translated and edited by Brett Larner
Marathoner Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on July 14 for her final training camp for August's World Championships marathon in Berlin. Shibui will be based at 2100 m elevation in Flagstaff, Arizona, but will train even higher. Her coach Takao Watanabe commented, "She'll be going as high as 2700 m, but the details are still a secret. I hope the change in evironment will help her get stronger." The oxygen level at this altitude is only 15% compared to 21% at sea level. By training in such an evironment an athlete's heart and lungs will become stronger. "We'll be listening carefully to her body," said Watanabe.
In April Shibui began to experience pain in her left thigh which kept her out of training. Watanabe said that at Shibui's first training camp in Flagstaff last month, "If she did even a little speedwork her face started turning blue." As a result the camp became base training. In her comeback race, the July 5 Sapporo International Half Marathon, she was 23rd in 1:14:09, her personal worst. "When I come back from the States," laughed Shibui, "I'll be a different person."
Shibui admitted some fears, saying, "If things don't go well the pain might come back," but added strongly, "Things have been feeling better and better." Asked about her goals for the World Championships she said, "When I get back I'll have an answer for that. If I'm feeling 80%....Well, what does a percent mean? You can't describe how someone feels with a percent. I don't want to overthink things since I'm going to run either way. But if I get at least 80% of the work done then I'll be ready to go in the main event."
As part of her training Shibui will run the July 26 San Francisco Marathon and currently plans to return to Japan on Aug. 10.