Lake Toya swim

With swim number 2 behind me, I’ve got another ocean swim race ahead of me this weekend. Here’s a recap of last Sunday’s swim. I arrived in Hokkaido on Saturday morning only to be greeted by clouds and rain at Chitose airport. Upon arrival in Hirafu I had a hearty brunch.

Given the weather conditions for the day, Fi and I had a chocolate bake-off for the rest of the day, but that, my friends, spawns another blog post. In short, there was a lot of drinking and eating had on the Saturday, topped off with a night at the pub for trivia where several glasses sparkling wine and meat pies were consumed. On a very full stomach and a few alcohol units, I somehow managed to get up early on the Sunday morning.

Departing Hirafu at about 7.30am we made good time to Lake Toya. The weather was gorgeous. What a fine day indeed it turned out to be. It was about 29 degrees that day and the sun was out. Courtesy of the sun’s appearance I am now sporting a decent tan despite applying generous amounts of suncream. I’ve got a pretty severe cossie tan. It was a great day to re-visit Lake Toya. I swam in both the 800m and 1.5km swims last year, and was entered again for both this year. Unfortunately, my times were a bit disappointing. It was definitely a slow swim day for me, but not bad considering how little training I did and the amount of food and drink I consumed the day before. Probably not the best training diet. Don’t try that at home kiddies. A sensible diet and an early night’s rest is ideal the night before a race. Oh well, good times were had anyway. It was really quite a miracle that I did not sink in that lake. Lake Toya is a freshwater lake, so the swim was a bit of a struggle. We swam across the shoreline. And man, I really felt the distance in this race. First up was the 800m swim. The distance felt a lot longer. My time was 15minutes and 11 seconds for that one, and placed 8th in my age category of about 17 people. A considerable difference between that and the 800m swim at Atami beach which I did in 10 minutes. The age category was all females under the age of 39. That was a pretty broad group of competitors. I felt really slow in the water and the distance felt like forever. I think the salt water in ocean swims really make a difference. Either that, or I was carrying a lot more weight through the water this time around, coz I felt heavy in that water. That swim was then followed by the 1.5km. That was a struggle. Especially after doing so poorly in the 800m, I didn’t know how I was going to double that. It was two laps of the same course (which would make it 1.6km ja nai?). I was slow and felt like I had been swimming forever. The finish line didn’t seem any closer. Usually I guesstimate my time by the length of a TV show. This swim felt like the Director’s Cut of Titanic along with preview and credits. The whole time I was swimming that 1.5km all I could think about was “how the hell I am going to swim 4km?”. During the week I had sent off an entry for a 4km beach swim. That was more than double what I was doing now! That’s going to be a solid 1.5 hour of swimming in the ocean. 4km! What was I thinking! “I’m struggling to swim 1.5km so how the hell will I finish 4km!” What was also frustrating about this swim apart from being slow and sluggish in the water was the two ends of the course were marked by blue raft boats that we had to swim around, yet they had lifeguards in other blue raft boats that were paddling along the course, so every time I would look up to see how much further I had, I kept seeing these moving raft boats which were the wrong ones and kept thinking I less to go than what I actually had to swim. I spent over half an hour in the water moving my arms and legs. My time ended up being 32minutes and 38 seconds. Another disappointing time.

Because I had entered both races, I could only choose one which would eligible for placings. I chose the 800m as my main event. For the 1.5km swim I wasn’t placed in my age category, but rather was lumped into the Open category. I didn’t improve on either time from last year’s results. Oh well. I’ll just have to do better in the next one. At least I didn’t sink. I will admit that after the swim at Lake Toya, my arms were a bit sore and my shoulder and back muscles were a bit tight. Doing non-arm strokes for over 45 minutes is kinda tiring. Also it’s kinda funny but I also got a sore neck after this race.I think it might have been from straining when looking up to find the buoys and water markers. During the race, a couple of swans even crossed the course. I was careful to get out of their way.

With the two swims behind me, it was time for lunch which was a delicious spread put on by Jojos. The lunch is worth the swim. Of course, most sane people would skip swimming 1.5km and just go to Jojos instead to eat their food. This year’s NAC t-shirt was also a really nice colour compared to last year’s grey t-shirt. Swim number 2 done and dusted. This Sunday I’ll be off to Chiba for a beach swim. That’ll be swim numero 3. I much prefer beach/ocean swims. It’s a standard 1km swim which is the minimum distance I swim whenever I go to the pool. I would like to do it in under 20 minutes as a personal goal but will prepare myself for a time anywhere between 15-25 minutes. Will let you know how it goes. I believe rain is forecast for this weekend though.

race gear

getting my race number texta-ed on my arm

Lake Toya on summer Sunday morning

in the water


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