Thursday, June 29, 2006

A time trial by any other name

Because of the compulsory staying up late on Mondy night to watch the Socceroos be valiently vanquished by those dastardly and conniving Italians, and compounded by an avalanche of work, I could not run on Tuesday. So last night was the first run of the week. Met the gang at the sento as usual and headed into the park for the mandatory warm up. Did 6.5 km by the time I got to the track to join in the monthly time trial. It was pretty hot and humid, and even given perfect conditions I am in no PB shape, so I planned to just run it at tempo pace. As we took off I was running past Gary and then asked him what he was doing: 3:55/km pace to attempt a 15 second PB. Well, that sounded like a worthy goal and matched my tempo pace, so I resolved to stick with him. The first km came up in 3:58...a little slow. In the second km I had to stop and re-tie a shoelace. It was hard work to get back to him but I got there just as we crossed the line for 2-km in 4:00 (that's 8 second adrift already). Gary made the running at this stage and I was just there with him. He started doing it tough in the third km and it came up in 4:03. Uh oh...I took the lead and tried to draft him and make up some time. We got back towards the right pace, but Gary really starting to labour: still only 3:59. I wasn't finding it exactly a bed of roses myself. The last hard km took 3:57. I recorded 19:57 and Gary about 20:03. Despite the tough weather, he was only seven seconds outside his PB, so his recent efforts have him in pretty good shape. His fiance, Mami-san, went one better though and chalked up yet another PB. Mami...On Fire!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tagged by Tesso

Well, this is an interesting little distraction from what I should be doing...
4 jobs I have had
- Bottle shop attendant
- Chook shit shoveller
- Research soil scientist
- Editing, translating, writing boffin

4 movies I could watch over and over
- Pulp Fiction -
- Dumbo
- Koyaanisqatzi (with ample supply of spliffs)
- When We Were Kings

4 places I have lived
- Tweed heads
- Armidale
- Artarmon
- Tokyo

4 TV shows I love to watch
- Sports shows
- News shows
- Animal shows
- Late night sukebe houso ;-)

4 places I have been on vacation
- South Coast of NSW, Australia
- Mikawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
- Lamu, Zanzibar, (and other parts of Kenya & southern and East Africa)
- Sapporo, Hokkaido

4 websites I visit each day
- Sydney Morning Herald
- Bloglines
- Aussie Home Brewer
- Dropload

4 favorite foods
- banana & egg smoothie
- baked cheesecake
- lamb chops/roasts
- curried anything

4 places I would rather be right now
- Australia
- Australia
- Australia
- Australia

4 favorite bands/singers
- Richard Clapton
- Fela Kuti
- Ry Cooder
- Bruce

4 Bloggers I am tagging
- Mika
- Keren
- Satohi
- Jay

Monday, June 26, 2006

Quick stocktake

Gosh, I am really struggling to find time and, dare I say, motivation, to blog regularly at the moment. My running motivation sort of ebbs and flows on a daily basis and I seem to find myself chronically busy.

I don't have a clear goal of what I am training for, yet I am determined to keep training. I managed to clock up 78 km last week on the strength of a decent hilly run on Saturday and a 27.5 km long run yesterday. It was mercifully cooler yesterday, but I still ended up totally knackered after the run and was trying to do a bit of work in front of the computer in the afternoon but just kept nodding off to sleep!

Persistent niggles and the demands of work and cribbing of time and money by other interests (craft beer!) are also playing havoc with my focus on running. I know it is the start of summer and therefore really the right time to just keep the km ticking over. So I am not really despairing or complaining much at all, just noting the way things are. It is also important to note that I am contemplating whether my autumn goals should be towards running another strong marathon or to have another focus, e.g., the 71-km Hasegawa Cup trail run. One thing against the Hasegawa Cup is just the fact that I would really need to step up the time spent in training, especially spending a lot more time on my feet on Sundays, when the demands of family and work would make this a tough ask. Not to mention that damned creaky old body. Something to stew on for a bit.

