September 5km run race

I started off today with a pathetic 5km run race – one that I’d rather forget. —- Last weekend, I bought new running shoes at a shopping outlet. Super bargain! A pair of Adidas (SuperNova Glide 3W – a wide lightweight running shoe). They are super light. And were really cheap. They were reduced! My current, old pair were also Adidas. I’ve had them for over 5 years, so I guess, I was in need of a new pair – way overdue. If I get accepted into the Tokyo Marathon, I’ll splurge on another pair and get a proper fitting consultation.

From 5km run
From 5km run

Super white and clean. They practically glow in the dark!

From 5km run

I have small feet. I also wear orthotics so I needed a pair of shoes that fit them. My feet are also quite wide. Yesterday, I had to go to and pre-register for the race – pick up my race number and goodie bag. Entry into the 5km race was 2500yen. Running races are so much cheaper than open water swimming races in Japan which will set you back around 7000-8000yen. Here is the goodie bag:

From 5km run
From 5km run

It included some Vaam gel sportsdrink, and a bag. I was pretty happy with the bag. It’s super lightweight and folds and packs up, but it’s also a drawstring backpack. This will come in super handy for my swimtrek. I need a swim bag/day pack that will fit in my luggage, so the bag is pretty awesome. I had a sleepless night last night. Couldn’t sleep at all. I woke up this morning overtired, and I nearly slept in. I also woke up ridiculously dehydrated. It was kinda hot during the night. I guzzled over half a litre of fluids prior to the race. The 5km race was one lap around the Imperial Palace – my favourite running race route in Tokyo because it’s so familiar, and convenient to get to. I rode the train in, with my very conspicuous joggers.

From 5km run

I got to the race this morning with about 15-20 minutes to spare. I was still half asleep and very thirsty. Here are some pics pre-race around the Palace.

From 5km run
From 5km run

It was a very small turnout.

From 5km run

The race was only 5km. And there were two categories: Serious and Beginners. Needless to say I had registered myself for the Beginners and we raced at 9:35am. Here is the line-up for the “serious” runners:

From 5km run

The weather was a tad warm for my liking. If there’s one thing I hate more than jogging – it’s jogging in the heat. The race start was 9:35am, and the temp was already in the high 20s. Like I said, too warm for my liking. I had only one goal for this race. And that was to run sub-30minutes. Not a big deal to most people, but a challenging goal for me. My pace on average is 6min/km. I’m having trouble breaking that pace. So off I went on the 5km run. Torture. The worst 5km run I had ever run.

I started out strong, but then I don’t know what happened. I was still so freaking dehydrated. Super thirsty. Every breath was drying out my mouth, and being only 5km, there were of course no water stations. Crap. So super thirsty and I was also really hot. Reached the 2km mark, and thought crap, I’m already beat. How unfit am I. Another 3km to go! Geez. 3km to 5km was struggle, struggle, struggle. Needed water. Stat. A most bizarre feeling overcame me. I felt so incredibly dehydrated and hot. My whole body was heating up. Scarily so. I needed water like one needs air. I thought about dropping out of the race because I needed a drink so bad. The temperature was one thing, but my God, the humidity was abominable.

Here is a weather analysis of the day (source: Yahoo weather, Japan): Between 9-10am (the race time), the temperature was about 28 degrees (orange dotted line), and the humidity was a whopping 90%! (the green dotted line). You can see that the humidity level really dropped off to about 75% in the hours after. It’s still summer here and Japanese summers are incredibly humid. Dangerously so. Today the humidity really affected me. I felt like I was going to pass out. I’ve suffered heat exhaustion before, to the point of fainting, so I knew something was wrong because I got that same feeling. I didn’t feel ok. So badly wanted to quit, but I’m not a quitter, and I hate to say, that I had to walk a bit of the race. Walk, slow jog, walk, slow jog for the last couple of k’s. I was annoyed that I had to walk but my safety was paramount. My whole body was extremely overheated. I managed to cross the finish line in one piece. I felt so hot and red. I must have looked like an incredibly unfit freak…but the truth was, I wasn’t feeling good. The sooner I got to the finish line, the sooner I could guzzle some water. Got to the finish and sat down. Could barely stand up. Drank lots of water, wet my body, and drank some sportsdrink as well. Needed sugar. Body was incredibly overheated. Such a crazy, unusual thing to happen over such a short distance race. I sat for about 30-45min, not being able to move. Felt weak and headachey. I took my time to relax and for the body to cool. I looked at the time on my iPhone/music player, and had worked out that by my time I had run about 32minutes. Didn’t break my 30 minute goal. But I didn’t much care. I was glad that I had even finished the race, and not walked out on it. 32minutes wasn’t too bad considering I walked a portion of the race. I had run the first couple of k’s strong.

They had the little prize ceremony for placegetters in the serious category. Fastest male did 17minutes, and fastest female did 20minutes. They also had lucky dip/door prizes. I wanted to check out my official race time. I saw on the record sheet that it said: 37min, 23 seconds! What!!!!! I started to mentally flagellate myself…thinking how shit I had run and was thinking about ways to punish myself for such an atrocious time. I wondered how my stopwatch could have been so off. It wasn’t possible that my time could be 37minutes, considering we started at 9:35am and I was back by 10:07am. I then realized that the time hadn’t accounted for the 5min lag between the serious and the beginners start. We started five minutes after, so I needed to subtract 5minutes. So my official race time was 32minute and 23 seconds. That was better. Still not good. But better, especially given how rotten I felt during the run. I got home and crawled into bed with the air conditioner on and slept for a few hours. I was super tired, and had a giant headache, and was feeling not 100%. A little bit lightheaded.

Am feeling much better now though…although I don’t think I have eaten enough today. Here’s what I think went wrong that accounted towards how I felt today: – high humidity. (Major cause). Not healthy to run in such high humidity. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I need to HTFU. But as consolation, here is one tidbit I found on the Internet: “Humidity is considered high when the levels go above 45 to 50%. When combined with high temperatures, high humidity can be very dangerous to the body as it interferes with the bodies ability to cool itself down, which may cause heat stroke. High humidity can also trigger an asthma attack.” – total lack of acclimatisation. Today’s race was the first time I had jogged outdoors. All summer, I have jogged indoors, inside at a gym on a treadmill. I had no exposure to running outdoors in the heat and humidity. My body didn’t adjust so well. I think it was a bit of a shock to the system, especially given how much I swim – I’m too used to being in the water where it’s wet and cool. – lack of proper hydration.

I don’t know why I woke up so thirsty. I had drunk plenty of water the day before but I guess the heat during the night took it out of me a bit. Even now as I write this at 5pm, it’s 29 degrees. It’s just hot. And my body does not enjoy running in summer. This is why I swim. – no breakfast, no fuel prior to the race. I’ll often race on an empty stomach, so this isn’t usually a huge problem especially for such a short race. Even though I only jogged 5km, I also somehow managed to get blisters on both feet. Maybe a marathon wasn’t such a great idea after all. Still hoping I get accepted anyway. At least it’s in the winter. I’d rather run in snow than in 90% humidity in near 30-degree temps! Will probably regret saying this, especially if it does actually snow on marathon day next year. I didn’t achieve my sub-30minute goal, but I ran 5km, so I s’pose that’s better than nothing. Gotta start somewhere. Around the Palace moat on my way back to the station, there were some turtles. I felt as slow as a turtle today. But on the upside, turtles live a really, really long time!

From 5km run
From 5km run

Saw a t-shirt today that said: “Run yourself better”. Simple. But nice.

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