Asahikawa 10K : 2014

Up to Asahikawa on Sunday the 28th of September for the race here. Again just the 10K – not quite up for a half yet, but I am starting to enjoy running the 10s. Registration was between 7-9am, so we rolled in at about 6:30 to get a spot in the main carpark. Didn’t want to have to park across the busy road in the Self-defense Forces carpark again. Major hassle if you forget something and is rough walking back to after the run as well. Got registered, but no names I recognized in the guidebook. So many people living in and around Asahikawa, but only like three foreigners ever take part. Oh well.

McDs was sponsoring this and Ronald was even in attendance. Speaks very good Japanese as well. No accent either… Yet I failed to get a photo with him before or after the race. Every time I tried, he would suddenly walk off in the other direction. Must be telling me something. Never going to Maccas again…

Anyway, the race started at 10am. Thought it was going to be sunny, but it ended up being cloudy, cool and windy. This is an out and back course and it was easy running down by the river to start with. My first goal was to make it to the first water station at 5K without stopping. Took me a while to warm into it, but no problems today. The weather definitely helped!

Walked through the station, hit some Seicomart jelly, before running up the hill and turning around to head back… into the wind! Wasn’t sure how I was going to go on the way back so I picked a guy and tried to just hang on. Green Shirt Guy seemed a good choice and tried to stay with him back to the stadium. At about 8K I started to slip off the pace though. Kept him in view, but he started to pull away a bit…

Love how they kept telling people to run to the left to give the front runners in the half-marathon space on the right. There’s always a few who just run wherever they want to. No big deal, but kinda stupid…

Anyway, after 8K was a bit tough, but still managed to keep running without stopping. Flagged the guys handing out mini tomatoes, but there was another water station just near the end so I took a drink and kept at it. Wasn’t planning a big finish, but I had to break out of this group of five or so people in order to give MHM a chance to take my photo. Little surprised that I had any gas left and passed a whole bunch of people in the process, including the guy in the Uniqlo 3/4 pants and this other guy with a face mask. Allergies? Gotta be tough during a race. Or maybe he’s trying to stop himself from catching swine flu. Who knows?!

Of course, I was DONE at the finish line, but being a 10K, I was kinda good five minutes later – after hammering the Seicomart-brand chips MHM had bought, that is. Finished in 55:28. After a frustrating year, I was just glad to finish in a somewhat respectable-ish time. Decent improvement from Shinhidaka, too. Five weeks until Obihiro though. Can I get this done?!

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Sapporo Ramen…AGAIN…

Went to the Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku in the Esta Building by Sapporo Station back at the end of September and this time checked out Misono (みその). This place had thicker noodles than the other restaurants so had to check it out – do like thicker noodles, after all. However it also had an original miso ramen recipe, which I wasn’t that pumped about. Maybe it was just me though… You also had to really dig through the toppings to get to the noodles.

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Shinhidaka 10K : 2014

Back here for another crack at this race on Sunday the 7th of September. However this time I was only doing the 10K. Still not ready for a half-marathon yet!

Got set to go and was walking to the start when I bump into the guy from last year who kept talking to me in broken English five minutes from go time while I was nervously stretching and not that interested in talking much past name and nationality. After being peppered with a billion different personal questions when I would much rather be making final race preparations, I started to edge away…so he then started talking to my wife. My Japanese wife. In broken English! There’s always one… Turns out he had shifted to the 10K as well. Just my luck! Not such a big deal today, but he did make some kind of comment to me whenever he had the chance though…

The course was different to the half course and we started off in the opposite direction. Not crazy hot, but still pretty hot out. Just tried to cruise and kept to the back of the group. This riverside area totally feels like the course for the Asahikawa half-marathon. Kinda cool crossing over the bridge and getting to the other side where the first, and only, drink station was. (Not four like in Shibetsu!) I pounded my Seicomart jelly drink at the first turnaround just before that though. I couldn’t quite wait till I actually hit 5K. Just got no stamina… Yet…

After that, we were back over the bridge and off in the other direction. Starting to heat up and was really hoping there would be a drink station around 8K and the second turnaround, but sadly, that was not to be. Managed to conserve enough energy that I could fly into the “stadium” (think it’s the local outdoor ice rink) and look cool for the finish though. Well, as cool as I could despite the heat!

What up with this though, they give you a bottle of water at the finish, but there were no stalls at all this time. No one was selling anything! Free mini tomatoes, but that was it. Last year they had some canned drinks on ice, but this year…nothing. This is a local small town event, but they could definitely be making money here. I would so have had two plastic cups of draught beer. Totally. Fried chicken on a stick? Absolutely. Ramen? For sure!

Instead we hit the revolving sushi restaurant and I got my 11:30am buzz on, which didn’t take much. MHM ate all sorts of weird raw fish too. All in all, a good race on a nice day. Worth getting out for.

Getting it done...

Getting it done…

Konbu. Again...

Konbu. Again…

Sapporo Ramen☆

Back to the Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku in the Esta Building at Sapporo Station in August to check out another ramen restaurant. This time we lined up for Shirakaba Sanso (白樺山荘). Didn’t actually drink much of the soup, but it had a stronger taste than the last place we went to here – do like soup with a bit of flavour. Liked the ramen too. They did serve me the wrong bowl first up though, which wasn’t picked up on that quickly. Lucky I didn’t start eating… Or the other person…
People were lining up outside this place. Had to be a good sign so we got in line, too. Turned out pretty good!

Shibetsu 10K : 2014

Out to Shibetsu City on Sunday the 20th of July and it totally felt like my first run of the year, but I did actually do a half-marathon down in Tokyo in January. That was a long time ago now though! Didn’t get much of anything done since the spring (long story…) so I knew this was going to be tough. I actually entered and pulled out of the Biei quarter-marathon at the beginning of June, but I wasn’t going to do that this time, despite the lack of training!

First time for me to run this race, which was mainly in the countryside. Nice 10K course (two and a bit laps for the half-marathon) on a hot, sunny day. Fortunately they had four water stations to keep things cool and I had no problem stopping for all of them though – even the last one, which was about 500 metres from the finish! The run was tough so I needed an easy target to get to. 5K between each station would have been a bit too long!

Started off feeling pretty good, but soon realised I didn’t drink enough pre-race. Wouldn’t you know it, there was a hill at the start of the race too (well, okay, a small hill…) Instantly fell off the pace, but the first water station was at the top so it all worked out okay. After that, we left town, went into the country and I fell into a rhythm. Didn’t have a lot of stamina so I wasn’t fast, but just pleased to get around the course and get one done after such a long break. Being Sheep Town Shibetsu, the lamb kebabs and beer afterwards were pretty good too. Lots of people queuing up though!

FCA

WWE Live in Tokyo 2014 (11/7/14)

Day 2 in Tokyo…

(There was actually a third day to this trip, except… I got sick… Unbelievable!)

Monja yaki from Monja Street in Tsukishima for lunch!

Monja yaki from Monja Street in Tsukishima. May look kinda like vomit, but it tastes way better!

Dolph Ziggler and RVD vs. The Wyatt Family

Dolph Ziggler and RVD vs. The Wyatt Family

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Paul Hayman!

Paul Heyman!

Hulk Hogan was in the house. As was Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart!

Hulk Hogan was in the house. As was Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart!

John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt and Kane

John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt and Kane