Monday, June 29, 2009

Haruki Murakami is in the building

3 words: Hot hot hot. This year the Murakami triathlon was held on June 28 instead of its normal late September date,
which eased the normally rough sea of Japan conditions. However, it was extremely hot, over 30 degrees at 9 am and 35 C at 11 am. This would be my hottest olympic distance tri, and memories of
China's "dual in the sun" half IM with Mika and Jay haunted me. None of the clouds appeared that had been forecasted, and I escaped to the one oasis of shade near the beach after setting up my bike in the transition area.
Still, I thought I might have a chance to crack my PB of 2:25 given the fast bike course, but blew the swim with a 31 minute leg. This was shockingly disappointing, as I had swam a 25 minute in Nijima last month and had trained consistently in the pool and Kamakura this past month. I tried to keep my head up to locate the target buoys, but I suppose I didn't do this enough (every 3-4 strokes), and I got caught out of line a few times, causing a zigzag formation.
The bike split was ok at 1:11:48, a little slower than last year's 1:08 (without a swim). There was a stiff wind going out for the first 20k, and I couldn't get Hillary above 32 kph. I battled the bike out with my friend Tony, who also was sporting a Cervelo tri bike (name unknown). He is about the same speed as me on the bike, so I wasn't too worried about the slow speed in the headwind. The tailwind at the turnaround was great. Weeeeeeeee at over 40 kph for most of the 2H of the bike. Average time was almost exactly 35 kph. I pushed it reasonably hard on the bike as I knew the run was pretty flat.
T2 went well and I was in and out of T2 area in about 15 seconds, but I felt awful for the first 5k. My legs wouldn't move. I said, "run faster" to my legs, but they would not respond. I guess it was the heat and my lack of running since the Oxfam 100k hike injury. I jogged it for 25:00 5k split as
Tony tried to reel my in, about 20 meters behind me. At the 5k point, Megumi yelled, "Tony's right behind you, Babe!" I suddenly felt a little more genki as if Meg's encouragement were a wake-up call, and picked up the pace. At the next corner, I noticed that I had dropped poor Tony, who is not as experienced a runner as your humble narrator. (incidentlly Tony wants to start running with Nanban Rengo). The 2nd 5k was just under 23 minutes for a 47:57 total 10k run.
Total time was 2:30:54, my slowest time in a couple of years, after a 2:25 PB in Nijima. I finished 1 minute ahead Tony, who also finished 1 minute behind me in Nijima. Congrats to Mika, who had a 2:43, good enough to win her age group. And a big ootsukaresama to Ma, who did her first tri in about 3 hours but a DNQ. Many thanks to Dave Sims for driving us up and back to the race. Nice to go without having to pack and assemble the bike! Thanks as always Megumi for the pictures and support.
A final note: The famous author, Haruki Murakami, was in the race and did over 3 hours. I hoped to get an autograph as I just finished reading "What I talk about when I talk about Running", but I never did see him....

2:30:54 36th overall (out of 195 finishers)

6th Age group (out of 33)

Swim 31:09 60th

Bike 1:11:48 19th

Run 47:57 61st

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beer mile part deux: revenge chug

My second beer mile was a huge PB of over 2 1/2 minutes. I downed 4 beers in between 400 meter splits with amazing improved efficiency, cracking the 10 minute barrier. Normally I would run about a 6-7 minute mile, so the drinking bit took about 40 seconds per beer. My official time was 9:53 versus my virgin beer mile time of 12:33.
To recap for those ignorant to the ways of the beer mile, 1 12 ounce (333 ml) beer is chugged before each 1/4 mile (400 meters) run, 4 times, for a total of 4 beers and 1 mile. Out of the 7 men/women in my group, I finished 3rd, well behind Joachim and Satohi, but a lot closer than last time! I am getting dangerously good at this...

The party continued our drunken runner behavior as it was a special sayonara for our dear friends Joachim and Christiana, who are moving to China this month. Keren also made his return to Yoyogi Park, and can be seen below in photo surrounded by luscious Nanban female members. And Dayan was back from Israel on a surprise 40,000 yen trip.
Most importantly, Megumi, my fiancée, was there cheering for me. Perhaps that was the magic I needed.
After chatting with Jay and Taro later, we discovered that we had all had about 3 minute improvements. We also had an easier time chugging but more challenge in running at full speed after the chugs. Beer chugging and belching are surely acquired talents.
The weather was definetely more favorable. I actually felt like having a beer at the start line in the hot muggy afternoon sunshine. Last race was on a cool January morning....
Will the wounded knee hold up in Murakami in 2 weeks time?
Stayed tuned for more triathlon tragics...