Sunday, February 9, 2014

いわきサンシャインマラソン/Iwaki SunShine Marathon Race (err... Trip) Report

The marathon race report that wasn't....

As much as I love running races, I also enjoy writing a good fun race report afterwards and thinking of all of the ways I can make fun of myself (usually not all that difficult).
Although this time around before I could even make up lame excuses and dog on myself for why I didn't run the time I thought I could, the race got cancelled...!!!
The biggest snow storm to hit the Tokyo / North of Tokyo area in over 10 years dumped a crapload of snow all over Japan from like Tokyo up a hundred miles or so north.  And the area the race was (Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture - located Here) was right in the wheelhouse of the storm.

So what is the customary song for you, the reader of this blog (you and the 5 to10 other people who read it besides myself :-) ) to listen to which captures this awesome blog entry...?
I am going with the following:
Bowling for Soup  -  Almost

Why is it the theme song?  Well...

  • I yet again *almost* did something awesome earlier today - i.e. almost put in an awesome time.  As my training has been going awesome lately.  Although this time I didn't even get to start to try to prove it...!
  • The song/video seems to capture my life pretty well.  I have almost done all kinds of awesome things.
  • I can relate to those dudes in the video.  I lived somewhere between their world and the cool guy's world in H.S. (so I guess that puts me somewhere between Chris Christie & David Wildstein :-)  ).  I was the best golfer on an inner-city High School in Flint, MI.  And I dated a few decent chicks here and there in H.S.  That is saying something / has got to count for something right...?     Err... ... ...  No.
  • Finally it is a great / fun song, that is the main reason for it being the theme song.  

So back on point here and backing up a little bit...
Since start of this year I have taken my running to a whole other level.  I got a running coach at the end of last year, and after him kicking my ass about not following his brutal schedule to a tea I have been waking up in terror most mornings thinking of the run I have to somehow try to accomplish on his masochistic schedule, although somehow finding a way to get it done.
Speaking of which next time I see him upon returning to The States I am still debating whether to thank him or slug him a good one due to the brutalness of his schedule for me.  He is a skinny running guy so I am thinking I could take him.  I think I will go with thanking him as I am becoming a way better runner.
Also I have also had a solid 1/2 year now without injury so I am rounding into the best running shape of my life by a decent margin.

Accordingly.... my next race end of spring in the US I am absolutely getting mine!!!  Already signed up and I have absolutely got to take advantage - everything is going my way right now... well less this (non)race.

Anyway... back to my (non)race report here  -  after getting back to Japan after the holidays leading up to this race I was thinking what motivational words of wisdom could I use to draw the proper perspective to take me to the next level...?

And since over the holidays I spent my time with my better half along with our two girls - a soon to be teenager and another right behind her - and the music they listen to;  I ended up with the following questions to motivate myself:

  • "You want a PR?".     Yes Please
  • "You want a Lamborghini?".     Sure - who doesn't want a Lamborghini
  • "Sip Martinis?".     Yes Martinis are good
  • "Look hot in a bikini?".     Well when I go to the beach or pool I am not usually wearing a bikini, but sure, I guess I wanna look hot in a bikini

"You better work b^*#!  (Ted)".

And so I heeded the the wise/sage advice of Britney Spears, and I have been going to work!  I have been *crushing* my runs since the start of this year.  Side bar:  I have to admit... I love hanging with our girls as (among many reasons it is great fun) it gives me an excuse to listen to music such as this as otherwise I would be too "highbrow" to admit that I am listening to - when I know plain and well this is my kind of music.
Conclusion to be drawn:  my level of refinement = somewhere around that of a 12 year olds.
But anyway, back on point here, due to the massive snow storm, I didn't even get a chance to look hot in a bikini this morning at the race.

