October 27, 2015

Running Game? Back On!

Yesterday, I'd tried to stake out a potential running route on the Meguro River Path.  Previous ridiculousness every day in Japan had warned me.  I was guaranteed to get lost and mess up a bunch of stuff.  So I figured I'd spend one day getting there, walking as much of it has I had time to do to scope it out, and then head back today to actually run.

A view of the Meguro River
It's a long boring story involving confusing metro issues, construction, traffic lights, and a reminder that what passes for "running" facilities in Asia often is not what we'd consider to be the same thing in the U.S. (or western Europe).  So, after almost 45 minutes to arrive at the path (that should have taken 10 minutes) and 1 mile of walking in about 25 minutes due to obstacles, I had to turn back to meet a friend for lunch.  Verdict?  I would not be running the Meguro path.  And, since it was ranked as the number one outdoor running route in the local area (at least in English), I would not be running outside in Shinagawa.  Period.  

Why yes.  Those *ARE* Hello Kitty construction markers.
(Shinjuku, not Meguro River Path)
Despite not running anything more than 1 mile in the last 3 weeks (YIKES!), I had done some fitness work on my feet.  I'd done several 7-14 minute HIIT 30/10 workouts, a good hike in Alaska, some walking at home, and in Japan I'd been fitting in a decent amount of sight-seeing walking.  Finally, my toe seemed to be healing (the hole is still discolored, but flush with the rest of skin now, and not sensitive at all).  After it held up better than the balls of my feet on an 8-mile day of tourist walking, I decided it was time to pull the trigger.

In preparation for my first big run back, I've been carb-loading with Ramen.

And amazingly cheap and delicious Kaiten Sushi.
Our 4-top did *amazingly* well.  We stuffed ourselves for 3600Yen total (minus beer).

I am egregiously happy to report that I'm finally able to run.  After asking a million people where I could find a gym (our hotel didn't have one), figuring out how to get there, and paying the fee at the local Tennis & Golf club (that thankfully had treadmills), I was greeted by an adorable older man finishing up his calisthenics -- Konnichiwa!  He smiled and bowed to greet me, very happy that he would not be the only person in what apparently is the dregs of the racket and golf club.  I was very happy to greet him back with an enthusiastic Konnichiwa and bow (after several days, they are kind of automatic now) -- it made for a very fun official feeling welcome to my running comeback. 

And with that, I finished more than 5K on the treadmill at 0.5% incline, including a 1.7 Km at 9 km/hr (10:42 mile pace) warm-up; and 4 X 2 min intervals with walking recovery at 10.5 (9:12/mile), 10.6 (9:07/mile), 10.7 (9:02/mile) and 10.8 (8:56) Km/hr. 

This was the best running infrastructure I could find, in a *baffling* private Japanese Racket/Golf complex.

Yes, it's a super easy workout, and less than 2 miles total running.  But I sweated.  I worked hard.  I got my heart rate into the 170s a few times.  AND I GOT A MAD RUNNER'S HIGH.

I'm quite glad I couldn't see the paces in miles on the 'mill.  I was so pleased with the workout that I bounced the whole walk back to my hotel and didn't bother to do the conversion 'til long after the high wore off.  I'm sure there's some lesson about running by effort and being pleased in the moment buried in that experience, but I can't take the time to figure it out right now.

Right now, I need to go get some delicious Japanese lunch.


Angela Knotts said...


bt said...

@Angela -- RIGHT? Sending you similar vibes for good celebratory outcomes.

Jen said...

Yay runner's high! I just did my first track workout in > 6 months, and while it was "only" 4 x 400, and much slower than my goal pace, I still came away with mad endorphins.

Are you still in Tokyo? I think Cathryn ran at the castle when she was there. The path around the grounds seemed very runner friendly. You can find some info on her blog.

Biting Tongue said...

@Jen -- congrats on the track workout -- I hear you on the 4X400 feeling like a big milestone. Thanks for the advice -- I ran around the palace 2 trips ago and it's definitely doable and gorgeous. But we weren't staying anywhere near there and I just couldn't justify a long metro trip there and back for what would likely be only 30 minutes of running... another time.