July 22, 2008
It is approaching 4 months since I last posted. I will quickly catch you up on the last 4 months and then spend a little more time talking about a recent excursion.
Here we go…Jack Johnson, Mason Jennings, Matt Costa concert in Tokyo, a 10k race on down streets lined with blossoming cherry trees, purchase a Japanese suit (looks good), body boarding, beach volleyball, riding my bike to and fro, studying Japanese, being told I look like I am from the Lord of the Rings (I hope I am not an orc), studying the Bible with a good friend, realizing how much I need to grow in my faith, rafting, canyoning (sliding down a steep river in a wet suit, like a natural water slide), attending the Japanese National Track and Field Meet, searching all over Tokyo for a Burger King and after giving up looking up as the door is closing on the train home and seeing a Burger King (a horrible feeling), playing a lot of basketball, several hundred miles of running, and finally my most recent adventure; a 24 hour relay race. I know what you are thinking and it is true…wasabi makes people a little crazy. Let me set the scene for you. Over 200 teams (average of 12 people per team) drive through the night (at least we did) to arrive at the base of Mt. Fuji. At 10am a runner from each team lines up on the start line on the track. For some reason it was deemed that I would lead off. I took off with a pack of 200 kindred spirits and we raced out of the stadium up a steep hill. After about 500 meters I began wondering what I was doing and I still had about 23 hours and 58 minutes left luckily after a 1000 meters we began to descend and all I could hear was the huff of breathing and the slap of shoes on the pavement. We came back into the stadium to pass the sash (it had an electronic chip in it to record our progress after each lap) I handed off the sash in about 7th place after a 5:11 mile. After roughly an hour of rest I did it again, and again, and again, and yet again, then finally 3 times. Again it was deemed that I should finish the race. Sounds good, whatever, at this point my legs are numb and I can’t really think straight. “What’s that? I didn’t catch that…oh 3 laps instead of 1. Huh? That wasn’t part of the deal.” But it was too late and after 3 painful miles I entered the stadium again, and was surrounded by my teammates as we approached the finish line. It was a great experience. As a team we ran 299 kilometers (if I could have run about 15 seconds faster over the last 3 miles we would have broken 300, oh well). That comes out to 185 miles for those of you who are in the West. Two very important things that I learned from this experience: after running in the heat and humidity for about 10 hours and then through the night then again in the morning heat, not showering and not changing clothes, I smell like something that has been dead for 4 days. I would like to publicly apologize to anyone who smelled me at the race or even in neighboring Korea (it was that bad). Oh and the second thing that I learned was that runners come in all shapes and sizes. I saw Darth Vader (with activated light saber), the Red Power Ranger, many men dressed like women, one woman dressed like a man, a kangaroo, a swim team, and a person wearing a business suit and a rubber horse head.