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.

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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! 

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Tailwind does Japan

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