Monday, August 24, 2009

Dou suru? Aizu!

Beautiful Aizu was the venue for my latest triathlon exploit, appropriately named "Utsukushi Triathlon in Aizu" on Lake Inawashiroko. Despite the hot and humid conditions of mid-August Tokyo, we had near perfect conditions with overcast skies at the start of the freshwater swim.

Swim: Dave Sims, Tony, and me lined up at the "floating start", wondering how far we would actually swim. The shallowness of the lake was quite apparent, although the swim course had been altered this year to reduce porpoising and increase actual swimming. I had a decent swim time, but was unprepared for the wading and porpoising. Although porpoising increases your speed, it is harder to do than swim, and my legs felt like bricks. I guessed Dave was having a tough time also, as I was only a minute or so behind his powerful strokes after the first loop. 2 loops of 750 meters and I was on the beach in 26 minutes, close to my best swim effort.

Bike: It was a long run to the bike area and rather slow transition. My bike training had gone fairly well and I looked forward to a ripper on the gentle downhill course. I averaged 35.9 kph. I rode with Tony for a while, but at about 20k, the downhill steepened, and Hillary de Cervelo topped 55 kph. I should have kept on pedaling hard, but the high speed spooked me, so I held off and lost Tony and his 6 friends. The rest of the ride was rather uneventful. My bike time including both transitions was 1:10:24, so about 1:07 or 1:08 net time.

Run: Run time was disappointing. I felt moments of strength and would surge as much as I could, only to feel the stomach cramps, hamstring aches, and general fatigue force me to slow down. It didn't help that there were no distance markers throughout the course, so I had no idea of pacing. Perhaps I would have picked it up had I seen a 23 minute 5k split. Who can say? Total 10k split was 46:22 for 103rd place in the run. For an experienced runner with a recent 1:36 half marathon time in July, unforgivable.

Swim: 26:11 (70th place)
Bike: 1:10:24 (53rd place)
Run: 46:22 (103rd place)

Total time was 2:22:59, 60th place out of 400 participants, a PB by almost 3 minutes, despite the slow run.

Congrats to Dave and Tony, who both had PBs also. Next month is my last tri race of this year most likely, in Hasaki, Chiba. It should be a fast course with cooler weather. Time to hit the track and get those run times down!