10 km Down, 30 To Go!

Just made my goal!

Just made my goal as seen on my RunKeeper!

Yesterday I completed the first step on my long road to running a long run.  The Paracup was a fun race with plenty of people in amusing costumes to distract me from the fact that I was wearing long, winter pants, despite the balmy conditions, and that I had my iphone tucked into my bra because I had misplaced my armband.

My goal was to do it in under an hour and I just managed to sneak it in under the bar at 59 minutes flat.  The best part was that my foot injury seems to be on the mend after a couple of weeks of physio because I was able to walk normally, even after resting for a bit at lunch.

I’m on my way!

 

42 Years 42 Kilometers

I am worried I’m getting old.

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Proof that I’m aging!

Last week I went to the doctors to have my ears syringed, my minimum font size is now up to 10 point and I’ve started to enjoy gardening.  All the signs are there.

So I’ve decided to give myself a challenge that an old person would be mad to attempt to prove that I’m not quite over the hill yet.  I’m going to run the Tokyo marathon in 2017.

Now, this is the plan but there is no guarantee that I will be able to get in as entry is on a lottery.  If I don’t get in, I’ll have to run something else, but I’m going to attempt a marathon some how.

This is going to require a lot of preparation.  For the last couple of years, I’ve been slowly trying to make changes to my lifestyle in order to live longer.  I’ve been pescatarian now for two years and I’ve cut down on dairy except milk in my tea and cheese because a life without cheese is no life at all.

Then in September, I decided to get really serious and stopped drinking.  My goal at the time was to make it until Christmas but I managed to keep on going right through the holiday and into January.  After five months of not drinking, I felt absolutely miserable.  I decided this was not sustainable and decided to tweak my plan a bit.  I now pick one drinking occasion a month.  January was a trip to the robot restaurant in Tokyo, February was a ski weekend in Hakuba and March was the St Patrick’s Day weekend.  This month I have a date to share a bottle of Cloudy Bay with the fabulous Mrs Rossing.

Also in September I decided to start the 5/2 fasting plan.  My friend Kim has been doing this for a couple of years now and when I was visiting with him last summer, I thought he was insane.  Then I saw the Horizon program What’s the Right Diet for You which discussed this plan and I decided to give it a go.  So I now only eat 500 calories on Monday and Tuesday and just try to eat sensibly every other day.  On the sensible days, I don’t deny myself anything but I try to not overeat.  It is so much simpler than counting calories.

Since this time last year, I have lost almost 12 kg.  I’ve just got four more kilos to lose to make my goal marathon weight!

Now I’m concentrating on starting my training plan.  The 2017 Tokyo marathon will happen in March so I have plenty of time to prepare.  I’ve had a foot injury for almost a year that just isn’t going away and a crunchy knee that I decided to see a physio about.  I made an appointment for the first week of the Spring break and I left Tokyo Physio armed with a collection of exercises to do and a tonne of bruises from the sports massage.  It was agony but the physio assured me it was necessary.  I had a session again last week and the massage hurt a lot less this time.  Apparently that’s progress!

Work starts again on Monday and my plan is to run 3 times a week and go to the gym twice a week for the rest of the semester (ten weeks) to try and get back into a regular training pattern.  After that, I’ll reassess and look at working on increasing speed and distance.

So that’s the plan in a nutshell.  Now I need advice especially from anyone who has run a marathon before.  Recommendations for training plans and any other tips and pointers would be appreciated.  I’m going to keep blogging about my progress to try and keep motivated and for accountability and I’m tracking all my training on my RunKeeper too.

My next step is the Paracup 10km race tomorrow.  I want to finish in under an hour and be able to walk on my sore foot later on that afternoon.  If I can run 10 km successfully tomorrow, surely 42 km won’t be a problem in 12 months time!

Accident Etiquette

velooooooo-vi

I forgot to charge the battery of my electric bike last night.  This resulted in an accident on the way to school this morning as I was riding up a very steep hill.   As I compensated for the lack of battery power by shifting down gears, the bike slowed down so much, it tipped over!

This hurt me physically but that was nothing compared to the emotional hurt I was about to experience as I laid there on the side of the road.

First, a car went by me.  It slowed down to avoid me but didn’t stop.  I didn’t think too much of it as it is a narrow road and I reasoned that may be there wasn’t enough room for the car to pull over which explained why they kept going.

But then a number of people, all by themselves, walked by me too.

I thought this very strange and not a little bit hurtful!  Did they think that I was casually taking a rest on the side of the road with a heavy bike on top of me?  Did they think this was normal?

Were they worried that if they asked me if I needed help that I wouldn’t understand the Japanese?  This is definitely not the case.  My Japanese may consist solely of sushi ordering vocab and taxi instructions but lying there, prostrate, bleeding and in not an insignificant amount of pain, you could of asked me in Swahili if I was ok and it would have been clear to me.  You could have used one of the rarer Inuit languages to ask if I needed help and I would have understood you like it was my mother tongue!

