I received an e-mail earlier this week from Yoko Shibui. She sent me a picture of her, with 2 other friends, smiling in a Kamakura, a small hut built with snow. They got dumped (not as much as we did in Minnesota, mind you…) with so much snow in Tokyo this winter. She simply said; “A week till Tokyo Marathon but I’m doing this…!” Talked to her coach, Watanabe, this morning. He actually said it was a perfect timing; she had a very heavy week and that “snow emergency” gave her good rest before the final sharpening. Yoko insinuated that this might be her last marathon. I told her it can’t be (because she didn’t invite me!!).
Nabe (Nah-bay) left it as “It’s up to how she feels after the race…” He told me that her preparation went MUCH better than that for London Marathon last spring where she finished 17th in 2:37 (* Granted, right before the start, she found out the clothes material attached the insole of her Nike racing shoes was coming off. She didn’t make any excuse afterwards but I would imagine it was not very comfortable “pushing” at sub-6 pace for 2.5 hours…).
Her performance had been lots of ups-and-downs. She just had one of the worst showings in her career at All Japan Ekiden last December. She DNS-ed Berlin World Championships due to a stress fracture in her foot. I spent 5 weeks with her up in Flagstaff where she was having a training camp for 2 months. At the age of 34, she is still a “diamond in the rough”. She is still searching for “her marathoning”. While it’s boiling down to be a very exciting race tonight (Tokyo Marathon starts at 6:05PM MN time tonight) but, personally, my only interest is how Yoko would run. Best of luck, Yoko!!