I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The best way to tour a city is to run it.
For destination marathons, it’s almost tradition for my friends and I to run a short, easy run on Friday to get our bodies warmed up and to acclimatize while we discover the city on foot before the marathon, which is usually held on Sundays.
FRIDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2014 – TRAINING RUN
Ton, Lit and I set out from our hotel and just decided to run around the area.
– Group selfie before our little adventure –
– Aaah Tokyo! What a beautiful city –
– This area reminded me of Central Park in New York –
We were lucky enough to discover Shinjuku Cheo Park just a few kilometres from our hotel. It was a small park that was just a delight to run in.
– Snow! –
The starting area of the race was at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building just across our hotel.
– Ton and Lit running at the building –
– Lit right at the start area –
After our run, Ton and I tried our best to get our game face on so we could join the elite Athletes Conference at our hotel.
GOOD TOKYO EATS!
When we run, we must eat, too! My favourite cuisine is Japanese, so you cannot even imagine how thrilled I was to be eating Japanese food 3x (or more) a day. We set out in search of the best places to eat and willingly lined up just to enter them. These are just a few of the restaurants we visited.
First stop: Ramen! We ordered ramen via vending machine, we filled up a form for our preferred taste, then we were led to single cubicles to eat! It was a different and super satisfying experience!
Ton, Mench, Gabby, and I fell in line—again—just to enter Tsunahachi Tempura at Shinjuku. They said this was one of the best places for Tempura. We were lucky enough to land ourselves a tatami table, too. The tempura was good, but not great.
After the marathon, we ate even more! More on those later.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE
As always, I lay out all my gear the evening before the race. Cold races always require us to pack so much more equipment: additional layers of clothing, throwaway clothes, garbage bags to keep us warm, gloves (I wore 2!), bonnets, petroleum jelly to combat chapped lips, and more. I used my black Nike long sleeves top which I purchased years ago at Nike Campus in Oregon when I ran Hood to Coast. I wore it to all my major marathons: New York, CIM, Berlin, and London. (After Tokyo, my poor baby will retire! Sob sob!) I also used my favorite CW-X compression tights which I used at London. For the first time, I was using my Saucony Guide 6 for a marathon. A shoe that passed my long run tests with flying colours and I was willing to test for a 42k.
My major concern with this race was that they would not be providing Gatorade nor another sports drink with electrolytes and salt. As announced, the hydration sponsor was Amino Value, which I learned during the expo, contained amino acids. Good thing, Angel brought an entire bag of Gatorade Endurance Formula along, so I prepared sachets of Gatorade for me to carry, mix with water at stations, and drink at certain points during the race. I prepared 3 but, last minute, I decided to carry only 2. Huge mistake. Angel also gave me a pack of Gatorade chews.
Lit provided us with buffs to shield our faces from the cold as we run. Of course, we had to test these too. Yo from the gangstas from Manila!
With that, we all got an early night’s sleep for next day’s marathon. It was going to be my 10th marathon. I shut my eyes and tried my best to contain the excitement.