Come on people!  When you stumble across a woman on her arse under a bike, help her up.  The bike is heavy and her day has not begun the way she planned.  Don’t ignore her and make it worse.  Lift the bike off her!

Image Credit
Shared on Flickr by Jhane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In Niseko…

Near enough is good enough in Niseko

When my name gets put into katakana is looks like this - ウィンスラド  メリリン!
When it gets translated back from katakana to romanji it looks like this:

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ウィンスラド/メリリン

Naked bath time in Niseko

One thing about travelling in Japan I’m always a little apprehensive about is the shared bath situation otherwise known as the onsen.

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Vegemite is in demand in Niseko!

Today I arrived in Niseko.  The town is teaming with Aussies and foreigners in general, just as I expected.  I went to book lessons at the English ski school only to discover they were almost booked out.  The queue at the local shop to pay for your vegemite was around the block.

But at my little, no-frills, Japanese style guesthouse – I am the only guest!  Private bathing guaranteed!

 

No-frills and no worries in Niseko

My accommodation takes basic to a new level.  The room is an empty tatami room.  I have two wafer thin futons that I have double stacked but I can still feel my hip bones grind on the floor every time I turn over.  They have supplied me with an abundance of pillows however, most of which I have fashioned into a chair so I can watch a movie on my computer in the evening.

On my first night, I discovered that I wasn’t supplied a towel in the room and I didn’t pack one either.  (I can feel my mother’s groan as she reads this!)  I contemplated the drip dry but it is way too cold here for that.  I had to beg a towel from the owner and he said that because I was staying so long he would let me have one!  Phew!

 

Nearly private lessons in Niseko

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Great weather so far. Hoping for some powder on my last day!

Yesterday I had a half day lesson and it was great.  The instructor said I should try the level up the next day so when I went to my lesson today, I explained this to the instructor for level 6 but he didn’t seem too keen in taking me.  In the end I stayed with the level 5 group but I pushed for the instructor to take us off piste and to do a couple of blacks as well.  The two other students weren’t that keen with this and after lunch they decided not to come back.

That meant I had a private lesson that afternoon for no extra money and it was great.  The instructor took me to do more off piste and a big long black too.  It was so much fun!  Can’t wait to scare some people off my lesson tomorrow!  😛

Update – another private lesson in the afternoon today with more off piste tree runs.  Super cool!

 

No wine in Niseko

I’m still on my alcohol free kick that I’ve managed to sustain since September.  Originally, I had decided to stay on the wagon until Christmas when I would re-evaluate the situation.  I was explaining this to the bar tender last night over my glass of water (straight up, no ice) and some edamame.  He turned out to be a Perth boy and he was both shocked an appalled at my sobriety.  He said if I came back at Christmas he would buy me my wine!

Now I’m really torn because I had almost decided not to break my sobriety after all and push on through to January when I’ve booked the Robot Restaurant for Jazz and co.  But it is free wine we are talking about here!

Update – I’m hanging on until 23rd January!  🙂

 

Notable quotes in Niseko

After attempting to ski off a ridge amongst the trees and stacking it at the base, I struggled to my feet and my instructor began to laugh.  He said, “If you want to know how hard you fell, take a look at the size of the hole you made!”

I turned and looked at the ginormous, arse-shaped dent in the snow.  I laughed with him but I died a little inside!

No more Niseko

It is time to head back to Yokohama and start recovering ready for my next ski trip in a week’s time.  This time I will be skiing closer to home in Shigakogen with team ‘Over-the-Hilbournes’!  This is a Japanese resort so it will be goodbye to Perth bar tenders and flat whites in the the cafes and hello eating in the hotel because there are no other options, anywhere!  I may get a onesie to blend in better amongst the locals as well!  Goodbye Niseko!

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These outfits are for all occasions – skiing by day and sleeping at night.

 

Image Credits

All images are by merilynw and shared on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A Week in Myanmar with Madrid

What a week!

October break is only a short holiday and normally I can’t be bothered organising anything for such a brief period of time.  Luckily, I know Madrid.  She’s a wonderful organiser and problem solver and was in top form in the lead up to this holiday.  She had a lot of great ideas of places to go and things to see and I was happy to agree to everything she planned as long as it meant I didn’t have to do anything in preparation for the trip.

We worked in perfect harmony together.  Or in actual fact, Madrid worked and I went along with it.

So here are my top ten moments, in no particular order, from Myanmar (with a bit of Bangkok thrown in).

#1  Brunch at the Sheraton in Bangkok

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Post lunch tummies on display!

Delicious although I did have a funny tummy from some suspect guava juice I drank at the market earlier in the day.  The facilities at the Sheraton however, were a pleasure to use and abuse.  Three visits and four courses later, I was ready to spend the afternoon having a manicure and a massage.

#2  Finding out we were going to Bagan.

I thought we were going to InLe Lake.    This turned out to be incorrect.  This is also the point when I realised that if I ever got separated from Madrid, I was going to be in real trouble as I had no idea of our flights, hotels or basically any of the plans whatsoever.

#3  Fruit Loops for breakfast

My all time favourite breakie and Kim let me buy a box from the supermarket.  I hope Alex enjoyed the left overs!

