Monday, 29 October 2018

Is it Time to Leave the Middle East and Go Home Yet?

Are we there yet? The memories of the long car journeys with my parents when I was a child ring strong in my mind as I say that common question kids ask. Are we there yet? Well are we? No, no we are not! At the time I started writing this blog, we have about 24 days until we are finally back. Over 9 months have passed and we are currently doing what we have been sent to do originally in this part of the year. 

Playing war games with the Omani's. So we went back into Duqm once more prior to the exercise, sadly I didn't get to re act the run I managed from the hotel last time, my training has remained on board. Mainly because we can't run through the dockyard area on foot. Not really having the opportunity to do it from the hotel either as the by time I had the chance, it was too late in the day and darkness would've been upon me. How much I love running in the dark, by myself in the desert sands is not the most suitable situation I like to put myself in. 

There was some perks to being alongside and that was decent enough wifi, to upload my latest film visit my youtube channel and download emails etc etc. So it was then I found out I had some good news all round for two reasons. 

1. After 9 years of ballot rejections since the first time I entered the London Marathon to which I was successful to finish in 2010 I finally won another ballot place. Which means I didn't have to try and get rejected again through the club for the 5th time. So this year my wife completed the London Marathon for the first time and next year I will do the London Marathon for the 2nd time. 

I couldn't believe it!
2. The second reason was I've become a Brand Ambassador for UglowSports. I'm really excited by this. I've only heard good things about this brand and having the opportunity to represent the brand is amazing. I loved my time representing other brands in the past, so to continue representing Tailwind Nutrition UK and now Uglow it's going to be a good 2019!! 

So as I progress through this war game exercise, my training continues in the ship's gym, making the most of the treadmill. Although once again, I've got another calf muscle niggle at this point. I've never had so many niggles in one area before and it's only happened whilst using the ship's treadmills. So again I will have to manage them the best I can once more! I never had these niggles prior to using these treadmills. 
Two of the Typhoons that came out to play
Anyway I digress, so I'm hoping to get at least 1 decent run once alongside, otherwise it will continue on the treadmill until we finally get to our final stop.

We didn't arrive alongside in Duqm until very late, due a long delays actually not caused by ourselves for a change it was eventually 11pm. So going for a run a shore was out of the question at this point. I then saved it for the following day knowing I had the afternoon off. Although the following day I was starting to umm and ahh to whether I should bother going to the hotel for a run, or just stay on board and use the treadmill. They were though decontaminating the vehicles after the exercises, so our gym was out of bounds. So I had made the right choice anyway by going to the hotel.

I got there about 1pm via the laid on transportation. The temperature was already in its high 30's, it touched around 37 degrees when I ran. There was no breeze off the sea, it was pure dry heat. I decided to run along the beach and coast this time. There was two parts to the ground, soft sand and hard packed ground, so running wasn't all soft under foot. 

I left the hotel grounds and headed out along the beach. The small waves were tumbling in as I ran along and the sea gulls (unsure of breed) were launching as I ran past them. The view was spectacular. To one side I had the sea and the other nothing but desert and rocks. 

The heat was as draining as I expected, I slowed my pace right down so I could enjoy the run and finish it. I took in the views around me, taking in how lucky I am to have run in the places I've recently run. I'm still experiencing a lot of negativity around my running, whether its body shaming or the belittling of my achievements (by work colleagues), being able to go for a run is allowing me to cleanse my head of the negativity for the time being. 

My run across the sand with views of local fisherman
As I turned around and made my way back, the heat was definitely making it tougher. It's surprising what difference this type of heat is compared to the humidity heat of the Far East. However I am looking forward to the rubbish weather training back home in the UK! The cold, wet, blustery weather that trains you perfectly for those warm spring marathons such as London........not. It is my home and it's because of that I'm looking forward to training in it. My calf never played up during this run either. It appears only to be caused by the treadmill currently. I will have to watch how it goes on the treadmill so not cause any major issue that will have an impact on my future races early next year.

The Rocks and the Desert on the other side of me as I ran
In other news, my son ran his first Junior parkrun back home by himself (he's only ever run parkruns of any type with me or his mum). He ran it in 15mins, and whilst doing so he made the effort to go and thank all the marshals by high fiving them all as he went past. I've taught him well, he knows what it means to be thanked for volunteering as he done it himself so many times before. He has told me he is looking forward to running with me at both types of parkruns when I return. This made me smile very much and is now something definitely worth looking forward to. 

