A-Z Challenge – V

V stands for “Vision”

In the past few years, my vision has been getting worse, and this past year I got new glasses, but I cannot focus so closely with my current prescriptions. I can see at a distance very clearly, and even things at an arm’s length distance is ok. But anything closer than about 18 inches and my eyes start to strain and things get blurry. So reading is kind of a problem.

Austin, 2016
Austin, 2016

When I read in bed, I need to shine my bedside lamp directly at the book I am holding at arm’s length, and then I can read comfortably, but other things, like using the rear LCD screen on my camera is difficult. I don’t like to hold the camera far from me when taking photos. That’s one reason that I need a camera with a viewfinder with diopter adjustment.

I guess next time I get new glasses (my yearly allowance comes up in August) I should look at some kind of progressive lens. Honestly, it’s not a huge deal, but if it can be corrected, why shouldn’t I do it?


Evening at the baseball field

Leander, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
Leander, 2016

こんばんは!How’s it going today? Wow, the days are flying past like crazy… I don’t remember when time seemed to move so fast.

Today I took Koa to baseball practice. I took today’s photos when I was picking him up at around 8pm. As you can see, there was still plenty of light in the sky… it’s already starting to feel like summer!

Only five kids from Koa’s team showed up for practice, but that’s to be expected because of Spring Break. Many families go on vacation this week but we usually stay at home. Our school district usually has a few days off earlier in the year, when other schools are still in session. This works out nicely because the popular vacation destinations are usually empty!

The past couple years, we’ve taken advantage of this to go to Disneyworld and the parks were empty! Well, not like a ghost town, but the wait times for rides were usually around 10 minutes or so. It was so great, with less stress and we didn’t have to have a strict plan. We kind of just played it by ear and just went with what felt good, and we still got to experience all the rides we wanted to go on, some rides multiple times!

But back to today… we bought something to help improve our health: an exercise bike. The model we got was relatively inexpensive, but rated very highly. I assembled it this evening in about 40 minutes… there was only a slight problem with one plastic piece, but it is not a big deal and doesn’t affect the performance nor safety.

What I like about this bike is that the handlebars have a large area that is perfect for a tablet or kindle. So, I am thinking that I will try to read a bit and get some exercise in after I wake up. It seems like I should be able to wake up a bit earlier and get in at least 15 minutes before showering and getting ready for the day. We’ll see how it works out. I am curious to see how it affects my energy levels and mindset during the day.

Leander, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/50 sec, ISO3200
Leander, 2016

Well, I hope you have a nice evening! おやすみなさい!

-バロン Barron Fujimoto

Me Time

I went on a chilly, misty run today. It was only 49° F out! For me, that is the coldest I have run in, I think. A PR! But it wasn’t so bad since I had a beanie on and the wind. But besides that, I was thinking that running this past year has become a lot more enjoyable for me. The main reason is that it is purely “Me Time”. Not in the sense that I am run alone, but rather that I don’t listen to music or podcasts any more on my runs. If I listened to the podcasts, it’s not “me time”, it’s “them time”. For this special hour of the day, I don’t want to give it up to someone else (and their opinions) no matter how much I might like them. On a run, I want to let my mind wander by itself, and think about things unguided by others. Is this “mindfulness” in a sense? I don’t know.

But I like the fact that I don’t need to be “entertained” or motivated by listening to music or podcasts on my run.

It’s simple, but I like SIMPLE!

Run as if You are Invisible

Safety-conscious motorcyclists like to use the phrase, “Ride as if you are invisible”. As both a runner and a motorcyclist, I can see that phrase also being “Run as if you are invisible”.

Often in the past, I would approach an intersection at the same time as a car and it seemed like the driver paused to let me cross the street. But when I entered the crosswalk, he/she accelerated and almost ran me over. The problem was that I had mistakenly thought that he/she had seen me, or there is some confusion as to who is yielding to the other person. One thing is certain though, 145 lbs of flesh-and-blood will always lose to 2 tons of metal.

Safe zone

For both runners and motorcyclists the safest thing is to NOT be in a situation where a potential collision can take place. On a motorcycle, you should use your superior acceleration and braking to keep a safe amount of distance from cars. As a runner, you don’t have that advantage, but you can plan your route to be free of conflict.

By planning a route, I mean altering your route on-the-fly by a short amount (say 50 feet) or so at intersections. Since the location of potential conflict is the crosswalk, I just avoid the crosswalk if a car is present. (Keep in mind that my route is along neighborhood streets, with not a ton of traffic.)

