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 was....business. 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....

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Green Tea is very popular here in Japan

Thursday, 12 July 2018

It's all about Nippon 日本

As we left Busan in South Korea, it was only a few days until we arrived at our much need next destination. We were heading to Yokosuka (pronounced YOK KOS KA) for our mid deployment maintenance period. The ship hasn't had a proper maintenance period since we first game out of extended readiness last year. This was to due many factors, but mostly due to the super busy programme the ship had since the first day of sailing back in June 17 but that's another story.


Leaving Busan in the fog
This period alongside in Yokosuka also meant the half way point of our 10 month deployment and also my period of RnR coming up. I had the option of flying home by RAF flight or fly my little family out. When looking at and despite being the more expensive option I flew my little family out as it meant I had more time with them, less hassle than flying with our RAF brothers, who always find it very difficult to support any other service except their own, and it would be them saying good bye to me instead of me saying good bye to them again. It turned out to be the better of the two options I can tell you!


Entering Yokosuka
So they arrived safely at Narita airport late morning and on time too! I met them both at the airport, where we would then head to our apartment we had booked for 11 of the 12 nights I had with them (the last night was in a hotel for our wedding anniversary). This was located in an area of Tokyo called Asakusa. I didn't know too much about the area nor could I recall having visited it last time round, so had no information on it at all in my head. It was a bit of a trek with all the luggage from the airport but eventually we got there and what an area it turned out to be. Full of life with the tallest tower in the world aka Skytree over shadowing us. It was colourful as well as busy.


Electric City
We spent the rest of the day briefly bimbling around Asakusa to get our bearings and chilling out in the evening. The following day headed to Akihabara aka Electric City which was a 45 minute walk from where we were. As the weather was awesomely hot and humid, that's exactly what we did. We walked there and spent the rest of the day there looking around the various shops etc.

The next two days was all about the Disney. There are two parks here in Tokyo, first one we went to was Disneyland Tokyo, again fantastic day, with one thing that comes to mind. It appears if you want to experience Disney you need to go FULL Disney. There were so many people dressed head to toe in matching Disney shit, it was unbelievable. It was like Mickey Mouse had bent over and had Disney Diarrhoea and plastered them. The second day of Disney was in DisneySea, which was more ride orientated based on a Maritime Theme with an evening finally show which was amazing. We definitely had a great couple days and it was a treat worth giving my son for being brilliant whilst I've been away.


First day at Disneyland (boy was very excited)
So our plan for the following day was to have a chilled out day, but to go out early for a run. Once the run was finished it was to be a relaxing day, doing very little as such after the previous two days as they were quite manic. We decided to go run around the Sensoji Temple area. The Temple is a popular tourist attraction, it's probably one of the biggest I had seen up until then, with shrines in the same area and a market type place also right near it. The Temple is beautiful and as expected well maintained. It doesn't cost anything to go visit so that helps the reason why it's so popular I have no doubt.

We got up early due to the current temperatures over here in their 30's and very humid. We got ourselves ready and headed out the door, then headed off on our merry way down the footpaths towards the Temple area. We remembered the way to go and ran through the Temple area and down through the market area. Eventually we decided where half way was and ran back pretty much the same, so not to get lost. The roads were pretty quiet, however there were a few people around the Temple, looking around when we went through.


Running through the Sensoji Temple area
The route was simple but I enjoyed it so much, to have my little family keeping me company. was great. No time or distance set, just a nice out and back route. After our run, we chilled for most of our day then headed out for something to eat in Electric City at night to see all the lights lit up.
Very sweaty, warm but lovely family run
The next few days was all about sight seeing, from going up the SkyTree tower (the tallest tower in the world and 2nd tallest structure in the world), the Edo Castle in Tokyo centre, going to the Baseball which had an amazing atmosphere, to getting the Bullet Train to Nagoya to watch a Sumo Tournament. Again a fantastic experience at the Sumo, I ain't going to lie. If you ever get the chance go to the Baseball and the Sumo (Sumo tournaments only happen 5 times a year so you will have to time it). We did so much but we hardly scratched the surface of Tokyo. 


