Prepping for Kumano Kodo: May 2019 Update

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In an attempt to document my Kumano Kodo adventure in October, I have decided to periodically check in with some updates to my preparation.

Perhaps the biggest change that I have taken on since the beginning of the year is my change in diet and exercise which has resulted in a weight loss of 25 pounds and counting!

In 2011 I embarked on a similar journey utilizing the 4-Hour Body method and accompanied by a lot of running. I felt great in the results but not great in the method. The method of the 4-Hour Body version of the slow carb diet was effective but strict and eventually the mundane routine of eating similar unsatisfying foods resulted in me making 1 exception. Then 2 exceptions. Then 3 and…well…you know the drill.

Like it or not, food plays an integral part in my life. I live to eat not eat to live and 4-Hour body just wasn’t sustainable. At the time I was able to curb some of my initial weight gain with a lot of running but when a running-related knee injury sidelined me in 2014, coupled with a vacation, and then a few life changes, well…to be honest, I just got lazy and complacent.

Towards the end of the year last year I had sort of a perfect storm of influences that caused me to give keto a try. Now before you go and turn me off because I just mentioned one of the 5 current day cult words in a post (the others being crossfit, yoga, vegan, and Peloton), let me say that keto was good and bad and good for me. It was good in that it was an easy diet for me to stomach (pun intended) where I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing much in terms of things I wanted to eat. And I started dropping pounds quickly (5 pounds in the first 48 hours-mostly water weight) and 12 in the first 30 days. But it was also bad in that even though my body was in ketosis, I was eating bad things like a lot of red meat instead of healthier fats. But then good again because I learned a ton of new recipes that have now become staples in my diet by modifying to chicken and leaner proteins.

I have also coupled this with a pretty great regiment of exercise and have now gotten to the point where I crave exercise. I move 7 days a week typically with 4 days of running (2 intervals, 2 longer distance), 2 days of Peloton cycling (2/5 in cult words now), and 1 day of rowing (we got my son a rowing machine for Christmas and I have enjoyed the benefits).


My weight loss is a great byproduct of my preparation to hike the 65 miles of trail and 3000ft of elevation coming my way in October. When I look at the number 65 I am not really scared. And this is spread out over 9 days. I am not worried about my body’s ability to move that amount of distance in that amount of elevation. I’m more worried about my ability to stay lean, get strong, and most importantly, not get injured.

My runs are getting longer in distance and my mind knows I can run further, faster, longer. But an injury can sideline my preparation or worse: hurt my chances for an enjoyable experience come October.

So every day when I put on my running shoes, it’s a mental battle to push myself hard enough to stay fit but not as hard as I want to go.


I have started to purchase my equipment for the adventure. I decided to get the Cobra 52-Litre backpack from North Face. While this bag is built for mountaineering (something way more rigorous than what I am doing), it has the size capacity, and the flexibility for me to not only bring the clothing and supplies I need, but also the camera equipment I want to have with me on the trail. I have taken it out a few times already to start testing it out and figuring out what I need to add and I also got my website logo embroidered on the top. Added bonus is the “fiery Red” color and the black is sexy as hell. In these cases I don’t value form over function but if you can get both, why wouldn’t you?


There has been a lot of back and forth with our tour company on the necessity for hiking boots or not. Some say it’s necessary, some say not so much. All agree that there are slippery spots and uneven terrain so you need great ankle support and good tread. I decided on the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX hiking shoes. I have been wearing them for the last 30 days and they are super light and comfortable while still being strong and durable. So far they have been a great purchase but I won’t know for sure until I am out on the trail.


I still have a few things to get for the hike but have purposefully not gotten them yet as I am changing clothing sizes quite often. I plan to bring 3 full sets of clothing with me. 1 to wear, I to dry from washing, and 1 backup. We are carrying everything with us so it is also very important that I bring enough waterproof items to protect my bag content. I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to pack in packing cubes or just use ziplocks but we are taking 2 family trips this summer where I plan on packing for the week in my North Face pack so I will knwo a lot more about what I need after those trips.

I also plan to buy trekking poles but as of now have not decided how to pack them for the trip. The TSA does not allow trekking poles to be carried on which means I need to check them through to Osaka, Japan. Problem is I am not checking anything else so I need to come up with a protective case to check them through that can also be repurposed for checking them back home. Unless I decide to just leave them in Japan and sacrifice them. That is also an option. The trekking poles I’m looking at are the Black Diamond Trail FLZ Trekking Poles. If anyone has any advice on them, let me know!


I still have a bunch of things I am deciding on so stay tuned for updates on my decisions. They include:

• Bring my DSLR Nikon, my Mirrorless Sony, or just my iPhone?
• Bring a tripod?
• Bring my laptop to edit my photos and video on my 24+ hour fight home?
• How many extra battery packs to bring?
• Bring a second pair of shoes?
• Spiral bound or perfect bound journal?

Thanks for reading! If you have any advice to share, please let me know!