The scenario

The common scenario on my run is that of a capital “T”. I am at the top right of the T, running to the left (West). The car is coming from the bottom of the T. I don’t know if he wants to turn left (West) or right (East). If he wants to turn right, he is more often than not looking left as he approaches the intersection, to see if any cars are coming. Often he doesn’t even look to the right, where I would be entering the crosswalk. If he doesn’t see any cars coming from the left, he will make his right turn, cutting me off. This has happened so many times!

My solution

So what do I do? As I approach the intersection, I follow around the corner 90 degrees and run along the street I want to cross (South down the middle of the T). After the car proceeds with whatever it was going to do, I dash across to the other side of the road, run up the T, then continue West at the top of the T.

This procedure totally removes myself from the area of danger. The driver doesn’t even have to wonder if he should let me cross, since I don’t even present that as an option. I am effectively invisible, and using it to my advantage.

I also do this if a car is coming in the same direction as I am (from the top-right of the T, heading West). I don’t know if he is going to turn left and down the T (South). So, I make my turn and run down the T, and when the coast is clear, I cross the street. That 50 foot buffer gives me a good view of any other cars that may be coming. Come to think of it, I also do this if a car is coming the other way. So basically in all situations.

That extra 50 (x2) feet I run adds on to my mileage, which is a nice bonus, so I am happy to do it. It’s not like I am racing the clock or anything. I’ll gladly burn those couple extra calories.

And I have the satisfaction of knowing that I am going to live to run another day. 🙂

Stay safe out there!

Follow me on Strava or Runkeeper.

My Half-Marathon

A Distant Goal

One of my short-term goals is to run a half-marathon (and someday a full marathon), probably at the Austin Marathon in 2015. My sketchy plan was to build up my miles in preparation for that race, maybe running 3-5 miles Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, a rest day Saturday. On Sunday I’d do a long run of about 10 miles followed by a rest day on Monday. I felt this would be a nice, do-able routine.

But, when I injured my knee in October, I had to suspend my running for a few weeks to let it heal up. So, the routine got messed up. In November I slowly started running again and finally got back up to running my normal distance of about 5 miles, but taking at least one rest day between runs.

Weekend Run

Sunday morning, I began my normal run around the neighborhood.

It started out on a good note with the weather just about perfect. There were plenty of clouds to block the sun and keep the sky beautiful, a nice breeze, and mild temperatures. About a mile into the run I saw a turtle sunning itself in the middle of the boulevard, so I picked it up and put him by the nearby pond (where I assumed he came from). That immediately put me into an even better mood and I continued the run with a smile on my face.

Can I Run All the Way?

At this point the thought of running 13.1 miles crept into my head.  “Can I run all the way? Does it matter that my half-marathon is not at an official event?” These questions were floating around in my head while I started to calculate how many laps around my usual route I would need to make. I figured I would aim for three laps, but I had my phone with me telling me how long and far I have run every 10 minutes. I didn’t have to worry about getting the course perfect. With that in mind, I just kept running.

Lap 2 was uneventful but towards the end my legs started getting fatigued. I also started thinking that I didn’t really fuel up before the run since I didn’t think I would go for long. In fact, my breakfast consisted of two cups of coffee, a single glass of water, and about five macadamia nuts – not the best pre-race meal!

What’s Important about 13.1

I was also pondering why running a half-marathon was important to me, or rather, why it was a goal of mine. I guess it’s all about completing the distance, and not actually competing in an official event. I’ve run 5k and 10k races before and although they took place at nice locations and were fun, they don’t seem to have the appeal to me that they do to other people. I guess I am kind of a solo runner (and motorcyclist too). I really look forward to running alone. So the answer to my second question above – “Does it matter that my half-marathon is not an official event” – was “No”. I’m doing the distance, albeit at a slow pace. But 13.1 is 13.1, isn’t it?

Back to the run. Halfway through lap 3 (at around the 10 mile mark) I started to get really thirsty. My mouth was getting dry and my lips felt chapped. I also started to feel a little bit of pain in my right calf muscle, as if it were cramping up a bit. I was so close to my goal! Of course I didn’t want to risk my health or suffer dehydration, but I could taste the “finish line”. After a quick check of the rest of my body’s condition, I came to the conclusion that I could go on. I was pretty much in the home-stretch, heading back towards the house.


Continuing to watch my body condition closely, I kept chugging along and before long, I had passed the 13.1 mile mark! It kind of felt like when I passed the 1,000 mile mark on my Saddlesore 1,000 motorcycle ride. I knew I had achieved my goal, and any extra distance I ran was just the icing on the cake!

When I reached home, the total distance was 13.9 miles and it took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Now that I have completed my goal, I am looking forward to upping the distance and have learned a few things. Most important is that I need to fuel up properly, and even maybe plan a water stop at my house. Also, I learned that I need to allot about 50+ minutes per “lap” and I should be good!

I’m so happy to be running again!

Follow me on Strava or Runkeeper.