Thursday, 24 March 2011

UTMF and STY Postponed

I can't say I'm surprised, but I am sorry.

Oh well back to the drawing board, I may have to invent my own race to fill the void.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

big moon jog

Bad Moon Rising
So needing to test both my lighting system and my new running pack I headed into the hills at about a quarter to nine. I rode up on the bicycle locked it up and spent the next 10 minutes faffing around trying to get everything on, working, and taking some pictures. (it might have been wise to work out how to take pictures in the dark with that camera before I set off)

I had carefully prepared a playlist full of moon and night songs, which of course I promptly left on the bike.
It was just possible to run by the light of the moon, when on the relatively open access lane but it was not possible when in the trees. The lighting system worked ok but I will try swapping the lights around to see what it looks like with the stronger light on my head. I may end up buying another version of the XP2 despite the relative lumens it does seem much stronger on the trail.

 The run itself was good, it seems running up hill in the dark is a little easier than in daylight, maybe because you can't see the top of the hill and all your concentration in on the few feet in front of you. It was a little eerie at times when things scurried off through the undergrowth but the only wild boar I saw were in the housing estate well below the trail head while I was riding up. It was only a 5 mile loop but I felt strong, it felt easy and I only fell over once.
The Nathan pack worked well and was very comfortable and the bottle in the front pocket wasn't a big problem. Not sure it is the answer though.
All in all a great evening out, I got home about 11:30pm just in time to turn on the tv and watch some football.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The world's gone mad

The worlds gone mad and the mass media did it.

I'm sitting in city 650km south west of a major disaster, in a country coming to terms with the scale of the problem. People die every day from hypothermia, malnutrition, and dehydration, third world problems, but I live in the worlds 3rd largest economy. I live in a world that is very much first world. The international media on the other hand seem to think I live in a place that is about to witness the worlds worst nuclear holocaust, if we are to believe some of the reporting, Japan is not far short of reliving the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If we are to believe some of the scare mongering California is about to get radioactive rain clouds. And in the midst of this madness the world looses sight of the humanitarian disaster unfolding in North Eastern Japan and the foreigners flee the country.

I worry that this panicked exodus encourages the media to focus on what is undoubtedly a very serious situation in the nuclear power plant but not the real disaster here. The situation in the power plant, even if we take the very worst case scenario, is never going to harm or kill as many people as the aftermath of the tsunami. Half a million people are living in make shift shelters, some with rationed water and half a rice ball a day for food, but their plight is ignored as we foreigners scramble for the next available flight out and the media focus on manufacturing the most sensationalist news that they can get away with.

The plant is a major incident certainly, yes it is going to put some radioactivity into the surrounding area, yes it is a disaster, yes it should be reported, but what is happening is not reporting. The facts are being carefully and selectively filtered by the international media, to present half truths and sensationalist scare mongering while the people in the north east of Japan suffer as a result.

The world has gone mad, the mass media did it and we ran away.

Enough of this, I'm going out for a ride in the not so nuclear wasteland.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

ever had one of those days?

My wife was ill all last week, never seen her sleep so much. While looking after her, holding down a job and training I felt the edge of illness creep up. I took tapering to the extreme, gave up running (except errands) and took to my bed before 8:30 every night in the hope that I would be fit enough to run. I'd looked forward to this weekend for such a long time, I'd organised the camping, bought the train tickets and entered both races, the 11k 1000m ascent trail race on the Saturday, and the 32k 2700m ascent run on the Sunday. I'd packed my rucksack, loaded up the food and was ready to hop on the train at 3:40, but I was feeling pretty sick myself and was unsure as to whether I should go or not. At 9:00am I made the decision, cursed my luck, and asked the school secretary to let the campsite know I would not be turning up. I felt sick, I had blown several hundred dollars in train fare and race fees for no reason. I was upset, and concerned, these races were going to be my marker for how well the training was going for Ultra Trail Mount Fuji STY. Not only was I not going, but I'd lost one weeks training already and probably another week before I could properly train again. I was having 'one of those days (weeks)'.

Only at 2:46 my world was knocked a bit out of kilter. About 8 feet out of kilter.

I felt the rocking, saw the window blinds sway, and had an ever so slightly sick feeling as the world went just a little wobbly. My colleague and I reacted  quickly and before the official alarm was sounded the kindergarten kids were already crawling under the tables. We waited there to hear if the tsunami warning was going to be sounded. If it had we would have to get them all up stairs to the second floor, quickly, and hope it would be high enough. Our school is no more than 300m from the water on a man made island near the port town of Kobe. It stood during the great Hanshin Quake but nobody quite knows what would happen in the event of tsunami. The all clear sounded just in time to dismiss the students as normal. We still did not know the extent of the damage 650 km further north. 
I couldn't have made it to my races, the trains weren't running, and in fact the races were cancelled. The train company refunded all my ticket because they had stopped the trains. It now sits in the collection box in the school office. Turns out it really was a very, very bad day, but not for me, I'm a very lucky man. The tsunami here amounted to about 3 cm, the buildings all stood, food is plentiful, and no body I know is missing.

Perspective is a wonderful thing and very easy to lose, mine just got pulled back into sharp focus.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Been away a while

I've been busy running and visiting conferences and generally getting my head down to do the job I'm paid to do rather than writing this.
The weather since the snowy trip has been interesting - the following week there was absolutely no snow on the lower slopes of Rokko but a little left at the top. I met up with a nice young couple on the trail, they were a little disoriented and had been advised to turn round and head back to Arima by a group of hikers who had told them that there was too much snow and they weren't properly prepared. They didn't have crampons and ice axes but they were ok for the amount of snow and the general proximity to civilisation. Anyway they hiked with me to the top and then went on their own way. The snow is now all gone and the weather alternates between great and just nasty.

Last weekend the weather was warm and I ran from the apartment into the hills for the first time - all that concrete and tarmac though had my foot hurting for a day or two afterwards.

B&B was fun last night - met up with a bunch of Trek Asia folks, shared some stories, exchanged a few email addresses barracked them about Suzy's bike taking 3 months to get here, and then raced the train home. We were back a full 15 minutes before they rolled in. Good to know we can bike faster than the train (if we have to).