711 is my new magic number as the coach says. 711...いい気分... The rainyweather in Tateyama tri turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I had no expectation of a stellar outcome, and a personal best was an impossible fantasy. We did not even think it would be a GO with the heavy rains all Saturday night, big puddles on the course, and gusts of wind.
But somehow it all came together and I was able to run hard in cool drizzling rain. The bike was messy and technical, but managed to get through without much damage. Swim was fast thanks to low tide, although we were hit with unexpected waves.
Official results haven't come out yet, but my time was a PB at 2:14:58, and I was 4th in my age group.
Pre-race: We drove out on Friday night, got situated with the land, enjoyed a great leisurely Saturday on Tateyama beach. The weather was partly sunny on Saturday, too hot for a triathlon. We knew Sunday would be a different ball game. Saturday night we had a number marking party which really lifted our spirits.
Yona Yona's Kobe wagyu and some fine salads from Jan and Meg were featured. I even had a half a glass of wine as I did not expect it to be much of a triathlon the next morning.
Sunday morning it was raining as expected and we tried to stay warm and dry as long as possible. Derek really was a life saver by driving us to the start area and hanging out until we were clear. To our surprise, the race was a GO! Delayed by 1 hour only. Just enough to let the heavy rains subside. Geniuses! We guessed that the race officials really wanted to save face this year as it was cancelled last year. Maybe we should target races next year that have been cancelled this year...
Swim: 23:50. Talk about killing time. Even extra procrastination before the swim start wasn't enough to kill all the waiting pain. Finally at 11:30 am my wave was tee'd up and ready to roll. It was a rolling start with 10 swimmers per 10 seconds. I lined up in the first row thinking that I would try to stay with the fast guys. The horn blew and we ran into the shallow ocean. I was able to jog and porpoise for significant yardage. To my surprise I was in 3rd place after the first lap at 750 meters. I think the porpoising and extra waves were hurting the less experienced swimmers or something. I think I landed in 23 minutes which was close to my PB in olympic distance. I charged ahead laser-focused on the the 2 guys in front of me...
T1: It was wet and muddy in T1. Puddles everywhere. I sacrificed valuable seconds by stuffing my bike shoes and running shoes in plastic bags, and hanging them from the bike to keep reasonably dry. But than I opened the wrong bag (running shoes) in T1, so lost more time.
Finally after about a 3 minute T1 I mounted Hillary Swank and hit the military base course.
Bike: 1:01:41, 36.5 kph. I had never done the course since it was a restricted military area (self-defense forces, 自衛隊), so took the first 4.4k lap rather slowly. Did I mention there were lots of puddles? And things that go bump in the road. Already there were a few bikers pulled over with flat tires. I pondered the viability of this event on that first lap. Than we hit the back part of the course and things opened up. I was yelling "on your right!" (右に取ります！！。。右右右右！！！）throughout the bike course..I wonder if I expend extra energy yelling at bikers...I didn't let anyone pass me, but there was no way to tell if I was making progress on the 2 leaders though...anyway, it felt good given the slippery conditions and technical aspects of the course. I even got to eat 2 caffeine gels during the bike.
According to Strava, I was 2nd overall on Tatetra Bike Leg Clockwise 6th overall on Tatetra 51.5 Bike Leg 2013 2nd fastest time on Tatetra Bike Leg Clockwise
T2: Having escaped the wet bike treachery unscathed, I bid farewell to Hillary and could now see light at the end of the tunnel. And that light would be a PB and possible podium spot. But hold the phone...more puddles and no running bag! Oh, wait, there it is in the next guy's area. More wasted time finding the shoes... I went hat-less as the rain had almost stopped.
Run: 43:49, 4:25 avg. pace. Now the rainy weather turned out to be a plus alpha for the run. It was cooler than usual for a late June day at 1 PM. I immediately picked up the cadence and was churning out 4:17 pace. The run course is tight 2.5k x 4 loops, which was actually a bit tough to maneuver around people, but good fun at the same time. Lots of people to watch and chase or be chased. I felt a slight cramp in my right abdomen at 4k, but hamstrings were good to go. I didn't go all out the first 5k but it felt reasonably fast. On the last turn I went close to 90% for the final 1500 meters. I probably should have gone faster...2 hours and 15 minutes has a special ring to it. My watch said 2:14:30 on the final finish chute. So I sprinted and got 2:14:58, just under 2 and a quarter hours...
Great camera work, Derek!
Garmin splits were:
22:15 first 5K
21:52 second 5K
I met Paul, Yona Yona, and Derek at the finish. Paul and I were euphoric. He had a great race and PB'd also. 711 = magic
I think clear plastic is my new look...
About Tateyama: It is a wonderful place for a quick weekend getaway, just across the Aqualine on the southern tip of Boso peninsula.
For the short distance to Tokyo, the area is rather bucolic. There are scenic mountains, uncrowded beaches, and plenty of empty roads to bike and run.
Many thanks to Jan and Josh for putting us up as always.
And Ty had a blast with his lifelong soulmate Brian.
It was great to do the race with Yuuka YonaYona-san, who was on her way to a podium finish when her bike tire decided to have a hissy fit. That puncture was really a shame but great to do the whole weekend together. And Derek was a superstar, always quick with a joke or a light of your smoke...
Most of all, thanks to Meg and Ty for coming out and supporting me. They weren't able to make it to the race area, driven away by the elements and barbed wire fences, but I could feel their presence in the Tateyama area!
Have to believe we are magic....