So when I found out there was no race this morning I decided I would at least make the best of it and go out for a 12 mile fun run, and snap some pictures of all of the snow.  What a great call - (most) all of my disappointment was washed away after a good run.  A good run can fix most any crappiness you are experiencing in life.   I love running.  :-)

So here are a few pics...
Outside the hotel

another one outside the hotel

The hotel itself - the Iwaki Toyoko Inn

Street outside the hotel pre-run

Pretty view during run

Towards the end of the run - had a dude snap a picture

After my run in Iwaki I had to drive home to Ota in Gunma Prefecture and all of the toll road expressways (常磐,  北関東, 東北) were closed due to the snow.  So my drive home was 6+ hours - I was quite proud of my Japanese sign reading and navigational skills though I must say - as I was driving through all kinds of way local roads with mostly no map to go by.  No mistakes made.
I thought that was so friggin lame though all of the toll road closures.
I had to pay 3,850 Yen to drive to from Ota to Iwaki.  That is like $40 bucks USD.
And for that those chumps can't keep some trucks around ready to plow the roads...?  Lame and weak!  Lame and weak!
Most all things run by the government are lame and weak.
Ted Editorial Comment:   Ugh... my massively liberal self becomes more and more conservative by the day (it is aberrant to observe).

Anyway that is about all I got.  Drinking beer tonight for the first time in a long time.  Will have get to drink a few more times before going back to The States for farewell party type things (I am transferring within my company from Japan back to the US after 3 years here in Japan) I think but other than that it will be (unfortunately) no drinking until next race late spring.

Running is Awesome!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bring it - いわきサンシャインマラソン

T-minus 2 days until the いわきサンシャインマラソン (Iwaki Sunshine Marathon).
I can't wait!!!

I love everything about marathon race week;
  • Watching all kinds of running / workout videos to get me fired up like this this one, this one, and this one.
  • Lining up all of the songs on the iPod.
  • Tapering down so getting extra sleep in.
  • Figuring out what to wear.
  • Planning my trip to get there.
  • Listening to music to amp me up all week.
In general it is just a great block of building anticipation throughout the week.

Although for it looks like for race day the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon will have nill Sunshine!!!

Looks like on race day 2/9 a 70% chance of snow-sleet-rain with a 100% chance of totally sucking.  
And on Saturday an 80% chance of snow.  Which means the roads may have snow and ice on them.  Argh!!!
And I don't know what that little snowman is doing smiling there.  I want to punch him in his face.
Anyway, what additionally sucks is that it while it has been cold here in January, it has been dry pretty much the entire month.  So now on the one day I have a race it is going to sleet-snow-rain...

This doubly sucks as since I have been sticking to my tortuous running schedule from my running coach (if you are a going to be a running dork - you might as well go all in!) it is making me a considerably better runner and I am ready to drop down a PR, but this weather is going to screw me.  Ugh!

Anyway, gotta put that out of my mind and keep getting amp'ed up.  For now this will do it - 

Sunday, January 12, 2014


No big race reports of me imploding or anything overly exciting to report on my widely (not!) read blog, but many goodness things going on in my boring cog-in-a-big-wheel-at-work, runner, suburbanite when in the US, bachelor when in Japan husband/dad, friend to many great folks, ordinary life.

So randomly... first on the running front;
As I have been banging my head against the wall for about a year now without real progress in my running times, I finally broke down and got a kick-ass running coach.  Holy good decision Batman...   Great guy, got me on a focused program to achieve my goals (hugely needed), and already knows how to push my buttons to piss me off and encourage me in alternating fashion.
I can finally see a realistic path to a sub-3 hour marathon.  It is going to happen.  It is great to have an an actionable gameplan to get there.  Just need to focus, knuckle down, and execute.

Speaking of focus, a fun thing from work, we have had a couple of Badmitten and table-tennis square offs at work recently, and most of the people I work with are all super nice, but as it is a pretty hyper competitive industry we work in and hyper competitive company we work at as well, you get all these nice people with this burning competitiveness always just below the surface.
And that competitiveness comes out when you start playing a supposedly fun and friendly game of Badmitten or table-tennis.  Here is a group picture from one of said get togethers at the end of last year.
Good times...

