Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Tokyo Marathon

Sole Adventures-Tokyo Marathon 

Tokyo Marathon 2017 set the bar high with respect to race amenities and organization. 

Before I get into how amazing it was, let’s start with a picture of Dave and me in our corral G waiting for the start. 

We had about an hour to kill, so we took a couple other pictures. A selfie of us and one of Hello Kitty. 

I couldn’t pass up a picture of Hello Kitty with Mt. Fuji. Kawaii! 

Now onto the details of the race. Going through security was painless. We could see the start line from our hotel room and also Mt. Fuji if you look closely into the haze. 

Security opened at 7am. There were approximately 36,000 runners and I knew it would be best to be ahead of the crowds. We left our room at 7:15. I expected it would take us about an hour to get out of the hotel (slow elevators from the 28th floor), walk to our Gate, pass through security, use the restroom and then finally make our way to our start corral. Actually it only took us about 45 minutes. Being early and ahead of the crowd helped. 

The race started promptly at 9:10. We were passing the start line about 8 minutes later. Again, I expected 9:20ish. 

After we started, I put my phone away. Sorry, no more pictures. I took off the case and was worried I would drop it and there were so many people I was worried I would trip fooling around with it. 

Here are some highlights. Being dressed at Hello Kitty made the race a blast. Running on the outside, near the spectators, drew lots of “kawaii” and “Hello Kitty” comments. I would wave and smile. I felt like a celebrity. Simultaneously, by mile six, I was getting tired of waving. Haha. I made Dave move us over to the middle! 

The amount of spectators was unreal. They were literally lining the streets the entire way! They were cheering and had a variety of different noise makers. Surprisingly, we never heard any cowbell! 

The aid stations were every 2-3km. Yes, the entire race was measured in kilometers. Pathetically, we enjoyed doing the math to convert the kilometers to miles to help pass the time. 🤓 Every aid station had water and every other station had Pocari Sweat, the Japanese equivalent to Gatorade. After the halfway point, certain aid stations had bananas, tangerines, tomatoes, and a bread with something in it. I thought it was bean paste. Dave tried the bread and said no, it was chocolate! He also enjoyed several free candies and chocolates from spectators. I stuck with my three honey stingers and a half of tangerine around 32km or mile 20. The last thing I thought my intestines would tolerate was chocolate. I was a little bit disappointed there were no rice balls. I had heard through the grapevine that rice balls were offered. Nope. Let me just squelch that rumor! 

That pretty much covers everything. As I mentioned, the experience was wonderful. So wonderful in fact, we both agreed that was our LAST full marathon. We don’t need to do another. Ever. Half marathons from here on out. As we were enjoying our Sushi celebration dinner I asked Dave if he would rather climb Mt. Fuji or run another marathon. His response, “I’ve done both in 6 months, I’m good.” Simultaneously, he said, he was ready to run Key West Half Marathon anytime!! I couldn’t agree more! 

Thank you for all of the FB cheers, messages, and blog comments. Your support and love was felt by us both halfway around the world. 

To finish lines! Kanpie! 

Keio Plaza Hotel

For marathon weekend, we are staying at a luxury hotel adjacent to the start of the marathon. The Keio Plaza Hotel. Let me start with, the hotel offers a 34th floor lounge with FREE beer, wine and snacks. The view from the 34th floor. 

Plus snacks. 

The room is BIG compared to our “business hotel” last weekend. Simultaneously, the price tripled. “Ahhh, it’s whatever.” We are here for Tokyo Marathon weekend. Bucket list. Once in a lifetime. I want to experience everything. 

This luxury hotel is very spacious. A couple pictures for perspective. 

One more for perspective. Those long American legs. From mid calf down, my legs are not supported by the couch. 

Besides space, free drinks, and snacks, the luxury hotel provides a step up to with respect to toiletries. 

You need it – they’ve provided. 

PS. If the hotel goes out of business after we leave… its Dwyer’s fault. He drank too much free beer… or maybe it was my bottle of wine or three. Kanpie! 

Tokyo Marathon Expo

The Tokyo Marathon Expo is being held at Tokyo Big Sight. Tokyo Big Sight is a ginormous convention center located in the south east area of Tokyo. This is an area of Tokyo we have not had the opportunity to visit yet. Here was our route on the train. 

The fun part of the trip was going on the blue section or the Yurikamome Line. It goes over “Rainbow Bridge.” On the map, the green area is called “Aqua City” and we could see shopping and an amusement park. This will be an area worth exploring in the future. 

The expo is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The marathon is on Sunday. We decided to go to the expo on Thursday night because heard it only gets more crowded as the race day approaches. Plus, it isn’t really close to where we will be staying in Tokyo during marathon weekend. 

I’m truly glad we went when we did. I can’t imagine the crowds! 36,000 runners all have to pick up their number, wrist band, tshirts and timing chip. Yes, we have to wear a wrist band until we finish the marathon. It was put on by security and verified it matched my bib number. The band will also be screened at the start to allow me to enter and ensure I didn’t give away my number. 

Finding the expo once we were off the train was easy. There were workers pointing the way. 

Big Sight Tokyo was definitely big and a sight! There was a light up display with audio. 

First stop, number pick up. They had a special section for foreign runners. That’s us! 

Like I said, I’m so glad we came early. There were no lines! And my timing chip is good to go! 

How cute is this, they had a board with everyone’s name, organized by number. Dave found our names! 

From here, we entered the expo part of the expo and had plenty of photo opportunities, give aways and demonstrations. 

I forgot to mention they gave us a free beer, too! 

So much to see! 

It was undeniably the largest expo we have ever experienced. Two entire floors and a food court. 

The only disappointing part was the lack of Tokyo Marathon 2017 swag. There were a lot of tshirts and zip ups but, not things like pint glasses or beer coasters! 

The animated course map was one of my favorite pictures. It just makes me want to run… HAPPY!! 

Sogo Yokohama

I went on a shopping trip today to the department store, Sogo, in Yokohama. My mission was to visit the Sanrio store for a Hello Kitty t-shirt to wear during the Tokyo Marathon. 

I didn’t find one. Turns out the Sanrio stores only stock kids stuff. However, I did find a whole new feature of Google Maps. 

Google Maps will show you the stores on each floor of a mall. Check out the first picture. It shows the B2 level or the second floor of the basement. It is at this level where you come out of the train station. The highlighted level on the side corresponds with the map layout. 

Next B1. 

As you scroll up the floor on the left side, the layout changes to match. Pretty amazing. Skipping ahead, level 2 & 3. 

When I first saw level 7, I got a little excited. It says LOFT. This was not the LOFT from the US. It was a cute store with a lot of Japan souvenirs. Just not cute clothes. 

Finally, on up to level 8 where the Sanrio was located. Lots of cute Hello Kitty toys and clothes for little kids. No t-shirt for me. I think I’m going to have to order from Amazon. 

With 10 levels plus a rooftop, this feature of Google Maps is essential! 

Google Maps proves yet again to be my favorite traveling partner for navigation! 

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