Recently, I’ve been trying to fit in training for another half-marathon before my mom and step-dad come for a visit (and a trip to Fukuoka to see E for Golden Week after that). This is in between manically cleaning my room and getting super busy at work, etc. etc. I’m certainly doing better than last year’s Sendai Marathon, where the longest I had run was like, 12km before trying to run a half-marathon. “If I can run 12km, I can somehow…run double that distance when it comes down to it!!”
This year I can tell I’m a bit stronger of a runner. This weekend I was running on a course of my own design, planning to go up the mountain road behind my apartment and then over to a pond to the north of the city and back. 17km on hills, flat trails, and roads. Girl, yeah! You can do this! You certainly have nothing else to do today!
Incidentally, there are occasional bear sightings within Iwate, which is why you have to carry a bell with you when you go hiking, to alert them of your presence so they don’t eat you (?). I’ve run this mountain course before, which is surrounded by houses and business and a zoo (!) so there’s enough human civilization around to limit bear maulings. But I always wonder while I am wandering – dude, what if I did get eaten by a bear? People would just be like, that girl was a dang idiot.
So I’m running the first like, kilometer of my course. I’m part way up the hill, running through a forested road, and I come out by a rickety old business and a small farmfield. Nothing out of the ordinary. All of a sudden I see a grey shadow moving about 50 feet to my right, and I stopped short. CRAP what the hell is that-
It wasn’t big enough to be a bear so I thought it might be even worse – a wild boar. But no, it was just one of these guys:
It was a kamoshika, or Japanese serow. It’s kind like a deer or a goat, ie., a herbivore ie., phew. Pretty much harmless. It stopped padding along as soon as I did, and we both stared at each other for a good minute. Uh okay. I’m just going to walk slowly up the road out of sight… I stepped gingerly forward, making my way up the road, and keeping eye contact with the kamoshika. Her eyes followed mine as she watched me walk up the path and she stayed in that spot until I couldn’t see her any longer.
And that was the extent of my encounter with nature this time around. I won’t lie, it was pretty beautiful. I had a moment there, locking eyes with this majestic beast – but seriously, that is some Princess Mononoke-type shit right there.
Well, Ashitaka is from Michinoku, no?