Saturday 19-Sep-2020 The Ireland Funds Remote Global 5KM

Morning

RHR      60
HRV      81
Weight   89.0kg
Run      5km in 0:22:12

Lunch

Cycle    80km in 3 hours 13 minutes
HRV

I woke this morning to see my HRV and Resting Heart Rate in their normal ranges. That was a good thing because today was the day of The Ireland Funds Remote Global 5K. For the past 3 years we have had a run and a BBQ or picnic, but this year we had to make do with running remotely and logging our runs on a phone app. Fortunately, it worked out well and we were able able to get a lot of people running in different parts of Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa to support The Ireland Funds and the Charities that it supports.

I headed to the Park Run course where I had run for the past 4 weeks and met up with Roger, Andrew and Mason. I had not seen Andrew since the pandemic started in February and he was looking fit and well. He has not wasted his lockdown. I must remember not to stand beside him in a pre run photo that is anything more than a face photo.

Before the Remote Global 5K. I am sheepishly on the right.

We decided that as there were four of us running, we should not run together and go off at 30 second intervals. First went Roger in his romanesque sandals. I had seen many people wearing these, even in ultra marathons, but I cannot imagine that they are anyway comfortable. Roger seems to like them. Then went Mason. We have run this course 3 times together over the past 5 weeks and I was grateful to him for renewing my interest in the Saturday morning 5km. I went next. Andrew claimed that he could not remember the course and needed someone to follow. I guess that this could be right as I made mistakes a couple of times over the past month at the 2km point.

I started off OK but just as I was catching up with Mason I noticed that my right shoe lace was undone. This was ridiculous. My lace had come undone during my practice run on Friday and I should have learned something from it. Apparently I did not. I quickly bent down and tied it, and the left one for good measure before heading off again in pursuit of Mason. I passed him just before the 1km point at the small bridge and when I looked back over my shoulder I saw that Andrew was very close as well. My 1km segment was 4:19. It might have been under 4:10 like last week had I tied my shoelace properly at the start.

The second kilometer of Park Run is the hardest. It goes around the pond and over rough ground for about 500m. It seems that not a lot of people had been out that way recently and the grass was long and wet. I plodded through it, all the time aware that Andrew was making ground on me. At about 1.7km we came back on to the path and I tried to pick up the pace to the 2km point. I got there in 4:28 and took the sharp left. Andrew had virtually made up all the time that he had waited at the start.

The third km is a big loop and you have a few opportunities to see people behind you. I could not see Andrew but I could hear him as he got closer. I could see Mason and as we finished the third km we met Roger who was just finishing the second km. Roger kindly stopped and took the photo of me running just ahead of Andrew. I finished kilometer 3 in 4:24 and shortly after that Andrew went past me. It was always going to happen but it was a little disapointing.

I tried to keep him in my sights as much as I could but he gradually got further and further away. I got back to the little bridge, which is the 4km point, and recorded 4:27. It is a fairly straight run-in from there along the river but I could not increase my pace. I was tired and sore and breathing heavily. I finished the final km in 4:30 for a total time of 22:12. Andrew finished the run in an incredible 20:56. Despite the hot summer and not being able to do any speed work he was clearly in shape.

We regrouped in Starbucks and took a table outside to talk about our experiences and the run. It was good to get together and have a socially responsible run and coffee and I hope that we can do it again before too long.

But I was not done. It was only 9:30 AM and I had the whole day ahead of me. After getting home and cleaning up, I was back out again out again. This time on my bike. The plan was to go to the Onekan and do a couple of laps and try to increase my heart rate. It worked and I had a good long cycle that took in 7 or 8 hills. On the way back I thought about going for a swim, but then remembered that I would have to be back out on the bike on Sunday and decided to go shopping instead.

Friday 18-Sep-2020 Run Swim

Morning

RHR      68
HRV      65
Weight   88.9kg

Lunch

Run      5.3km @ 5:15/km

Evening

Swim     1,500m in 0:38:38

I was so tired this morning and my Resting Heart Rate and HRV were in a bad place. I went back to bed and slept in. Paddy was headed to Disneyland for the day with his family, so there was nobody to guilt me into gettin up and cycling. I had gotten my bike fixed on Thursday and I had been looking forward to go for a cycle for the first time since Sunday. Unfortunately, it was not to be. I thought about going out during lunch as I had carved out 2 hours when no one would notice me. OK, maybe they would not notice me for quite a bit longer. But my calls went on too long and I only had about 30 minutes so I went out for a 5km run to test the Ireland Funds Global 5K app. The event is on Saturday and I have never used the app that they sent out to track the run. Now that I got it to work and it was very easy to use, I am really looking forward to it.