Meanwhile, in 30 short minutes the Socceroos will face their moment of truth against the Azzuri. My head says it is a very tall order, that the Italians will have the class to find a way to win, but my heart is not ready to accept it until our lads are two goals in deficit with less than 10 minutes to play. Until then, there is life, and we all know what exists where there is life.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Socceroo fever and a progressive run

Wow, what a blast that was getting up at 4:00 to watch the Socceroos this morning! What an emotional rollercoaster.

And thank goodness for our new building having NHK's free-to-air satellite service, BS. We've lived here six months and I only just realized we have an antenna connection to a BS satellite dish on the roof! This was great news after I discovered that BS would be the only broadcaster of the Australia-Croatia game. Now, just having the connection isn't enough; you still need a decoder in your TV or VCR. Slight panic, then, phew! Our TV has one. So it did require some sweating and grunting to move the TV and VCR and swap the antenna cable, but me and the three boys were ever so glad we did. C'mon Guus, take us all the way! (And we had to watch it without waking the dear old mum. We cheered--just a little bit--when Australia scored its second goal, and she reckons at that moment she dreamed she was being attacked by a pack of wild monkeys! Work that one out!)

At half time I changed into my running gear and, completely energized, got out the door as soon as the game was over. I ran three by 3.3 km loops in 16:04, 14:57, 14:13. That's a per km pace of 4:52, 4:32, and 4:18 with average heart rate of 141, 151, 158 (76%, 81%, 85% of HRmax). Total time of 45:14 for the 9.9 km. That's quite a nice little run.

I also ran 14 km total on Wednesdy night, with 6 km of intervals. Our leader Bob had set a new workout of 2000m, 1000m, 2000m, 1000m with the 2000s run at less than flat out , then a short break and the 1000s run flat out. The times for each rep were: 7:41, 3:32, 7:38, and 3:39. That was also a nice little session. Cleaned a few cobwebs out. Back at the sento I was surprised to discover that my weight had risen 2 kg since last week ... did it take that long for all the Australian food (lemon meringue pie and custard tarts) to take hold?

Answers to a couple of questions in comments

Have you done any ultras before? (Tesso): No. But it is the next logical step in my progression as a runner, I believe. It is a question of finding the right one. I want to dabble more in off-road stuff to take a look inside myself and find whether that is something I want to be involved with ... or whether I am just a dandy-boy road runner. I know that I have gone pretty much to the limit of my development in most regular road race distances, so I have to find new challenges to hold my interest.

Is there a link to the [71-km] race (Clairie): Here we go. It is in Japanese, but you can see the course profile (200 m up to 1500 m) and some pictures. I think it starts at 13:00  and extends into the night. Looks daunting.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Back to the run of the mill...

I have been resistant to posting again because the new boring hum drum posts are going to bury the holiday posts forever. Never mind. I guess life has to move on.

So after coming back last week we were tired and busy catching up on work and school and all that. Plus the World Cup started (yaaay Socceroos!). So I didn't run from the Friday in Coffs until the following Wednesday back in Tokyo. It looked like I was going to have a very poor week, but in the end I clocked up over 60 km, with 14 km on the Wednesday night, 15 km with Colin at upper aerobic pace on the Friday night after work, 7 km steady on Saturday afternoon and a nice sedate 26.5 km long run on Sunday. So that wasn't too bad.

Yesterday morning I set the alarm and got back into the old groove with a 14-km upper aerobic run up to Komazawa Park. I didn't use the programmed workout from the Polar but just let myself come up to 80% of HRmax fairly naturally. With the extra heat and humidity (22 deg. and VERY humid) that wasn't that difficult. Get used to hearing me whinge about the humidity for a while.

