Hong Kong, Siem Reap, Chiang Mai

A few weeks ago I went to three amazing places. We started in Hong Kong. The weather was perfect sunny and about 80. Hong Kong is a big city and we had a few must sees in 2 days. We took a ferry, whet to the Museum of Natural History, which had a great toy exhibit. And the highlight was the Big Buddha.

 

Next stop was Siem Reap, Cambodia. We headed here to see the largest complex of temples in the world, Angkor Wat. This place was beautiful. Cambodia was hot! 95/100 with 100% humidity. We had some great food here in small local restaurants.

Last stop was Chiang Mai, Thailand. We saw many beautiful temples here.

But the highlight was the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. This was one of the top ten days of my life. We got to feed, bathe and play with ELEPHANTS! They were not smelly and were gentle and fun.

 

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My trip to Japan!

I had an amazing week in Japan. Here are my highlights including the food.

I saw Mount Fuji! My first day I took a bus tour to Hakone and Mount Fuji. It was in the 40’s and clear blue sky. Mount Fuji was amazing. I made a promise to myself that I will be back to climb it one day.

On day two I went back to my favorite temple, Senso-Ji. It was early morning and it was pretty empty.

I also went to Meiji Shrine. The tori gates at this shrine are huge.

I had some amazing food. I went by yelp and if there was a line outside the restaurant I got in line.

On Saturday I went to a onsen, which is a Japanese hot springs bath house. This experience will get it own post, but it was very relaxing. It helped that I did not know anyone,  nor will I see these people again.

Tokyo, you did not disappoint! This was a top ten week for me. Can’t wait to go back and climb Fuji-san.

 

 

 

 

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Tokyo Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Tokyo Marathon! It was an amazing experience. And although I did not have the time (4:27) I wanted I had fun and enjoyed the race.

The Expo was at a convention center on the out skirts of town. I went on Thursday afternoon and did not have to wait in any lines. I stopped taking brochures when I realized nothing was n English. Most of the vendors were Japanese. Asics was the only retailer with clothing options. I was very disappointed when I saw that the race shirt was unisex and I ordered a large, with no chance to swap it out.

Sunday morning I left my apartment about 7 for a 9:20 am start. It was only about a 15 minute walk but due to closed streets it was more like 25. I quickly got through security and bag drop, then waited and waited for a porta-potty. This was a low point for organization. I waited 40 minutes for a squat porta-potty. I then headed to my coral and chatted with 2 Canadian women. The race started promptly at 9:10 and I crossed the start line at 9:16. It was about 50 and full sun. I don’t love running in the sun. The next 5 pictures are courtesy of a Facebook friend, Kevin Murphy. Thank you Kevin!

The race course was great. Pretty flat, with a few little hills. The volunteers and spectators were great. Many with signs that said “Fight” and a Westerner that said “Your feet hurt because you are kicking ass!”Many people were yelling “Ganbatte” which means do your best. It was warm for me with the sun. The water stops were a bit of an issue. The tables were long, but everyone wanted to stop at the first few. I was taking Pocari Sweat, yes that is the name of the drink, and water at each stop. It was very crowded the whole race. One of my favorite parts of the race, was when a speaker had the YMCA song playing and seeing thousands of runners making the hand movements, priceless!

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A few things I found different than US races. The Japanese runners had clear plastic coats for throw away clothes. And they were all over the ground at the start and for the first mile. Most runners used the boxes for cups and did not throw them on the ground. They gave out tomatoes and bread as fuel. There were volunteers every few hundred feet with plastic bags to take your trash.

After the finish we had to walk about .5 mile to get a drink. Then they slowly handed out your towel, blanket, water, banana, bread and medal. We were slowly walking during this time. Then we had to walk about another mile to get our clothes. Then more walking to get to the changing area. This was a new finish line area and by far the longest I had to walk after a race.

I had to walk more to get to the subway and back to my unit. I had amazing ramen and dumplings for dinner.

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to run this race. It was a great experience. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped me along the way, and to the amazing spectators cheering on the course. This is a first class race in an amazing city.

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Not giving up

I’m training for the Tokyo marathon, February 26th. I took today off from a tempo run. The first run I have skipped this training cycle. Marathon training is HARD. Wednesday, my back was hurting a bit and I had a horrible “easy run” on Thursday. My type A personality has a very hard time with skipping a workout.