Skytree Tower
Sumo Tournament
Baseball Giants vs Baystars!

We did get another run in between all the other touristy stuff. This time it was a run along the Sumida River, again nothing to difficult but and enjoyable route with the little family taking in the sights and sounds of Asakusa. We took a left from our apartment, run south to the river, ran along the river then up to the main road and back to the apartment. 

This time though I got to try out my new shorts I purchased. My current shorts have served me well since I first took up running in 2009. They have so many miles put in them, from my first marathon in London 2010, my first Ultra in 2012, my New Forest to Land's End 7 day ultra, my run across Wales and all the training and races in between. I won't be throwing them away though, they have to many memories in them. The new shorts however felt really good, very comfortable indeed. The pocket at the back was large enough for my iPhone X, something I have always struggled to find when looking for a replacement shorts was a pair with a large enough pocket for a phone. It also comes with 4 over lapping pockets which is ideal for snacks, rain jacket fits in to a little sack. Anything really, gels, salt caps etc etc. On first impressions the Patagonia trail shorts are pretty good purchase, but not cheap. 


Running in the new shorts


Best kind of runs
Eventually though I had to send my little family off on their way back to Blighty. It was hard for me to say goodbye the first time, it wasn't any easier this time either. The next time I will see them will be when I'm eventually home. However until then I still have more time here in Yokosuka, as the other half of the ship's company need their RnR, so I will have more time to explore this area and get more runs in. 


Sad times saying goodbye again
I must thank you all for reading, the support given to me whilst away is always appreciated. Also the support from Tailwind Nutrition UK as well, as always it keeps me going especially in this uber warm climate. 

Until next time safe running everyone.


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#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

You can now view the video for the runs here >>> Far Eastern Adventure part 5



Sunday, 24 June 2018

From the Land of the Rising Sun to the Land of the Calm


We left the beautiful Island of Okinawa to head back out on operations once more, thus putting me back into the not so exciting routines at sea.

The next port of call is Busan, South Korea towards the end of the month which I'm looking forward to. When I last visited there, it was known as Pusan but that was 18 years ago. I have no doubt the city which features in the latest Black Panther film has changed a lot since the last time I visited. It's a busy stop coming up but I'm looking forward to revisiting the place for a couple reasons as you will find out later on.



Leaving Okinawa
Whilst, we are at sea it was time for my annual fitness test. Nothing too difficult for me especially at my age of 40, although I do have sign a death waiver. This is so I can't sue the MOD if I die during a fitness test because I chose to do the bleep test over the Rockport walk. I passed as always which wasn't hard as I only have to get to level 7.8 on the bleep test for my age. I'm not going to go into the RN fitness test standards because that's a whole different level of discussion.


Sunset coming into Busan waters
The weather wasn't great, it was like a cold wet miserable day in Plymouth, more than the warmer climates of the East China Sea. I did what I had to do even though it was raining and that was all that was needed. I've nothing to prove to anyone, or myself. I did record it on my Garmin though just to record the location of where I conducted my fitness test, more than anything and it's funny to see the actual results. How much I would love to be as good as it suggested there was no way I ran 4.30 min mile nor did I do 2.7 miles in 10 mins odd. What caused this? Well the ship moving as I ran effects the GPS, I could've set it to treadmill mode but then it wouldn't have logged the area I ran it in. That's all I wanted it for, I know if I uploaded it to Strava, there be some sad person claiming I cheated as they take what Strava says as gospel. "If it's not on Strava it didn't happen" Bollocks. 


Flight deck out in the East China sea the location for my Annual Fitness Test
Further a field back home, my boy ran the 2.4km Junior race as part of the Hope24 event festival. He's ran it twice before, but  it was either with me or his mum. This year he wanted to do it by himself "because Mummy is too slow" and he did. He did brill, as we had some reservations on him doing it by himself, as sometimes he requires a little motivation to get him round from one of us. However he didn't require us and he smashed it out of the park. Very proud of my boy, we're not pushy parents at all. Far from it, if he wants to run it's great, we'd never force him. That's how I believe a lot of children lose their motivation for sports. Again I could go on with this as I have seen many pushy parents in Judo a sport I participated and taught for around 30 years prior to retiring from it, but I won't that's another discussion. 