There is nothing better than bonding with my son whilst we run together. He may only be 8 years old and not yet capable of running long distances (in our terms long as in his terms everything run is long haha!) but just being able to run with him is one of my favourite things to with my boy. Family time is one of the most important things, and I have to juggle the work, family, training balance well. 

There may not be lots to do in Duqm but it's beautiful to run in
So this brings another blog to an end and I wish to thank those who have taken the time to follow my adventures away. To those who have given me feedback thank you, I'm glad you've enjoyed it. It's not over yet, but thank you for the continuing support.

Thank you to Tailwind Nutrition UK for the continued support, I can thank the brand enough for the support given to me. If my readers haven't tried the product I highly recommend you do, exchange the gels for something so much better. 

I'm looking forward to trying out my new kit from UglowSports when I get back home. I will let you all know how that goes. 

Until the next time.......

#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Pearl of Arabia, Will it Be Fun in the Sand?

It was a sad time leaving my fav country of Singapore, however it was time to start our long and slow journey in a home ward direction. Thus ending my Asian/Pacific region part of the adventure. At the time of writing this I've less than 2 months left to go and I can honestly tell you, I am glad to be heading home. 

Don't get me wrong I've loved running in every country we've visited and seeing the sights they provided, tasted the wonderful food and drinking the lovely drinks each one has provided. Being able to create new memories whilst re visiting old ones and been amazing. It is though time for me to go home as I am a little fed up of being away from family and friends now. 

As I said it's not over yet, I've still got a while to go. So as our trip across the Indian Ocean became a little uneventful, I have kept myself busy with work and going on the treadmill. 

Our ship did allow for one of it's oldest Naval traditions, with a "Hand's to Bathe" this went back to the days of sail, no doubt to the days when personal hygiene was a luxury. Fresh water was a precious commodity, so captains dropped anchor in a calm sea and ordered all hands on board to jump ship and get clean. So for us, this is where the ship's company can go for a dip in the sea as the ship drifts along. I've done it a fair few times in the past, however I decided not this time, as I've done it in the Indian Ocean before and we were greeted by Tiger Sharks or Nobby's as we call them back then. So for me I went and had a gander at those experiencing it for the first time. 

First sunset after our arrival into Duqm
After a period at sea, it was time to go alongside in Duqm, Oman. I love Oman having been to Muscat a few times as well as Shalah, this would be my first trip to Duqm. Originally a fishing port, it's building to be the next Muscat. However so far for us all it is a make shift village on the jetty out of cargo containers and a bit further out two hotels. So not expecting much to be honest, but I am looking forward to running in the sand. 

I've done a few times before out here in the Middle East in the various countries, it's good this will be a new place to stretch my legs. It's going to be the first of a few stops here as we're being part of a major Exercise with Omanis that is quiet important to the UK. The Omanis are the nicest Arabs that I've come across in my opinion. Every time I've come here I've felt welcome, and to be honest I recommend those who fancy a trip to the Arab States to visit places like Muscat. 

So we got told we couldn't transit the dockyard by foot, so we had to use the transport laid on. This included the 500m journey to the Container village. So we'd have to get a bus which drove at 2mph to the made up village. Such a joke, it's so we'd have to pay for the transport laid on. 

The village is alright, it had a pizza hut, some bars, kebab stall, souvnier stall, barbers, basketball court, some dart boards, toilets, a little dance floor. What more really do you need for a Matelot apart from beer and food? 

Yep Pizza Hut not sure it's geniune however it's bloody good pizza!
So my plan to get a least a run in sand will have to be via getting transport to one of the two hotels that's being laid on, and run from there. It will happen!!!
Tide was out?
Just so happens a friend from back home out here working with a maintenance company for the ship happened to be staying in the one of the hotels. I arranged to meet her at some point in the morning at the hotel. I arrived just after half 10 in the morning and the temperature was already quite hot with no humidity. 

We soon made our way up the road from the hotel heading towards the rock desert area in the distance. The roads were quiet, there is very little traffic that passes through the area currently so it's ideal for those who just like roads. 

Having fun in the sand. 
We got to the end of the road we were on and notice a trail going in a round toward the rock desert area we wanted to go play in. The heat was draining, and with my friend Flick suffering also a little from the night before, it wasn't going to be an "easy run". It was a pleasant one though for sure. When we got to the top, the views was amazing. From one side you could sea the coast, from the other nothing but sand! 

Flick taking in the views
We decided not to go back the way we ran up. We decided to go a different way down, and that became a challenge itself. Fun but still a challenge we had to scramble down sharp drops, trying to slip under the loose footing. It became a point it was better to press on than it was to go back. Although not very runable, it didn't matter at all, we both had smiles on our faces. 

