Running in Asia

On Tokyo stopover number two for the day. Delta turned back in the middle of Pacific after some A/C problems and canceled the flight for the day. I’m writing this from one of the Narita airport hotels …

Talking about Tokyo I had finally this week a hotel where I could try the most famous running locations. Previously been hitting the ground around a stadium near Shinyokohama or the concrete jungle in Shinagawa (can’t really run there) but this time around I was next to Chiyoda. First morning hit the road at 6 AM to run around the Imperial Palace. Did three laps in 1.01 total with last lap in sub 20 mins. Second morning even earlier went the other direction around the stadiums and Yoyogi park. Frustrating that the parks are closed. This ended up also as an over an hour long run.

Running in Tokyo is not the best in the world but the good news is that you can do it. Compare that to Beijing, Seoul, Shenzhen and Taipei where the only option I have opted for is treadmill. Reasons are rampant, definitely unhealthy air pollution and — especially in China — dangerously crazy traffic. Unfortunately I’m not a treadmill guy. I just can’t mentally do it. I probably did personal best in one shabby Shenzhen hotel during this trip clocking in 25 minutes of continuous belt hitting. Other attemps were between 12 and 15 minutes.

How sub 100hrs Taiwan trip affects running?

I was on Monday night at Foothill College’s track — the closest running location with lights — trying to do a sort of workout. Can’t believe how difficult it was. I was tired, legs aching, nothing worked out. I ended up running a couple of 80 sec 400 meters… which were supposed to be 2Ks or miles. I kinda felt completely gassed out after 300 meters in each try.

Okay, head to SFO and into Taiwan for three intensive business days. Just two 10 minute morning sessions on tread mill. Return tonight, Friday, meaning less than 100 hrs trip of which more than 24 hrs on the plane… On the way home driving 280 in the dark I kinda feel energized. Got a good sleep on the board China Airlines. Bone plays one Zep tune after another. Nikki Blakk freaks in and I make the decision. Pull out at El Monte exit and here we go again!

Change to shorts, check the places. Empty field. Bit chilly but bright, calm, Bay Area night, such a difference to the humid Taipei under smog. Here you can breathe, run as fast as you can. Main lights are out but it doesn’t matter. There’s enough to light up the track so I can see the seconds go on my stopwatch. Couple warm-up laps go fast, feels like sub 90 secs, easy. So easy. What should I do? Okay, let’s try 12 minutes tempo, the infamous cooper. And off we go. After a few laps I get the reminder I’m not in top shape, can’t just fly this out, although I have to say running feels good. Without much extra effort pretty much the same as the previous one, just a couple steps short of 3600m the watch beeps. Feels good. As an afterthought I could’ve probably done another one within 5 minutes. For the next time… now I gotta rush home to pack for the family mountain retreat.

Cooper & Vegas rave run …

Interesting runs over the last three days. First on Sunday a strong track test at Blach: Cooper 3600m, or in fact a few steps short. Arrived at 3.000m in 10.08 and then sprinted towards the end.

Yesterday landed in Las Vegas and had a “rave run” of sorts … from McCarran airport to LV Convention Center to pick up CES badge (done in less than 1hrs) and then to my hotel on the Strip. Packed everything, including my trusted Haglöfs backpack into the carry-on luggage and off I went. Too bad there are no pictures of this somewhat crazy run. The most difficult part was to find the way out from McCarran to Swenson St on foot … I may never do it again.

This morning woke up to picture the nice desert mountain skyline. Easy run to pick up some groceries and back.

Sunrise from my room’s window. The big tower on the right is Stratosphere — a legendary hotel where we stayed with Pablo back in 2000 on the way to Mexico.

Live Music Capital of the World

Went out last week in Austin, Texas to check out how the city meets its marketing label “Live Music Capital of the World.” Pretty well. I don’t know many places on this earth to have at least ten bars on one street with live bands at a random weekday night. Austin does. The most interesting artist I found was Jamie Krueger who player pretty solid classic blues and rock stuff, finalizing his show with a cover of Are You Experienced? Now that’s a song I’ve never heard anyone else playing live before.

Jamie Krueger on guitar and vocals.