It was a long run, so I’m afraid this is going to be a long post…. Let’s start with the morning of the race. There I was on the start line at 4:45 AM. The sun was coming up and all I could think about was the 100km of road in front of me. It was the fifth edition of the Hida Takayama Ultramarathon, held annually in Takayama, Japan. As a non-Japanese visitor, I felt a bit like a stranger in a strange land. But it didn’t matter. We are all equal on the starting line when stripped down to the bare essentials.
This Sunday will be my first experience running 100k (assuming I finish). I’ve done several full marathons but nothing further than that. No matter how you cut it, I’m going to suffer and will need to find some new skills to get through this one.
But I’m ready for it, or at least I’m sort of telling myself that I’m ready. Takayama is apparently a beautiful area of Japan, rich in history and culture. It’s all on the road which makes it unique as far as 100k races go. There is a lot of climbing so it’s a bit like Comrades marathon but with a bit of extra fun. In some ways it will be easier than a trail ultra but then I think the road presents its own challenges. The biggest challenge, I think, is mental. A trail slows you down and you don’t have much choice; on the road, there is nothing stopping you from self destructing. Pacing will be key.
So that’s it. I’ve put in the miles. Lots of slow training on hills. Two 50k runs. A few 85 mile weeks. Consistent running. Could have done more and should have done more but whatever. Can I crack 10 hours? Should I care? I think this time I’ll let the race decide and just go with it.