There are things you've done which you still can't believe have really transpired. It's been two months since my trip to Tokyo, Japan. It was one of my dream travel destinations, and running in the recent Tokyo Marathon was just an icing on the cake.
It all started with a blog site I frequently visit - Patrick Concepcion's Runningshield site. Early 2012 he was making blog entries on his race preparations. He had everything documented until race day, which I was excitedly anticipating to read. As I read his Tokyo Marathon 2012 experience, I told myself someday, someday it will be my turn. I just didn't think it would be that soon. The universe conspired.
|The man behind the inspiration to run Tokyo Marathon - Sir Patrick "Runningshield" Concepcion (Notice his photo, and one of my photos later, hehe!)|
|My lottery entry|
The registration ended at the end of August. The statistics were then released via email - a total of 303,450 submitted their intent to join the marathon, with only 30,000 available slots to be given. 10% chance. I sighed realizing my slim chances.
26th of September - I got a text message from my running teammate Jesy that he got an email indicating he's in. I was driving that time but I got hold of phone, keyed-in my yahoo account credentials, and nervously waited for my email to show. I had one email from the Tokyo Marathon 2013 Entry Desk. I clicked on the email and there it was, the only word I wanted to read - CONGRATULATIONS! "The Secret" worked!
|Best email ever!|
|Moshi Moshi! Japan Visa approved!|
And just like that, February 21 came. Had my 4-hour flight to Narita Airport, an hour train ride to Tokyo, a quick check-in to the hotel, and I'm off to the race expo at Tokyo Big Sight! Took me less than 5 minutes to claim my race kit.
|Tokyo Marathon 2013 Expo at Tokyo Big Sight|
By the way, 2013 marks the year that Tokyo Marathon became part of the World Marathon Majors. It now joins London, Berlin, Chicago, New York and Boston - the biggest and best marathon destinations in the world.
|World Marathon Majors|
|Photo Op at the Race Expo - Bib Number H38199|
|Diver City Tokyo and the 30-foot Gundam|
|Tokyo DisneySea - the only DisneySea in the world, and still the happiest place on Earth!|
|The Two Towers: Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree (the highest functioning broadcast tower in the world)|
|Meeting Hachiko at the Shibuya Station|
|KitKat Hunt: Mission Accomplished!|
|That's a lot of gear!|
|Ibis Hotel Shinjuku - had my photo taken by the receptionist. I was scared of the cold weather outside.|
One of the things I was really looking forward to see is how the organizers will handle the logistics of a race with such magnitude - 36,000 participants! I was overwhelmed by what I witnessed. As I was walking, directional signs were everywhere - there were easy-to-follow signs, depending on a runner's wave, and baggage trucks were numbered and all lined-up at the side of the street, with each truck being manned by a dozen of friendly, smiling marshals.
|Baggage Truck #38|
|I just had to take a photo with this ever-smiling race marshal|
|With the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings at the background|
|Long queue at the portalets - I think it took my 10-15 minutes before I got my turn to make a pee break|
|While walking, spotted this runner in costume. He happily obliged when I told him I'll take a picture of him.|
|The long wait to gun start|
It took around 12 long minutes before I crossed the starting mark from gun start. As a passed the starting line, I removed my jacket and threw it at the side of the street, together with all the other disposable jackets of other runners. Lots of jackets wasted that day.
|The marathon race route|
|with the Tokyo Tower at the background|
|By the way, did I mention this is the first time I'm wearing compressions? It definitely protected me from the cold.|
|I'm not particularly sure what this clock building is, but it's one cool shot!|
|More than mid-way - at KM23. Love the Mexican-inspired attire of the runner at the back.|
|Spot the Tomato Heads|
|My favorite Tokyo Marathon shot - makes me look like I'm ahead of everyone else.|
Surprisingly, this is the longest I've ran without walking. Usually, I hit the wall at KM26 to KM28 but since it's too cold, I still had the energy to continue running. And the cameras didn't even catch me walking at any point of the race. (Thankfully I did not have a picture of me hoarding a lot of M&Ms at one of the hydration stations haha!)
|Now what's that head gear supposed to be? A chicken?!|
|There were moments in the race when I just closed my eyes andprayed to God to help me finish injury-free. I think this photo captured that moment.|
|And there were just times I'd try to spot the photographers and do goofy poses, like this one. FORTY TWO, YEAH!|
|Less than 5 kilometers to go!|
|Two thumbs up for the best race experience ever! I LOVE TOKYO!|
|My finish line moment|
|Marathon finisher towels|
|Proud, proud finisher (See the similarity with Runningshield's photo?)|
|The most organized baggage claiming I've ever seen!|
|The entire hall became one big dressing room.|
|Post-recovery stations. I didn't even attempt to go near the place. Just took a photo.|
|TOKYO MARATHON FINISHER AND PROUD!|