Year 2005. I had a colleague that was once a Swedish body-builder that won a title when he was junior. To be a conscientious body-builder requires discipline in many ways such as training, food, drinking, sleeping and daily routines. From the days he was training for the national contest he created excellent health habits that he carried throughout his life. He liked to go for a walk early in the morning before eating the breakfast. First, he said, when we wake-up we should drink a glass of water stomach empty, then eat preferably an apple, otherwise any other fruit alike will make it. Then go for a 20 minutes walk at fast pace. This way will help to burn very fast the remaining calories before you bring new ones in the body. He said.
He arrived in Japan to help in the project I was already assigned over two months. He inquired about the cityscapes where he could go early morning for a walk. I instructed him with a map and mentioned I would do this path and go beyond but running in the evening. He explained me his habits and I prompted myself to follow him the next Sunday because as a runner it would require more routines and in the mornings of winter time it was to dark to run, I said. We need to leave the hotel at 7.30 sharp and that would mean wake-up at 5am…
Sunday has arrived and we went as planned. He was not so tall but as strong and long legs and therefore longer strides than me. I couldn’t simply follow his pace and decided to trot like a horse instead. It was the first time he was with me in a project and in any working circumstances outside Sweden, so he didn’t knew my jogging capabilities. But he was said that on the weekends I just disappear to somewhere in a place casted in the mountains facing Fuji. It seems a peaceful place, he added. I nodded to confirm and he ask me to take him there this morning. I agreed and started to lead.
The road was wet with melting snow from a little snow storm, a kind of au revoir winter snow storm. He meant the Heiwa Park or colloquially know by Peace Park where I many times strolled to distract myself and do some photo shooting. The distance from the hotel to that place was about fourth minutes walking in my pace but on his pace was probably twenty minutes. That would be roughly 3 kilometres. But I wanted to know how much he could take for his routines and decided to take another trail he did not know. This trail would take us to the Omron resort from behind the Chichibunomiya Memorial Park with an almost 15% gradient face all the way up. After his twenty minutes routine he was wondering were we would go and ask if it was still a long way. I nodded like a fainted no. He was sweating, and so did I, but he decided to say nothing more because, I guessed, he was the one who asked to take him to the Park. We’ve got into the Omron resort and told him we should rest and do some stretches. He looked at his watch and frowning inquired were it was the Park? I have walked one hour and there is no signs of it Joaquim! The resort has a kind of esplanade view point from where we could look down the hill and from there we could see the tip of the shrine. I took him to the edge of the esplanade and pointed to him. You see? We have passed long ago! But… he was about to ask when I cut him off by saying; you have asked me to take you there but we have not decided which way… so I did on my way because when we get in the hotel we have done 13km which is the routine I have 3 times a week Sunday being one of them, I also have routines you know… He closed his eyes and with both forearms cleaned his face full of sweat and said, you got me Joaquim, but this is a hell of a walk in this continuous gradient and I think I burned more calories than I should. I promised my girlfriend I would not go dirty (a terminology for junk food and body-builders do it once a week) while here but it seems I’m going for a Big Mac this lunch time. Do you take a taxi or do you walk? I asked. What do you mean by that? You know, the closest McDonald is about 2,5 km from the hotel. No Joaquim!!!!! Kidding… is just 150 metres to the right… but for now we have another 6,5km to go back to the hotel. Let’s move, the gradient will help us this time but we run! The hell, he muttered.