I'm feeling a bit under-motivated at the moment. There are no events coming up until the Fujiyoshida Fire Festival race in late August. I decided not to enter that 43-km mountain race (July 2) because I would have had to travel out there and camp on my own, plus I really felt under-prepared and can't shake one or two niggles. I'd be worried about what a big event like that might do to them. Still, I want to do something like this, so I am going to have to sort my head out a bit and work out how to organize myself to pull it off. I'm lousy at just getting up and doing races by myself and seem to be too dependent on having company. Perhaps I should start by getting out for a few training runs on the Mt. Takao and Mt. Ome trails over the summer. Theer  is a 71-km endurance race in October. Given that it is that far ahead, I wonder if I should set my sights on it...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Sunday 11th - the End of the Line

So Sunday dawned and we had to get up and pack our bag for the drive back to Sydney with brother Peter and his wife, Ann. It was very hard saying goodbye to everyone, especially to Mum and Dad, not knowing when we'll see them again.

We left just after 9:30 and had an uneventful drive back to Sydney with an hour or so break at Peter's in Newcastle. Tats and I had to kill a few hours in the airport, but that wasn't too great a burden, especially when we found some TV sets showing the Australia versus England rugby test. We boarded the plane and were fortunate to have been given a couple of extra seats each.

The next thing we knew, we were back in Japan, and the sun had set on our excellent 8-day holiday. It was hectic and busy and tiring and all of those things, but we had some great experiences, caught up with a hell of a lot of friends and family, and generally couldn't have asked for more (except maybe a fish!). We couldn't have achieved nearly as much without the extremely generous help and kindness of many people. So, just in case they look in on this blog at any time, I need to especially thank for their help in one way or another the Austens, AG, the Satos, the Mizushimas, Bobby E., Peter & Anne, David Lamotte, Chris & Chris, and last but not least, dear old Mum and Dad.

Saturday 10th - Fishing and Partying

I had a fairly disturbed sleep, being a bit excited about the fishing trip I suppose. Not sure if I was more excited for the surprise I would give Tatsuya or for myself in anticipation of some real fishing. He didn't suspect a thing and believed my claims that we were buying bait right up until we were on the marina. And then he was just confused about the lack of shops. So he got a real surprise when I said, "See this boat, we are going fishing in it."

I'm afraid there is no fairytale end to this fishing tale though; neither of us caught any fish despite some people on the boat doing pretty well (one very big kingfish--はまち --got pulled in on our side of the boat). But it was still tops being out there on the boat, and we did see some humpback whales that were breaching while we were still some distance away. In the end, even without fish and Tats getting a bit sea sick, it was a great experience and very much worthwhile.

After we got back home, the ladies had taken Mum out to the shops while the chair was moved into position with a ribbon attached to signify that it was a present. Before long they got home and Mum walked into the room, straight past the chair without even noticing it. Eventually we were able to draw her attention to it and the meaning dawned on her. She was grinning from ear to ear, but otherwise just about speechless. As the day wore on we all got to try the chair and pronounced it to be Good.

So we had Mum's 80th birthday party that evening at the local RSL Club. There was a pretty good turn up of family and friends. Brother Peter and family had come up from Newcastle, so five of Mum's six kids were there, plus four of her grandkids. The speeches did not drag on and the one from my sister was hilarious as my uncle, Dad's younger brother, stood up and delivered what he reckoned it was she wanted to say (she being too overcome with emotion to get anything out). We retired back to the house relatively early and then partied on a bit longer, knocking a hole or two in some bottles of port. Ultimately got to bed at a reasonable hour and was restrained enough to avoid any significant hangover the next day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday 9th - Long run and a plan is hatched

We set the alarm to wake up early and try to go fishing again on the high tide. But when we woke we realized we hadn't prepared enough (amongst other things I couldn't find the keys to my parents' car), so went back to bed. I was pretty relieved about this as I just didn't feel like going, though I was keen to make the effort for Tatsuya's sake.

