Saturday 3-Oct-2020 (not) Park Run – Swim


RHR      50
HRV      101
Weight   87.8kg
Run      5 km in 21:20


Swim    2,000 m in 0:51:38

I was very tired on Friday and decided to take a rest day. I worked in the morning and then took the afternoon off as I had to go into town to the bank. Afterwards, we went and had lunch and coffee and did some shopping. By the time to go home, I was as tired as if I had run10 km. Things are funny that way. I can go out and run or cycle all day but walk me around a shop for 20 minutes and I am exhausted.

This morning I woke up on a Saturday for the first time in a while without having drunk on the Friday. It was a nice feeling and my Resting Heart Rate, HRV and weight have responded positively. I hope that it will continue. I was looking forward to (not) Park Run in my new condition and I was joined at Starbucks in Futakotamagawa at 7:30 AM by Mason, Andrew and Nick. Nick was the man in form after running 19:11 for a 5 km at the track on Tuesday night.

Again we started separately. First Mason, then me and finally Nick and Andrew. I was not sure if they were going to run together or separately but I knew that I would see them over the course. I started off, as usual, with my eyes to the front, trying to control my breathing and trying not to look at my watch. The first 1 km is straight up to the small bridge and it is rather hard as you can see everything for the first 900 m. I got to the 1 km point in 4:04, which was 4 seconds quicker than last week. I took a look over my left shoulder and I could see Mason but not Nick or Andrew. Normally, Andrew is normally getting close to me after the first km so I took this as a good sign.

I swung round by the small pond and, to my joy, I saw that all the wild grass had been cut. Last week it virtually elephant grass and I really had to pond my way through it. Today was much easier and there were no rugby boys to avoid as well. I got back to the path in good shape and headed for the 2km point which I reached in 4:18, 11 seconds faster than last week. I pushed on around the corner looking back to see Nick and Andrew gaining on me.

The third km is a big loop and I was able to keep a steady pace through it. There was no water on the ground and although it was getting hotter, I was not parched. I got back on the home stretch, still not caught, and completed the 3rd km in 4:15. I could start to hear somebody gaining on me. At 3:26 km Nick went flying past and at 3:67 km Andrew passed me. I was still on a steady pace and ran the 4th km in 4:18.

Then it was back over the little bridge and onto the final 900 m stretch to the end. I was beginning to flag but I tried to push on finishing the last km in 4:21. My total time was 43 seconds faster than last week. Andrew came in at 20:17, another big improvement, and Nick went under 20 minutes to run the 5km course in 19:51. Mason is making solid progress and ran the course in under 25 minutes.

After coffee in Starbucks I headed home for a rest and some lunch. I still had a swim to do. I headed back out at 1:30 PM to go to the pool. Again I was lucky and the pool was fairly empty and I had a lane to myself for most of the time. I think that I was benefitting from the rest day on Friday and I swam better than I had before. I completed the first 1,000 m in 24:13 which is at a pace of 2:25/100 m. My previous best 1,000 m was 24:55 so that was a good time for me. I continued but the second 1,000 m was more of a slog and I finished it in 27:25. I was still very happy as it was my best 2,000 m swim.

Tomorrow, I am back on the bike, meeting Mark, and maybe Paddy, to cycle over the Onekan a couple of times. It promises to be a cloudy day and not too hot so hopefully we can enjoy the hills.

Thursday 1-Oct-2020 Morning Run


RHR      62
HRV      77
Weight   88.2 kg
Run      11 km @ 4:50 pace

Today is the first day of no-drink October. It was Paddy’s idea and Chad, Phil and myself said that we would support him on his journey. What the hell were we thinking! The day started with a hard morning run. I met Paddy at Marukobashi at 6:30 AM and we headed off up the river on the Tokyo side before switching over at Futakotamagawa. We were going much faster than we had in the past – 5:24, 4:58, 4:51, 4:50, 4:49, 4:50, 4:37, 4:41, 4:52, 4:38, 4:38 per km. I was surprised that I was able to keep up since I had ran hard on Wednesday. Well, I kept up until the 10th km when Paddy took off to do his 1 hard km. I was very pleased that I could run two hard runs on consecutive days and not get injured and I saw my VO2max increase again to 59. I will not run on Friday and try and recover a bit before (not) Park Run on Saturday.


