translated and edited by Brett Larner
World Championships women's marathon team leader Yoko Shibui (30, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), returned to Japan on June 28 after a month of high-altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona. In April Shibui injured her left thigh, leading to a month of medical treatment. To fill this gap in her preparations she threw herself into rigorous training in Flagstaff. "It was quite a severe remedy," smiled her coach, Takao Watanabe. Located at 2100 m, Flagstaff is 200 m higher than Shibui's usual training venue in Kunming, China. "It was completely different [from Kunming]," Shibui told reporters. "Honestly, it was really tough. Training turned into 'crying practice' every day. It was the first time I've ever cried like that."
With such tough practice under her belt Shibui's motivation is riding high. On July 5th she will race in the Sapporo International Half Marathon, then on July 14th she will return to Arizona for her main training for August's World Championships marathon. As part of her preparations Shibui is currently planning to run the July 26 San Francisco Marathon.
Translator's note: If Shibui runs San Francisco it will no doubt be as a training run. Nevertheless, the current course record of 2:43:41 and possibly the all-time race record of 2:35:33 should be within her reach.