Yesterday, I entered the 30-kilometre race in the Vegetable Marathon series. The course is 6 laps around Lake Saiko in Saitama with three short, steep slopes on each lap. In last weekend’s 30 km race I had positive splits, so this time I decided to try negative splits to see and feel the difference. I planned to do the first 10 km at 4:20/km pace, the next 10 km at 4:15/km pace, and then the last 10 km at 4:10/km pace. It sort of worked, but the difference was not so great: 4:18 > 4:15 > 4:12. The end result was an overall average pace of 4:15/km compared with 4:14 last week. In other words, I was a tad slower, but there was also over 100 metres of climbing. Overall, I didn’t really feel it worked well for me. In the first 10 kilometres I spent the whole time trying to control my pace, so I couldn’t really enjoy running. In the second 10 km I felt like I was trying to make up for lost time, so again I couldn’t really enjoy myself. And then in the final 10 km I had to really push hard to get down to 4:12 pace which felt way too hard for me. My conclusion: I need to try even splits.
Overall, it is a pleasant enough setting, with lots of trees and the artificial lake to look at. The standard was very high, with my age group won by someone called Yuichiro Osuda (大須田 祐一郎) in 1:59:43 (for 30.5 kilometres). My 2:09:10 seemed pitifully slow until I googled Mr. Osada. It turns out he was second in Fukuoka International Marathon in 1986 with a time of 2:11:19. That made me feel a bit better.