marathon wrap-up

Final time 6:16:15

Not exactly even remotely close to my goal. I learned a lot though, and I know why it took me so long.

First, I was placed in K group, in the very back of the race. It was very clumped up back there, and difficult to navigate the crowd. I didn't have a good handle on the pace I was running. I was passing people so much I thought I was actually going too fast, so made an effort so slow down. I should have paid more attention to my time and not worried about what other people were doing.

My knee held out pretty well for the first 25k. Around the 25k point it started to go down hill. The one interesting thing was that I couldn't walk! I could only run. If I walked the pain was almost unbearable - but running was well within acceptable.

I think the hardest part of this was actually physical tiredness. When I ran the practice last month, I found that it was energy that was lacking, so needed to eat during the race. I did that this time, and found that energy was around - but after 4 hours of running I was very physically tired so those last two were difficult.

But wow, what an amazing experience. I wish I could describe it all and have it be understandable. Even better, to not sound cliche and lame. Running 42.195k over 6 hours was so many things. It was so incredibly lonely, yet at the same time there was such an incredible sense of community. It was just you and the road, but the entire course was lined with supporters screaming ガンバレ!('ganbarre' - "do your best!") and holding signs like "You are a hero! Never give up!". There were high-five lines, people handing out food, and giving an incredible amount of energy. There was entertainment too. Bands, cheerleaders, all sorts of dance troupes, and much more were all there for us. This isn't to mention the thousands of volunteers who gave up their time to pour drinks, peel bananas, and make sure the event ran smoothly - all on top of keeping spirits up and supporting the runners.

It was also one of the most humbling experiences I've had. I really don't know how to describe this, but I know that there was no way I could have completed this race alone. Last Tuesday I ran just 4k, and my knee was in such a state I couldn't get up stairs. There was no way it should have taken me the whole race and not be destroyed. God definitely ran this race for me - I just moved my legs.

The weather more or less cooperated - until the last bit of the race. Around the 40th kilometer the wind was horrible and blowing against us. The rain was heavy and cold and the supporters more or less left. It was terrible. Even the last 500m to the finish line were in the same vein, and even though I picked up and was running it was... emotional. I'm glad no one I knew was greeting me at the finish line! I did not look good.

Haha, but it's all done now. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the character of God. It was an amazing experience, and I won't soon forget it. I was really touched to hear that there were people that were watching my progress through the race. Thank you all for supporting me, it really means a lot.

tokyo marathon anticipation

Sunday is the big day! 30,000 participants, 42.195 kilometers (~26 miles)

Race starts at 9 a.m. Tokyo time, which means early Saturday evening for people in CA. If you're interested, you can actually track my progress in 5k intervals at http://p.tokyo42195.org/ I'm bib number 43052. I hope somebody actually does 'watch', I'm really curious what their system is like!

My goal time is 4 hours, which I think is attainable. To get that I'll have to run at 5:42/km which happens to be right about my average pace.

If you want to see the course 'live', there is a guy running the 10k with an iPhone strapped to his head:
http://iphoningjapan.com/blog/

If you'd like to see a sped up movie of the course I'll be running:
http://www.tokyo42195.org/movie.html

I'm feeling pretty anxious actually, my left knee isn't in top condition right now... so please pray for me! I'm definitely not going to finish if I'm running this alone!

resisting information

Things like twitter, facebook, and any of the other myriad of social networking sites are being touted as the new generation. Blogs our out and mini blogs are in. 140 characters to say your piece, multiplied a few times a day and you're part of the next generation of information flow. Now, if you're not using these tools you're out of fashion. Senators, pastors, even companies. (skittles has recently replaced their homepage with a twitter feed) It's all able to be aggregated, sortable, and deliverable to any device. All of this world of content can follow you where ever you go. What content though?

I know people that update their facebook status 4-5 times a day, but with nothing to say. Yet even so, I find myself reading it and even being infuriated by it. I'll want to jump kick Tom McSomebody at 3pm because he updated his status with "Tom McSomebody is ...", but I won't jump kick him because I haven't talked to him for 5 years or more, and even when we were 'friends' it was just because we happened to be in the same class one time and he added me. I won't ban him from my news feed, I'll just silently seethe that he didn't update me with more 'important' information.

That's just the thing though, it's almost never important! Very rarely is there any actual information, it's just meta-information... and like the meta-pizza it's just making us fat. Most of us are still listening though, slowly deadening our ability to parse useful information and just knee-jerk reacting to what is pushed in front of our faces.

It's not all bad, certainly all this social networking can help build real social connections and make you more aware of the people i your life. Too often it's an excuse to not be involved though, isn't it? "I know what's going on in their lives, I write them 'happy birthday' on their wall when facebook tells me to. Why actually talk to them? Why bother finding out more than the 140 character bite sized bits of peoples lives that come down the conveyer belt?" Like our mothers warned us, we're getting so full on chips and candy we'll have soon ruined our dinners.

And what happens when someone doesn't diligently tweet, blog or make themselves known on the net. Do you forget they exist because they aren't crowding in around your internet throne begging for your attention? It's a crazy.

As much as I'd like to glorify the old days though, I can't really do that either. I like that I can talk to Mindy for no cost more than internet connectivity as much as I care to. I like that I can see what my friends are up to half way around the world during whatever time I have free. I like that I can bug friends at work, and that I can likewise be bugged.

I just wish that fully embracing new technologies didn't mean losing humanity.