On our way down
Once we eventually got back to the trail, we headed back the way we came to the hotel. We had spent a good hour out in the heat, I definitely felt it. Although I was used to heat, I wasn't used to dry heat. It does make a big difference.

The hotel soon was at our foot steps and it brought an end to our run. This became my only run on dry land during this visit. It's not the easiest to do for logistics but it was do able. Hopefully get another in next time. Otherwise it has been the usual visit to the treadmill around this run sadly. 

It was great to have company and the the fact it was a run with someone from home made it better. It lifted my moral of being away so long a little. At the time of writing this I have 45 days to go! 

Thank you for continuing support and to those who read my blogs. It really has kept me motivated. Also thank you to Tailwind Nutrition UK for their continued support, Lemon was my choice this time round, hydration was definitely key. 

So until next time!


#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Singapore, the Lion City Continues to Make Me Smile

After we left Vietnam, we headed South to Brunei. It was an important visit for the ship as we were hosting His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei. It was a big deal, as the UK has very important links with Brunei and it is one they want to keep secure. Sadly our stay wasn't for very long and the only time I had off the ship was to go and keep my self in date for shooting rifles. So I along with others spent the day down the ranges keeping us in date. It was stupidly hot and humid, but it meant I wouldn't have my post deployment leave disrupted by having to go to the ranges once back home. 

Ship's Company photograph whilst at anchor in Brunei pic by Ship's Phot (edited by me)
Once all the Brunei stuff was completed we departed and made our transit to our final port of call in the Far East. Outside of Brunei territorial waters was our friends waiting to shadow our movements as we expected. We headed Westwards to Singapore, I am so excited by this for a few reasons. 

Shooting at the ranges in Brunei
1. The most important reason is, it means after we leave we are making our slow way back in the right direct of home. 

2. The Formula 1 Grand Prix! I'm not going to lie I am stupidly excited by this. Ever since I found out we were coming here again and it was at the same time as GP, I had my tickets booked. Months and Months of waiting for this. I've had friends that went to Silverstone to watch it and I have missed out. Being an F1 fan and a runner has given me the opportunity to run around some of the GP tracks. I doubt I will be able to on this Street Course, but to be able to go watch the Singapore Night Street race will be awesome. Along with the various music acts etc, it's going to be an amazing memory to take away with me. 

Getting up early for our transit around the Island of Singapore to get to our berth, it was going be a long day. This will be my 9th time of visiting this wonderful place during my Naval Career. I'm very fortunate in doing so. I hope to visit here on holiday one year so I can experience it with out the limitations of work added. 

Seriously I love this place! On top of the GP my fingers are crossed to make one of the three parkruns in Singapore. I did manage to last time, but I was staying in a hotel nearby, where this time I am on board the ship at the top of the Island. However since my last visit there is a new parkrun in the centre of the island, to which I am looking at participating in. It maybe the better option. The East Coast Park parkrun which I did last time was a beautiful parkrun along the coast, so it will be hard to beat for sure. You'll have to read on to find out. 

I made it to Bishan parkrun
After the first night at the F1 for the practice sessions I got up early to grab a taxi to the nearest parkrun. I left the ship about 6.30am, by the time I got the main gate and got in a taxi it was about 6.55am. I started to think I wouldn't make it to even the nearest one in time, but luckily I did with about 10 mins to spare. 

I heard the RD Brief and the 80 odd of us, soon lined up. It was a nice small gathering of runners including two school running teams. The temperature was very warm and really humid, before I even started I was soaked with sweat. 

In stride
The RD started us and we were off at 7.30am, making our way around the park. It was a two lap course and a very beautiful city park it was. Loads going on around us, with other runners, walkers, exercise groups. It so nice to see a wonderful spare being used by so many at so early in the morning for exercise of various forms. 

I made my first lap around and my calf was a little sore but it was holding up. The taping I did was doing the trick. I was taking it reasonably easy any way due to the heats so my calf was manageable. 

Like anywhere there is a parkrun, the marshals are brilliant, and the fact that there is now 3 here in Singapore is brilliant. This island is the same size as the Isle of Wight and is packed so much with so many things.

I finished the second lap to the cheers of the runners who were already finished. I took my token and scanned my barcode in with the token. Like any parkrun, where there is a parkrun there usually follows coffee, cake and chat. Some of us went to the nearest park cafe and socialised. A mix of locals and tourists gathered to chat and it was nice. A great way to end my parkrun journey in the Far East.
Who doesn't like cake after a run?