A to remain unnamed coworker/friend from above picture was Mrs (or Mr will keep it a mystery) nice-person as we played a few (supposedly) friendly games of Badmitten.  And myself and my game-partner found ourselves beating Mrs Nice-Person.  And said Mrs. Nice-Person on one point yelled at her partner (who is the absolute nicest person) after a point they lost "Focus!".
It was so funny (and also awesome) to see that competitive streak surface.  And they promptly went on to stomp us and close out the match.  But we have not let this joke go and it is now one of my favorite sayings at work which I find I can work into a joke in almost any situation.  Great fun.

Also this end of year and into this first week of 2014 I have been able to be back in the US and so spent tons of time with the family.  Sooo great to be together with / spend time with them.

Additionally got to get in some quality reading over the break, most enjoyed the book Teardown by Gordon Young about my hometown.

Since I have been back in the States over the Holidays/start of the year I have got to see/visit with a number of current and old/former work and in general friends which has been great.  It is so rewarding to catch up with old friends.

So heading into 2014, it is all about "Focus!".  And this begins with bringing focus to my executing to a sub-3 hour full marathon.  Gotta make it happen.

So... for a song have been digging on recently, and my theme (well at least for today because I am digging the song) it is time for the non-focus'ed nice guy running Ted to "Move over nice dog, a Big-Bad Dog is moving in."

George Thorogood & The Destroyers - Move It On Over

Happy Running.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I didn't deserve that...

I love obscure movie quotes.  Especially ones from cool movies from my youth.

As I was driving home today from my absolute implosion (spoiler alert) at the 大田原マラソン (Otawara Full Marathon), I thought back to this scene / quote from the awesome movie The Color of Money with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.  
Towards the end of the movie when Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) gets back into playing pool himself he has this great short scene in a pool tournament:
I (Ted) would be playing the role of Duke in the scene...
 I didn't deserve that
Click on the above image for a portion of the scene - love it!

While I may think I didn't deserve the absolute drubbing the marathon applied to me today... I probably did.

Anyway... what an absolute disastrous race today.  Wow.  I would have never thunk it before the race.
To review for those keeping score at home I am trying to break 3 hours in a full marathon before I am kicking up daisies.
And towards that goal I managed to take a big fat step backward today...

So anyway, here was a picture prior to the race: 

I was absolutely ready to go!  While I was coming off an injury from July - September, I was (am!) 100% healthy on the injury front now, and as I know my body and my running pretty well, I realistically figured I would come in around somewhere between 3:05 ~ 3:08.

Earlier this spring I was in really good running shape (for me) and I thought I had a real chance to break 3 hours, but it didn't happen.  And while for this race I had not built back up to that level after my injury, I thought if everything went perfectly I could find myself in the hunt at the end for a sub 3.
Well... ... ...  err... ... ...  Not so much.

So here is how it went down...
Prior to the race I ended up relieving my intestinal track too much, and that coupled with it being a later start (10:00am) found me hungrier than normal prior to the race.
So I got a bowl of udon noodles - I only ate the noodles, and while udon noodles are super plain I am thinking that as I don't eat them that much, this is what messed with me (read on).

Anyway, the race go underway, all was normal for about the first 3 or 4 miles.
Then I started getting a pretty good side stitch.  Although I figured "Ok, I have got plenty of these before, it will go away after a few miles, just run through it".  So I figured I would.
I had it on and off for the first half of the race, and crossed the half-way mark of the race in 1:34 on my watch and figured "Ok... I spent the first half of the race dealing with this side stitch, and thus didn't spend a lot of 'real' running energy, I am good to go here, while I may not break 3 hours, 3:05 should still be in the cards".
And so I was rolling normally around until about mile 15, when my right side stitch spread to my entire stomach area and stopped me dead in my tracks.  I couldn't believe it.  I couldn't even walk!
It was massive pain and it was wrecking my entire race...  Argh... what a total-total pisser!  "What have I done to deserve this after bringing myself back from injury since September!" I thought.
I then had to walk bent over for about 2 min, and then slowly could at least walk normally, and I figured "Crap, this really, really, really, sucks!!! I am going to have to just cash in my chips and call it a day".
But then I thought, "No, I have got to respect the institution of the marathon, suck it up, take your medicine (metaphorically speaking), swallow your pride, and finish this S.O.B. out!".
So I tried...  I really tried...  Respect the institution of the marathon Ted!!!  I thought to myself.