After my run, I was back in the bedroom on calls until 7 PM. When it was all done, I turned on my Out Of Office notification and headed for the pool. I swam 1,500m in 38:38 which was my best time for that distance, by 1 second.

Thursday 17-Sep-2020 Run Swim

Morning

RHR      61
HRV      75
Weight   89.4kg
Run      11km @ 5:08 pace

Evening

Swim     1,000m in 0:26:05

This morning I was up before 5 AM to meet Paddy at 6 AM at Marukobashi for our 11km run. We met Jeremy on the bridge and headed up to Futakotamagawa on the Tokyo. The weather was so cool, it felt great. Jeremy was struggling early on and we stopped at 2km for a drink of water. As soon as we started off, he was struggling again. He looked like I felt 6 weeks ago when I was running with Keren and Makiko in Kyoto for the first time in 2 months. Running is like that. Once you take any time off, you get nailed when you come back,

We regrouped at Futakotamagawa station and headed back to the Kawasaki side. They was no need to hide from the sun under the bridge and no need to stop at a drinks machine. We kept going until we were at the water fountains at Futakoshinchi and drank our fill. Paddy told Jeremy to go ahead as we were drinking but we soon caught him once we started. Paddy had planned to run the 9th km very hard and try to do it under 4 mins. I knew that I could not do that and increased my pace for the 8km km, trying to put some distance between us.

I thought that I was doing well, running at 4:30 pace, but after a while I heard the familiar sound of running shoes on gravel and Paddy came past me. I kept doing my own thing and tried not to look pissed off. Paddy made his target and completed the km in 3:57. I did mine 33 seconds slower. Jeremy was a bit further behind.

I went home and spent the rest of the day working, taking a break at lunch to go to the bicycle shop to get my valve core replaced. When I finished work at 18:30 I headed for the pool. I had another call at 21:00 but I knew I had enough time for a swim if I left right away. It went well and I completed 1,000 m. I would have liked to have swam more, but I was hungry and I wanted to get home and eat. I have a lot to do this weekend.

Saturday 12-Sep-2020 Run-Swin

Morning

RHR      67
HRV      79
Weight   89.7kg
Run      5km @ 4:22 pace

Afternoon

Swim     2,500m in 1:06:19

I had a poor sleep on Friday night and woke up with a high heart rate. I was a little hungover but I had slept enough to be confident that I could run the 5 km Park Run course and not embarrass myself too much. I finished work around 5 PM on Friday and retired to the balcony to enjoy a few beers, listen to RTE radio and watch the sun go down over my apartment block. I was up at about 6 AM this morning which seemed like a real lie-in compared to recent days when I was going cycling Paddy. I met Ashley and Kim outside Starbucks in Futakotamagawa at 7:20 AM before we headed down to the path to do our 5km (not) Park Run.

As usual, I was not feeling great. I had had a light breakfast at 6:30 but I felt sick. I counted us down from 5 and then we took off. I tried not to look at my watch for the longest time, and when I did it said 4:15 /km. I was relatively pleased. I heard footsteps behind me all the way to the bridge and I assumed that it was Ashley tucking in and getting ready to make a break during the 4th kilometer and leaving me in his wake. I took a quick look behind me and saw that Kim was running close to my shoulder. We had been cycling together a couple of times recently, but I don’t think that I had ran with her much in the last 6 months.

As we got to the bridge my first km clicked over in 4:08. I was delighted. Last week my first km was 4:29. I must point out that it was considerably cooler this week and there was a lot cloud cover, but it was a good improvement. After the bridge we took the usual left turn and headed over the rough ground for 500 meters. I managed to keep going strong finishing it in 4:20 and not losing too much time.

The third km started with a turn that I almost missed. It seems easy during the official Park Run when there is a marshal standing there, but when you are running it by yourself it is easy to get confused between the two left turns. I missed the first turn but quickly realized my mistake and doubled back. This was the first time that I could check on Ashley and Kim since the bridge and I snuck a look over my left shoulder. I thought that they were sufficiently behind to not catch me in the next km but close enough to not get lost. This was Kim’s first time doing the Park Run course and it is not easy to follow. Despite living a stone’s throw from the start, and being a regular runner on the Tamagawa, she had never run it. I guess it is the 8 AM start.

