The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Friday, December 15, 2006

Shibuya Ekiden

The Shibuya Ekiden is still over a month away and I'm already excited about it. I'm learning about ekidens. The first one was run in 1917 and was sponsored by the newspaper I work for. The "eki" part of ekiden means station. Many people think the each leg of the first ekidens were therefore run from train station to train station, but they're wrong. The 'stations' refer to areas to rest for the night with stables for horses that formed a network known as the Tōkaidō (東海道). So 'eki' is simply the place where you stop and rest.

At the eki (which in our case will be the start/finish line) a tasuki (cloth sash) is passed from one runner to the next. The sash can be worn - but I'm worried about losing the sash - don't they slip off your shoulder?

Each leg of the Shibuya Ekiden is just 2.8km. I really enjoy this distance. I guess the top runners will do 2.8km in under 9 minutes. I will be happy to do over 9 minutes - that's around 5 minute per mile pace.

I've been chosen to run for my club's top team. The other three members of the team are all great runners. All can do a half marathon in under 1hr 15min and they can all run a sub 16.30 5km (actually the best runner goes under 15 min). So I feel like I have to train cleverly and eat well between now and then. I've already decided to cut out all junk food and alcohol between now and then (a big decision on the run up to xmas). I even said no to a drink with my boss at work, which has probably cost me a promotion!! (joking).

I want to run the ekiden course at some point soon. I find I can run much faster when I know where I'm going and how far I am from the finish.

Today, I just did an easy hour in the morning because I had a massage at 1pm, and it's not good to go to a massage with sore legs. During the massage my massuer found the cause of my pain behind the knee. He only knows muscle group names in Japanese, but it would seem to be a problem originating in the soleus and affecting the plantaris. The plantaris is where the pain is. I had thought the pain was a hamstring problem. I finally got the sensei to massage me today. As I thought, his extra years of experience really do show. He was able to fix a few of my problems in one session today, and I think he will be able to fix the plantaris problem. Strangely though, he seems disinterested in my tensor fascae lata pain. It's as if he doesn't know what to do with it.

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