We spent 10 days in Tokyo and it was a really fun trip! I haven’t been in Japan since 1991 and it was Tony and the girls’ first time in Japan. So we explored a lot and visited 3 cities.
We arrived on a Friday morning, after an hour ride by airport limousine bus (1500 yen per person) we arrived our airbnb in Shinjuku. We met with friends and then went out to explore the neighbourhood. It was still quite cold in Tokyo, especially for us coming from Manila over 30 degrees everyday, it was an adjustment.
the next date we all went to the Tokyo marathon expo site. It was massive! So many people everywhere
when I realised there was a line on the open area for only runners, I asked the family to wait me somewhere else but we could easily spend hours in the open
an hour later I got my bib. Despite over 35k runners participation, the expo was super organized, all the steps were clearly signed and the staff super friendly and helpful. Very japanese style 🙂
due to the travel the day before and the whole morning spent walking and standing and not eating properly, I asked the family to leave me alone in the airbnb to chill out and eat some normal food. So they went to have dinner with friends
I gathered from convenient store as much normal food as I could to make my pre-race dinner: rice ball, seafood, tofu, and a soup
half hour later I made a big bowl of oatmeal while watching netflix
the race didn’t start until 9:10am, so I had plenty time to get organized, got another bowl of oatmeal with PB, bundled up and left with Tony and Sofia to my gate entrance. Although we stayed literally 50 meter from my corral, we had to walk 15 min to get to the gate for security check and bag drop. They confiscated my beloved water bottle because it was made with aluminium. oh… well..
Got my final pre-race picture taken with my little fan
so many people!!! but yet very organized everything… impressive
when I got to my corral, I saw Tony with the girls! yey! They waited me for 20 min until i started running… lovely.
the race course was great, flat, and it shows the best part of Tokyo. I was feeling incredible good for the first 30km. I said better than I expected given that I was still exhausted from the trip to Buenos Aires, and I wasn’t eating well for the last couple of weeks, so I was feeling weak and not confident. Fortunately the vibe kept me strong for the first 2/3 of the race, despite suffering the cold a bit. They were people cheering runners all along the course, offering all kinds of homemade food. I tasted few and they were delicious. They had toilet stops every few hundred meters, so although there were lines, it went very fast. I stopped by after then first mile and very at the end.
Along the course, they offered water and sport drinks, and food (clementines, cherry tomato, bananas, aduki bean cake, candies, dry plums, sport meals, chocolates). So many varieties.
The last 10km was hard. I had to make mental game to reward myself from not stopping for 1 km to get 1 min of walking time. I did it, it was hard. I dedicated my mom, my dad, my husband, and my daughters the last 5k. At the end of the race, I couldn’t look at the people around me, their cheering was annoying, I felt that even looking around takes energy out of me that I didn’t have, so I just kept going, looking at the road.
Unfortunately my family didn’t make to meet me at designated points because there were too many people, most roads were cut, and people they asked didn’t give them the right direction. But it was okay. I knew they were there for me.
After crossing the finish line, the walk was not as it is supposed to be to cool you down. We got a large towel, a heating mat, food, water, and kept walking until the meeting area (picking up the bag on the way). Everything was well organised and clearly directed so nobody got confused. I walked by a foot bath place. Looks really funny. It must feel good to get some warmth in that cold weather.
Then I met with Tony. So nice to see him and give him a big hug. I changed with his help to cover me up because I got two layers soaked up and they were freezing me. We walked 1-2 km more to meet with the bigger crew. So lovely.
The most surprisingly part post-race was that although I felt I was so much more exhausted during the race than my previous marathon, my recovery time was much much faster. By that night, I could walk almost normally including getting down to stairs. And then next day I was really feeling good, recovered, almost normal. The only thing I can attribute this to must be veganism because the training was the same of less this time, and physically i was not as rested this time.
The next day we took the bullet train to Kyoto, on the way, I got some famous bentos
I must say, they look better than they taste because usually bento is cold, and they’ll never taste like freshly cooked meals.
Kyoto is such a lovely city. Traditional, boutique, quiet. My kind of place
our airbnb is a traditional style japanese house, we got the whole house which has two floors
the upper floor has a bedroom and a seating area, the lower floor has another bedroom, kitchen/dining, and bathroom.
our host welcomed us with a bowl of strawberries! They are freaking expensive in Japan, this bowl must cost 10 dollars! But oh man… these are the yummiest strawberries I’ve ever had in my life.
after a quick rest we went out to explore the city. Metro is not as widespread in Kyoto as it is in Tokyo, but good enough to move around
first stop was a temple, the first of many we’ll see in this city
on our way back we stopped by a groceries store and got some food. It was so nice to eat at traditional house in Kyoto tasting their homemade food. We got two type of soup: one with seafood for the family, one with tofu for me, a bento box with a selection of vegan dishes, and dumplings with the family.
I like japanese groceries stores because they have so many convenient food available. I wouldn’t say they’re the most healthy options, but they are quick to prepare, so many options, and relatively cheap. What surprised me was lack of fresh vegetables/fruits. They had, but so expensive! they sell them by pieces or by 100grams!
we slept sound that night, love love tatami experience there.