But my whole stomach area was cramping like crazy.  And the weird thing is that I never have such problems during my long runs... What the f***!?!?!  
From like around mile 15 to mile 18 I could hardly walk.  I was in utter disbelief.  What had I done to deserve this crap-a** fate.   
So I was like "Screw the institution of the marathon, I am done with this bull-s***!!!"
And so I asked volunteers out on the course if there was a way to cut the race to the end, as I was D. O. N. E. done.
I was told if you can make it to the 35km mark, then you are at the stadium ending area.  So I was like 'great'.  And so I fully planned on dropping at that point, so was just walking, talking to people, being the fun foreigner in the race (I counted 3 others out of about 5 thousand), screwing off, and again planning to just cash in my chips at 35km and call it a day and DNF.  Screw the institution of the marathon.  I could hardly walk.
Then I got to around the 35km mark - I was thinking I would be at the finish area (and the course would take the runners 'out' for another 7km, it was not the case - I was still a ways away).  It was actually an explicit place to "リタイア" (retire).  Side note: when you call it a day in a race in Japan it is called to "retire"  -  the word is taken from the English word to 'retire' so it sounds pretty much like the English word (just like it in Katakana).  I love that.  I don't know why, but I find it hilarious that one would "retire" from a single race.  Having said that I was fully planning to 'retire' from this race.

Anyway, at this place to 'retire' / cash in your chips I learned after conferring with people there for a few minutes, that I would have had to wait at least 30 minutes in the "retire" area to get a bus back to the finishing area.  
S***... ...  I could walk to the finish faster than that.

So I just sucked it up and started to mix walk-jog.  And I was stopping to give just about every volunteer, and 100% of every kid out on the course a high five - actually I was giving high-tens (both hands) with most of the kids, and thus was the resident joker most of the rest of way in chatting it up with everyone around me the rest of the way in.  It was fun to now be having fun and making something enjoyable out of something so crappy.

I had been walking so much and intended to quit so I had no idea what my time would be.  
3:45... 4 hours...?  Had no idea.
Then finally around 39 or 40 kilometers my stomach massive stitches went away...  
Are you kidding me!!!?
So I went into like a 6:30 pace for the last 2 kilometers of the race just for the hell of it, swerving around giving high-fives, and was passing people like nobodies business.  
"Ohh... ... Mr. Big Shot running fast the last mile of the race after completely screwing the pooch up until then".
Anyway, I learned at the very finish my time was 3:35.  What a joke.  My first marathon ever was a 3:39.
BTW I don't mean that in any way other than to comment on what I - myself should be capable of.  As finishing a marathon no matter what someones pace is is awesome.  I only mean that as much as I run, that is not a good time.

Anyway... so here I sit eating a big piece of metaphorical Humble Pie...

But you know what...
So what?!
I will realize my dream of running under a 3 hour marathon.  I just wasn't to be today.  And in reality with my injury in July - Sept I know I am still not there yet but it is coming around.  I will have my day!
I am going to get a running coach over the Holidays back in the US to help me get there.  I need it.  I am banging my head against the wall at this point.

Even with all of this I am not to be deterred though.  Running is still so fun.  I love absolutely everything about it!
And whether you run slow, fast, semi-fast, or whatever it is pace that you/I run at, it has in my case, besides my awesome family, given me such happiness in life.  And thus I find it hard to be mad at running...

So after I (continue) to drink here tonight and eat a bunch of crappy food for a few days... (why did I eat all these fu-fu foods for like 9 months - all for nothing!  Time to eat crappy for a bit!) I will then be back at it baby!

So how about something kick-ass, as this blog entry is not.  How about this awesome MSU Spartan Nike commercial....?!
Yeah... baby!
Go Spartans!!!

Finally... Running is Awesome!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ota Subaru 1/2 Marathon Race Report - Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Today marked the yearly running of the 太田スバルマラソン (Ota Subaru 1/2 Marathon) here in my "home town" of Ota - Gunma Prefecture Japan.