Ashley had run a warm up on the course before we started and his synopsis was that the course was flooded but not in the places that you would expect. The place that I expected to be flooded was over the rough ground between 1 and 1.5 km but while that ground had been soft, it was very runnable. As I turned the corner at 2.5km I found out just what he had meant as I was up to my ankles in water. There was nothing I could do but plough through it. This happened 2 more times and my socks and shoes felt like lead.

I finished the 3rd km in 4:30 and headed for home. This is the part of the course that Ashley usually passes me but today I had put enough time between us. My heart rate was averaging 173 as I was trying to maintain my pace. There was no more puddles or rough ground and nowhere to take a sly look over my shoulder to see if Ashley or Kim were making ground. I completed the 4th km in 4:25 and then I was over the bridge and on the home stretch. The last 800 meters is very hard. There are a few signs along the path and I know every one of them. 650 meters to go. 500 meters to go. 200 meters to go. My heart was beating fast and I was willing my legs to keep going. Finally it was over and I finished the final km in 4:24 and was face down in the dirt and trying to catch my breath.

Afterwards, we retired to Starbucks for coffee and cake. It is always a fitting reward. After I got home, cleaned up, had a nap and I went for my swim around 2 PM. The pool was almost empty and I had a lane to myself. I took a break every 500 meters and managed to complete 2.5km in 1 hour 6 minutes. That was about 3 minutes better than the last time I did that distance. I was very pleased. I then went home and cooked my famous daal for dinner. It was well received.

My famous daal

Thursday 10-Sep-2020 V Dori Again

Morning

RHR      59
HRV      81
Weight   90.2kg
Cycle    56.5km in 2 hours 15 mins

Paddy was not letting up. He wanted another crack at the V Dori Hill to try and beat Chad’s record of 2:28. Hence, I found myself sitting on the side of my bed at 4:20 AM again taking my HRV. I was tired. But I wanted to see if he could do it, so we met up at Futakoshinchi as the sun was rising over the Tamagawa and the Rakuten Building. The first thing that Paddy said to me was that we would cycle up to the hill at a slow pace. I guess that he had sussed my plan to tire him out on Tuesday when there was money at stake.

The first stop was Lawson’s in Yanokuchi. I had just had breakfast and did not need anything but Paddy was in for his kitkat and Red Bull. He also expoused his theory that with all the different types of GPS watches on the market today, it is hard to know which one is accurate. He must have been nervous. At the base of the hill, we took all unnecessary weight off the bikes in the form of water bottles and tool kits. Paddy was faffing about and I was impatient to get it done, so with no money on the line, I went off up the hill. Unfortunately, I did not reset my Wahoo Segment Tracker before I took off and it was out of sync. The result was that I could not see how I was doing on the ascent.

I stayed out of the saddle for the first 200 meters and I thought that I was doing well until Paddy passed me. He was sitting down and going strong, but I do not agree with cycling in the middle of the road. Clearly something that he will have to work on. As he got to the final corner he was out of the saddle chasing Chad’s record. I was mad at myself for not having started my bike computer but delighted to see that Paddy had ascended in 2:27. He was very pleased with himself as well and started to message Chad and Phil. He did not mention the different types of watches.

The rest of the morning was very pleasant as we cycled down the Tamagawa. I kept going again past Paddy’s house and added another 20km to my trip.

In the afternoon, Chad went out again and went up the hill in 2:22.

Wednesday 9-Sep-2020 Morning Run

Morning

RHR      63
HRV      76
Weight   89.1kg
Run      11km @ 5:25 pace
HRV

I was up before 5 AM again this morning. That can only mean one thing. I was meeting Paddy for some morning exercise. Fortunately, it was not another assault on Yomiuriland V Dori but a gentle run around the Tamagawa. This time we met at Kitamikata, which is closer to my house, at 6 AM. When Paddy arrived on foot he was looking very refreshed and I asked him if he had run. He said no, that he had come on his moped. That was a new one on me.

We started off slowly towards Marukobashi. I had run a hard 10km on Tuesday and my knee was a little sore. Fortunately, it did not get worse and when we stopped for water just before the bridge, I put water on it and it felt much better. We crossed the bridge and headed back up the other side. It was getting hot. We met Ben who was running the opposite direction. I barely recognized him such was my distress. There was not a bother on Paddy. He talked from start to finish, even after I asked him to take a break under a bridge in order to get out of the sun.

