Monday, August 25, 2014

Miyakojima triathlon, Japan's signature race


Whoa, this race report is way overdue. Can't be helped...stuff happens. It is 4 months after the race so I'll try to recollect the gory details as best as I can. In April we took our virgin voyage to the island of Miyakojima for arguably Japan's most famous and beautiful triathlon, and a long distance triathlon affair no less.


My training was pathetic, but I managed to finish under 12 hours. Barely. 11:58. That is 35 minutes slower than my ironman last year.

My times:

swim: 54:10 (3k), 243 place out of 1600
bike:  5:27:26 (155k), 531 place
run:  5:37:06 (42k) 966 place

total: 11:58:42,  671 place, 135 in AG of 250 finishers



I look at it as a family holiday with a bit of exercise in the middle of it. And we got to reunite with my mother's cousin Nishino san (pictured here) who runs a restaurant in the main town. The beaches are picturesque. Golden sand and aquamarine ocean. Paradise. You get the picture.




Swim: I felt pretty fine, was able to hit land in under 1 hour, which was satisfactory. I noticed Stan was tugging on his wetsuit in the T1 tent just ahead of me, so felt reassured that I had had a decent swim as he is in crazy shape. It was quite surreal to do a hard swim in such a beach paradise. My thoughts drifted back to my honeymoon in the Maldives, where I did leisurely easy swims while Meg did her easy yoga on the beach bungalow deck...Anyway, back to the race....






Bike: It started out fine and I was enjoying the great ocean views across bridges and along the north coast. But at 80k I was in trouble, having not done any long rides over 80k, and the view became rather secondary to the fatigue. My legs seized up, and my speed fell off a cliff.




I don't have the exact splits but I was doing something like 34k per hour for the first half and way below 30k per hour for the 2nd half. Much slower than my full ironman 180k bike ride last year. And this was only 155k. Oh well, different course, different year...I rolled into T2 with dogmeat legs...




Run: It was just a matter of finishing at this point. I knew I had nothing in the tank, and hadn't done any serious runs since Tokyo Marathon. And it was quite hot without cloud cover on the road. Meg and Ty were there at the 2k and 40k points to support me, which gave me a big lift. Thanks Meg! From 5k to 30k was pure torture, up and down monotonous hills on the highway across the island. The locals were genki, yelling out their version of gambatte every rest stop, which was nice. I tried the run steadily, but had to mix in walking after 5k or so. I did the walk and jog thing for most of the run.



Than at the 35k point, a woman about my age bolted by me. At the time, there were 2 Japanese men just in front of me doing the same walk and jog routine. To me she said nothing, but she really unleashed her dismay at the 2 men. She yelled, "what the hell are you doing?? Let's go! Get to the goal in under 12 hours, you chumps!" (rough translation). Than she took off. The men continued to jog and walk, amused and slightly embarrassed. But I started running. Hell, I wasn't hurting that bad, maybe I could get under 12 hours too. She really inspired me. I caught her at about 38k and kept going.




At 40k I saw my cousin and Meg and Ty soon after. From there, I picked up the pace to get in under 12 hours. And it was still daytime outside. Having raced through the finish lap, I felt like a zombie for a good 1 hour in the finish area as the fireworks and festivities climaxed in the track stadium.
It is a nice race and "must-do" for any triathlete in Japan or Asia. The local support is great, and the island beauty unparalleled in Japan. Highly recommended. Who knows, I might do it again someday and even train! Thanks to Stan for taking pics and good company during the weekend. Domo arigatou to my cousin Nishino san, wife, and daughter Yumi, who was a great help for our logistics.


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