Obviously I am sad I never got to see my boy do this in person, but that's one of the down sides to my job. I have, since he's been born, missed a lot of things with him. Especially birthdays I've been home for about 1 of them and I will be away for his 8th birthday this year, and as it stands possibly away for his 9th. During this period it was Father's Day also, sadly another I am not home to spend with him. Luckily the post arrived in time prior to sailing with my Father's Day card and gift, so I haven't totally missed out but sadly it's the downside to a job at sea. Much like my own father who was in the Merchant Navy for 36 years. He was often away for birthdays and Christmas' a like. 


Hope24 is an amazing event, it was it's 5th birthday this year and I'm sad I wasn't able to participate in any form. From what I have seen on various SM outlets, it appears it was another successful one again, with my friends enjoying themselves and some even achieving more than they expected. Well done to all of you! Hopefully I will be back next year. I've missed seeing all my friends especially those who I formed friendships through the event itself. 



My boy proud of his Hope24 achievement
That said we eventually arrived in Busan, South Korea. I wasn't hanging around as I was off on an organised to trip to Seoul first, a 2 hour train trip from Busan. This was because the following day I am visiting the De Militarised Zone aka the DMZ. The border between North and South Korea. It's one of those once in a life time opportunities really, I've never been before and the likelihood it would happen again if very unlikely. The fact I could say "I've been to the DMZ" is pretty ace to be honest. 


Tracked my wall in and out of North/South Korea




At the DMZ






















So the DMZ was so surreal but so amazing, definitely one of the best experiences I've had around the world and I've been to wonders such as the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China etc. We could only take pictures at certain times, and as the phone signals were being blocked by the North, so I could only manage to track my North/South bimble on my watch. It is definitely and experience I recommend to any one. If you get the opportunity to do so, then take it. 

The following day after I got back from the DMZ, I went to the Korean War Remembrance Service with pretty much everyone else from the ship. The Korean War is often the forgotten war and it's easily to forget that is actually has never ended yet. It's just a military cease fire, nothing more. It was a really lovely cemetery and the service was good. Sometimes it's easy to take things for granted, this war only started 5 years after the end of WW2.

So anyway back to the running. After what was a busy few days, I finally got out for a run first thing early morning the next day after the Remembrance Service. I didn't get to go out in Seoul, mainly because I had little time there and I wanted to explore and get drunk in Seoul to be honest, to which I did. So my run in Busan, came at 0530 before I was going to be stuck on board duty. 

I went out of the main gate and took myself up the stonking hill. The temperature was warm and it was humid at that time. Haze over the sea was yet to be burnt off, but the views nevertheless were still stunning once I go to the top. I took in the views and eventually carried on a bit down the other side before turning back round to run back to the ship. 

Running across the top of the big hill
It couldn't be a long one as I had to get back to take over from the guy who was duty the day before. Knowing how hot and humid it was going to be I knew I had to stay hyrdated, so I went with Green Tea Tailwind once more, making sure I had ample of fluids.The climb up the hill was tough and the descent was pleasant it was long but not knee busting steep. All in all a good run.

It was nice to get out on my own again, allowing me to ponder things. The area was pretty quiet at that time, birds were singing and it was nice. Busan is a good place to visit, with lots to do. Whilst there I found out that there is a trail from Busan to Seoul that measure 330 miles ish. Thus has given me an idea for maybe a future adventure, however not sure how the wife may feel about it yet. We shall see, I've plenty of ideas for my next big adventure but it depends on where I go after I leave this ship. 

Green Tea is yummy!
Running in Pusan is now the 8th different place I've ran in this trip so far, although it may not be as great as some of the others, it was by not disappointing at all. I recommend visiting this part of world, it certainly different, the South Koreans love their drink so be prepared to party hard. 

So by time this gets published I will be seeing my little family in 4 days time when they fly out to join me at my next stop for 2 weeks. It's going to be fantastic and I'm really excited. I know my son is going to have an amazing time. I'm glad I chose not to fly home, as there was so much hassle flying home thanks to the RAF, it almost doesn't seem worth it plus I'd have less time at home. 