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I hired a coach a year ago and he has pushed me to run miles and paces I didn’t think I was capable of. He has also tried to instill confidence in me. In the past I have given up on a goal too early in a race, because my legs hurt, I was tired, I may not finish unless I slow down, so many excuses! I need to know that I can hold on to the goal. Not give up so easily. I have run 20 miles on weeks that I had 35 other miles with workouts. Running is a mental game. When you get too much in your own head you start doubting yourself, when it gets hard.

I want to enjoy Tokyo, but I also want a PR. I know I have put in the miles and paces for a PR. My mind needs to know that it will happen. When it gets tough during those 26.2 miles I need to remember all the hard work I have completed and pull from that strength.

Thank you Robbie for pushing and encouraging me. I’m hoping for a cloudy, 50 degrees on race day. I will give it my all and hold on to the A goal.

And in case you didn’t hear, my Patriots won the Superbowl!

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We will be adding #5 to this group!

 

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Rain Run Half Recap

On Sunday I ran the Rain Run as part of my marathon training. I ran this race in 2014 and knew it was flat. I arrived about 8:15 for a 9 am start. Quickly got my bib and waited in the car. It was about 45 and cloudy, perfect running weather.

This was my first race with my Oiselle singlet. I joined the team in October in my never ending quest to find more running buddies, the women I meet at this race we super supportive and friendly. I love Oiselle roga shorts and capris.

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The race started on time and we headed out on the Sammamish River trail. There were only 3 water stops and I wish I had carried water. It got a little warm the few times the sun came out. I finished in 1:57:30 a solid sub-2  which I am very happy about.

The post race food was trail mix, pretzels, halos, bananas and cupcakes. One of the best things about this race is the different swag. Last time I ran it we got an umbrella, this year it’s an awesome blanket and a metal.

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Great burger for lunch after the race!

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2016

This is a recap of my 2016 running and travel. Looking back on some of my posts reminded me to be grateful for all I have been able to do this year.

In February I went to Vegas and the Grand Canyon for the first time.

In April a long time goal was met, I finished the Boston Marathon! This was an amazing race and I truly appreciated all the support I had that day. My family was at miles 15 and 25.5 and friends from Boston actually saw me on the course. Love this city!

I never wrote a post on my trip to Japan, but I loved it. I will be back in February for the Tokyo Marathon.

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In September I ran the Tunnel Light Marathon. Not the time I wanted, which was the never-ending theme for my running this year.

In October we went to Sydney and Port Douglas, Australia. We had a great trip. My favorite run all year was running over the Harbour Bridge as the sun was coming up.

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In December I made my way back to Boston on a cheap flight for a long weekend. I stayed with my brother and SIL and had a great time. I also ran the Frosty half marathon that my east coast running club puts on and had my only sub 2 hour half all year.

 

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Looking forward to what 2017 has in store!

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Frosty Half Race Report

On Sunday, December 11 I ran a very cold half marathon. I was back in Boston for the weekend to visit family and friends, and my east coast running club, Colonial Road Runners, was putting on this half. I have run it once before. I knew many of my old running friends would be there and my dad and sister were volunteering.

The race is in a small town south of Boston. The race starts and ends at Raynham Middle school. You can stay in the warmth of the school until minutes before the start. It’s a slightly hilly course that runs along country roads. I was hoping for a sub-2, which used to be my norm but this year has eluded me.

It was about 15 degrees at the start and I was cold. I’m not used to running in that cold anymore. The first few miles I just settled into my 9 minute pace, and let people pass me. I held that pace for most of the race, other than mile 10 with a big hill that I walked up. The volunteers were awesome on this very cold morning. Lots of shout outs and cheering at the water stops and each turn had someone at it so you didn’t go the wrong way.

Finish 1:58:55!! Not a PR but I was very happy with it.

After the race the club serves a full breakfast, pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit. And you can use the locker rooms to shower and change which is awesome.

Instead of a shirt you get a hat and lip balm as well as a medal. This is a great well run race. I may have to come back in 2017.

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My favorite tree at Faneuil Hall

 

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