Will go with the following for theme song for today's race:
Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee

Elton's suit and glasses (goggles) are dope!
This was one of the first songs I have a memory of having the "45" record of when I was a little mite.  I thought it was the jam.  I put it on to the iPod recently and re-remembered that this song is in fact still the jam.

It is the theme song for my race today as running is absolutely awesome, but she (running) keeps on breaking my heart.  I wish she would stop breaking my heart.
Such an elusive vixen is running.
But just like Kike Dee (great 70's stage name) says in the song - she (running) won't go breaking my heart.
As running is too awesome to always break your heart, and gives back what you put into it (and then some).

My heart was slightly broken though today due to another not so good time for the 1/2 marathon - 1:31.  Four minutes off my best, and I gotta do way better than this if I am ever to get under 3 hours in a full-marathon (life derelict level obsession).

It was an absolute perfect day today here in Gunma, maybe a little warm - upper 50's low 60's by the end of the race and sunny, a little windy, but still in total an awesome day.  A great day to be out running and living life.

I splurged a couple hundred Yen (couple bucks) a few days ago and bought a Halloween hat and scarf to start the race off with - gotta have a little fun!  Here are a few pre-race pics with my color coordinated Halloween running stuff on (note the top of the bill on the hat is yellow - matching my shirt - I am a fashionista).  One solo and one with a gent from work.

Had some fun looks / a few fun comments prior to the race - a mom took a picture with a little boys soccer team who were doing the kids run (I should have had her take one with my camera darnit).
Foreigners way stuck out - I saw one other Caucasian dude in the entire race area - maybe 7,000'ish people, thus little kids sometimes like to say "Hi" in English for the novelty of - all good fun.

So anywho, was off to the start and lined up with my 3 years running rival Sakakibara-san (we tied in this race last year at about 1:30) and a few other works friends.
I planned on wearing the hat and feather-scarf thing for a while during the race to have fun, but about 200 yards after starting the feather-scarf thing was already annoying me, so I grabbed it off and thought would throw it off quickly on the side of the road.  In Japan though throwing stuff away is way frowned upon (one thing I really like about Japan - it is so clean), so I figured better to give to the next person on the side of the road figuring they would take care of it for me (typical presumptuous bad-foreigner).
But I was going to hand it off it anyway, and without looking much (as I needed to concentrate on all of the people jockeying around at this point in the very start of the race), I started giving it off when I noticed I was giving it to a group of about 5 police officers.
Gack....  "Is this ok?  Am in trouble here?" I thought for a split second, but noticed one of the officers was sticking his hands out to accept it.  Whew... misdemeanor / cultural faux pas averted.

Continued on with the hat for a few kilometers and then threw it off where looked was ok to do.
What a trouble-making 外人 (foreigner) I am.

I tried to settle into a pace groove but since I forgot to take my Garmin watch to the race (typical knuclehead move) I didn't know except by feel how was doing.  Figured was running slightly under a 1:30 ending pace which was the goal.

About halfway into the race I noticed my calves starting to hurt.  I ran a 1/2 marathon last weekend, and for that race and this one I ran in my 4mm drop Saucony Mirage's (love 'em).
I also run/train in 8mm and 12mm drop shoes.  And the lower drop shoes work your calves more.  My calves were a little sore this past week but by Thursday or Friday felt fine so I figured no big deal.
Another knucklehead play.  Should have ran in the 8mm drop Saucony Hurricane's (also love them) to try to temper down this predictable issue (sore / cramping calves).

Thus as the race progressed on Crampy McCrampstein started poking, and then got to stabbing, his trident into my calves.
So if I could have seen my splits :-), I am sure I would have seen them falling off in the 2nd part of the race due to Crampy.  Which is usually not an issue as I am usually a dependable (albeit slow) even split runner.
So Crampy rode me into the finish line freely stabbing away in the later miles and thus I was way glad to be done and no longer have to hang out with McCrampstein.

