H3 Weekend

Four days. Five runs (well, 4 and an unnameable 1/2). Over 40 kilometers mostly on mountains trails. A few (OK more than a few) beers along the way. And yes, my legs are hurting, although I really think that it was walking back with my heavy bag that made the most damage to my ankles. In other word, a great time at the Nagoya H3 Nash Hash.

It started with a small run (in my case) in downtown Nagoya. I opted for the shorter 2km trail as Wednesday I twisted my knee doing a handstand before a class. I therefore ran the whole weekend with either a knee brace or my jogging tights. My knee felt better and better along the way, which does not surprise me too much based on similar past injuries. I'll take it a little easy for the next week or so, but luckily these injuries, which are twists, don't really affect my running.

Coming back to Friday evening, the run was finished sooner than later, and we then retreated to an izakaya for some food and drinks. It was great to meet friends from all over Japan again, as we usually see each other only once a year at this event. There were quite a few people and as you can, things got embarrassing  for some.

The next day we made our way to Okazaki where the main event was held. It was raining and quite windy, but it didn't stop me and others to join a welcome 8km run mostly on trails. I had tried to lead a pack on the trail before, but had gotten lost along the way. Luckily, I wasn't the hare (the person who lays the trail) this time, so most people made it safe back without any problems. In the long part of the trail, we climbed a trail in the middle of a pine forest. With the dark rainy and foggy skies, the atmosphere was a little spooky, and it felt as if ninjas would jump down from the trees to ambush us!

After a nice hot bath and decent dinner, we ran the welcoming circle and other libations. The highlight was the surprise Hash Wedding for two Tokyo members. Some people got the groom to perform his mime antics while others took his bride away and put her in a wedding dress. She came in the room as he finished his skit, and a big uproar erupted. The vows were pretty funny. After the end of the circle, exhausted, I quickly got back to my room, knowing that the next day would be a full one.

About 120 people gathered from kennels all over Japan
The beautiful couple
Things got blurry before I headed back to sleep
And the next day was full indeed. It started with a 6:30 wake-up. After an OK breakfast the hares for the day's run split into groups to lay their respective trails. The early morning was very foggy, but as we headed out, the weather cleared and we were blessed with wonderful conditions. I laid the second half of the ballbreaker trail. As we were carrying kilos of flour and toilet paper rolls (for the really bushy parts), we didn't run at all. It proved quite interesting, especially since I spent most of the time with a member I knew little about, the boyfriend of someone I know well. You can see him on the following, just after we exited the really shiggy part.

We finished just in time for lunch, which consisted in Japanese curry and rice. Not too long after lunch, it was time to actually set out on trail. I opted to do the full ballbreaker, to act out as a middle sweep (someone who makes sure people don't get lost). This meant that I would jog at my regular slowish pace. In all, the trail was about 16km, with two long down and ups. Sadly, my camera had some technical glitches and I could only take pictures in the beginning. I left the first water stop quickly, and going down the second down, I ended in a group with whom I completed the trail. After the down, they stopped jogging and so did I since it was sort of my responsibility to do so. I pointed some interesting artifacts and stories on course, and the conversation was always pleasant.
Run down the hill...
Some got creative with the course

The course itself was pretty creative 

The view from the dam

As the day before, after getting back people got washed, we had dinner, and then we headed to a nearby lookout for an outdoor circle. Again some members had a Hash Wedding, and lucky for them, as you can see on the picture, Hulk Hogan made it! After some fireworks and contest of all descriptions, we retreated back indoors to have fun the comfort of a party room that also had a karaoke machine. The party lasted well into the little hours of the morning, and this time I stayed up a little later than the previous evening.

The next morning I joined a 10km run down to the mountain to the site of the departing party. I ended up with a group of walkers, and again the conversation was nice. Since we walked we arrived too late for the actual final run, but hot as it was, I'm not sure if I would have wanted to join anyways. Thank yous and goodbyes were exchanged and it was time to head back to Osaka, after a quick late lunch of miso katsu (deepfried pork filet with a Nagoya-style miso sauce). We then got on the bullet train and not too long after, I was in the comfort of my futon, where I had a pretty restful night.

Thank you to everyone present over the weekend, especially the Nagoya H3 organizers who produced a fantastic event for all of us. Kudos.

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