Now I am stuck drinking no-alcohol beer in the evenings. It is not great, but Ichi from Kirin is probably the best one in Japan.

Ichi No-Alcohol Beer

Wednesday 30-Sep-2020 Bike Run


RHR      66
HRV      73
Weight   88.2kg
Cycle    52.5 km in 1:53 (27.7 km/h)


Run     10.3 km @ 4:42/km pace

I did not get up at 5 AM as I had hoped but I did get up at 5:40 AM so I was out of the house on my bike at 6:30 AM. The plan was to go for a cycle of at least 40 km so that I could get my monthly distance up to 800 km. I went down to the Tamagawa and then headed upstream. Although I was cycling against the wind, I make good progress and averaged over 25 km/hr. The path was fairly empty and I did not have to stop or slow down too much. Once I got to Kasenjiki Park and turned around, I had the wind at my back and really flew. It was not long before I was clocking 35 km/hr and fortunately the path remained clear and I got home in no time.

The Tamagawa at Inada Park

I was at my desk by 9 AM and worked for an hour before the first US Presidential debate came on. I continued to work (sort of) while I watched it until Larry called me and wanted to prep for a meeting. I was very happy that he had called as it was the worst thing ever to watch. I was glad that Biden had stood up and gave as much as he got but it was a terrible spectacle and we learned nothing.

After our call finished I went out for a run. Even though I had cycled in the morning I still felt fresh and managed to run at a good pace – 4:59, 4:48, 4:48, 4:33, 4:34, 4:32, 4:50, 4:38, 4:36, 4:36, 4:41. I was very pleased that I was able to maintain the pace until the end. I stopped at 7.7 km and gulped down a bottle of sports drink. It was a hot day and I was parched. The rest of the day I spent working and finally finished just after 8 PM.

Overall I was very pleased with my performance in September and hope I can do something similar next month.

1-Sep-20 90.0kg
30-Sep-20 88.2kg

Run 168km
Bike 818km
Swim 17.1km

Total Time 55:21

Tuesday 29-Sep-2020 Run-Swim


RHR      56
HRV      84
Weight   88.8kg


Run     11.5km @5:25/km pace


Swim    1,500 m in 0:38:59

Today worked out well in the end. I was really tired on Monday and could not do anything. On Tuesday morning Paddy and I had half-promised to meet each other on the Tamagawa around 6:30 AM but I could not get up again. Finally, on the 3rd attempt, I got out at lunchtime today and ran 11.5 km along the Tamagawa. It was a nice run and did not take a lot of me and I was glad that I got it done. Once, I finished work at 6:30 PM, I headed out to the local pool for my last swim of the month. Again, the pool was almost empty and I swam 1,500 m without too much hassle to bring my monthly total to 17.1 km, my best yet.

Sunday 27-Sep-2020 Finally over Tominnomori and into Okutama.


RHR      64
HRV      60
Weight   89.2kg
Cycle    127.4km in 5 hours 25 minutes and 1,500 m ascent
HRV Not Great

I managed to get to bed by 11 PM on Saturday night which was a great help in getting up at 5 AM on Sunday morning. We had a wonderful evening in TY Harbor for Daughter #2’s 18th birthday and I managed to keep the beer consumption to just 3 pints. I think. Regardless, I was out of bed at 5 AM and on the road just after 6 AM. My Resting Heart Rate and HRV still had not fully recovered but I was getting better and I did not feel as bad as I had on Saturday morning. I was meeting Alan at 7 AM at Koremasa bridge on the Tamagawa and as this was the first time that we were to go cycling together, I did not want to be late and get a bad name.

The plan was to go over Tominnomori and down the far side and into Okutama and then onto Ome from where we might get the train home. After we met up, we followed the Tamagawa up to Haijima as I had on Tuesday with Paddy and Chad. I was beginning to feel like I knew this part of the river as well as I know the part around Futakotamagawa. Once we got to Haijima we took a left and got on the road for Itsukaichi. It was the same road as I had taken on Tuesday, but as it was a lot earlier, there was very little traffic and we got up to Itsukaichi with no bother.

