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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#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer


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