On Sunday (25 Sep 2016) I ran in my first Japanese Half Marathon! I went with the Yokota Striders, a helpful and fun running group. I can honestly say I would have never been able to sign up or find this race without them, and it was super fun to feel like part of the Yokota Striders ‘team!’
The race I signed up for was the Cosmos Half Marathon (there was a 10 k and a kids run as well). It was in the Niigata prefecture (about a 3 -4 hour drive from were we are). We met at 5am and bussed over to Niigata and walked to the event area, here is what it looked like…
The colorful tents on the left are the food and merchandise vendors and the white tents are changing tents/packet pick up/bag drop off.
I had to laugh when one of the (Japanese National) ladies who was leading our group told me, “They have bag drop off… but you don’t need it. This is Japan. No one take your bag.”
This was the best pic I got! The kids were rowdy because they hadn’t raced yet. We are missing about 3 guys in this pic. The kids seemed like they had a lot of fun!
Here are the ladies with our Sparkling Sake samples before the race began.
No better pre-race fuel than Sake right?
Do you like my sweet Sunglasses by the way?! Got those from my dad. Im pretty sure they are actually tinted safety glasses.
We all got bags of rice and a towel for signing up…
That’s how the Japanese so Swag Bags! 😛
Everyone who has run the race before said that the rice is really fragrant and delicious. I’m planning to make a special curry dinner with it! I use THIS recipe, but add Kabocha Squash. It’s our favorite!
It was also fun to get to run in the country that birthed my all time favorite running shoes, Mizuno Wave Riders ❤ how I love you ❤
Here’s a little snap-shot at about mile 7. It was pretty much up hill for the first 3 miles and then down hill for the next 4. But these first 7 miles were really beautiful! You run through the hills and along a river. There are also people playing drums along the path which was fun.
The last 10k of the half are the same as the 10k race. These final 10k go through the town, and are half down hill and then back up hill to the finish.
I was sad that the 10k runners didn’t get to run through the mountains!
Here are some runners heading toward the town to do the second 10 k of the half.
This was my favorite, the finish line says “goal” instead of finish 😀 too cute!
Here is a picture of my sweet OHSU SOD race shirt! Represent! 😛
Overall, I had a great time at this race. The first 5- 6 k as well as the last 5 k were challenging because they were so hilly. It was AMAZINGLY beautiful for the first 10 k, but since the race starts at 9:30 am it was HOT!!! It was so hot I started dumping water over my head at each water station, the problem was…. some of the “water” was a clear Japanese sports drink called Aquarius!
I later told Josh that my hair was possibly the grossest it has ever been.
After the first few dumps I learned to taste-test the drinks!
There were also ladies standing around with little sugary candies in the last 10 k. I tried to try one, but it popped out of my hands and bounced down the street! So sad 😦
That was my run! It was SO NICE to be able to lay down and relax on the Striders bus on the way home. Check them out if you like to run and live in the area!
What is your favorite race you’ve ever run?
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever gotten in a swag bag?