On Sunday, I ran a race. A 10k. Which to many people is not a very far distance to run, but given that before the past six months of my life, I’d never run four miles straight, I’d say is pretty awesome. I could focus on the fact that I wish I had been a minute faster, or the fact that I didn’t beat as many people as I wanted to, but I won’t. I’d rather focus on the fact that I didn’t walk once, no matter how slow I decreased my speed to, and the fact that I worked through a significant amount of pain in my knee and kept my shit together. (Running, as in climbing mountains, I have found, is as much about physical endurance as it is about mental toughness.)
Half-way through (okay, in the first 10 minutes), I started questioning why on earth I would sign myself up for this sort of torture. But maybe akin to what I know about a bikini wax or what I’ve heard about childbirth (all those clever tricks your brain plays to make you forget the pain), even hours after the race was over I had this overwhelming sense of wanting to do it again. But better! Even my swollen knee, stiff muscles, and blistered feet aren’t discouraging me.
The race was held in a town a few hours south of Shimokita called Oirase, known Japan-, and now world-wide, for being the home to the Tallest Statue of Liberty in Japan!! Hear that New York? You have competition. It was a small race, with only a couple hundred people (if that) in the 10k. The route took us through some small neighborhoods, past rice paddies and farms, a couple kilometers of rolling woodland, and then back into town. Having never ran a race back home, I don’t have much to compare it to, but I’m pretty sure that it was in classic Japanese fashion that we received a box of barley tea in our Registration Packet and a voucher for a free bowl of dumpling/noodle soup post race, which really hit the spot. Yum.
So, on the same topic of running, here is a funny and spot-on post written by my friend, John. While dated, and in a completely different part of the world, makes me realize that just because this Japan race is over, doesn’t mean that running – and training – for another one, elsewhere, is off the table. Although a tempura lunch and an onsen soak might not be in the cards, I could always make due with a swim in the Dead Sea and some falafel – or a hot tub and a juicy burger and a beer.