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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.

Post-race gangstas

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