Saturday, March 7, 2015

Day 16: Familiar Environs

It is fitting that it is lightly raining our last day in Tokyo. This is a damp country at this time of year, and rain has been pretty frequent.  A light rain also works as pathetic fallacy, for the artsy types out there – a somber mood for the conclusion of this trip. Light enough rain makes for great running, and we were intentionally close to the Imperial Palace grounds for another run where Tokyo runs.

I wish we had known there was a race this morning! Near as I can tell it was a 5km, right around the marked path.  Pretty small, but it would have been fun.  As it was, we ran alongside some of the slower runners in the race.  At least, I ran alongside them.  Mindy was doing a workout, so she pretty much blew away all the runners who were still on the route by the time we caught up to them. As for me, I’m ecstatic that less than a week after Lake Biwa, I can (more or less) comfortably run 16km – not too slow, either! (I have a 5km race next week-end, so my recovery is important.) I guess it goes to show how much easier it is on the body to race 37-38km and then cruise in for the final ~5km than to race 42.2km.  Good thing I wasn’t wearing racing flats at Biwa!

After cleaning up, we made our way to Tokyo Station one last time to catch the train to Narita airport.  Toronto can learn a lot from Tokyo’s reliance on rail transit!  On-time, clean, and available to take you anywhere – I know the UP line (Union to Pearson) is a step in the right direction, but here’s to hoping John Tory can put his transit plan into effect.

And then the fun of time travel.  Our flight departed Narita airport in Tokyo shortly after 5pm in Tokyo on Saturday, and landed in New York before 4pm on the SAME DAY! I still get a kick out of that. (I also get a kick – or something – out of the fact that Mindy was allowed on the plane with matches in her carry-on baggage. Aren’t those on the prohibited list?) Coming out from JFK airport, Mindy and I were struck with the stark contrast between the two subway systems. Tokyo is clean and well-maintained, and New York?  Well, let’s just say we figured that any Japanese tourist would be immediately homesick! Nevertheless, this is more what I am used to in Toronto, and I am excited about our evening in New York City after a morning in Tokyo and a day of travel.

First off was run #3 of the day; the 16km was divided into a 3km shake out run before breakfast, and then 13km after breakfast; once in NYC, we dashed out for a quick 4km through Central Park.

Then Mindy and I made our way to one of my personal favourite restaurants in Manhattan: Candle 79. (It was a toss-up between that and Basso 56.) Another excellent dinner, though this one was definitely not Japanese style. I guess I'm still in a good and friendly mood, because we made "friends" with the couple at the table beside us - Michel and Lauren.  In this case, we may actually have something to do with these people in the future; Michel has my email and said he wants running tips.

Tomorrow we return to Toronto and even more familiar environs. And I have a lot of laundry to tackle from this trip! Now it is time for bed, as the alarm is going off at 3:30am...daylight savings time.  It'll feel like 2:30am!  Good thing we both slept on the flight over.

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