After a bit of breakfast I set off for a run to find a walking track brother Peter had found on an earlier visit. It was a bit over a km from Chris' house and I found it alright. It wound its way along Coffs Creek from the Pacific Highway down to the Jetty part of town. From the jetty I headed up Muttonbird Island. This map shows roughly the territory I covered, mainly the green walking and cycling tracks. And this page shows the sort of scenes that greeted me when not running through the ti-tree and mangrove forests of the Coffs Creek Walk. It was a really pleasant run without any of the discomfort of Thursday, and all up I managed to clock up just on 25 km.

During the run, while passing the marina, I was struck by the idea that if it was fishing that Tatsuya wanted, then it was fishing I should give him. I enquired about charter fishing cruises at a booking office, and although it would cost a bit, decided that a) we were on holiday and b) Tatsuya had been away for five long years and had really missed Australia, so I kind of owed it to him to give him something special to remember. Money doesn't really come into it when you think of it that way. I decided to surprise him by saying we would go fishing early the next morning and then just taking him to the boat. Naughty Dad.

Later in the afternoon Chris and I went to pick up the reclining arm chair the family had collectively bought for the mother's birthday (yet another surprise in the making). We dropped Tatsuya at the jetty to try his luck by himself for an hour or two.

All the women went to the local RSL in the early evening (a local ritual I believe) while Michael, Chris, Tatsuya, and I had a quiet evening yarning with Dad.

Thursday 8th - Day 1 in Coffs

Awoke at 7:45 and after a bit of stuffing around got out for a run. Brother Chris and I worked out a loop that we thought would be about 5 km -- two loops would do nicely. I set off and really didn't feel very good. Stiff, niggly legs. Then it was hard finding a comfortable place to run. There was either the road edge with a whacko camber, the footpath of solid concrete, or the nature strip with uneven footing. More often than not I went for the nature strip. At the completion of the loop the distance was getting towards 8-km and I was not really enjoying the run, so I called it quits after doing a couple of repeats up the hill that Chris's house is located towards the bottom of.

Culinary indulgence continued as Chris knocked up some bacon, eggs, snags & baked beans for Tatsuya and I. Then Tats and I went shopping for souvenirs -- you know exotic things like muesli, Nutri-grain, Caramello koalas, Australiana print tea towels and the like. We also enjoyed a custard tart. I think I am passing on a third generation of predilection for custard tarts! We had a bit of a look around the beach/jetty area and were still out when lunch time rolled around. Ttsuya's request this time: fish and chips!

When we got back my brother Michael and his wife Naomi from Cairns had arrived. They had flown into Coolangatta and got a lift down with Toots, a long-time friend of Mum and Dad's from the Tweed. After lunch in Mum and Dad's flat and a bit of a rest, I acceded to Tatsuya's pleading to try some fishing. Borrowing some lines from Chris we picked up some bait and had a typically fruitless attempt from the bank of a local estuary. Fed a few tiddlers and had several rig-losing snags. Par for the course.

I can't remember what we had for tea that night, but I know I bought a few James Squire India Pale Ales to wash it down and we sat up talking into the night, what with four of the six siblings now assembled.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday 7th - CountryLink to Coffs

This was a comparatively uneventful day spent traveling from Newcastle to Coffs. I became reacquainted with the railway's rather nebulous notion of time. Take note that the words "The CountryLink XPT service to Casino is running approximately 30 minutes late" do not actually mean what you would expect them to mean, that the train will arrive sometime close to 30 minutes after the scheduled arrival. No, in our case it meant that the train will arrive an hour after the scheduled time. How a train becomes an hour late over the course of a two-hour journey is beyond me, but that's what happened. Over the rest of the journey we had to give way to southbound trains a couple of times and eventually arrived in Coffs after 5 pm, 1-1/2 hours late.

We were met at the station by my brother Chris and our mother, with whose 80th birthday party we had timed the trip to coincide (my mother and father live in a granny flat on the ground floor of my brother's house). Dad has a crook ankle that severely limits his mobility, so I saw him back at the flat. It was great to see them again. My father had killed the fattened calf, though it was in the form of a couple of kilos of medium king prawns, knowing as he does how fond of them I am. There are not many meals better than freshly shelled king prawns on fresh bread.

