The Story Behind The Run

We always have self-doubt if you are a high achiever because when we try to go to the next level and there is thought we are not good enough, but that’s okay because that means we are hungry and we are committed to elevating ourselves..

On Sunday, I ran my 18th marathon, the 2019 Kasumigaura Marathon! I had a great experience at this race in the cities of Tsuchiura and Kasumigaura, Japan, and I would love to come back next year!

I am an American 🇺🇸 who has been fortunate to have lived in Okinawa, Japan, for the past three years, and also for four years from 2005-2009. My husband is in the United States Military, and we have two children, Lexie, 8, and Easton, 5, who both love Japan as much as my husband and I do. 🇯🇵 😍

I signed up for the Kasumigaura Marathon in February after running the Okinawa Marathon for the fourth time. I have been a runner for most of my life, but I’ve recently struggled with an ongoing Achilles injury that has kept me from marathons for about 5 years. A very frustrating 5 years! 😫😆 I was able to finally overcome this injury and train for and complete the Okinawa Marathon in a time of 3:46:20. 🤗

After recovering from the Okinawa Marathon, I jumped back into training for the next few weeks to try to run a bit quicker at Kasumigaura, now that I knew my Achilles could hold up for a whole marathon! I had a few minor setbacks during my training cycle between the Oki Marathon and the Kasumigaura Marathon, but overall I was feeling pretty good. 😊

My family and I spent the week before the marathon sightseeing in Tokyo, then we took a train up to Tsuchiura on Friday before Sunday’s race. We spent a relaxing day Saturday exploring Tsuchiura Comprehensive Park. The weather was perfect, sunny with temperatures in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (18 C). We really enjoyed the cherry blossom trees, which seemed to be at their peak. 🌸

Sunday was race day, and I arrived at the race site with plenty of time to pick up my race number from the English-speaking HIS tours group, the company that handles all foreign applications. I explored a bit, found the women’s changing tent and complimentary bag check, then I walked around through the vendors selling local foods and anything you could need on race day.
The marathon started at 9:50 am after the 10K and half marathon started, and after a brief opening ceremony. The course was overall quite flat, with only a few slight hills. The second half of the course was along Lake Kasumigaura, running on roads alongside rice paddies and through small neighborhoods with a gorgeous view of the lake on the left side. There were quite a few sections with cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

The aid stations on the course were plentiful and well-stocked with water and Amino Value sports drink. Some aid stations also had bananas, roasted sweet potatoes, sweet rolls, salt, pickled plums, hard candies, and other tasty foods. 😋🍌🍠🥖🍬🧂

With 16,000 runners, the course was never lonely and did get a bit congested in some of the narrow areas through the neighborhoods but never too bad for the pace I was running.

This marathon was also the International Blind Marathon, and it was very inspiring to see many blind runners with their guides on the course! The race provided special accommodations for blind runners, including race certificates in Braille.

I was able to run a fairly steady race, even with a significant headwind during the second half along the lake, and I finished in 3:27:16. Not a personal best, but I was very happy to see the improvement from 3:46 to 3:27 in only 8 weeks between marathons! 😊

“I would definitely run this marathon again, as it was well-organized, everyone was very friendly, and the course and temperature were ideal! Thank you, Tsuchiura-Shi and Kasumigaura-Shi, for your wonderful hospitality and a great race experience!”

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