My agenda then switched back to the F1, with Saturday being the Qualifying Sessions. OMG what a day that turned out to be. Not only was qualifying awesome but the whole atmosphere was great. Liam Gallagher and The Killers were the two main acts playing that day. I was buzzing from the whole thing. 

First night of the F1
It was to be surpassed by the actual race day! I chilled out in the hotel that I was staying at in the morning, making the most of the infinity pool. Eventually we headed out for the big race. The place was buzzing, with various music acts on like Due Lipa and Martin Garrix on the main stage. 

We took our seats for the drivers parade, my opponent was drinking Tiger Beer, I had a pint of G & T and you could feel the anticipation for the race in the air. 

Sun going down on the second night
Just gone 8pm the starting lights were out and we were watching an awesome spectacular race. I was in my element. By far one of the best sporting events for the whole package I've witnessed. I am so lucky it fell on the same date we were due in to Singapore. What a way to finish this Asian/Pacific part of the trip. 

Due to not sailing when expected, it allowed me to pound the streets of Sembawang (the area we are berthed at the north of the Island). It's so easy to run around here, traffic isn't very busy, the pavements are wide and not very crowded.

Giving my legs a good stretched, still nursing a niggle in the calf but life goes on. 

Now it's over we start to make our way back home, we still have 2 months to go, 8 months done but at least we're on our way home! 

In other news if you've not seen it yet here is the link to my latest video, from my Vietnamese stop >> Click here

Well thanks for reading, thank you too Tailwind Nutrition UK for their continuing support. Until next time!


#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Can the Land of the Blue Dragon Be as Wonderful as I Can Remember?

Good Morning Vietnam!

Now say that out loud like Robin Williams did in the film! After what has been 18 years since my last visit to this country. I was looking forward to this stop. It had been touch and go with regards to whether we'd make it here in time due to the issues that were keeping us in Japan (see last blog) but eventually we sailed from Yokosuka leaving finally the Land of the Rising Sun and on our way to the Land of the Blue Dragon. Vietnam isn't called the the Land of the Blue Dragon because of it's shape but because it was one of 4 countries that were known as Asia's Dragons. 

My first ever run in Vietnam!
Before we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City formally known as Saigon we had some national tasking to do by order of the Government. This would mean we'd have our lovely little friend back shadowing us as we sailed around. It also meant spending some more time in Defence Watches during that period. The silver lining to this meant I was able to get into the gym when it was really quiet! I had the gym often to myself and I was able to put in some good sessions. I was pretty pleased how my runs went. Yes it meant the dreadmill once more, however I found an app that made it more interesting/enjoyable. Is that even possible?

It's called RunSocial, and it allows me to run in various countries and various events such as the London Marathon. You can run either a section of the race or the entire section. As you run you are either over taken buy other users who are running faster at that point or you may even over take others. During the London Marathon you hear all the cheers and atmosphere as you pass the crowds. 
New motivation on the treadmill!
It has given me a little bit of an incentive to use on the treadmill, I will admit I have slightly enjoyed using the app. Although all the runs have been going well, I may have over pushed it slightly and caused a slightly niggle in my right calf on the inside of the leg. A couple of rests days should now hopefully see it alright, before I go for a run in Vietnam. 

If I'm not on the upperdeck at sea, I'm on the treadmill FML
So we came alongside the port in Ho Chi Minh City, the same one I visited 18 years ago. Much has changed though. At night now it's a beautiful looking sky line, compared to 18 years ago when it wasn't so. It appears to have changed for the better in my opinion. 

As I was planning on heading out early with others from the mess, I went for a run as soon as I could. Now after reading up on running around in Vietnam, most comments mention it's too difficult, so use a gym. Well I thought I'd find out for my self. I looked on google roughly where we were so I had an idea of my out and back route. 

This trip has aged me going by this pic from the gym
Off I went, off the ship, out through the port gate with many locals laughing saying "exercise, exercise" mainly because I was saying this as I didn't need their moped taxi rides (that is a must do experience lol). I turned right and remembered from the map the road followed the river. So I did exactly that followed the river. 

I saw many locals fishing as I passed by, all looking at me as if I was some weirdo. To be fair I probably did look very weird to them. The heavens opened and soon it was raining, lightly at first. I continued on my route, not having to many issues. The road crossings were a bit hairy but to be honest, as long as you have your wits about you,  it's not that hard. 

I eventually got to my turn around point and headed back. The loudest thunder crack I have ever heard (louder than Concorde breaking the sound barrier) followed a bright flash of light and it then rained heavier. 