A couple of hours later, Chris' partner Christine (yes, they are known as Chris and Chris) quietly disappeared for a little while and when she returned she walked into the room saying "Look what you can get at the Bray Street Shops these days", then trailing in behind her was my sister and her son who had travelled up from Canberra by train -- completely to my mother's surprise!

Day 3, Tuesday 6th: Running, School and Brewing

I woke up about 5:30 and got ready to go for a run. It was still pitch dark outside, cool, and a light rain falling. Peter had told me about a bicycle track built on an old rail alignment starting about one km from his place (Adamstown). I was able to find it without too much trouble and headed off in the dark. The occasional walker or cyclist appeared out of the gloom every now and then. The track extended for 5-km, mostly with forest on either side and one interesting old rail tunnel. I ran to the end and then back again; during the run night gradually gave way to a grey and cloudy day. I covered about 13 km all up, mostly at lower aerobic heart rate, but a stint later in the run at upper aerobic. I can't say that ifelt a fresh as a daisy, but it was good to be out running in a different setting.

After breakfast we got ready and went to the school that Tatsuya hopes to attend next year in Year 11, Kotara High. Had a good meeting with the deputy head and got all the information we need and a good understanding of what will be involved for him.

We were back at Peter's by 10:00. I had pre-arranged to be picked up by a good friend, David Lamotte, an important person in the Australian home brewing world. Always reluctant to accept accolades or take the spotlight, David is the brains and energy behind the Australian Craftbrewer web site and forum and has been one of the key organisers of the New South Wales Home Brewing Championships for several years. David took us for a drive up the Hunter Valley to a place just outside Cessnock, the gateway to Pokolbin area, to visit not a winery, but a small commercial brewery called Potters (so named because it is built beside half a dozen large relic kilns built of bricks, the shapes of which just happen to be reminiscent of brewing kettles).

David knew the head brewer and so we had a good look over the equipment and interesting chat while keeping an eye on wort running from the mash tun to the boiler. I sampled the beers on tap and was extremely impressed with how balanced and well-crafted they were. A delightful soft, well rounded koelsch was the pick of the regular beers, though a more muscly American golden ale from a conditioning tank featuring Amarillo and Cascade hops was much more to my taste.

After having a couple of Ridgy Didge pies (steak and kidney for me) and calling in at David's home to exchange some goodies from Japan for a few home-brewing ingredients, we were back at Peter's by 3:30. We then left with Peter for a 30-minute drive south to Toronto. Peter and his wife own a house on the waterfront of Lake Macquarie. They intend to move there late next year, at which point Tatsuya will still have his final year of school to go. So we wanted to make sure he would understand that life would not be quite so convenient then as during the first year. He seemed to think that having the largest coastal lake in NSW at his disposal was ample compensation.

Dinner that night was delicious slow-cooked corned beef with lashings of white sauce and mashed potato. Yum!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Monday 5th - wet & woolly

We were a little bit slow getting moving in the morning and then the rain started pouring down. I had an appointment to meet my friend Stephanie at North Sydney Station at 9:00 and then my brother David at 9:30 (same place). Kazuko was going to drop us at Artarmon Station, but when we went to leave, her car wouldn't start. She had run the kids to school 40 minutes earlier and had left the lights on. Doh! Some huffing and puffing in the rain to push that car out of the way so we could use their other car. In the end we were more than 30 minutes late.

We spent a very pleasant hour-and-a half with Stephanie and David, and soon had to be on our way again. We caught a train out to Beecroft where Alastair (ex-boss) picked us up and we went to my old workplace at Forests NSW's research facility in Cumberland State Forest. The organization has been radically re-structured and left with some kind of convoluted arrangements, so that took a bit of getting my head around. Still, it was great to see the old faces and enjoy another BBQ.

