Skip to main content

Reiko Tosa's "Homemade" Training for Tokyo Finale

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/090311/oth0903112019012-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

"I'm kind of in a slump right now, you know. I haven't been feeling very good and I've been a bit mean to my husband," joked marathoner Reiko Tosa (32, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) in early March. To help put her in the right state of mind as she gets ready to race the Tokyo Marathon Tosa is training in her hometown of Matsuyama, but it's not going the way she expected. She just can't seem to get back into good shape. At the end of February she ran as a guest runner in a 30 km race in Chiba, but her time was more than 8 minutes slower than her best.

At the start of her preparations for the Tokyo Marathon, Tosa's husband Keiichi Murai (35) told her, "Remember how you felt in the good times, and let's try to go after that feeling." For Tosa herself, however, in her heart all she can feel is the difference between her current condition and when she was competing at the international level. It brings her down.

It's been 10 years since Tosa entered the jitsugyodan professional running scene, her vision focused on 'The World.' Before a marathon she always trained in high-altitude locations such as Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A., and Kunming, China. Whenever she felt stressed a trainer was there to help soothe her tired muscles.

Things are different now. The one organizing her training these days is her husband, himself a former jitsugyodan long-distance runner, and his number one goal is to get her safely to the start line. He has been careful not to lay any thoughtless stress or suprise workouts on Tosa. "I'm only running about 70% the volume I used to," she reveals. When she goes running now she spends most of the time thinking about what's on the menu for dinner.

Murai only has time to watch Tosa's workouts on weekends, but during the week her mother Hinako (60) helps out by taking splits and handing Tosa her drink bottle. When Tosa needs a massage she asks Murai. "This is really a homemade marathon," says Murai.

There is talk about failure. Last month, Tosa and Murai went for a test run of the Tokyo Marathon course. With 7 km to go they somehow went off course, something they had never considered beforehand could happen. Rather than let the mishap get to her, Tosa laughs it off.

In Tokyo Tosa will leave the road of her life thus far as a professional athlete, but she is not calling it her 'Last Run.' She's already thinking about a future comeback as a 'mama-san' runner. "When I see other people who have had a baby and come back," she says, "it makes me think I could too." She is grateful to Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo's management for promising to give her a new contract if she chooses to return.

Tosa's hometown of Matsuyama was where she ran her first marathon in her third year of university. It's where she is most comfortable and an environment which helps her to figure out what she's capable of doing in Tokyo. "It goes without saying that I want to win," she admits, "but I don't know if I can break 2:30. I'm way fatter than usual....."

Regardless of her words, when race day comes around Tosa will no doubt show the persistence and sheer toughness for which she is famous. It's in her blood, and it's who she is.

Comments

dennis said…
I wonder how fast tosa will run in tokyo. Right now I'm rooting for Pamela Chepchumba. She's an excellent road runner. She got 2 medals from the world half marathon championships.

Most-Read This Week

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

Kibet Runs 10000 m World Lead in Kobe, a 3:44.86 High Schooler and More - Weekend Track Roundup

After giving World XC a miss, Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) got his outdoor season off to a good start with a 13:33.70 PB for 5th at California's Mt. SAC Relays. His teammate Yuki Nakamura ran only 14:34.97, while the U.S.-based Takeshi Okada (UC Berkeley) ran 9:02.75 for 12th in the 3000 mSC. Toyota Jidoshokki teammates Momoka Kawaguchi and Nao Yamamoto ran the women's 5000 m, Kawaguchi the faster of the two at 15:54.82.

Back home, Bernard Kibet (Kyudenko) ran an early season world-leading time of 27:36.24 to win the Hyogo Relay Carnival Grand Prix men's 10000 m, beating the 27:43.34 by Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) a day earlier in Hyogo's Asics Challenge men's 10000 m, at the time also a world-leader. Kibet's teammate Shohei Otsuka was the fastest Japanese man of the weekend at 28:25.42 in the Asics Challenge race.

Women's Grand Prix 10000 m winner Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Starts) came up short of a world-leading time but was just a few seconds off t…

Kiprop and Hunde Win Nagano Marathon

Ugandan Jackson Kiprop and Ethiopian Meskerem Hunde won Sunday's 21st edition of the Nagano Marathon. Running a steady and well-paced race that went out near 2:10:30 pace and sped up slightly to a 1:04:58 halfway split, Kiprop wore down the competition until there were only four left at 30 km. Ethiopian Deresa Geleta stayed with him until the very end, but Kiprop had the finish in him to open 3 seconds on Geleta to become Nagano's first-ever Ugandan winner in 2:10:39.

Geleta's 2:10:42 was good for a PB, with Japan's Naoya Sakuda (JR Higashi Nihon) also dropping a big PB of 2:11:21 for 3rd over Kenyan Alfred Kering. #1-ranked Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin) was one of the first to drop off Kiprop's early pace but rallied late in the race to take 5th in 2:14:35, his best performance since a stress fracture following his breakthrough in Tokyo last year.

Hunde pulled off an equally evenly-paced run to win the women's race, projected to run 2:33:44 after 5 km and en…