I ran along despite the rain, as it cooled down the temperature. I took in as much of the atmosphere as possible. I still had my niggle in the calf, so I took the run easy. Not wanting to aggravate it too much, which seem to do the trick. I strapped it up with rock tape once I got back. 

The streets of Ho Chi Minh
I finished back at the port, and I really enjoyed my run. It really wasn't as bad as they made out on the internet to be honest. Like I said as long as you have your wits about you and happy to take your time when it comes to the crossing, then all is good. Yes they are lunatics, red lights mean nothing to them but it's doable. 

So I went out that night had a few too many drinks and had a good time. Visited an old haunt called "Apocalypse Now" which was like I remembered. Suffered the morning after as expected. The following day I went out to the market it area where there was the biggest market of "genuine" goods I've ever seen. You name it they have it, and the quality is getting far better than it used to be. 

On the third day I went off on a trip I did 18 years ago. I visited the Chu Chi Tunnels. it's tunnel system used by the Viet Cong during the war with the Americans. Our tour guide's Grandfather served with the South Vietnam army as a Lieutenant. He was a really good tour guide with a great sense of humour. It was a just as I remembered i.e bloody brill. Highly recommended for sure. It was so interesting and you understand why they were so good at Gorilla warfare compared to the Yanks. 

These trails would be awesome to run on!
As I was walking around with the group, it go me thinking how great it would be to have a little trail race around the area of that Jungle. I reckon they would make a great 5k or 10K route there if not more. 

I also got to fire an M1 Garand rifle, the last time I did this trip I fired an AK47 and M16. This time I wanted something different and it was ace. What a rifle! I can see why it was a legend of a WW2 weapon that continued long after. 

So that brings me to the end of this blog once more. I hope you enjoyed a brief insight to Vietnam. For a communist country apart from all the flags and military dotted about, you wouldn't have known, considering how much this place has changed. it has a lot of western brands and products now, so it's communism has moved on a lot compared to the communism of say North Korea. The people seem happy, it's very tourist attractive now and it appears to be receiving a lot of investment. 
The 18 years difference! (Yep I had hair once)
Thank you all for reading and the continued support. I will be releasing a video of my run around Vietnam in the near future so please pop over to my youtube channel and subscribe. Thank you to Tailwind Nutrition for their continue support. Until Next time!


#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Didn't know Tony Stark lived in Vietnam???

Monday, 20 August 2018

Just When You Think You Are Done With Japan....

I was completely wrong!!

We sailed from Tokyo a day early to escape the on coming Typhoon again because they were worried about getting battered alongside but once more it came no where near where we were. 

We were due to go on operations once again to enforce the UNSCRs but the ship had other plans and we ended up anchoring off Sasebo to conduct repairs. Unfortunately this wasn't working, so we limped to Yokosuka and put ourselves back alongside in the place were were, throughout July in our Mid Deployment Stand Down Period. 

That was that, back alongside in Japan, after what I thought would be the last time. First night in and I was shore patrol, ie bimbling about in uniform around the Honche (an area popular for drinking by the yanks) outside the gates. They have a strict curfew and we don't so the ship puts a patrol out to with the Yanks to make sure there is no trouble. It's a waste of time, but hey ho ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die. 
Out in the fresh air on the coast where I belong

Anyway the first proper opportunity I had and I was out on a run. Again the weather was sunny, very hot (35 degrees) and very humid. There was a little head breeze as some points which made a refreshing change but still sweated profusely. 

I decided to do a route which I covered previously the last time I was here. Through the dockyard, out of one of the gates and through the town then around a little coastal stretch before heading back. 

The sun was beating down, and it was definitely making me work hard, I eventually slowed myself down and tried to make it more comfortable a run. In the park I ran through there was a musical fountain, the spray in the air was refreshing so I had to go stand in in the spray briefly to try and cool for a moment. 

I noticed the Japanese flag was at half mast and it was at that moment it dawned on me that  I was our running on VJ Day. Victory in Japan signified the end of World War 2, the surrender of the Japanese meant it was over. So the fact I was running around the base where the Attack of Pearl Harbour was planned which brought them in to WW2. 

It's a bit surreal to be honest, thinking about it. Here I am enjoying something I do, running around the base and the town of Yokosuka, and it was where, the place that got them into the war and that led to some horrific fighting and torture of allied prisoners imaginable. 

Anyway I digress, I finished my run back at the ship, and chilled a little prior to going back on board for a shower and to get changed. 