After that we took another train to Newcastle and were met by my brother Peter. After the two trips by train that day I was left in no doubt about the aspects of life in which Japan enjoys a clear superiority over Australia (well, New South Wales in any case). Our train system is, to put it succinctly, simply abysmal. There is no point wasting words describing our experiences and trying to justify this opinion. I think it would be self-evident to anybody who has to use the system.

At Peter's we enjoyed dinner with his and his wife's adult kids (second marrriage for both of them) and some of the kids' kids. Yet more catching up. So ended Day 2.

Sunday June 4 - Helter Skelter

We landed at 7:15 am and were met at the airport by friends from Artarmon, the family of Tatsuya's best mate from primary school. After a bit of a break and a cup of coffee, I decided I felt good enough to run the Great NOSH Footrace, and the weather was glorious (after a couple of rainy days I was told). So the omens were such that I was compelled to run. I got changed and my very understanding friend gave me a lift to the start. Tatsuya went back with them to catch up with more old school friends while I met up with new friends, Cool Runners Go Girl, The Owl, Jen_Runs, Don Juan, MPH, and some others beyond the capacity of my memory (sorry to anyone I met but have not mentioned). It was really nice being able to just stroll up to the start and register and pay for the race on the day. How different is that to Japan where we have to be registered and paid anywhere from three weeks to three months before the actual race.

The race was great. It consisted of a 15-km run through Sydney Harbourside bushland with some rather steep little scrambling uphills and precarious downs. Standing at the start I could hear cockatoos and honeyeaters and gazed at the glorious salmony bark of the Angophera costata and the scaly-trunks of the casuarinas. Soon the gun went and we were off like rabbits through the undergrowth. Unable to push aside thoughts that I might be compettitive in my age group, I probably went at it too hard and found myself racing it rather than just running for pure enjoyment (the latter is what I probably should have done). A few times when I found myself really out of breath and buggered, I did check myself a little and say that it was not really worth killing myself over. I finished in a little over 72 minutes, 39th out of a couple of hundered starters and a little out of the placings in my age group. Can't complain about that under the circumstances.

As pre-arranged, my former boss, and still good friend, Alastair met me at the finish. A funny way to meet up after five years. I picked up my bag and got changed, waited for GoGirl and a few others to finish and, since there was no need to hang around for the presentations, said my goodbyes -- time was of the essence. (After coming back to Japan I was very disappointed to discover that had I waited a little longer I would have met up with the ever-popular effervescent and irrepressible Cool Runner and blogger, Mr Twopenny. But it's OK, he has promised he will come for a visit to Japan.)

We headed back to Tunks Park between Cammeray and Northbridge to meet up with the Artarmon friends and some old uni mates. Picked up some yummy prawns along the way and ate those along with great chunks of steak and some snags washed down with fine Tasmanian lager. Ahh...I was either home or had died and gone to heaven. One or the other, it was hard to tell. Tatsuya's mates tried a bit of fishing. I think they were trying to catch a fugu.

Around 4:00 Tatsuya and I were dropped off in Crows Nest. My wife and the kids had regularly attended a Japanese church there for years and years when we lived in Sydney. So we called in to meet up with the old gang. Most of them didn't know we were coming and got quite a shock. It was fun.

Tatsuya went off with some of the church friends to the house of one of them where we would spend the night. I was not, however, finished on my itinerary and caught a train into the city to meet up with my brother Diamond Dave the Mayor of Bar Cleveland. We met at the Australian in the Rocks and spent an enjoyable three hours necking a few ales and then a goumet pizza and a bottle of good Aussie red. I got back to our Japanese friend's house in Chatswood around 10:00. We sat up for a while watching Australia play the Netherlands in soccer. I drank some sake with Yutaka-san (a sushi master) and, after a day of many meetings, joyful reunions and too-soon farewells, I finally crashed out at half time in the soccer and slept the sleep of a dead man.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saturday June 3 - Departure

So, all packed and ready to go, we sent one suitcase to the airport via takkyubin (parcel delivery service) and took our hand luggage to Tatsuya's high school sports day. I suddenly realized where all those weird and wonderfully hairstyled and made-up kids come from who hang around in Shibuya. The various high schools of the surrounding districts, Tatsuya's obviously being one of them.

