Running Again

I’m on the train heading back home after running 12.21km south towards Yokohama. I think it’s the furthest I’ve run since the Marathon in February, and the first time I’ve done over 10km since May.

It’s extraordinary how out of shape I am. I used to have a really big barrier at 20km – that seems to have slipped back to 8km!

Having said that, I was running in 34 degree heat, which made it pretty tough. Sweated buckets.

Running empowers me. It satisfies me. It makes me feel alive (It also helps me deal with my belly…).

With the Autumn approaching I think this is a great time to pick it back up – and not just because I hope to run a marathon in February. The weather is usually perfect running weather, and well, there’s that ‘start of a new year’ feel what with kids going back to school.

I also feel that the older I get the more responsibility I have to actively look after my health.

Anyway, time to get off this train and step back into the heat. A cold shower awaits!

Tom and I run our first 15km

Great day today.

It started, in the beautiful autumnal morning sunlight, with Tom and I doing our first ever 15km run. This is a major achievement – I’ve never been a runner, and never would have thought that this year I’d be able to run 9.3 miles non-stop (ok, so I did stop briefly for a wee and to do my laces up).

We only started training about 7 weeks ago, and I remember how knackered I felt after doing 5km back then. The idea of doing a second 5km lap made me want to fall over.

Then last week we did the 10km. That was ok, although the final km sprint nearly killed me.

Today, my legs were fine until about the 12km mark, when my right knee – the infamous Trailwalker knee (which packed up on me halfway through the 100km Oxfam sponsored hike in 2007) started to ache. At 14km, my granny’s hip syndrome reappeared, as it does occasionally when I dance. But still, we did it.

I had my iPhone tracking us for the entire 1 hour, 17 mins and 23 seconds. The map can be viewed on EveryTrail, although I recommend downloading the Google Earth file (link on the main trip page) and viewing it in that, as you can zoom around the emperor’s garden and marvel at how we apparently jogged along the surface of the moat.

First ever 15km! at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging.

This is really exciting stuff! We’re thinking of entering the full Tokyo Marathon and possibly Honolulu Marathon in 2010.


After a trip home for a shower, I was back out to Shibuya for a private lesson, then a few hours spent editing the photos I took for the nail shop, C&K Nail. Here’s a few of the more interesting ones…

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Have you ever seen nails like this?! It’s one from their special winter range.

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Tonight I’m trying to catch up with my Japanese, as well as learn more about nutrition, and write a letter. Hmm, just not enough hours in the day!

I’ve decided to not eat any chocolate this week, so please, if you meet me on the street, don’t offer me any.

Thanks 🙂

The fragility of health

I’m reminded tonight of the relative fragility of our health. Following a week of intense activity (otherwise known as ‘Overdoing it’ or ‘being a Tame’), dad is back in hospital with continuous angina attacks. I don’t know the details – should find out in the morning. 

Another family that I’m very close to is also having a very difficult time, with one parent hospitalised, and two siblings undergoing chemotherapy. My heart goes out to you all.

Another relative of mine is suffering badly from the recent onset of some pretty aggressive arthritis, whilst a couple of other people close to me are battling depression, combined with other fairly serious ailments.

In situations like this I don’t know what I can do, other than send all affected my love, and keep them in my thoughts.

So that’s what I’ll do.

[UPDATE, 6 hours later: I’ve just spoken to mum. Dad is being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham) for a second angiogram and possibly angioplasty (and maybe fitting of a stent).

Despite having to be on a lot of morphine, he’s stable, and is being very well looked after.

The Exercise Project

This morning’s short jog, minus the first section where I was trying to get the GPS on the iPhone to work. Did a restart in the end.
Have you tried regular exercise over a prolonged period of time? I think most people probably have. For me though, it’s a first.

It’s still early days. The jogging-three-times-a-week thing only started a fortnight back, but already I’m noticing the difference. Firstly, my legs don’t hurt as much after a run. Secondly, for the first time in my adult life I can touch the ground without bending my legs at the knee (OK, so I have to do the splits, but it’s a start!).
But it’s not these things that I’m most pleased about – it’s the general feeling of healthiness. This week has been another week of very late nights and 7am starts, and not the most balanced diet in the world (haven’t been out for shopping lately so lunch tends to consist of white rice with sesame, 10 tangerines and 3 bananas). Despite this, I’m feeling really energised. I can feel a difference both physically and mentally. Feel much more alert.
And whilst I might be drawing lines where there are none, I’m sleeping much better too. It’s now often the case that as soon as I decide I want to sleep, I sleep. Deeply. Of course, this could be due to suppressed exhaustion, but I’m not so sure. It’s not been like this before.
So whilst I don’t recommend not getting enough sleep, I do recommend early morning exercise.
My regular route is published above, so you know where to find me if you’d like to join me 🙂
p.s. I think we have a Trailwalker Team! More news on that to follow. Now off to work.