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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tom and I run our first 15km

Great day today.

It started, in the beautiful autumnal morning sunlight, with Tom and I doing our first ever 15km run. This is a major achievement - I've never been a runner, and never would have thought that this year I'd be able to run 9.3 miles non-stop (ok, so I did stop briefly for a wee and to do my laces up).

We only started training about 7 weeks ago, and I remember how knackered I felt after doing 5km back then. The idea of doing a second 5km lap made me want to fall over.

Then last week we did the 10km. That was ok, although the final km sprint nearly killed me.

Today, my legs were fine until about the 12km mark, when my right knee - the infamous Trailwalker knee (which packed up on me halfway through the 100km Oxfam sponsored hike in 2007) started to ache. At 14km, my granny's hip syndrome reappeared, as it does occasionally when I dance. But still, we did it.

I had my iPhone tracking us for the entire 1 hour, 17 mins and 23 seconds. The map can be viewed on EveryTrail, although I recommend downloading the Google Earth file (link on the main trip page) and viewing it in that, as you can zoom around the emperor's garden and marvel at how we apparently jogged along the surface of the moat.

First ever 15km! at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging.

This is really exciting stuff! We're thinking of entering the full Tokyo Marathon and possibly Honolulu Marathon in 2010.




After a trip home for a shower, I was back out to Shibuya for a private lesson, then a few hours spent editing the photos I took for the nail shop, C&K Nail. Here's a few of the more interesting ones...

ckNail_sample_series2_1426

ckNail_staff_work_1342

ckNail_nail_closeup_1479

Have you ever seen nails like this?! It's one from their special winter range.

ckNail_samples_1464





Tonight I'm trying to catch up with my Japanese, as well as learn more about nutrition, and write a letter. Hmm, just not enough hours in the day!

I've decided to not eat any chocolate this week, so please, if you meet me on the street, don't offer me any.

Thanks :-)

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Join me on my morning jog

As of today, I'm offering Mumblers the opportunity to join me on my morning jog. Yes, you too can come to Komozawa Koen, enjoy the sights of the running track, go faster, go slower, go uphill, go downhill ...and all without breaking a sweat. Courtesy of (what else but) the iPhone.

Courtesy of this amazing gadget and a new app, my runs (that's different from 'the runs'...) are now added to the social networking site EveryTrail. If I take any photos along my route, they are magically uploaded to the Google map in the correct location - I really don't have to do much to create the little show other than press 'Start' when I leave the house and 'Stop' when I get home (and 'Take Photo' when I want to).

This also shows speed, altitude, and the amount of sweat soaking my T-shirt.

This morning I was out of the house by 7am, inspired by *Twinkle* who had left at 6.15am to attend a (free) morning business seminar run by the owner of a famous izakaya (Japanese bar) in Shibuya.

It was a great run, really enjoyed it!
(Click here to view the following morning jog in full or click on the map or photos)

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging

Time for a quick shower, shave, bento (packed lunch) making ...then work!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Exchange rates, and Running with technology

What's going on in the currency markets? It's absolutely mental!

During my Year Abroad, £1 equalled 233yen.

Today (45 minutes ago), £1 equals 162yen.

I was just doing the sums - my salary here is is worth £7000 more than it would have been worth a year ago (if sent back home).

This is great news for me, as it now means that, whilst I only have an average salary, I can pay back my debts at a rate of £1000 a month, something which until now I never would have thought possible.

I'm now in the process of resuscitating my long-neglected GoLloyds account, whereby I can deposit cash in any appropriate ATM here in Japan and have it show up in my British bank a few days later (minus fees of course).




In other news, I was up at 7am today for the first of my thrice-weekly jogs. I'm find it interesting how this time round, with the goal of a mini-marathon to aim for, I'm far more motivated when it comes to getting out of bed and heading down the road to the park. It's not a chore, it's FUN!

But I know that there may be some mornings when it's not quite so sunny, or I'm not feeling so enthusiastic about heading out into the cold, and for that reason I'm looking for as many ways as possible to keep me going. Timing my laps was a start, but I knew I needed something more than that...

...enter RunKeeper for the iPhone.

Basically, this app uses satellite navigation to track you as jog your course. From the GPS co-ordinates it can then of course work out your distance and speed. It also makes a note of elevation too.

The results are initially displayed on the iPhone as a bar chart, each bar (where height = speed) being one minute of movement.

That's all very well and good, but it's still a bit disconnected from reality. Where it really comes into its own is where you finish your run and tap on Save. Two things happen: it saves your run to your iPhone's history for later reference, and it then sends that data to the RunKeeper website, which places your route and stats on Google Maps.



How sexy is that?!

(Unfortunately I neglected to restart it after a pause for shoelace-tying up so the data on this screenshot is incorrect (I went further and faster!))

These are the kinds of uses of hardware, software and networks that I find really exciting. They can have a real positive impact upon my lifestyle, playing on some of my weaknesses (love of tech) to overcome other weaknesses (lack of extended dedication?).

Now all I need is an app that will sync with my camera to location-tag all my photos, then I think my life will be complete!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lap time

Really enjoying this jogging thing. It started out as a weekly Sunday
morning meet up with Tom, but now I've found the Olympic park I'm
going three times a week.

Unfortunately Tom was unable to make it this morning, but I went along
in any case and joined the many men, women and children, young and old
for a few circuits. There's some big school meet going on in the main
stadium today, so there were hundreds of teenagers running about the place too.

I started timing my laps for the first time this morning. Each lap is
2.1km, so as you can see I'm not exactly a lightening Bolt yet, but it's early days (and i'm more interested in endurance)

As soon as we get the Internet back I'll download that exercise app for the iPhone. It uses gps to track how far you've run / average
speed etc.

It's good having next year's quarter marathon to train for, but I was also thinking I'd like to challenge myself to run a full marathon too, perhaps in a year from now. I know I'll have to do quite a bit of work
for it as my right knee still gives me grief sometimes (that's one reason I stopped this morning after 9km), but still, I've never
thought of myself as a runner, or someone who could run a marathon -
it would be good to challenge that belief.

Anyway, on with the day.

(post, unnecessry line breaks and screen shot courtesy of iPhone)

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