At 3:30 Tatsuya changed his clothes and we headed to the airport. The flight was fairly uneventful except that we enjoyed the new Qantas entertainment on demand systems. I watched a package of highlights of the Ashes series (hadn't seen a ball bowled up to that point). Got a couple of hours of uneasy sleep and then up and at 'em at 5:00 for breakfast. I then watched The Castle, an iconic Australian movie I had not previously had a chance to watch.

I've been to a land down under

I'm back now from the trip. It's a shame I couldn't blog on the go, but it was really just too hectic and I had few opportunities to get on a computer, and when I did all I had time for was a quick scan of the email. So, how to go about reporting this? I think I'll create a post for each day of the trip and then come back and add photos later. Now, let's get to the day by day entries.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Happiness = 1(10 x hill repeats) + 11k(lower aerobic)

I'm sure I could make that equation more fancy if I could be bothered, but...

Wednesday night I skipped the 5k time trial and went, instead, for a hill repeat workout. I managed to snag a few other renegades from the large group of Nambanners gathered for the time trial. Thanks for the company Yuka, Luke, Stephan, and Hugh.  Tried to run a more even pace up and down, as opposed to going flat-out uphill and slow down. I am thinking of that 43km trail run...which I still haven't entered...but need to do very soon...

Was a bit too busy to get out for a run yesterday, plus feeling a few stresses in the legs. Made it out this morning for a shade under 11 km and stuck with a constant lower aerobic pace of about 4:58/km, heart rate 73% of HRmax (133 bpm).

That's all I have to report. Just counting down the hours now until jumping on the flight tomorrow night. Tatsuya is very excited. I don't think I will have time for a run tomorrow morning, so at least I'll be tapered for the Nosh run. All I have to do is get off the plane not feeling like sh!t.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A busy schedule...

Tesso asked if it would really be only a couple of hours between getting off the plane and running in Nosh. Yes. Though if I feel like crap I might elect not to do the race. There is no point making a production out of it, but I do think it is great timing and something I really want to do. Here is an outline of our schedule, as lifted from an email I sent to a friend today:

We arrive at 7:30 am, get picked up by some friends (former class mate of Tatsuya's family) and go back to their place. I'm going to head straight off to run a 15-km race from Lindfield to Seaforth through Sydney Harbour bushland .. how bizarre will that feel!? Then another friend (ex-boss actually) will pick me up from the race finish and we will head off to re-join Tatsuya's friends for a BBQ lunch. Later in the afternoon we will catch up with old friends from the Japanese church where Chiemi & the kids used to go. Then I will meet up with my inner-city-dwelling brother for a couple of beers and dinner, then (draws breath) I will go back and re-join Tatsuya at the place we will stay the night (a Japanese church friend). Next day I'll take Tatsuya to meet up with the brother for morning tea and then go to a BBQ at my old workplace in the forest in northwest Sydney. Then we take a train up to Newcastle. On the Tuesday we'll go to the school that Tatsuya would attend if he chooses to come next year. Then we'll go to Coffs Harbour on the Wednesday by train, for a couple of more relaxed days with my parents. Pretty hilly country up there so I hope to get in a good run up and down some forest trails. Mum's birthday party on the Saturday night, then drive back to Sydney on Sunday and fly out Sunday night, almost certainly with a tear in our eyes.

Nice legs, shame about...

My legs after the Arakawa ekiden. The muddy bit was only about 500 m out of a 10 km run, but it was a 500 m that made its presence felt! And to think I was in the top half of the first leg of five legs with hundreds of teams!! I'd hate to have been in the last half of the last leg. Or maybe it had been compacted to a runway by that time.