The following days run was a run just in and around the base, nothing to difficult just a nice run out and around. I did find though going through the tunnels in the base, my Garmin struggled which surprised me as they're not exactly long and to be fair I never really noticed this in past. No biggy really as I am currently not too fussed about stats right now. 

Flying through one of the tunnels on the base

The weather was a bit blowly which was nice, although it wasn't too strong you still noticed the head wind, which is something I've not been used to recently. I felt pretty good during the run as well, again something that has been lacking recently. Don't get me wrong I've been enjoying every run I've had but I've not been 100% happy with my running itself. 

I've been pretty good, I got out again and smashed another run outside the base along the coast past the civilian port area. It was pretty busy with both people and vehicle traffic, and the route wasn't the most exciting either, it just felt another run done that was it. I did however enjoy it and had fun in the process. Sometimes even the most boring runs can still be enjoyable and fun. 

The weekend arrived and knowing I was going to be duty on the Sunday I wanted to make sure I had a really good run on the Saturday. So I decided to run once more up Mt Ogusu. This time however I wanted to run up it via a different trail. This meant I had to get to the other side of the Mountain. So I bussed it over to the other coast and ran from that coast up to the top and back. 

Once I left the tarmac and hit the trail at the bottom, it was pleasant surprise. There was a river running along the bottom with the trail running along it. This was brill! I loved the running along the stepping stones and having the coolness of the shade. Why didn't I run this route last time?

Soon enough the watery trail ended and the ascent started with plenty of leg burning steps. My thoughts turned straight to the Arc of Attrition next year. This is what I need to be getting in my training. Plenty of steps! 

Stunning view at the top of Mt Ogusu
The steps ended but soon followed by step climb of weathered trail. The path continued up and down rolling but mostly going up. There were plenty of walkers bimbling along the trail as well which nice. All friendly and saying hello as I passed them. 

Eventually I made it to the top once more and this time, the observatory was open so I was able to go up to the top and see over the trees and take in the breathe taking views. Sadly it was too hazy to make out Mt Fuji in the distance but I wasn't disappointed with the view at all. Beautiful scenery makes the effort getting to the top all worth it. 

Then it came to descend once more and it was fun going back down. Luckily I decided to wear trail shoes because there were some greasy sections. My Peregrines were good for the task and some how with out realising at the time, they matched my running attire LOL. 

So much fun!

I hit the bottom of the trail and ran back along the watery section and had fun whilst doing so. It was another hot day hitting 34 degrees during the run but it felt less humid and more of a dry heat this time. What a really enjoyable run that was!

I was duty the following day and to keep my run streak going I did a mile on the treadmill, followed by 20 mins on the bike. Nothing exciting but it did the job. 

Over the last couple of weeks I seemed to have hurt my shoulder, like maybe I slept funny but instead the pain, occasional numbness, pins and needles it hadn't subsided. I've booked an appointment with the Doc on board to find out what damage I've caused. 

Hopefully not too much damage, it probably won't help that during my recent run around the base I thought it'd be cool to do a cart wheel. How wrong I was for two reasons! 1. It bloody hurt 2. I look like an elegant baby elephant trying to walk for the first time. 

Yep so graceful I know!
Anyway, this should be my last time in Japan (I know I said that last time) all things well, my next blog should be from the next country I am visiting. It also means on the way home too, with around 93 days (at the time of this publishing) left to go of this deployment.

Thank you for reading, if you haven't already pop over to my YouTube channel and subscribe. Subscribe here!


#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Good Bye Japan, Thank You for the Running and the Memories

After what felt like a lifetime for some of us (not me I should add), we sailed from Yokosuka for the second time. The first time was due to be scared of a little Typhoon which didn't come near the port in the end, and this time it was because we had some business to do in Tokyo. 

It's weird putting the word business with my job in Navy, but that is what exactly it From cocktail parties or as they're known now Capability Demonstrations, ship open to visitors (where we had over 6000 visitors between the two days)  and Defence Industry Day, it was all go. The area we were berthed was where the new Olympic Village and park will be for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was busy with construction as we were there with new transport structure going in as well as all the various buildings that is required for the games. I have no doubt that Tokyo will nail it. 

                          We had company of a Japanese ship in front of us.                           
However I still managed to get out and about to revisit some of the places I spent two weeks with my wife and son earlier in July. There is something about the Land of the Rising Sun, that I fell in love with. Was it the people? The country? The culture? I can't really put my finger on it but it doesn't matter to be honest. Yes I was constantly drenched in sweat due to the temperature and humidity but that didn't matter, I was sort of used to having 4 showers a day lol

Life isn't always about running for me, but it is about making memories. The 2nd night in, I went out with people from my mess and had a really good blow out. I don't make a habit of getting smashed but I do like the odd one here and there and as one of the lads was leaving us, it seemed a good reason to go get drunk. I paid for it the next morning for sure and I had to go for a bimble in the scorching sun to get some food to help with the recovery. 

