Runners are nuts. I can say this with full confidence, being part of this global tribe of insane people.
Seriously, we spend huge amounts of our precious income travelling to far away places, to essentially beat up our bodies and exhaust ourselves... if possible in the near vicinity of pretty scenery, good food and boiling onsen.
I was thinking along these lines when I went out to Karuizawa to run the 5k time trial of the two day Karuizawa Resort Marathon extravaganza. It was rainy, foggy, cold, and the last thing I wanted to do was remove my nice warm coat and warm-ups. However, perhaps I should be thankful to the weather, as the promise of putting on layers after the finish line may have propelled me to higher speeds, as I ended up 16th in the race (woo!).
I love Karuizawa and the race was a perfect excuse to go back. Koyo has already started there (since it is bloody freezing), and the rain stopped right after I crossed the finish line (handy!), which meant I could go exploring before jumping on the Tokyo-bound shinkansen.
First order of business after any race is food. I had heard good things about Karuizawa Flatbreadz, which was also close by. While they have lots of sandwiches, I was lured by their individual fondue set. For just under 1000 yen you get a pot of melted cheesy goodness, along with fresh bread, salad and soup.
Taliesin, which I had not been able to visit last time around. The grounds were a bit smaller than I imagined, but the trees and Meiji era houses were lovely. The mist and fog shifted around, sometimes concealing, sometimes clearing, making for a terribly evocative atmosphere.
Library Cafe just outside the gates for a cup of tea and some scones, both excellent (caramel/nut scones, yum!). I also ran into my boss (!) there... small world.
As I am done racing until the spring, now I need to find another excuse to go hang out in Karuizawa. I throughly recommend it for a weekend getaway, I always come back feeling refreshed and rested... although in this case with slightly sore calfs, hehe.