I think back-to-back 1/2 marathons a week apart may not be a good idea.  I have no idea how Yuki Kawauchi (running deity) can churn out the world class level times he does with races so close together.  That dude is an absolute freak of nature combined with hard as nails determination.

Anyway - it was a great feeling to be done.  I drank a ton of water and sports drinks upon finishing.
Side note:  This is the only race I can recall in Japan which has unlimited drink refills at the finish.  Also continuing the side-bar, this race has so many volunteers, great support, and is run great.  An absolutely awesome race to have in my home away from home - home town.

I then snapped off / had snapped off a few pictures after the race:
One of Tajima-san (who putting an a** whupping on me by about 2 min). me, and my arch-rival (but great guy), Sakakibara-san.

I took out Sakakibara-san by about a minute this year, and so I took this picture with him:
I was brushing him off my shoulder  :-)   and so had to explain to him the meaning of the Jay Z song Dirt Off Your Shoulder (not sure it translated well - some jokes are best left in their original language).

The stadium which the race ended in and where everyone gathered.  Just a great day.

One last one before leaving had some dude take of my narcissistic a**.

The big takeaway I have reflecting on this race and running in general is that there is no true replacement to improve your running times other than... running.  Who would have thunk it... :-)
There is a reason I went to Michigan State.
Although the University of Momma's boys (UofM) better get ready for a smack down next weekend.

As I had my mileage knocked down from about 55 miles a week (and quite a bit more the week I blew up and got injured) down to around 15 to 20 max for 1.5 months due to an over-usage IT-band injury (idiot move), it has notably knocked back my running fitness.  You can do all the elliptical'ing and swimming you want, but nothing replaces getting out there and having at it running.

T-minus 27 days until fall full marathon.  Time to see what I can pull together by then...  Will be fun seeing what I can pull together.
Just don't go breaking my heart too much running you vixen!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

International Turtle 1/2 Marathon Race Report - Blame it on the Rain

Lets get right to the theme song of my race today:

Milli Vanilli - Blame it on the Rain   (never a cheesier song has there been)

Today marked the 42nd running of the タートルマラソン国際大会 - The International Turtle Marathon (the homepage of the race looks so sunny and everybody looks so happy... false advertising!).
They couldn't have made up a better name for the race today.  As turtles like water (and we had *plenty* of that today), and I ran like a turtle, here is my crap time:
1:31:32.  Ugh...
Why must I suck so badly...?

Wait... I know why.
Thanks Milli Vanilli, let me quote your song which you didn't even sing (which is besides the point but funny nonetheless):
   Gotta blame on something...  Gotta blame on something... 
   Blame it on the rain. 

Actually though even Milli Vanilli excuses can't save me here, I just sucked.
I can always try with the excuses though... I just got over my IT-band nagging injury and I sucked it up because of that, it rained a lot and really hard, it was windy, it was crowded, we were brought to a dead halt due to a massive puddle/hole turn around mile 5, I wasn't loved enough as a child, and blah, blah, blah.  :-)

Anywho, for the recap;
  • I got there, it was freezing a** raining.
  • I somehow lost my iPod Shuffle just before the start in the race in the bag-drop area.  Curses!  This pretty much set the tone for the race.
  • I was way rushing to the start line (due to searching for my iPod at the bag drop area), started in way too late of a coral.
  • Here is about what anyone's face looked like looking up to the sky (courtesy of / credit to Mark Wahlberg & George Clooney from "The Perfect Storm"  -  it rained in that movie a bit too).
  • It was absolutely flat out pouring.
  • The "out" of the out-and-back course had us running into a diagonal wind and rain.  And the rain was coming down and pelting so hard I could hardly keep my eyes open because the rain was thumping my eyeballs.  I wish I had worn sunglasses to protect my eyeballs from the pummeling they were receiving from the rain.
  • Then we turned around at the out and back.  It seemed like the wind was now not helping us (not sure if it shifted but I could not have been in a more pissed off mood at this point so lets just claim that that the wind shifted).
  • I ran through massive puddles at this point most all of the way, and peoples running would like splash all over you (editorial input:  re-reading that sounds so lame).
  • Eventually I flipping finished.
  • I looked at my Garmin for my time and was pissed.
  • We then had to walk through mud up to our ankles where they herded us.  I thought my shoes were going to get stuck in the mud due to the suction  
  • I got my bag, there was a small hole in the top of it (was a plastic bag, of course the drop bags were not left under a tent to shield them from the rain because, umm... that would have made sense), and so my supposed dry clothes were pretty much soaked too.
  • I groused about, hightailed straight out of there with my crap-a** time.
  • Walked 15 min back to the train station freezing my a** off getting rained on some more.  Hoping I don't have a cold now.
  • Went to a mall right next to the train station, went into a public bathroom (along with a bunch of other drenched and cold runners) changed out of my shorts, shirt, and mud-shoes, into my also generally wet - planned to be dry clothes.  And.... a about 70 year old janitor lady walks in mopping the floor when I was buck-naked...  Awesome.  Sorry about that.  
  • And then I went home.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back in Black