Unfortunately, the bakery that Alan had told me so much about was closed and would not open until 11 AM, so we headed to 7-11. It was a very nice 7-11 with crates outside that we were able to turn upside down while we had our coffee. This was the 50 km point and I was feeling remarkably fresh. I looked up at the mountain and wondered at all the cloud enveloping it. What would it be like up there?

The view from Itsukaichi

The road was still free of cars and motorbikes and is basically broken into 3 parts. The first 6.5 km is the road to Hinohara. Then, there is a 8.5 km stretch which can generously be called the lower slopes. This is where we turned back on Tuesday. Finally, you move on to the hard part which goes on for 10 km and gradually gets stepper. I did the route out and back in May and it was very hard. I had to stop several times for drinks and to massage my feet on the way up and I was delighted when it was over. This time, I felt that I was much more in control. I did not need to stop. I was able to limit my drink intake and I was able to pass a few people as well. Of course, I was helped by the cool wet weather. I was still sweating like crazy at the end and my fingers could not activate my iPhone to take a photo of Alan.

The park at Tominnomori is very nice with a seating area and a shop. I ordered an ice cream and a cup of coffee and Alan had a can of coke and a bowl of Udon. My ice cream came fairly quickly but the coffee took almost 15 minutes and Alan had finished his udon by the time that it arrived. I cannot complain as the woman who made it was the only person in the shop and had to do everything by herself. There was also a lot of hungry cyclists to feed.

After we finished and I refilled my water bottles, we headed off again in the direction of Lake Okutama. Alan took the lead and I stayed close on his wheel. There was about another 3km of climbing before the road started to descend and descend very rapidly at that. Initially, I could stay with Alan but he gradually got further and further ahead of me until I could no longer see him with all the bends. It is a lovely drop down to the lake but you have to concentrate as the road is full of small speed bumps that prevent you for going too far to the left to the right.

Lake Okutama
Lake Okutama

We regrouped down a Lake Okutama and started the journey for Ome. The scenery was stunning as we cycled around the lake and the traffic was not too heavy. The only problem was all the tunnels. The first few were fine as they were well lit but gradually the lights got dimmer until finally there were no lights at all. Fortunately, the big tunnel at the Ogouchi Dam had an alternate route that stayed by the lake and we took that.

Ogouchi Dam
Alan Admiring Ogochi Dam
The hills behind Ogouchi Dam

We left the Ogochi Dam and headed straight for Ome station. It is an easy enough run in but the traffic was increasing and we were glad not to spend any more time on the main road. We got the 13:25 train back to Tokyo and luckily it was mainly empty. I am getting a little better getting my bike in the bike bag so the trip home was event free.

Saturday 26-Sep-2020 Post Birthday Party Hangover


RHR      83
HRV      51
Weight   89.5kg
Run      5km in 0:22:03


Swim     2,500m in 1:05:51
HRV in a bad place

I woke up this morning, blues all around my bed. Well, not really but I did have a hangover. It was daughter #2’s 18th birthday on Friday and I celebrated by not doing any exercise and drinking too much wine and beer. There were several times on Friday when I thought that I would go for a run, or a swim or a cycle, but I kept putting it off and finally decided that I would take it easy and give the 5km on Saturday morning a good go. Of course, that meant I was at idle at home on Friday evening and not in great shape on Saturday morning.

At least Kim had the decency to cancel this morning at the last minute, but Andrew showed no such integrity. He had messaged me on Friday saying that he would contact me on Saturday morning if he was going to make the 5km. I had not heard from him by 7 AM so I sent him a text saying I guess he was not coming, just in case. But the bastard was up and on his way and I had no choice but to drag myself out of bed, get something to eat and head over to Futakotamagawa for our weekly duel.

I got to the Futakotamagawa Starbucks just before 8 AM. Andrew was already there, looking lean and mean. Well, lean and warm and friendly. We headed down to the start and like last week, decided that I would go first and Andrew would start 30 or 40 seconds after. I was not feeling good. I was sick and tired and afraid of being found out. I counted down from 10, took a deep breath and headed off. The morning was wet and miserable and there were only dog walkers and a few runners about. I took up my position in the centre of the path, something we are not allowed to do during real Park Run, kept my eyes forward and refused to look at my watch.