Out Out in Tokyo
Kelly, a friend from work asked me if I fancied going for a run around the Imperial Palace, of course I said yes. I never turn down an offer of going for a run with someone (unless I really have to). So we got up early the morning of the run, caught the metro to the area (after an initial bus journey) where were going to run around. We could've run there but time constraints of work and the factor of  the heat we didn't want to knacker ourselves out before we even go there, we decided not to. It was a pretty simple journey, as we had Pasmo cards (much like Oyster Cards in London) so we just tapped and went. 

When we arrived we went for our run. Sadly the inside of the palace and gardens was closed. They're not open on Monday's and Friday's so we didn't get to go inside but we went for a lap around the palace it's self. Not knowing how far around it was and taking into account of the heat/humidity we went at a nice slow comfortable pace, pausing to take pics of stuff we saw as we went round. 
Hot and Sweaty!
There was plenty of runners running around the palace like us, only they were going in the opposite direction. Not sure why this way, I've not seen anything suggesting otherwise and luckily there was another runner going the same direction we were so not too worried but the majority ran anti clockwise. 

The lap start off flat from where we started, but after 2 miles around there was a long incline and then it bobbled up and down. At one point there were a load of people with lots of tv equipment, etc. We went for a gander to see what they were up to but couldn't make out what they were doing, some of them were looking up a tree with a big Nerf gun in their hands. 

Great to have company
Any way we eventually made our way round and finished on a downwards incline to where we started. It was 32 degrees and stupidly humid so were both soaked. Temperatures were hitting later in the day anywhere between 35 and 45 degrees. We both brought a change of tops for the wearing on the Metro on the way back as it was going to be busy. Although the change of tops made little difference as they were soon enough soaked with sweat anyway LOL.

As we were looking for getting a drink somewhere near us prior to heading back we walked past a shop type thing called the Run Pit. Wasn't sure what it was at the time, all I could see what looked like a reception desk,and some items for sale. What it turned out to be was a community hotspot for runners. There were changing rooms, showers, cafe, shop, the works. They had run leaders and groups. It's no wonder that the palace was so popular for runners. What a great idea, for city runners. So if you're ever in the area, check out the Run Pit. 

The Imperial Palace is a beautiful thing to visit even just for a run
Eventually we made our way back to ship, for a bit work before heading back out for some more sight seeing tourist stuff. Sadly though we had to sail the next day due to another possible Typhoon that might or might not hit Tokyo. Pretty much like last time, it didn't really do anything. Hey Ho! 

Japan has been really good time for me, I really enjoyed myself there. The culture, the people, the weirdness of the whole place was really good. I'm so glad I was able to spend time here with my wife and boy, so they could experience something I get to experience with work. Now with over 3 months to go I am though getting ready to come home. The next part of the deployment is going to be hard. I will definitely be using my running to help me cope. 

Until I get home, I will just keep running and continue with planning my next big adventure run! 

Thank you for the continuing support, it is appreciated. If you haven't already here are a few links for you. 

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As always thank you to Tailwind Nutrition UK for their continued support of me, it's great being part of the Tailwind Trailblazer Team


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Tailwind does Japan

Friday, 27 July 2018

Running in Yokosuka is Probably the Best Medicine I Needed.

My little family have flown back home to Blighty and I made my way back to the ship in Yokosuka, as it was the other half of the ship's company's turn to take some well deserved RnR. As I was on the train back to the ship, my emotions of happiness from the time I was with my little family soon quickly disappeared. The closer I got to the ship, the more down I started to feel about the whole thing. I'm only half way through this trip and all I want to do is go home. 

Anyway, it happened I'm back on my ship and now I have to pull up my big man pants and get back on with it. So after I settled back in to some sort of normal routine on board, I put my running shoes back on and achieved some runs in and around the base, it's pretty flat and simple loop. The base here is massive and is roughly about 5 miles around. The views and nice across the water out in to Tokyo Bay. 

The second biggest Buddha in the world after a nice plod along the Kamarkura Trails
The weather has been a solid hot (is that even a thing? solid hot?) since I've been back, with temps anywhere between 30-40 odd degrees. This has made the runs very hard work indeed. However the runs are helping me with my thoughts of missing my family. Running has been keeping me sane now for a fair few years, it just clears my thoughts of any negativity I may having at that time. My mental health needs my running for sure. 

