Sunday, February 22, 2009

22 Feb - Okinawa Marathon

Yesterday sure was a long day. Back in December, Danny signed up to participate in the Okinawa Marathon. Longer than a traditional marathon, the Okinawa marathon is 26.4 miles (or 42k for those of us who are used to seeing distances in k). Starting in Awase, they run full circle around central Okinawa. (map)
The morning started early. Around 6am the alarm went off and Danny practically jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen to start breakfast. He ate toast with Peanut butter and Jelly spread on it, and drank water and sports drinks. At about 7, I finally rolled out of bed, threw on my (Go California!) in'n'out t-shirt and jeans, ate a quick breakfast and got ready to go. We made sure we had everything we needed, hard candies, water, crackers (for me :D), cameras, keys, ID cards, iPod (essential!), running shoes (Danny wore chanclas[slippers or "house shoes", for those who don't speak spanish] to and from the race), sunscreen, and runners socks, and headed for the door. We needed to get to the designated parking spaces before 8:10 when the last bus would leave for the Park. We left the house at 7:30, and got stuck in traffic on the way down to the park. We got to the park at 8:10, and parking was still 5k (about 3 miles) away, so I told Danny to pull over and get out, I would walk from the parking lot to the park but I didn't want him to miss the race. We turned off the main road, looking for somewhere to pull over, and... as luck would have it, found a grassy parking lot in a housing area. Free parking within a 5 minute walking distance to the starting line! AmAzIng! Lucky!
We parked and got out, walked to the Park where the race was to start, and found Danny's starting point. He was #7539 and they had to line up in order of their numbers (by 500s, so not in exact order). At 9:05, the race started. I walked with him for the first bit, because lets face it! You can't run when you are smooshed against 9,999 other people. I stopped just before they hit the street, where the jogging began. I watched him for as long as I could see him, which wasn't very long. It's very easy to lose someone in a crowd that large.
30 minutes later, the 10k was about to start. I knew a few people running the 10 k, so I took pictures of them in their adventures, and marveled at the strange costumes that Japanese people are able to run in. See our FLICKR of the Okinawa Marathon to catch a glimpse of some of the costumes. (Some photos compliments of Amanda Webb, Footsteps Photography). It was neat to see how fast people can run and how many people are excited to run 10k!!
After the 10k ended, I waited for the finish line to clear and plopped myself down in a spot that I thought would be good to sit in when the Marathon ended. I wanted to make sure I would be able to see Danny come in and take Pictures of it. Even though the race had only begun an hour before, I was determined to stake my claim on that spot for the entire marathon. I didn't move for nearly 4 hours.
As Danny ran across and around Okinawa, he was amazed by the support from those who were not running. Lining the 26 mile route were thousands of people offering food and drink to runners. Along the way Danny was able to enjoy Bananas, Strawberries, Pineapple, Popsicles, Aquarius(a Japanese Sports Drink that tastes like grapefruit juice, yum), salt (yes.. they ate salt while running), wet sponges which he smashed on his face and killed his iPod earbud for a few miles until it dried out (oops!), countless other fruits, and much more. He said there were people who would spray their legs with something sort of like Bengay or Icy-Hot and rub it on their leg muscles as they ran by, people who gave leg massages en-route, etc. Thank you to all those who cheered him on when he ran through base, it was a real energy booster!
Running past gate 5 (about 20 miles in) a friend of mine called to say he was on his way back. She took photos of him running by, cheered him on, and said he was a real trooper and looked like he was doing great. He was only about an hour behind the Marathon winner at that point! Unfortunately soon after, his legs were "done" and didn't want to go anymore. It was all mental. Just a few more miles! He would tell himself, and trek on.
At about 1:15, I stood up, still in my spot, watching the marathon. I couldn't sit anymore, my butt and my legs had fallen asleep and my back was hurting (not that I can complain, I wasn't the one running the marathon!). As soon as I had stood up, I started to get crowded by people, pushed and poked, but I held my ground. I felt that Danny should be running in soon, so I turned on my cameras. I saw this girl dressed up in tiger print, and took a picture of her, then looked past her and down the final stretch before the finish line and there he was, still jogging along. I had two cameras, one to take video on and one to take photos, so I wasn't able to get the best shots as I was trying to do two things at once, but I was still able to get some! The pictures speak for themselves. (video on the bottom)

I was so proud. He came through the gates where I was able to meet up with him and fell into my arms. Exhausted and happy to see my face! I went upstairs to use the restrooms while he sat at the bottom of the stairs stretching his legs. I came down and he was gone. I found him, he had been pulled into a tent where Japanese were massaging him with ice bags and trying to ask him where he hurt (I think...). After that I helped him walk to the car and we headed home where he soaked in a lukewarm bath full of Epsom salt, and then covered his legs in bengay. (if you come by our house in the next few days, it smells like bengay.)
Today he is feeling alright. He was able to go to PT and jog half a mile to stretch his legs, and he went in to work after that. What a trooper. I'm beaming with pride.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Burning at Both Ends