It was hard work. I could feel my heart beating and my lungs hurting. When I got to the 1km point at the small bridge I was pleased to see that I had ran it in 4:08 and that Andrew was not too close. I swung around onto the rough path by the pond and headed to the 246. This part was initially not too bad as the grass had been cut. However, it did not last too long and soon I was running through elephant grass that was wet and went up to my knees. There was a bunch of men having a rugby practice under the 246 and I had to take the turn wide so that I would not run into them. The second part of rough path was also overgrown with grass and I could not make out the route and almost ended up making a mistake.

Once that part was over, I was back on the hard surface and heading to the 2km marker and another turn. I completed the second km in 4:29. It was hard due to the long grass but I was glad that I had done it and now had to keep my head down and try ahead of Andrew. I took a sneaky look just as I rounded the corner and saw that he had gotten a lot closer and that his running form was good. That is something I also noticed from the photo that Roger took last week. Andrew’s forearms were vertical on front of him while mine were swinging wildly from side to side. I must remember to work on that.

The third km of Park Run is a big loop that gives you ample opportunity to see people getting close on you. Just before I reached the 3km point, Andrew came past me. It was at an earlier point in the course than last week so he was clearly running faster. I finished it in 4:26 and put my head down and headed for the home straight. The fourth km went by in 4:27 and soon I was on the long 800 m final stretch. It is terrible to be able to see the end from so far back and I count off the signs as I so by then – 650 m, 500 m, 250 m, 100 m. I ran as hard as I could but could only complete the final km 4:30. Still I was very pleased to improve my time by 9 seconds on last week.

After coffee and cake at Starbucks, we both cycled off into the rain. Fortunately I only have a 5km cycle home and I was back home, showered and back in bed in 30 minutes. I slept for an hour. I got up sometime after 11 AM and made a half hearted attempt to help hanging up the laundry which Akiko was already well into. I had some pumpkin soup and baguette for lunch and forced myself out the door for the second time today and headed to the swimming pool.

The plan was not to swim more than 1,500m but the pool was fairly empty and I had a lane to myself for the whole time so I just kept going. When I got to 1,500m, 60 lengths, I convinced myself that I could get to 80 lengths. When I got to 80 lengths, which was 53 minutes, I convinced myself that 1 hour was within reach and when I got to 1 hour, I convinced myself that 2.5km was only 6 minutes away. I am very gullible and believed myself each time.

Tonight was are having a second birthday for Daughter #2 and are going to TY Harbor. I am planning to do a long cycle with Alan tomorrow, back up Tominnomori, so I hope that we do not stay out too late and I do not enjoy the delicious craft beer too much.

Spot the new shoes. They don’t look so new anymore.

Thursday 24-Sep-2020 Run Swim


RHR      51
HRV      98
Weight   90.0kg
Run      18km @ 5:40/km pace


Swim 1,500m in 0:41:06


Somehow I managed to get up early and my Resting Heart and HRV were in very good places. After a bowl of oatmeal, (Yes Oatmeal!) I headed out for my run in the cool morning air. The weather has changed so much in the last 2 weeks and it is delightful. My right heel had been hurting up until Wednesday morning so I did not want to take any chances with it. I ran nice and easily but I still did not feel great. For the first 5.5km I was listening to The Daily, the Podcast by The New York Times, and it quite upset me. I realize that I know far too much about American politics and I need to dial it back a bit. I don’t wish to offend anybody but the whole situation is crazy.

When the episode of The Daily finished, I stopped and changed to music and put on Bob Dylan’s latest album Rough And Rowdy Ways. My mood and pace improved immediately and I started running down to Gasubashi feeling much lighter. I did not think that I could run so far when I left the house but I gradually felt better and better.

At Gasubashi, which is just 9km from my house, I turned around and got the full force of the headwind in my face. I realized why I had been feeling better. A typhoon had moved through Tokyo during the night and the ground was still wet. The worst of it had gone but there was still some wind around and I only now noticed that I had been running with it for the first half of my run. I was surprised to see that my pace did not drop when I was running into the wind and I made it back home 20 minutes before my first call.