#4  Myanmar fashion

I got a bit carried away with ‘longhi’ purchasing.  I bought four in the end and they are all beautiful.  I’ve worn them all to work already!

#5  Burmese food is not my favourite

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I don’t know what this is. I just know it is greasy!

We tried a number of items at a number of places but I still have nothing nice to say about the local Myanmar cuisine.  Our best meal was at a Thai restaurant.  Our second best meal was a shared box of sesame and peanut brittle.

#6  Getting a bit too comfortable

On about day 3, I realised Madrid and I had swapped toothbrushes without noticing.  We didn’t speak of this again but continued to use each other’s brushes in total denial.  I threw ‘mine’ out the moment I got home.

#7  Getting Madrid on a scooter

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Now that is concentration!

Turns out, she’s a natural!

#8  Massages and manicures

My disco toes were a hit and the shellac on my finger nails stayed on for a month!  The massages were mostly awkward for me but I liked the foot ones.

#9  Sightseeing in Yangon and Bagan

What a cool country.  I can’t wait to go back!

#10  Getting home and still having a whole day of hols left.

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Pots on fire!

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Sunset in Yangon

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Temple in Yangon

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Girl selling souvenirs

 

Home James!

Day twenty-nine – Yokohama

Today I learnt this little gem.  Don’t pack 3 kg of self-raising flour in your hand luggage when travelling through Heathrow Airport.  I was held up in security for almost an hour.

There are no photos for this post.  You can use your imagination instead …

 

Last Days in London

Day twenty-six – London

Today I travelled back to London and the hospitality of Karen and Kieren.  We attempted to watch Dumb and Dumber 2 but failed to see it through to the end because it was truly that bad.  The Thai takeaway food though was great and so was the company!

Day twenty-seven – Second last day in London

I love the Facebook.  Through the FB, my cousin that I hadn’t seen for years found out that I was in London, contacted me and today we had a really wonderful time catching up and looking at art at the Wallace Collection.

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Lunch and chat at the Wallace Collection

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Demonstrating the selfie-stick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day twenty-eight – Last full day in London

Today I did my final shop (toothpaste, underarm deodorant and self-raising flour plus a couple of impulse buys I couldn’t resist) and met Heather for lunch at the Bear and Staff in Leicester Square.  I then dragged her along to the National Gallery for a free tour.

There was a big crowd for the tour so I told Heather we may need to use our elbows because it was important to stay at the front of the group.  A crotchety old lady carrying her own chair, complained to the guide about me but he seemed to realise I was just joking.

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Heather and I soaking up the culture!

After the tour, I sped down to New Eltham for my final go on Disney Infinity.  That is a really fun game and I like playing it with vastly younger than me people!  I had my final dinner and a movie with Kim and Vicky before getting back to London Bridge for my last night’s sleep in the UK.

Finally a big THANK YOU to all the people who kindly put me up over the last month.  You are welcome any time to Yokohama!  They were:

Kim, Vicky and Zac
Simone, Chris and Ella
Mako and Kiyo
Karen and Kieren

Onigiri on a Mountain

Day twenty-five – Still Swansea

Today I learnt how to make another Japanese dish!  I made onigiri, which is the world best food to take on a picnic, with Mako.  Who knew that there was such a culture of Japanese cuisine in Wales!

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The finished onigiri – yum!

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The onigiri sensei (arms only) and her student!

Later we took the picnic up a very large hill where we asked an older gentlemen to take a photo of us on my iPhone.  I showed him the button to press and he seemed to take it all in quite well.  Mako, Kiyo and I all posed around this stone on the top of the hill.  After a few seconds, I noticed a click-click-click sound being repeated.  Eighty-nine photos later, I realised he didn’t know to take his finger off the button.  Here are a sample of the shots we got.

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Thanks again to Mako and Kiyo for a great weekend in Wales!

First Day in Swansea, Swansea

Day twenty-four – Swansea

Bit confused at first on my way to Swansea.  The train announced that we had arrived at Abertawe/Swansea.  I thought this must be a suburb of Swansea so I went up to the information man at the Abertawe/Swansea station and asked how to get to the main station.

I was already there.  Abertawe is just Welsh for Swansea and I felt a bit of a drip.

Back to a little bit of Japan in Wales and a fab afternoon and evening with Mako and Kiyo.  Mako and Kiyo were my neighbours in Yokohama for the first year I was there until they heartlessly abandoned me for a much bigger house and an endless supply of prawn cocktail flavoured crisps in Swansea.

Tonight Kiyo taught me how to make Gyoza.  (Mako had already taught Kiyo earlier!)  Fabulous!

Making Gyoza

The sensei and his student!

Making Gyoza

I’m so excited!

Making Gyoza

The finished product cooking nicely

Nothing to Report from Newport

Day twenty-two and twenty-three – Newport

Back in the United Kingdom and two nights in a B&B in Newport.  I have nothing to report for these two days.  Absolutely nothing of interest happened in a place that proved to hold no interest for me.

I dreamt of Seasalter instead!  😉