We kept going, stopping for a drink at a vending machine in Futakotamagawa before crossing the bridge back to Kawasaki. Paddy said that he would push the last 1km and took off down the ramp. I upped my pace a little but it was not long before he was well ahead of me. I managed to keep going and finish the 11km in under 1 hour.

I went home and started working. I had to go to the Kuyakusho at lunch to apply for a MyNumber card. On the way, I passed a MOS Burger and noticed that they had started selling a Soy Burger. I had to stop and try it. It was great. The best lunch that I had since I went back to work after my holiday to Kyoto. I will be back.

Tuesday 8-Sep-2020 Bike-Run-Swim

Morning

RHR      60
HRV      84
Weight   89.6kg
Cycle    56km in 2 hours 12 minutes

Lunch

Run      10.3km @ 4:59 pace

Evening

Swim     1,000m in 0:25:54
HRV

I was up at 4 AM this morning. I was not supposed to be up until 4:30 AM but as I had been awake since 3 AM, it was not such a big deal. I was meeting Paddy to check/support his assault on Yomiuriland V Dori. We were due to meet on the Tamagawa at 5:30, which required me to leave my house at 5:15. For some bizarre reason I woke up 90 minutes early and could not go back to sleep.

Paddy was in pensive mood when we met. I had bet him that I would pay him 5,000 yen if he broke 2:30 up the hill but that he would pay me the same if he could not break 2:42. 2:42 was the first time that Chad got on the hill and was probably a bit generous as Chad was hungover and tired from the hills on the Sunday. He went to 2:28 after 4 days rest. I was feeling a bit pensive myself. I was not too enamored with giving Paddy any money under any circumstances.

We got to the base of the hill around 6:15 and I told Paddy the basics. This is the start and the finish is 740m up there. He looked at me. He looked at the hill. He looked at me again and decided to check out the station. Finally, he could not put it off any longer and he launched himself into the hill. Chad had warned me not to lead him out so I waited and followed. I could not stay with him but my early time was good and I could keep Paddy in my sights. But once we rounded the corner at 400 m he was gone and I could not keep pace. I met him at the top and he told me that his time was 2:40. A time that pleased both of us. Somewhat. I was 3 minutes.

Paddy wanted to try again and removed all unnecessary weight from his bike, but it was too late. You only get one chance on Yomiuri V Dori and he had his. My time was even worse the second time and we decided to call it a day and headed to the nearest Lawson for coffee before cycling home. I still had some time before work and I cycled down with Paddy past his house and added about 15 km to my route on the way home.

Futakoshinchi on the way home

Even though I had cycled 56km and had slept only 4 hours, I was not too tired when I got home and decided that I would try to do a run at lunchtime. It was really hot when I stepped out to do my 10km run at noon. And by really hot I mean 32 degrees and feels like 39 degrees. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run and I headed down the road at 5 min/km pace. I was also pleased that I was able to keep it up to the Tamagawa River and down to Todoroki Ground.

When I got to the turn-around I stopped under a tree for shade and tried to regain my composure although there was no drinks machine nearby. It was impossible and after a few minutes I started up again keeping my 5 min pace. From the turn-around point up to the point where I leave the river at Kitamikata, it is 2.4km and I felt every meter as I tried to squeeze every drop of water out of my parched mouth. Fortunately, there is a drinks machine at Kitamikata and stopped for a bottle of Miracle Body underneath another tree. Yes, that is the name of a drink.

I started off again and stopped 500 meters later for another rest. The heat was brutal. I could then run in the shade of the motorway for another 500m and shortly after that I reached another drinks machine. I got a sports drink that I carried for the rest of the run. The heat was murder but I was glad that I did it and kept my overall pace under 5 minutes, although it was touch and go at the end.

Todoroki Ground At Noon

I went back to work in my son’s room for the rest of the day and when my last call finished at 6 PM I headed out to my local pool. I really only wanted to swim a little to say that I had done all 3 sports today, but the pool was almost empty and I managed to stay and swim 1,000m. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Maybe Paddy is headed back to Yomiuriland V Dori now that he knows the plan and will try and claim his just reward. Time will tell.