Long time no post.

Due to my somewhat depressed state owing to a pesky IT-Band injury, being busy with work, and in general leading a frankly pretty boring life  -  no posts for a month.  Also general social media usage down over the past month due to same factors.  But things are looking good on the IT-Band injury front which makes life a whole lot rosier.  And due to the IT-Band looking to be (mostly) behind me... I'm Back baby!!!

AC/DC - Back in Black

To celebrate my (generally) non-complaining IT-Band - today was an absolutely awesome 5+ hours of trail running and scrambling up mountains here in Gunma Prefecture.  Two friends from work invited me out to Mt. 谷川岳 (Tanigawadake) about 1.5 hours away.  Absolutely *great* call.  After arriving and getting underway I was quickly off scrambling on my own and got to see a couple of great peaks, and because we got there early enough there were not too many people to get in the way (it is a really popular mountain range/area to hike especially this weekend as is a 3 day weekend in Japan).
Here is a picture of a ridge line scrambled along:
 Not too shabby!

And here was one at the top of one of the peaks:
 It says 谷川岳トマの耳 (Tanigawadake Toma no Mimi), which is "Mt. Tanigawa Toma's Ear", there are two "ear" peaks, 'Toma' and 'Oki'.  You got me...

Anyway, just great scrambling around on mountains all day.

On the running front in general - still only running every other day, but keeping after the swimming and elliptical'ing good to try to keep the fitness up.  And just in time as it now what has come to be my favorite time of the year....  Racing season!
A 1/2 marathon next weekend, another 1/2 the weekend after that ('cause if you can... why the heck not?), and then a full in late November.
Yee-Haw!  So no time to cry in my soup about just coming off injury...  It's Hammer Time baby (bringing it hard with the cheesy music from my youth)!

Also to get me fired up - great endurance events all weekend.  How does Mirinda Carfrae throw down a 2:50 full marathon off the bike (and swim) to win the Ironman World Championships?!?!  Those triathlon people can do some plain silly stuff.
And beginning in a few hours is the Chicago Marathon.  Might try to see if I can get a live stream of to watch.  Go Ritz!

While I am rambling around on multiple subjects as per usual - had a great week last week visiting back to the US for work.  Was so awesome to be back with the fam (they are back in US while I finish up work assignment in Japan).  And we got a new dog - Sophie.
Only got to spend a day with her before coming back to Japan, but she is doing great and apparently the potty training is progressing well.  She certainly seems to be enjoying herself everytime I see her on Facetime (BTW - Facetime is just an awesome application.  Other apps' do the same/similar but everything about it is so simple, smooth, seamless.  There is a reason those guys over there at Apple are cleaning up).

Anywho...  It is great to finally be back running.  Running is the like the greatest addiction of all time!

And since we started with some AC/DC, time to go out with some;
AC/DC - Thunderstruck

Great song to run and get amped up to.
Having said that, man do they look cheesy in the video.  Especially the dude with black shorts, a tie, and white socks (to go with his white pasty legs I can only assume) and black shoes.  At some point he is going to have to explain that outfit to his children.