This past Saturday was one of the longest days of my life (probably only second to the departure day). I saw something about the Tokyo Yamathon online a few months ago and thought it sounded like a neat way to see some new areas of Tokyo. I recruited some friends and my husband and we created a team to participate. We all knew that it was a 40km+ walk around the Yamanote line in Tokyo, stopping at all 29 stations, to raise money for OxFam Japan but didn't know much more than that. Here's how the day actually went.
We woke up at 0430 to catch the 2nd train of the day at 0523 to Toyko in order to arrive on time
Got our numbers attached and waited for our start time (it's not a closed course and there were 117 teams of 3-4 people so they staggered the start times).
At 0720, we departed Harajuku station wearing giant smiles!
We didn't even make it to the 2nd station before these guys needed to stop for food...and I thought I was going to be the one needing to stop for food all day!
(Shibuya @ 0745)
Then we soldiered on, stopping along the way to have a little fun
Stations 3(Ebisu@0805), 4(Meguro@0830), 5(Gotanda@0847) & 9(Hamatsucho@1040)
Group shot at station 10.
Then it was time for lunch; udon & curry, in and out in 30 minutes! We still had 19 more stations to get to!
A little confused at Tokyo-eki (station #12 @1207)
Stations 14 (Akihabara@1245), 15 (Okachimachi@1302), & 16(Ueno@1318)
We did a little calf stretching while waiting at a red light.
And that's about where I started to really get tired! By station #17 (Uguisudani@1334) I was pooped and my knee started to ache pretty bad. Station #20 (Tabata @1425) was down a huge set of stairs and I stayed at the top while Dave, Rachel, & Jason
ran walked down to the station and snapped a photo!
After that it was time for another break (our goal had been to break after station 10 & 20, and that's exactly what we did). We stopped at Mc Donald's where we could recharge our bodies & my cell phone (as the designated "social media chair" of our team, my battery was also on it's last leg)! A hour later (oops!), we set off to tackle the last 9 stations!
Group shot at station #21 (Komagome@1525). Feeling pretty good after our hour long break.
It didn't last long, but we did a great job of faking enthusiasm for our photos.
Stations 22 (Sugamo@1539), 23(Otsuka@1558), 24(Ikebukuro@1625) & 25(Mejiro@1653)
By station #26 (Takadanobaba@1710) it was raining pretty hard and we were mostly over the whole day!
Thankfully we opted to go in a counter-clockwise direction which put us at Shinjuku (Station #28@1800) almost at the end of our journey. Shinjuku is the station we needed to return to in order to catch a train home so while we were there we stopped and purchased confirmed seat on the romance car so we could sit our tired butt's down on the way home...then we continued on.
We had one last station to stop at before we FINALLY made it back to Harajuku @1900, putting our total time to complete the loop at 11 hours and 40 minutes!
37,590 steps later, we were finished!
We stopped for some food then took a train back to Shinjuku to catch our train home!
Before the day started, I assumed that since I had climbed Mt Fuji last summer with very little trouble, that this even would be no sweat. I could not have been more wrong! Every joint from my waist down ached and I have more blisters on my feet now than I've ever had combined in my entire life! I know last summer I said I'd never climb Fuji-san again, but I would do that 10 more times before I complete the Yamathon again! Thankfully I had GREAT company. I don't think I could have done it with anyone else! We finished with smiles and discovered lots of new places that we can't wait to go back and visit on a day when we're not walking 30+miles!