Lately I feel like I never get a break. It’s good to be busy, but it’s also nice to have time to relax! This week I dropped off friends at the airport on Monday, worked on Tuesday, had heart link orientation with a new spouse in the squadron on Wednesday followed by a class Presidency meeting for YW, worked half on Thursday and then did all the house cleaning during the afternoon, and worked a full (and very difficult, long) day with first grade during the day and had 9 young women in my house watching a movie and painting their toe nails until 10pm on Friday, Saturday started with a YW Leadership meeting , followed by a trip to Comprehensive Park to pick up Daniel’s marathon Torso Tracker and number, then off to do my duty as a RAV and attend a deployed spouses dinner, and finally came home to help my husband make dinner. Tomorrow I’ll be spending the majority of my day watching runners start and finish running at Comprehensive Park so I can get photos of Daniel running his first marathon. He wants me to go down there, take photos at the starting line, drive back to base, take pictures at the half way point, and then drive back and take pictures at the end of the race. That’s not going to happen, with all the roads closed off for the runners, so I’m going to just wait around at CP for him to finish the race. Followed by that, some guys from the sq are coming over to play rock band. WHEW!

Coming up this week, my schedule is still full… starting with work, FHE, Work, a YW presidency meeting, work, change of command ceremony, YW activity, work again, something thurs night that I just can’t remember, work again, Friday night is free as far as I know so far…. But I’m sure that’ll change, then Saturday I have visiting teaching, followed by a visit to my friend Brook at Market day (haven’t seen her in like 3 weeks!), and Sunday I am going to District Conference where I’ll be giving a talk that I don’t have time to write.

Somewhere in there I have to get my booty to the gym, clean my house, walk my dog, and see my husband.

Talk about being exhausted. All I ask is that God help me and my body stay healthy so the world doesn’t fall apart. My calendar is already full. I don’t have time to go to the ER again.

Thanks for reading my little... vent.. if you will.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fukushuen Garden - Feb 16 2009

Last Monday Danny and I had to drive down to Naha to take some friends to the airport. On the way back we decided to stop at the treehouse resteraunt for Lunch. Every time we drive down to Naha for some reason we pass the resteraunt and say "We should go there one day!" Well, we finally did. It was worth the experience, but the food wasn't great so we won't be going back. It's neat looking, a resteraunt sitting in a tree, basically. You take an elevator up to the resteraunt, and as soon as the doors open there is a hostess waiting to seat you. There aren't very many choices on the menu, but we each found something new to try. While waiting for our food Danny snapped portrait photos of me that turned out looking pretty, even though I wasn't feeling that way, so I decided to put one up here. I'm so vane, I know.

After lunch, as suggested by some friends, we stopped at the Fukushuen gardens. This garden is dedicated to showing Chinese architecture and landscaping tecniques here on Okinawa. The best part: It's Free! It was so cool to see all of the interesting structures and statues, along with some weird looking flowers and a whole lot of bamboo. It was fun, even though it was a cloudy dreary day, we still enjoyed seeing the sights. We spent probably two hours roaming around the garden, even though it really isn't very big. We plan to go back on a Sunny day, because there is no beauty in a garden quite like on a sunny day. There was a waterfall that you could walk behind, and a funny statue Danny tried to mimmic. To see all of our photos, view our flickr account. (click)
On the way home, there was so much traffic that we decided to stop at a McDonalds drive through for icecream and french fries. Something about the French Fries here on Okinawa is just so wonderful. The Japanese do McDonalds a better service than the USA does, that's for sure. You wouldn't catch me sitting at a McDonalds in the states, but every once in a wild blue moon, I let Danny take me to McD's.

Monday, February 16, 2009

January 31 - Cherry Blossoms / Sakura

Over then next few days I'll be posting blogs from the past few weeks, because I haven't been keeping up. SORRY!! I've been working every day the past two weeks, and I've recently taken on the role of 320th special tactics squadron RAV.

So, two weeks ago Danny and I drove up north to Nago to part take in the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was fun, but we didn't enjoy the crowds. The Cherry Blossoms were out this year and it was beautiful. Last year we headed up and the rain had killed all the Sakura before the festival even happened, so it was nice to see the hills covered in pink. Bright pink and light pink, and nearly white pink. I wish there had been less people so that we could have taken photos of the stairs without people all over them, but what can ya do?

We saw these two girls everywhere, Herijuku girls fo sho! Dressed up and decked out like sparkle gangsters. It was hilarious to see them walking around so we snapped a few photos of them. This is so funny because we see people like this everywhere, and since we had our cameras out this time we decided to show the rest of the world how silly some of them actually look.
Click their photos to see the big size.

Then on our way back down the stairs I saw this creepy looking building, so I had to take a picture of it and play around with it on photo shop.Click the photo to see actual size.

After that we drove down to Torii station to watch the sunset. We didn't stay until the sun went down because it got windy and I got cold. :D