MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 14: Sponichi Yamanakako Road Race (Half Marathon)

I traveled to Japan for the third time (in less than 3 years!) to Yamanakako to run in the Sponichi Yamanakako Road Race Half Marathon on May 26, 2019

I’ve been dreaming of participating in a Japanese half marathon for some time now, and this could not have been a more perfect race.

About 13,000 participants ran in the race, and it was memorable in many ways.

For starters, Mount Fuji. The first photo I took from my hotel room window – can you believe that view?! Mount Fuji is magical, and having it in clear view during the race was something I’ll cherish forever.

Second, running through Yamanakako, around Lake Yamanaka, and small village towns was beautiful. Not only that, the locals stand outside cheering for you in Japanese, even giving you high fives. That was super motivating.

Third, race day was hot, and I mean very hot. No one expected it as it was a record high for the season. Running in the heat can really mess with your mental game, and there were moments in the race where my mind went haywire. So much so that on mile 11 I wanted to call it quits ! I was so close to the finish line but the heat was getting the best of me. Thankfully my family was texting me during the race to keep me motivated.

Lastly, there was no one in the finish line waiting for me as I traveled alone to run this race. Not only that but there was no finishers medal, no awards, just me, myself, and I. There was something special about just having the sense of satisfaction that I had just completed this difficult thing.

I would certainly run this race again. It’s certainly a highlight of my life and travels thus far.

*If you’re planning on running this race and would like more details, I’ve put some pointers at the end of the post !

*Make sure you sign up for the correct race, there’s a 13K (which is 1 lap around Lake Yamanaka) and the Half-Marathon which is 13 miles (21K).
*There really aren’t many announcements leading up to the race. I received 1 email confirming I signed up and paid, and another email a couple weeks leading up to the race with my bib number and details on how to get to the venues. That was it.
*Wake up early (5:30/6am), eat breakfast, and head to the venue. I never eat before a race, but the race doesn’t begin until 9:15am. You’ll be happy you had food in your belly.
*Head to the venue early, Yamanakako is a very small mountain village and all the roads close for this event. You can schedule a taxi with your hotel to pick you up race day.
*I recently started running with compression sleeves and highly recommend it for this hilly, elevated race. I recovered quickly after this race because of the sleeves.
*Try to stay at a hotel that includes breakfast and dinner. Yamanakako is a small village and finding breakfast places can be tricky. I stayed at the Sun Plaza Hotel Fuji, and am happy I did.
*You can pick up your bib and packet race day. I picked everything up the day before, but there was no need. Everything is so organized that you’ll have no problem picking up your materials day of. There’s a special, small tent with International Runner’s packets.
*There are no signs or announcements in English. Everything, and I mean everything, is in Japanese. Don’t worry though, it’s all self-explanatory.
*Carry some cash (100-500 yen coins). There are vending machines along the path in case you need to purchase water. There are water stations, but with the intense heat the day I ran, I’m grateful I had cash on me for a bottle of water.
*The race ends at the middle school, which is uphill. Save some mental energy for that final push !
*Note that you will not receiving a finisher’s medal. You do receive a t-shirt when you pick up your packet though.
*Traffic is horrendous after the race, so I just walked to lunch and then to my hotel which was about 1.5 miles from the venue.
*Lastly, have fun. Take photos. Enjoy the views. This race is beyond memorable, and you’ll be happy you made the journey to Yamanakako, Japan.

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 12: Little Details in Yokohama

Japan is filled with little details. I’d say it’s one of the most charming aspects about their culture.

There are many things I saw in Yokohama that don’t fit into a specific category, so I’m sharing them together here.

Treasures such as an elaborately designed manhole cover, a doggy water bowl holder designed into the side of a wall, clever street art, or walking through a neighborhood and running into a park.

Cheers to the little things!

可愛い   Kawaii  (cute in Japanese)

 

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 7: Discovering Yokohama

Do you know the feeling of being in a place that makes you feel so alive? Like, where you just feel even more like yourself?

That’s how I feel about being in Japan.

There’s something unique about the Japanese culture that resonates so deeply with the way I see the world.

It’s been about two years since my last trip to Japan, but this time I travel south of Tokyo to the city of Yokohama.

Join me, as I continue the Japan series and share some of my favorite spots and experiences in Yokohama!

 

You can read the previous posts here >>

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 1: PEONY GARDEN AT UENO TOSHOGU

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 2: EXPLORING TOKYO

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 3: KYOTO COFFEE SHOP

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 4: OWL CAFE ASAKUSA

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 5: BEING PRESENT IN HISTORIC KYOTO

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 6: DATE NIGHT AT THE PARK HYATT TOKYO

what’s your favorite travel destination(s)?

Being Honest With Yourself, Even If It Hurts

In more recent months I’ve been challenging, and facing, the fear that creeps up when I think of what others may think of me.

Growing up, my very philosophical parents used to try and soothe the very angsty teen version of me by saying, “don’t worry, when you get older, you’ll care less of what others think of you.”

It’s got me thinking that as we get older, we may care less of what others think, but what I really believe happens is that we begin to care more about what we ourselves think.

By caring more about what we deem important we light up in the world, we begin to take action on what really matters to us, and we begin to take steps towards the business, creative practice, or career that has been calling us.

But most importantly, by caring more about what we think of our own lives, we begin to find fulfillment in simply being ourselves.

This is a friendly reminder from someone who has been actively practicing radical honesty in her daily life — in creative practice, relationships, and career.

It will be uncomfortable, and it may even hurt, but you’re doing it for you.

Be honest with yourself.

Be honest about the life you crave.

Be honest about who you’re becoming.

At the end of the day, the approval you’re seeking is your own.

 

 

Execution is the Game

As writers, and creators, it’s easy to let perfectionism and the fear of people’s opinions (FOPO) get in the way of putting our work in the world.

I’m guilty of this. And, I’m sure you are too.

In February 2018, I had the pleasure of seeing Gary Vaynerchuck live at the Tampa Theatre. His live talk was identical to seeing him on social media — except you get to see how funny, candid, and generous he really is.

I can’t remember the first time I listened to Gary Vee, but I will say I was put off. I gave him a second chance and listened to what he was saying. Basically, his desire is for all of us to stop complaining about our lives and go all into whatever it is that we’re passionate about. He wants to help us all avoid regret at the end of our lives. I dig it.

That leads me to a Gary Vee quote that rings in my ears these days:

“Ideas are shit, execution is the game.”

And, so I find myself being more honest with myself. Writing more. Putting work in the world. Trying. Failing. Trying again.

Because ideas come and go, but the most important is to execute on what’s bursting to come out.