“Never tell me the odds!”
--Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back
The Tokyo Marathon is an incredibly popular event. This year, 294,469 people applied to run the full marathon. 32,000 were accepted. And I was one of them!
This will be my second time to enter the marathon. The first time was in 2007, at the first Tokyo marathon. I had signed up for it in the summer of 2006, when I was doing relatively well, and running relatively often. But as the winter of 2006 came, I gradually fell into the first of my three major bouts of depression. Among other things, this pretty much stopped any exercising.
By the time the marathon came around in March 2007, I was very out of shape, and still very depressed. But I couldn’t bear to give up. So I went ahead and ran the race anyway. The first ten kilometers were okay. The next ten were increasingly difficult and painful. And the last twenty were hell. Actually, I walked the second half of the race, and took six and a half hours to finish. Even walking was incredibly painful. But I ran the last few hundred meters to the finish line. I was in agony for weeks afterwards, but I finished it.
I had no interest in ever doing a marathon again. But this year I started running again, and gradually I have been getting fitter. I am still out of shape, but I am gradually getting better. This week I ran 15 kilometers for the first time since that day back in March 2007. Slowly but surely, my body is getting in shape. It is not all improvement – yesterday I went for a run and felt I had to stop after 4 kilometers. I still have a lot to learn about fitness, about my body and how to treat it well. But I’m getting there.
I have no intentions of repeating the self-imposed death march that was the 2007 marathon. I am running two or three times a week, and gradually extending my distances. I am trying to eat well and will also be doing a number of shorter races in the next few months to build up my stamina.
I completed the 2007 marathon, but I still feel I was defeated by it. In 2010 I want to make a success of the race. It will be hard, it will be painful. But I want to be able to run it at my pace, and run the whole way, not have to drag myself across the finish line. I’d like to finish it in 5 hours. And I’d like to finish it with a smile on my face!