Monday 7-Sep-2020

Morning

RHR      46
HRV      106
Weight   89.7kg

Evening

Swim 2,000m in 0:54:58

I had a nice long sleep last night and did not get out of bed until after 7:30 AM. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my Resting Heart Rate and HRV were in such good state. I would have thought that after cycling and swimming on Sunday they would have been a little suppressed. As I was late getting up, I had no time to do anything during the day, but after work I headed for the local pool to swim some laps. There were not a lot of people in the pool and I was able to swim well. The back and forth lane was not available, so I had to swim up one lane and back another. This actually worked out well as all the little breaks kept me fresh. I will not be having any lie-in tomorrow as I will be meeting Paddy at 5:30 AM to supervise his assualt on Yomiuriland V Dori. Should be a lot of fun.

Sunday 6-Sep-2020 After The Flood

Morning

RHR      63
HRV      85
Weight   90.7kg
Cycle    76.2km in 3 hours 1 minute

Evening

Swim 1,100m in 0:30:17

This morning I was up and atom by 5:30 AM and on my way to Futakotamagawa station to meet Nick and Ashley for 7 AM. No, I was not running with them. They are too fast and running too far for me. I was collecting my new Namban gear from Nick before I headed off on a cycle. Hopefully, next time you see me I will be wearing my Namban Rengo cycling shirt.

After getting my stuff from Nick and placing it in a locker, I headed off for my cycle. It was terrible. I could not get going. Although I cycled for a full 3 hours, my average heart rate was only 121 and my max heart rate was 138. I felt very lethargic and just not into it. The most interesting part of the day was the high water line. There had been a lot of rain overnight and the Tamagawa river had burst its banks and was a raging torrent. A complete contrast to my effort.

When I got home, I had a message waiting for me from Paddy. He had completed the flyer for the Remote run that we plan to hold in 2 weeks in aid of The Ireland Funds. The flyer looked great and I quickly uploaded it to Facebook and Instagram and sent it out to people who had attended the event in previous years. It is unfortunate that the event has to be remote with everybody running their own run, but these are the times in which we are living and we can only hope to get back on track next year.

After completing my social media duties, we headed out for lunch. We had not been out to lunch together for several months and it was nice to take a break. On the way back I got out of the car at the pool. I had hoped to swim 1,500 meters but I was too tired and only managed 1,100. I think that the additional running is making me more tired and I will need to get more rest if I am going to continue with 3 sports each week.

Saturday 5-Sep-2020 Park Run

Morning

RHR      59
HRV      82
Weight   90.4kg
Run      5km @ 4:30 pace

As you may have noticed by the brevity of yesterday’s post, and the incorrect date, I had a couple of beers last night. Well, I say a couple, but I think that you know what I mean. However, it was a minor miracle that I was up and out the door shortly after 9 AM this morning and able to run my 5km 25 seconds faster than I did last week. Both Ashley and Mason had bailed on me. I took comfort from the fact that they both told me on Friday afternoon, meaning that they did not like each other rather than the fact the maybe both of them did not like me.

I got to the start of the run just before 10 AM after parking my bike in front of Starbucks. I then had a long count down before I finally mustered up the courage and took off. I purposely did not look at my watch for the first kilometer but focused on the bridge at Futakotamagawa instead. It was hot and humid and I was feeling very exposed as I ran along the river. I was quietly surprised to see 4:29 on my watch as I hit the 1km point but there was no time for celebration as I turned the corner and headed over the rough ground around the pond.

Mike Rayner always says that it is the 2nd km of Park Run that makes or breaks you and he puts most of his effort into it. I was just hanging on, trying to maintain my pace. I was very pleased again to see 4:31 when I turned the corner at 2km. It was very tough running by myself in the heat. Normally, I am focused on trying to hold Ashley off, as long as I can or seeing if I can catch Andrew. Today it was just me alone, in the heat. You get the picture.

I got through the 3rd km in 4:30 and then ran 4:28 for the 4th one. But I was dying. I had had no pain in my knee after the first few hundred meters but I could not maintain this pace in the heat. I was counting down the distance remaining with every sign on the path. First 650 metres. Then 500. I got to 300 meters to go and decided not to look at my watch again for a while. When I did there was 220 meters to go. The end looked a long, long way away. I kept going and finished the last km in 4:31 with a final time of 22:31. About 90 seconds slower than my best time but better than the previous 2 weeks. The same family was camped underneath the tree at the finish as last week. They looked happy, and cool.

Afterwards I went straight to Starbucks and had a venti almond cappuccino and a lemon cream cake. I began to feel good again. Hopefully, next week I will have a bit more competition and I will be able to push myself a bit more as well.