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.

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
#Gotailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

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