I’ve had a week to recover and I finally have enough energy to sit down and bash out the story of last weekend and a really fun run! Here are the highlights!
Simon drove me and Ange in his zippy, Japanese-sized car. It was great to be able to go somewhere with the convenience of a car for a change and I was able to bags the front seat too!
As chief navigator, I relied on google maps to get us up and back. We questioned google’s advice on the way up and got stuck in a traffic jam so on the way back we decided to just do whatever she said. There was one point where Simon was still a bit suspicious of the instructions though. Google told us to continue straight ahead into what appeared to be someone’s gravel driveway. It did in fact turn out to be a bit of a driveway but google was right and it did connect us to an actual road again and back on the expressway. And we got to wave at residents as they came out to see who was coming along their alleyway. We didn’t question google again!
Winter in summer
Since returning to Japan at the beginning of August, I had found running to be quite challenging in the heat and I was worried about doing a half marathon in the summer. It was hot and humid when we left Yokohama but by the time we got up the mountain, it was raining heavily and absolutely freezing. Despite all of us being seasoned travellers, none of us had had the forethought to pack anything but short sleeves. During our visits to the caves and other tourist spots, I kept my eyes peeled for a jumper shop but no luck.
The upside of this though was that the race day on Sunday was also cool with just a light mist of rain – perfect for running up a big hill!
On the rainy Saturday, we had to find indoor activities to amuse us and Mami booked us in for a cooking lesson for lunch. So all six of us landed at what turned out to be someone’s house to cook ‘hoto’ noodles. The noodle is made from just flour and water and I volunteered to do the mixing. Our finished noodles did not look that pretty but they sure tasted great!
For dessert we decided to stop by an ice-cream stand despite the fact we were all freezing! There were a lot of flavours to choose from and some were quite unfamiliar to my Australian experience. Here are some of the flavours that were unusual to me:
- cheese and biscuit
- sweet potato (purple)
- sweet potato (orange)
- soba (buckwheat noodle)
- macha (green tea)
- black sesame
- azuki (red beans)
I settled on giving the wasabi a go but when I tried to order it, everyone around me including the ice-cream lady herself, gasped with shock! Quite a lively commotion ensued with everyone getting involved in trying to dissuade me. The ice-cream lady said it would be too hot for me and flatly refused to sell it to me! I finally convinced everyone that I could handle it but the ice-cream lady felt that she couldn’t charge me full price for what she clearly thought was an insane choice of flavour and gave me a ¥50 discount!
Finally we made it to the race venue and we were all excited and ready to go!
Next we did a warm-up with all the other participants.
And about two and a half hours later we were all finished with just enough energy to do one big jump.
I was really happy with my time considering I did a 500+ m climb over the course of the race! Here is a snapshot of my results both official (right) and unofficial (left)!
A BIG thank you to our support crew of one – Angela! She had many duties over the weekend including covering my back in bandaids so that my sports bra didn’t rub all my skin off and being my modesty curtain when I was trying on a top at one of the race stalls. You’re the best Ange! She was also the official photographer for the weekend and took most of the shots I’ve used in this post.
Finally it was time for a well earned drink – not the grass we were drinking in this photo below though – and to head back to Yokohama. Simon’s small Japanese car proved to be a prison of pain for me after about half an hour into the trip but we pushed on to get home as quickly as possible so I could finally stretch my legs out again.
Next challenge – 30km run in October!