Past runs' memories
Tiny snowflakes drifting by,
Alone, not lonely
(15-17km, from Takarazuka to Arima onsen, via Mt. Rokko in 3 hours)
With the day free, my son at the daycare and my wife at work, I decided to burn some holiday calories and go trail running. It was my first long outing since the Sanjurokumine race, and I certainly felt it! I was all gun-ho at first, but it is a long way up from Takarazuka to the top of Mt. Rokko, a climb just under 900 meters (the summit is 931m).
Being a cold weekday, the trail wasn't too crowded, and as far as I could tell, I was the only runner, since no one passed me, although I did pass a few people. Not too long after entering the actual trail, I found a recently opened pack of gum and I figured it belonged to the first group I would encounter, and I was right: you should have seen the surprised face of the owner when I asked if it was theirs!
As mentioned before, it was pretty cold, and dressed like the Sanjurokumine race ended up being the right strategy, even if a non-sleeve fleece under might have been appreciated at times. I had new thermo socks I got from the home center, and they proved warmer than the socks I wore for the race. Not perfect, but better. I was also carrying a backpack with hydration bladder, rice balls (thanks, Momo), extra clothes (I forgot my shirt!), wallet and cell phone.
As the haiku indicates, during the run I was reminded of many past runs I've done there: training for the Oxfam Trailwalker - including the time I threw a snowball at Yuriko, it split mid-air to hit both her and my other assailant Akemi -; me completing the whole Rokko trail from Suma to Takarazuka; a run I did with my wife along with a group from the Run-Walk store in Morinomiya; and so on. With these great memories, even if I was alone, I certainly didn't feel it!
There were some flurries at times, and as I got higher, there was ice and snow on the ground. I wish I would have taken a picture of the crystalised formations on the side of the trail at times, they looked like quartz pillars guarding the way to the top. They were amazing. I did take some quick snaps with my phone, here's the best one I feel.
But before that, I wish you all a great end to 2012, and an even better start for 2013. I hope you will have a fantastic time next year, whether you run, jog, walk, crawl or drive!