km). Regardless of which category you are entered in, everyone starts at the stadium with the half starting first, followed by the 10km an hour later, then the 3.8km shortly after that.
Matt, Josh (a work colleague of Matt’s who has run all of our runs with us, apart from 1 I did by myself!) & I decided to enter the 10km back in the beginning of February and I had huge plans on training really hard for it, sadly I fell off the wagon with it as life got in the way, we had our 3 week trip to America; I did pack my kit but once the bitter cold air hit me when I first stepped of the plane in Omaha I knew getting out and running was probably not going to happen. A couple of weeks before the race I started back up with my training and Matt & I managed a 4mile run, not quite the 10km (6.2mile) that I had wanted to achieve prior to Ayahashi but I was confident that I would at least be able to run 2/3’s on race day.
Sunday, the morning of the race I was beyond nervous, but I was also amped up and ready for the challenge. We made it to Heskikiya port where we parked the car and boarded a shuttle to take us to the stadium; thankfully we arrived in ample of time so we could make multiple toilet stops before the start.
The stadium was buzzing with atmosphere eisa drummers were entertaining the crowds, spectators/supporters lay around on blankets and runners talked excitedly amongst themselves.
When it came time to start I was surprised by how many 10km entrants there were and I got really nervous that the race was going to be really crowded and I feared I was going to be overtaken by all of them!
At 9.50am we were off on our run, it didn’t take long to leave the stadium and get on the bridge, the LONG bridge, I knew I would freak myself out if I focused on how far I needed to run, knowing that I had to run all the way back again, so instead I soaked everything else in. People lined the bridge handing out cups of water, sponges, as well as snacks. There were even people selling snacks!
The first 2km were pretty good, Matt Josh & I stuck together and we managed to keep a pace where we could chat to each other, sure a few people passed us but I was also surprised that we passed a few people too; although I had no doubt that the boys could have picked up the pace but I am pleased they let me set it and that they chose to stick with me.
I am not sure how far we were into our race, maybe 3-4km’s, when we started passing the half-marathoners on their return leg. Spectators on the bridge, as well as runners in the 10k were cheering them on and some of them even cheered us on, so heart-warming.
The bridge leads all the way to Henza Island and while I believe the half marathoners actually run around/to the end of Henza Island, we turned just before the bridge ended. At this point I wasn’t feeling too bad, although I did have to have a little mental chit chat as I looked at how far we had to run back, but I managed to keep on running.
It was around kilometer 8 when I started to really struggle, my problem with running is that if I know I can run a distance then I can and I do it, however, if I have never run that far then I tell myself I cant do it. Once I realized we were at 8km’s I started telling myself I can’t run any more since I had not only reached, but exceeded my previous best distance (4miles/6.43km’s) but I somehow managed to keep running.
Matt could tell I was starting to struggle and was right there to tell me I could do it. The last kilometer was tough, Josh took off but Matt stuck with me, I told him he could go but he quickly replied that we entered this race together and we were going to finish it together. Matt continued to offer me words of encouragement every 5 seconds, in the end I had to tell him nicely, aka I snapped, to shut it! I needed to focus.
As we entered the stadium people where cheering, drummers were drumming and as soon as I saw the finish line I knew I was going to make it, although I still needed to focus on anything other than my very tired legs.
We crossed the finish line together at 1.05.53!
Since this was my first official race I am not sure if this set up is the norm or not, but we were all impressed by how smooth it was…once we finished we walked to tents where they scanned the chip in our bib and a certificate was immediately printed. The next stop we were given some freebies (tissues and alcohol free beer!) by people dressed in power ranger type outfits before making it to the free drinks. We all grabbed some delicious aquarius and headed into the middle of the stadium to catch our breath.
They had a podium set up where you could get your photo taken, which of course we all did!
For those of you that know me will know that until recently I have never been interested in running (or much physical activity!) so why the sudden change.
It all started on my 29th birthday, Matt was at work, the girls were in bed and I celebrated by clipping coupons while watching t.v, I had plenty of time to think and I started thinking about turning the big 3 0. While I am not too worried about turning 30, I still feel and look young!, I wanted to achieve something that I have always wanted to do…run a half-marathon.
Talking about it to Matt the next day, the goal was set…I would run a 5k every month and at the halfway point (April) I would complete a 10k, between April-October the goal is to continue to run a 5k/10k each month and hopefully sometime around my 30th birthday I will run a half-marathon!
I am still a long way off being able to run a half, but this 10k was such an accomplishment for me I am super proud of what I achieved to date. Best of all, Matt & the girls have been there for most of it! I do have to admit I didn’t run a 5k in February since I was in America for most of the month, however I did manage to run 2 5k’s in November so thats good enough for me!
I would love to run Ayahashi again next year as it was such a great atmosphere, an ‘easy’ race in that the course was flat and straight, with the exception of 2 small raises in the bridge although maybe we will enter in the half!
(not pictured December 2014 – Tinsel Trot 5k (30.81))