A couple weeks ago Aya-sensei told me about the Niigata Road Race. We had three options: a 5K, 10K, and 16K. After some deliberation, we both ended up choosing the 10K while Hiromi and her husband trained for the 5K. Having to be in the city for the Sunday race, this was a great reason to spend another one of my dwindling weekends with my obaachan. We walked around Hakusan Park to look at the falling cherry blossoms on Saturday, which actually I think are prettier than the blooming sakura. A combination of growing green leaves with the falling pink sakura flowers and a carpet of pink petals over the grass makes for one really pretty Spring day. The race route the following day was along the river and also through falling cherry blossoms. It was a nice run, with a few familiar faces. Futoshi even came on his bike to cheer us on!! As always though, I went out too fast and ran out of gas on the way back. They award the top 6 finishers of each category with not medals, but boxes of sports drinks, tea, mushrooms, and so on. Immediately after finishing the race, you can stand in line and get a certificate printed out with your time and place. I got 7th, JUST missing the giant box of mushrooms!!