Sunday, August 23, 2009

Akaba Checks in from Berlin

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translated by Brett Larner

Berlin World Championships women's marathon medal favorite Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and her husband and coach Shuhei updated their blog with some reports from Berlin ahead of tomorrow's zero day. Below are some highlights. Click here for a translation of Akaba discussing her Berlin training and preparations, her views on doping, and the connection between her family life and success in running.

Aug. 19 - In Berlin
Sorry we couldn't update the blog one more time before we left. We got to Berlin the evening of the 17th. The flight was really, really long, but I spent the whole time watching movies. Yesterday we went out to tour the marathon course, a 10 km loop that we run four times. There's basically no up-down, in fact it's almost perfectly flat, but there are a lot of curves, the road is very narrow, and there will be streetcars running so there are some pretty tricky parts.

Along the course there are some places where you can see remnants of the Berlin Wall. There are some beautiful cathedrals and museums too as well as some green areas, so I think we'll be able to soak up some of the Berlin flavor and relax as we run.

In the morning and evening it's been around 15 degrees, but when the sun's shining at midday it's gotten into the 30's and the UV seems like it'll be a problem. The humidity is really low, though, so it feels quite different from Japan. Anyway, I'll be anxiously checking the forecast for the weather on race day!

Today's the fifth day of the World Championships! It's going to be a tough, heated battle and it's all I'm thinking about!

Aug. 20 - Plain White Rice
It's our fourth day in Berlin. We're completely adapted to the environment here now. The Japanese marathon team is getting more excited every day! This time we're having breakfast every day on our own in the hotel's buffet-style restaurant. By special request they are making rice for us too. Nobody in Germany eats plain white rice, so when the waitresses bring it for us they ask things like, "Are you really going to eat it that way? I can bring you some soy sauce if you like," and, "Wouldn't you rather eat it fried?" They seem really genuinely concerned and it's clear that they want everything to be perfect for their guests. It feels nice to be taken such good care of.

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