This is sound of my wedding ring hitting the metal lamppost as I tag it at the end of my run for the evening. It’s a very satisfying sound and it it has come to mean that my run is over and I can stop pushing myself (until the next run of course).
With the exception of a few races and vacation runs my runs usually start with me putting on my shoes and heading out the door of our Como neighborhood house. This lamppost around Lake Como has been the start and end point for the majority of my runs in my adult life.
I started running long distance when I was in high school in Japan and then stopped for about 15 years until I got in my 30’s and realized I needed to do something to fight off old age. I ran my first marathon in 2004 and the lake was a natural starting place for my training with a course already measured for me at 1.6 miles around. Back then there was not quite the proliferation of GPS tracking that we have now so it was nice to know how far I was going. Twice around made a great 5K route.
I did some back of the napkin calculations tonight while I was running and I think a fair estimate is that I have run around Lake Como 1000 times. That count might even be low. This is over a decade of training for three separate marathons and a dozen or so half marathons. I’ve run a lot of those trips around the lake by myself, but I’ve also run a 100+ times or so with Kira, and 50+ with Melanie and Sarah. It is what I picture when I picture myself running.
I am already planning on running in Tokyo. There is a 5K route around the Imperial palace that is very popular. I’m also thinking I will need to go running in Tama Bochimai park by ASIJ where I ran cross country and see if anything looks familiar. I am hoping to convince Michael to run a half marathon with me at some point. Maybe we’ll make up our own if we can’t find a good race.
I know there is more running in my future, but tonight was my last run in Minnesota for a long while.
The alarm went off this morning at 3:50 am. Kira jumped in the shower while I tried to eek out a few more minutes of sleep. I must have managed it because the next thing I remember is the light coming on and a very cheery voice saying, “Didn’t you say you had to get up for something this morning?”
“I think I’m taking someone to the airport. Do you still need a ride?”, I reply.
The Cars’ Tales)
There are two members of the family that will not be going with us on our adventure. In theory we could have taken cars to Japan, but it was so impractical that it bordered on the impossible. Perhaps not for everyone, but for me it has been surprising how hard it is to say good-bye to our cars, both emotionally and logistically.
When I started this blog I really thought it would be more about my struggles to learn the Japanese language. I made a good start at learning and for about four weeks I studied about an hour a day. Then we went on the farewell tour and I had more interesting things to do and blog about.
Realistically I think I am 2 years away from being conversational in Japanese. If I really apply myself. That is a very long term goal that doesn’t seem to break down very easily. I can chop up the learning into small groups of words and kanji, but it still feels like I am talking like a toddler raised by ferrets (Japanese ferrets of course).
In the small bit of forest behind my Mother-in-law’s house there is a door floating a few inches off the ground and resting between two trees. I am not exactly sure where the door arrived from, but it appeared in the trees sometime last week. I like this door a lot. I can easily imagine that on the other side of that door a great adventure awaits me in a far away land.
[Warning: Whining ahead.]
Isn’t everyone an introvert? The de rigueur definition of introverts is someone who gets their energy from spending time alone. But does anyone really say, “Whew, I’m really tired. I’m going to go to a party and talk to people for four hours and I’ll be completely refreshed.” Maybe there are people like that, but don’t we all say things like, “I need some downtime,” “I’m going to relax and recharge my batteries this weekend,” or “Go Away and leave me alone.” (Maybe that last one is just me. See also, “Get off my lawn.”)