#LiveitLoveitRunit taking in the views of Busan during a break in my run.
Well that concludes another blog for the time being and brings you all up to date, feel free if you haven't already to read the other blogs. 

Thank you to the continue support from everyone, and especially my sponsor Tailwind Nutrition UK. It's great to be a Trailblazer out here on my adventures. Until next time.



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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

一期一会 One life, one encounter

I think the title really sums everything up for me to be honest, I've been all about "You Only Live Once" now for a few years since first finding out one of my best mates had terminal cancer. The Japanese idiom "One life, one encounter" which means "Every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter" really sums it up to be honest. Despite being away from everyone for 10 months I plan to make the most of it.


Finally left Sasebo, Japan
Sailing from Sasebo eventually, although a good thing as it meant we were finally heading on to our next stop via our operational tasking, it was also a sad thing. I sort of fell in love with the place, it's beauty, it's people,  it's way of life. There was still more of the area that surrounded it that I wanted to explore. 

As we left though we didn't know exactly where our next stop would be, our original port of call of Okinawa was cancelled, and all we knew was it would more than likely be another Japanese port and it could be Sasebo again. It was not so, eventually after much deliberation, Okinawa was back on. There local elections going on in Okinawa, and the whole political situation of the Americans being there is a bit sensitive, the last thing they really want is a ship full of Matelots and Bootnecks going ashore getting drunk and possibly causing issues with the Americans which upsets the apple cart during the election period.  Anyway were going there but how things were going to go was still up in the air. My main concern was being able to go out side the base and run in what looks like a stunning Japanese Island.
Beautiful white beaches stretch around, stunning views, one side East China Sea the other the Pacific Ocean. The thought of running along the coastline with the potential views was starting to excite me. I'm hoping, all going well, I would be able to go stretch my legs along those coast paths. I have no doubt it would make my friends of the Plymouth Coastal Runners very jealous. 



Sunset, in Okinawa 
Since sailing, it's been back to the upper deck running and treadmill running in the gym. I'm not going to lie, I'm quite bored of it. The needs must, and it's some thing I need to do and even do more of. Arc of Attrition in February will soon be on my door step! I need to start thinking more positively about the AoA, as at the moment being away is not helping at all with my mental preparation for the event. If I was a runner who was as good as the likes of Dan Lawson, Robbie Britton or Damian Hall, I would be far more confident in how I would perform. Yet I am not, so I know I will be fighting all the way, every damn mile as far and as fast as I can go. 

I digress though, I still have another 6 months to go before I am home now 4 months have been completed. Strewth if the original plans were still going from our short notice deployment, we'd be heading back home now to complete a 5 month deployment by time we got back alongside in Plymouth. Alas it's not and we're out here for another 6 months carrying out our role enforcing UNSCRs and representing the flag in the area. 

On the 6th June, we had a remembrance service for two occasions, 1 was for D-Day 74 years ago, a day my Grampy Scott would never forget. The other was for Landing Craft Utility F4 now known as FJ which was sunk during the Falklands Campaign where her Coxswain and crew were all killed after saving over 100 Matelots from the burning HMS Antelope. It was renamed FJ after the Coxswain CSgt Johnston. The F stands for Fearless the ship it belonged to during the conflict. All the rest on board us start with an A except FJ herself. 

Remembrance Service for F4 and D-Day

So after 11 days of making sure the North Koreans weren't doing anything they shouldn't be, we got ourselves alongside in Okinawa, home of Mr Miyagi or so I thought! If you watched Karate Kid part 2, you would know he went home after hearing his dad was ill, alas the film wasn't actually filmed in Okinawa though it was filmed somewhere in Hawaii. Pretty gutting if you asked me, we've been watching the film a few times to get ourselves prepared to go there. There was not going to be any wax on wax off here. 


Naughty Chinese following us everywhere we went.
Okinawa is a pleasant place, although very politically sensitive. The islands has had an American presence and a lot of it (31 bases of various forms currently) since the second world war, and now using it as their gateway to Arabian Gulf as well as the Asian/Pacific region. I can understand why the Okinawan people feel a little bit intruded on. To this end we had to be careful of our presence as well as we don't want upset the apple cart while it's the local election period going on. 

