May 28, 2008
Ready for Suicide! (In a good way. . .We're ready to run from the Last Command Post at the base of Suicide Cliff to the top. From left to right, Me, Mai, Judith, and Jessica).
Ever since we conquered Mt. Tapochau on Thanksgiving Day last year, our little running group has planned to take on the other major uphill run to be found on Saipan--Suicide Cliff.
This past Monday morning, May 26, we finally did it. Judith, Jessica, Mai, and myself headed out to the north end of Saipan to to run to the top of Suicide Cliff. The run turned out to be much shorter--Mai, finished first in 37 minutes, with Jessica and I right behind--and much harder than I expected. The run is not a continuous incline, but the hills and switchbacks come one right after the other. It was a tough run! Nonetheless, it was rewarding and I'm glad we did it. We're planning to do it again this Sunday, and I'm thinking I may add "Suicide Mondays" to my summer routine, running to the top of the cliff every Monday.
Running lately has been really rewarding. This morning we did the beach pathway run for the first time in awhile and I was amazed by how easy it's become. This was Vince Asanuma and I's old running haunt and I remember the days when a run from Kilili Beach to the old Japanese tank and back (our standard Beach Road pathway run) could be a killer. But for the past few months we've been running the hills near our house--the "Little Loop", the "Medium Loop" and the five mile plus "Big Loop" (which I ran alone, for the first time, Saturday night in preparation for Suicide Monday) and so returning to the level ground and relatively short distance of the Beach pathway was a breeze! I feel like I've really improved as a runner and am in better shape than I've ever been in my life. It's a good feeling.
The View from the top of Suicide Cliff. It's a beautiful view from a tragic place. Suicide Cliff earned it's name because this is where thousands of Japanese civilians jumped to their deaths in the summer of 1944 at the end of the Battle of Saipan. They had been led to believe that they would be tortured and worse by the American soldiers, and figured death by suicide was a better way to go.
Here's Mai, me, and Jessica at the end of our run on the railing at the edge of Suicide Cliff.
Here we are, all together at the top.
Riki was our photographer and cheerleader on the run. Here she is striking a pose.
Some video of the run:
Here we are warming up at the Last Command Post.
Riki caught this video of us when were acutally getting pretty close to the top.
Here we are finishing the run at the top. Exhausting but exhilarating!