Work finished at 6:30 PM and I went to the pool to swim a few laps. My heart was not in it and I almost did not go. Finally, I convinced myself that I was too close to my monthly swimming record and managed to get out of the house and swim 1,500m. My record for a month is 16,650m which I swam in July. But I was not running in July and that really takes it out of me. I am now at 140km of running and 13,100 of swimming for September, with similar amount of cycling and 6 days remaining. I hope that I can have a good weekend and bring my total time for the month to 55 hours and my swimming to 17,000 meters.

Tuesday 22-Sep-2020 Long Cycle


RHR      58
HRV      83
Weight   89.7
Cycle    132km in 5 hours 3 minutes

Today was a nice day for cycling. Cool and dry with a hint of sun. I met Paddy and Chad at the Giant Store in Futakotamagawa at 7 AM. Before we could leave I had to place a tube in my back wheel. I had been very pleased with myself filling it up with sealant on Sunday and fixing the slow puncture, but as soon as I pumped it up this morning, I could hear the hissing again. I cycled it over to the Giant Store to get the expert opinion of Paddy and Chad and I was promptly told to put a tube in it. Paddy took the lead and did most of the work to get it in. I did, however, manage to use the CO2 canister correctly this time and we were on the road shortly after 7:15 AM.

Giant Store Futakotamagawa

The plan was to go up the Tamagawa River, the same as we had 3 weeks earlier when we went to David’s place in Mitake but take a left at Haijima for Itsukaichi. The route along the river was not too crowded at that hour of the morning but there were a few people out walking, running and cycling. As we had done the route recently, I remembered it and it did not feel too far. Just before we got to Haijima, we had to dismount again as the path was still blocked from last year’s typhoon. We walked up to the road and cycled through a housing estate and ended up on the main road to Itsukaichi.

The main road was wide and there was plenty of room to cycle, but it was not as nice as cycling along the river. We made our first stop for water at 40km at a convenience store. This was an indication of how cool the weather was getting. Up until a few weeks ago, we would not cycle 20km without stopping for a drink of water. We got through Itsukaichi and headed for Hinohara and soon we were on our first Strava segment of the day. It was just 6km with an average of 1% gradient, so it was not bad except for the traffic.

Once we got to Hinohara we swung left and started another Strava segment. This one was 8.5km with a 2% average gradient. This was the road up to Tominnomori that I had riden in May. We knew that we did not have enough time to go all the way up but we had enough time for this segment. The road was lovely and undulating with lots of green on both sides. We continue to 10 AM, stopped for a photo and then turned around and headed home. The ride down was long and fantastic.

On the road to Tominnomori

But we had one more stop to make. A couple of months back, Steve T. had shown be a not so secret tofu donut shop just outside of Hinohara and I convinced Paddy and Chad that we should go there on the way home. Actually, they did not need too much convincing. There was a long queue of people when we arrived and it took about 10 minutes to get serverd as they ran out of donuts as I reached the top of the line. But it was well worth it.

After our feast of deep fried tofu we headed the 600 meters (yes, Chad 600m. Almost 1km) back to Hinohara and took a left turn and went back towards Itsukaichi. There was a lot more traffic on the road, and a lot more cyclists. We came upon group after group of them. Obviously the September long weekend was a good time for cycling.

The road from Itsukaichi to Haijima was a lot less pleasant than it had been on the way out. There was heavy traffic and several cars and vans tried to block our path from time to time, so Chad took us up on the footpath to avoid them. Then we were back on the path along the Tamagawa River which was also a lot busier than it had been at 7 this morning. We switched to the Kawasaki side hoping that it would be less crowded. We were somewhat successful.

We said goodbye to Paddy in Futakoshinchi as he stopped for water. Futakoshinchi is only 3km from my house so I was practically home anyway. Later we learned that Paddy had had a puncture shortly after he left the water fountain and we felt bad for not being there to help him. Well I did. I can’t speak for Chad.

