rhonda schuller's blog

Fast Guys

I see by my countdown calendar that I am closing in on the midpoint of my four month stay here in Fukagawa. I was delighted to be a guest of the city mayor at the recent Cherry Blossom Festival, a mixed event with lots of barbequed lamb and some talent among the several entries in the Karaoke contest. The mayor, up for re-election for a fifth term this fall, was one of the Karaoke singers.
The highlight for me, though, was discovering a winding 2km bark-mulch path winding up, down, through and around the hillside park.
I've been needing longer runs, and worrying about the lack of mountains for running. So, I heeded my runner partner, Cheryl's, advice and I headed back last Thursday morning on my street cruising bike for the park, 4-5 km north of the city to do my personal Enduro of laps.
I was surprised and delighted to find runners at the park. A dozen or so. Runners. Speedy, young guys in singlets and running shorts, complete with a couple of coaches posted at the top of the rises. Runners! I started plodding through my slow and steady routine of laps, admiring the fleet-footed fellows each time they passed. I felt at home, a path underfoot, trees around and fast guys hot-footing it past me. Who were these runners? In the few months I've been here running through the rice paddies and along the river dike, I'd seen no other runners.
I noticed, after these runners had finished, had a drink and rested a bit, they walked across the road and all climbed into the camouflage-canvas covered back of an army truck. I kept at it, slow and steady, knowing the nearest military base is about an hour away, on the Sea of Japan coastline, at Rumoi.
What a fabulous day. I'd found my local Nirvana, a running path worth driving in the troops for training, and certainly worth my few km bike trip.

Biking to Asahikawa

A full Saturday free and word of a bike trail on an old railway bed sent me east on my standard-issue silver colored upright bike with the shopping basket on front. I headed east, paralleling a busy highway and found the trailhead 10km later.

From the Flatlands of Japan

Hello, All, from Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan,

I'm one month into my four month teaching exchange here in Fukagawa, heart of the rice paddy area of Hokkaido, the north island of Japan.

One of my goals while here is to recover some weekly mileage. With long-day schedules of work in the past months at home, and with short resolve, I let during-the-week runs slip and tried to keep up with longer pleasurable weekend trail mileage. My physio and chiropractor soon let me know that the weekend warrior thing is not a good idea. Who knew what didn't work for anyone else wouldn't work for me?

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