With the Pacific Ocean on one side of the Island and the East China Sea the other side, it's easy to sea why this tropical island is popular now a days for tourists to visit. It has it's long history going back prior to WW2, and recently highlighted with the film Hacksaw Ridge. I battlefield tour I put myself down to visit. 



View from the top of Hacksaw Ridge
So the running, what about the running?? Well to be honest, running was as enjoyable as expected. Although we had limitations to where we could go i.e remain within the wire of the bases, we could still go for a run or a cycle outside of the wire. This was because they believe there was less chance of upsetting the locals during the election period if we were running or cycling. 


Powering up a little incline on a tiny trail section
For my first run I wanted to explore the wire of the White Beach Naval Base, and a little bit outside. To which I did, I went around the base, when I got to the main gate, I went out for a little bit and then came back in and continued my way around. The outskirts of the base wasn't flat it had some inclines, but the whole are was beautiful to be honest. I could think of a lot worse places to be stuck inside of a wire. The wire took me from one side of the base by the East China Sea to the other which was by the Pacific. The views were beautiful, and although it was very warm and humid, it didn't take away the enjoyment of the experience. 
Admiring the Pacific Ocean
Within the first few minutes of running, I was soaked in sweat. It was pouring from my brow down my face like a waterfall. It took me a few moments to get into my stride, but I was taking in so much of the sounds and views it didn't matter anyway. The base is surrounded by forest really, there is plenty of wildlife about including plenty of bats at night.

Outside of the base was slightly different, minimal traffic on the roads, pavements were in pretty good condition, so nothing to really grumble about. The place was full of ups and downs, and the buildings all look like they always take a battering from the weather when the tropical storms come around. There are even signs in the base for Tsunami evacuation routes!

I made my way back into the base and followed the wire around to the other side of the base, on the Pacific Side. Again the views were amazing, and as the sun started to set, it started to cool down. I found a drinking fountain to top up my water bottle, I had gone through one bottle of Great Tea tailwind and I need more liquid.


Green Tea was my flavour of choice during this stop

Over the next few days, as well as the odd run, I also went snorkeling. Just floating around in the beautiful sea was just what was needed. I bought one of those fancy full face snorkel masks and I won't lie, it was strange at first but once I got use to it, it was brilliant. So much better than the standard snorkel and mask set up.

I also took one of the lads from my department out for a run, to help him get more into it. He struggles with the fitness test, so I said I would take him out and show him how to enjoy running, which will help him in the end to pass his fitness test. We all have to start somewhere and treadmill running on board isn't the best way of getting into running in my opinion. It is of course a way of filling a need, but when you have places like Okinawa to enjoy, why stay on a treadmill?


My new snorkeling mask.
In other news, I've recently found out I have put 4th in the top 10 UK Ultra Running Blogs. When I found out I was a little taken back to be honest. I've been nominated before in various other Blog awards for running, but alas nothing has ever come from it. Also just being in the Top 75 Running Blogs in the UK was an achievement for me. To have a in the Top 5 of the UK Ultra Running Blogs is something totally unexpected. I know I'm not the best writer out there, I don't currently do it for finance etc, just for the fact I like writing about some of my experiences. I can only hope some of what I write was of any interest for others and maybe of some use. 

As it stands I will take that as a result, and to which I can thank all my readers for their support. I've started to put together my next short film for the first run in Okinawa, hopefully be done ready to up load when I next have good enough wifi in our next port of call. So keep any eye out for part 3 of my Far Eastern Adventure


Whilst I have this opportunity, I'd also like to congratulate all my friends who have been recently racing around the globe. From those who were racing in the Jungle in Peru to those racing more locally at Dartmoor Discovery, Classic Quarter, Jurassic 100 and many many more. Although I am away running in some beautiful spots, I'd rather be among friends racing and having fun. When I finally get signal and scroll through the various feeds seeing every one racing, it does make me homesick and very jealous. However you guys were amazing and there were some fantastic recent performances! Well done you all :) 


Until next time





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