After arriving at the hostel and eating lunch, we all went out in the falling snow for a one hour ski tour.
After that, I found out we would soon be leaving for the pre-race reception with HIH Princess Akiko.
At 8 pm, the ski waxing session began.
This place has an onsen instead of individual showers. When I went to the onsen that night, there were two older Japanese women already in the bath who wanted to talk with me. I could understand and answer the “where are you from”, “when did you get here”, “why are you here” questions, but some of the things they asked me – I just had no idea. Naked strangers asking me questions I couldn’t answer!
We had to get up early so we could clean the place at 6 am, eat breakfast at 7 am and get on the bus to go to the race starting place at 7:30 am.
Ted and I were both in the 10K race that started at 9 am.
It was snowing like crazy for much of the time we were skiing and by the time we got to the finish, the wind had picked up, making it very cold! It was the same course as three years ago, but this time the uphill sections seemed to be steeper and the downhill sections faster. I only fell down once, at the bottom of a steep downhill when I failed to make the left turn.
Ted finished in 1 hour 40 minutes and I finished in 1 hour 42 minutes (which was 8 minutes faster than my finish time three years ago!)
Many of the students were in the 38K race, but then they are only 20 years old. I went in and out of the building for the three and a half hours after we finished, but Ted stayed at the finish line cheering for the finishing students the entire time.
There was an award ceremony that the Princess presided over. Everyone else was sitting in folding chairs, but she was sitting in a throne-like chair!
After the race, we loaded up the bus and went home. I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate in the race weekend and meet the Princess.