Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Sasebo, so beautiful they made us stay longer

So my stay in Sasebo (see last blog) lasted longer than expected, we were due to sail on the Monday, but we wouldn't sail for another 9 days, so we pretty much had 2 weeks alongside. Not that I'm complaining of course, unless it scuppered stuff I was planning later on down the line.

This gave me more time to get out and about both running and being a general tourist. Sasebo is a wonderful place, and I can tell you I'd be happy to be drafted here if there were ever an opportunity of a draft for me. Alas I can't ever see that happening. The Americans have it so good here I can tell you and they are definitely looked after better than we are.
One of the many Torii's about the city.
I did a couple of runs just out side the base through the streets, making note of where things were to go see later. The streets and traffic aren't that busy here, although the traffic lights take forever to change. The area here is pretty safe and I would say you'd have no worries bimbling about at night on your Jack Jones.

I enjoyed the local food, nightlife as well as just being able to chill out on the base if I wanted. It was a shame to leave, however we still have a job to do elsewhere. It would be nice to visit this part of Japan again one day although I'm not sure if that will happen. Who knows!
Delicious Pork Ramen
I decided on one of the days after work to get myself off the streets and back up another mountain. I had a little google and tried to find the nearest accessible one. Luckily there was one in running distance away from the base.

I got myself to the base and started the long climb up, over 1800 ft of climb from bottom to top. The weather was a little over cast, but wasn't looking at raining. The views on the way up (and down) were amazing, but alas when I got to the top the clouds were low, so the spectacular view I was hoping for were dashed.
View on the way up to Mt Eboshi
There was some interesting things at the top, I'm not entirely sure what they were all about though. The route to the top was interesting once I got as far as I could by road, it changed to trail. It was a long steep climb over wet rocks and wet ground. I was glad I went with my trail shoe option I had with me, they can cope with some tarmac but they came into their own on the wet rocks and trail.

I eventually made it to the top and as I said the views were a little disappointing thanks to the cloud however I was glad I made it up there. After taking the usual pictures I made my descent back down. It was a little easier to run down the trail but too far more concentration over the rocks.

At the top of Mt Eboshi
I plodded my way back down the road until I finished at the bottom. Pretty pleased with myself, the temperature although warm and humid wasn't ridiculous like some previous runs. It was still hard work. I finished off the Mandarin Tailwind I had in my bottle and got myself back to the ship. Using the walk back from the gates to the ship as a warm down. I grabbed a Grape flavoured Fanta from one of the many vending machines to refresh my thirst as I bimbled back.

Fuelled by Mandarin Tailwind 
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Japan, it's a wonderful country and highly recommend it to any one.

I've also got round to finishing off my first running video of the trip. I'm not claiming to be as good as my friend Guillaume aka Runexplorer (his films are amazing!), I know I've still a lot to learn when it comes to shooting and editing, but it was fun creating. Here is the link to it, if you fancy watching Far Eastern Adventure Part 1. Also finished my second video which features both mountain runs which you find here Far Eastern Adventure Part 2.

Thirsty work this running malarky.
Alas my stay has finally come to an end, and we're off back to sea once more. My adventure continues somewhere else, the question is where? Who knows cos I at this point do not know LOL.

Thanks to the continued support from Tailwind Nutrition UK it's an honour to be one of their Trailblazers.

Until next time
Owain
#GoTailwind #TailwindTrailblazer

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Konnichiwa Daniel Son

As I was still coming to terms with the shocking news of the death of a running friend (see my last blog), we sailed from Brunei in the morning, to carry on with our tasking until we arrive at our next port of call which would be Sasebo in the Nagasaki district of Japan.

I've only ever been to Japan once and that was for 6 days in Tokyo back in 2000.  It's been 18 years ago since I last stood on Japanese soil and I never used to run back then. So I'm very much looking forward to doing so this time round.

Leaving Brunei
Again I attempted to do some research with our limit internet we have, and I've noticed there were a couple of mountains not too far away from the City limits. My goal is to try and venture up one of these, and get some trail running in.

The problem I have is, the ship is always miles away from any where and planning or executing the plans are never as simple as they seem. However this stop does seem to be the best opportunity so far. If all else fails I will get to run another in city.

I'm liking the look of Sasebo in general as it appears to be plenty to do from first glance, looking at the various websites like TripAdvisor. Plenty of cultural things to see, which is something I like doing, as well as the usual enjoying the nights out on the tiles.