I got home just after 1 PM with notions of going swimming sometime in the afternoon, but after lunch, hanging up the laundry and a nap I was not so enthusiastic so I just settled down to write this blog.

Monday 21-Sep-2020 Long Run


RHR      54
HRV      99
Weight   89.6kg
Run      22.2km


Swim     1,500m in 0:40:39

My Resting Heart Rate and HRV were in good shape this morning for the second day in a row and I decided to go for a long run in my new Adidas shoes. Monday and Tuesday are National Holidays in Japan so I could take my sweet time getting ready and I finally got out of the house around 10 AM. My right heel was sore since yesterday and I am still worried about my left knee, so while I wanted to run long, I did not want to damage either of them any more. I started out at around 5:40/km and headed down towards the Tamagawa river and Tamagawa Ohashi.

It is 2.7km to the river and a further 8.3km to Tamagawa Ohashi. There 4 or 5 traffic lights before I get to the river, but once I get there it is all clear up and down. I ran down to Tamagawa Ohashi without stopping and did not feel too bad. At the turn-around point I had a couple of bottles of sports drinks and headed back up the river. I was pleased that I could run the 8.3km to the turn-off point without stopping, even if I was keeping my pace and my heart rate low.

I got home just after 12:30 PM and decided that I would have lunch and then head to the pool. However, after lunch I felt that I short nap could not go wrong and I lay down on the bed. I woke 2 hours later feeling very rested. I headed to the pool and swam an easy 1,500m as I was in the lane that you had to change after each 25 meter length. I also forgot to start my watch at the start and swam the first 1,000m untimed. I did not feel too bad about it and headed home to plan my long ride with Paddy and Chad on Tuesday.

Tamagawa Ohashi

Sunday 20-Sep-2020 Back On The Bike


RHR      54
HRV      97
Weight   89.2kg
Cycle    63km in 2 hours 30 Minutes 

This morning I woke to a great Resting Heart Rate and a great HRV. And a crappy bike. It took me two hours to get out the door but I cannot blame everything on the bike. I have to admit that a lot of the problems were caused by the user. I pumped my back wheel and it seemed to be find. Then, I pumped my front wheel. While removing the pump, I heard a sudden hissing sound so I assumed that it was coming from the front wheel. I removed it to take it into the bathroom to see where the sound was coming from. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped away from the bike, the hissing stopped and I realized that I had removed the wrong wheel.

I decided that there was nothing for it but to add more sealant to the back wheel so I got my new Park Tool Valve Core Remover and removed, well, the valve core. I must remember to let the air out before I do this next time as the sudden release of pressure could have taken my eye out. I then took my small container of sealant and emptied it into the valve, remembered to turn the wheel so that the valve would be at the top and went to get my CO2 canister. This held further challenges and it took a few minutes before I figured out which end to attach to the valve and how to release the CO2 gas. Of course, I did not release all the gas and had to finish it off with the tracker pump. But, it worked and I was very proud of myself.

However, it had taken till 9 AM and I still had not worked out my route to Minatogaoka Futo Park. I entered it in RideWithGPS and then sent it to my Wahoo device. I was in a rush and did not check that it had synced and when I got outside, I found out that it had not so I spent 15 minutes messing with stuff and eventually got going at 9:35 AM. I headed down to Marukobashi Bridge and entered my destination directly into the Wahoo device and followed the prescribed route through every tiny road of Ota ku until I realized that I had disabled my heart rate monitor. I stopped the ride on Wahoo, re-enabled by HRM and re-entered the route. It was going to be a long day.

I got to Minatogaoka Futo Park just before 11 AM, drank a can of coffee, cursed myself for being so late and headed off for a couple of laps of the course. The laps are just 11.75km. I did the first one in 24:07 and the second one in 24:16. The place was fairly deserted and I could not get my heart rate up. I had an appointment to meet a friend in Shibuya at 3 PM so I could not hang around for a 3rd lap and headed home by more tiny roads which killed my average pace. I met Pete in the new Miyashita Park and we chatted about old times. As we were leaving, we passed by the new Adidas store where they were having a sale and I dropped in and got a new pair of running shoes and T-Shirt. The day turned out well after all.