At the top of Mt Ogusu
To be honest, I've not really been feeling myself within my running recently, I think it's because being away I've not really had a goal to aim for. No races, or anything this year is really sort of upset me. Not because I'm missing the competition side of things but it's more the having a goal, achieving a goal and mainly racing with my friends. I miss them all, the banter, the support, the conversations we have whilst getting through those long races and runs. I also miss the challenge, I like to push myself and that's not really happening. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying my running in these wonderful places, so far I'm enjoying all that Japan has to offer. I just wish, there were races on during the times I am here or in the area I am in, and my friends were here to enjoy it with me. 

That's enough being miserable lol. I eventually adventured out of the base and into Yokosuka itself for a run. I planned a route to the nearest place to get some decent views. I found Mt Ogusu was not overly too far. It wasn't a massive climb but in the heat it will still be enough of a work out. It was an hour and half ish from the ship to the top, so was going to be a nice 3 hr round ish trip. 

The route was mainly road with some trail towards the end. It was a climb pretty straight from the start and I made my way along the pavements until eventually, I reached the trail section. It was a mix of dirt, steps and plenty of big bugs. I've never seen such big butterflies in my life until now! The noise from the bugs in the trees was making things had to concentrate. They make noise up to around 120db and it's constant, so I had to as some points put my earphones in to try and concentrate on everything else. I arrived at the main start of the climb to the top and was greeted with a lovely set of steps.

I made it to the top in the heat
The steps were a killer I can tell you. They were uneven, and very much like the SWCP man made steps, that just seem to go on for ever. Eventually I got to the top and was able to catch my breath again. There is an observation tower attached to a little cafe type shop at the top, however both was closed. Luckily like everywhere else in Japan there was a vending machine outside so I was able to get some nice cold drink. I took in the drink as I looked out where I could on the views. There were lots of trees about so sadly couldn't see much, and as the observation tower was locked I couldn't go up that either. 

Standard Selfie
Once I finished I made my way down the way I came, taking in the trails first before back on to the tarmac. I stopped off at a 7/11 shop to get an ice lolly, the only ice lolly as such was a candy flavoured blue one. It was nice but I had to eat it as quick as I could as it was melting faster than I could eat it. 
Well needed Candy flavoured Lolly for the return journey
I made my way back to the dockyard and the ship and that brought me to the end of that run. It felt tough in the heat but luckily I kept hydrated, I took two bottles filled with Tailwind's Green Tea, and also the drinks from the vending machine at the top of Mt Ogusu. 

Great views on the water front
As well as running around the dockyard and up the mountain. I adventured on to the streets taking in some of local sights along the waterfront. When turning left out of the dockyard and through a park type area you come to a Japanese Battleship. The run itself again was in near 40 degrees heat, which here in Japan they had recently declared a national disaster due to 65 people dying from the hot conditions. The route was easy and flat but the heat was a killer, with it being at lunch time as well meaning it was around the hottest point of the day. I got to the turning back around point, enjoyed the views took in some water and eventually made my way back to the ship. I had to stop at the 7/11 again this time to top my water bottle up as I had gone through it, and ended up necking a total of 1.5 litres of water by the end. 

Taking it all in for a bit before heading back
It was something I definitely needed these last couple of weeks, just to clear my mind and re fill it with positive thoughts. I also able to give my new shoes Saucony Kinvara 9's a run out at the same time. they were a bargain. They cost me $89 (£67.92) and I got a 25% (£16.98) on top of that off (£50.94 in total for brand model) so even more cheaper! They cost over double (£115) back home what I paid for them here. They're a great road shoe, still comfortable, still very light. I've had every Kinvara model to date, and each time I think they improve on before. The colour was a bit timid for me, but I'm not complaining because the price was practically a steal LOL. 

Saucony Kinvara 9's
In other news if you would like to subscribe to my youtube channel that would be great My Youtube channel <<<<< Please click on that link and subscribe. It would be nice to know others have enjoyed my videos, but it's a hobby for me and I'm enjoying making them even if no body watches them lol 

Here's some other links of mine here is my Instagram and my Twitter. For those on FB here is my page Facebook

Also here's a link to a friend's blog on her time in a Tri Camp, it's quite funny and defo worth a read. 10 Lessons I Learned from Triathlon Training Camp Les Stables , Sarah has some other brilliant articles on there, which you should read also. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 

So what's next for me? Well more running around Japan, so until next time....


#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Green Tea is very popular here in Japan