As we steamed North, I continued my training at sea. As there were parkruns and runs being dedicated to our friend Sharon, I decided as I didn't have pink to wear, nor was able to do any of the planned runs. I thought it would be good to do a little triathlon of my own. With no pool available (it was very unlikely they would flood the back end of the ship where our landing craft live) for me to swim, I had to do something else instead. I decided the rowing machine would be a suitable swap. Row, Bike, Run would be my tribute to Sharon. Only a small one, but it was a little event suitable for me especially as I don't row or bike that often. I'm pretty sure she would've been happy with that.

I've been pretty much keeping my emotions and thoughts to myself over this, and just getting on with life. I'm away a long time and I really don't want to be depressed for the majority of it.

My local parkrun dressed in pink for Sharon (pic taken from Plymvalley parkrun FB page)
As we progressed northward the weather in the South China Sea started to change as we voyaged up towards Sasebo. The waters were no longer mirror, and the temperature was dropping from being in the 30's into the 20's. It started to make a big difference when it comes to sleeping, as my sleeping area is under our flight deck which just bakes in the Sun.

Eventually after a fair steam, we arrived alongside in the US Naval Base in Sasebo. Like always the first day was a full working day, I'm planning my running around the next couple of days including the usual sight seeing and socialising on top.

Stunning sunrise as we approached Sasebo
So I awoke at 5am to get myself ready for my run, although it is cooler here in Japan it was still quite warm even at 6am in the morning. I awaited on the Jetty for Kelly who was joining me for a run up the mountain, it would be the first run on this trip with company and I was looking forward to it. We directed ourselves to the exit of the dockyard and started our run. It wasn't long before we started our way up the mountain.

The first part took us through a small housing area, the road was narrow and steep. I wouldn't want to try driving around that area as it seemed to be a bit of a squeeze. As we made our way around the steps winding roads, we soon took a path that lead us to a trail section, I loved this section on the way back down. It was full of little shrine along the path, also we came across a memorial to a submarine crew. Not sure why it was up the mountain, but it was a lovely memorial.

Plenty of steps along the trail
Eventually we made it to the top, and I can tell you it was worth every bit of torture getting to the top. It was absolutely amazing. One view I could see over the bay where my ship was berthed and the other view allowed me to over look the "99 Islands".

We took break to take in the views and to catch our breaths. I was really glad I made the decision to go up there, than to take an easier run through the city area instead.  One thing it did show me, was how unconditioned my legs were to climbing. I've been so used to running on the flat, that my legs were really feeling it on the climb up to the top. With the Arc of Attrition in mind, I will definitely have to put some more effort into the stepper or something similar in the gym on board otherwise I will struggle far more on race day.

The view over the bay

Mountain Selfie
Eventually we made our way down, luckily it was all downhill. it was a good opportunity to stretch the legs out, we remembered the way we came up, and apart from the occasional stopping to see bits we missed on the way up we flew all the way down.

I was glad I took some fluid with me, as although I took some money with me I didn't have any change for the vending machines we came across along the way. The place is full of them, literally a drinks vending machine on every corner. 

This time I decided to go with Raspberry flavoured Tailwind. I don't normally use this flavour but I felt something different and to be honest it was a good decision. It was a refreshing change.

Tailwind Nutrition is all you need. 
We made it too the bottom, although it wasn't and uber long run, we covered around 5 miles in total but it was definitely a good work out much needed after the more mundane running on treadmills and the upper deck.

We used the walk back to the ship from the dockyard gate as our cool down The temperature was getting warmer and we were glad we timed our run right. The best way to describe the run, is that it is very similar to the Gibraltar Rock race. Although similar in distance I would say the climb was steeper. Plus it was a more scenically stunning. Definitely my best run on the trip so far, I'm looking forward to more of them.

Me and Kelly at the end. 
We got ourselves showered and not long after we headed out on a trip to Nagasaki. It was a 2 hour train trip to the other city. We decided we wanted to go visit the place the Atom bomb hit during WW2. The train trip although long was pleasant enough, and not that expensive, it cost about 2,500 Yen which is about £15 ish. We had to get a tram which felt very old school to go to the area of the ground zero. That costs 120 yen regardless of the distance travelling.

We started with the Atomic Bomb museum which was very humbling, before heading to the Hypocentre (ground zero) to see the memorial and finished with the peace park. It was really good, I'm glad we went because I don't think I would ever have the opportunity to go to such a promenade place in History again. If you do have the opportunity I highly recommend it.

Nagasaki
So that concludes my blog this time, I thoroughly have enjoyed my visit so far, the rest of time will be chilling and running. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed it.

Until next time
Owain
#Gotailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer