Archive | June 2014

Ekki Brunch, Tokyo

Indulged in a massive carb-laden brunch yesterday. But I totally deserved it. I swam my first ever 10km swim race on Saturday (race report to come), so Sunday was spend putting all the calories back in.

The Four Seasons Hotel, Marunouchi is my number one spot for Afternoon Tea (have been there twice). Of all my high tea reviews in Tokyo, this one is my favourite. Was keen to try out their brunch.There weekend brunch offering did not disappoint. The food and service is really awesome. A pleasant experience is always had here.

Totally went all out on the calories. The weekend brunch set consists of your choice of appetizer, main dish and then the chef’s dessert, along with tea/coffee and a basket of complimentary breads/rolls. Wine was extra but hell I had just swum 10km the day before so I had a little celebratory drop.

I went the scallops for appetizer. Can’t resist scallops whenever they’re on the menu. Served with a sweet potato puree. My friend had the foie grais with mango chutney. Both were really delicious. The foie grais is a good choice though. Great flavour combination and a generous serve of foie grais. The scallop dish would have been perfect had it been served with three scallops rather than the two. But maybe that’s me being shellfish 😉

From Ekki Brunch
From Ekki Brunch

The brunch is certainly filling, especially with the complmentary bread basket dipped in olive oil and salt. Was torn as to what to order for mains – there were several options but narrowed them down to two. Was in need of some meat. The Wagyu burger with truffle fries or the Aussie lamb. Went the burger and fries and went the whole hog with the extra topping of bacon and cheese.

From Ekki Brunch
From Ekki Brunch

Yum yum. Divine. Wagryu burger was perfectly cooked and awesome portion for those with big appetites like myself.

From Ekki Brunch
From Ekki Brunch

And who needs ketchup for your fries when you have a truffle oil mayonnaise instead. Fancy burger and fancy fries.

This is a burger with height:

From Ekki Brunch

And if that wasn’t enough food, the brunch set also includes the chef dessert. An orange sorbet with yoghurt and orange and hazelnuts. And a whole pot of English breakfast tea. Was dying for a cuppa. Hadn’t had one in nearly 48 hours.

From Ekki Brunch
From Ekki Brunch
From Ekki Brunch

Everytime I go to the Four Seasons, Marunouchi, I can barely fault them. Food and service is also top notch. Brunch is about 4000yen for a 3 course meal. Alcoholic beverages extra and they’re not cheap. I deserved to induldge a little though. And for the record, I did not eat dinner that night. Was sooo full.

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Oshima Fuji open water swimming

Went to Oshima a few weekends ago. Finally got to tick that one off the list. Of the seven Izu islands, I only have one more to do. Was in Oshima for a triathlon – not an individual one, but rather a team relay. Naturally, I’d be doing the swimming leg. Unfortunately, and to everyone’s disappointment, it rained. A lot. The race was cancelled. And, of course, the next day was a perfectly sunny day. Oh well, hiked a volcano on the Sunday instead so all was not lost. In the absence of a swim on Saturday, some of us got up early for a pre-breakfast swim. Gotta love a 6am swim on a Sunday. Who needs sleep, right? It was worth it though coz we got to see Fuji.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

Mount Fuji in all its glory. Was a drastic change from the previous day of rain and cloud.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

This particular spot was called Akinohama (on Oshima Island). We jumped off from a small rocky point.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

A fine morning for some wild swimming. In we jumped. Everyone wore wetsuits except me. Triathletes are such wimps in the water 😉

From Oshima tri day 2

The water was cold. I’m guessing about 19 degrees. Definitely made the heart stop beating for a second when I first jumped in. Took me a while to get my breathing right. Water was chilly and it was surprisingly choppy. Felt a bit seasick out there. Didn’t help that I was seasick the day before on the boat from Tokyo to Oshima island. We had had some wild wet weather the day before.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

This is open water swimming at its finest. Refreshing cold water with Mount Fuji looking over us. C’mon in!

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

The pensive swimmer:

From Oshima tri day 2

 

Oshima Fuji open water swimming

Went to Oshima a few weekends ago. Finally got to tick that one off the list. Of the seven Izu islands, I only have one more to do.
Was in Oshima for a triathlon – not an individual one, but rather a team relay. Naturally, I’d be doing the swimming leg. Unfortunately, and to everyone’s disappointment, it rained. A lot. The race was cancelled. And, of course, the next day was a perfectly sunny day. Oh well, hiked a volcano on the Sunday instead so all was not lost.

In the absence of a swim on Saturday, some of us got up early for a pre-breakfast swim. Gotta love a 6am swim on a Sunday. Who needs sleep, right? It was worth it though coz we got to see Fuji.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

Mount Fuji in all its glory. Was a drastic change from the previous day of rain and cloud.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

This particular spot was called Akinohama (on Oshima Island).
We jumped off from a small rocky point.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

A fine morning for some wild swimming.
In we jumped. Everyone wore wetsuits except me. Triathletes are such wimps in the water 😉

From Oshima tri day 2

The water was cold. I’m guessing about 19 degrees. Definitely made the heart stop beating for a second when I first jumped in. Took me a while to get my breathing right. Water was chilly and it was surprisingly choppy. Felt a bit seasick out there. Didn’t help that I was seasick the day before on the boat from Tokyo to Oshima island. We had had some wild wet weather the day before.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

This is open water swimming at its finest. Refreshing cold water with Mount Fuji looking over us.

C’mon in!

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

The pensive swimmer:

From Oshima tri day 2

Guam afternoon tea

I was overseas in Guam for the swim race, so, of course, I had to do an afternoon tea. Unfortunately, time was tight so it meant that I had to do it on the Sunday afternoon after the 8km swim. The problem was, was that I was full from lunch prior to turning up for afternoon tea. One should not partake in afternoon tea on a full stomach!

According to my prior research, I couldn’t really find any venues in Guam to do afternoon tea. The only place I found was at the Hyatt Regency, so the Hyatt Regency hotel it was then.

I had done the 8km swim race early that morning, had a monster of a lunch (see Exhibit A), and then had evening plans from about 6:30 so I had a small timeframe in which to do afternoon tea. So without much of appetite I went along to afternoon tea anyway. I did it on my own and didn’t bother with a reservation. There’s not much you need to book in advance for in Guam.

Exhibit A:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Guam is in the lobby lounge. It wasn’t so crowded so I helped myself to a table and ordered the afternoon tea for two even though it was for one.

You’ll have to excuse the poor photo quality. This is probably the worst set of photos I’ve ever taken an afternoon tea. I was feeling exhausted, tired and full and obviously too lazy to use my camera functions properly.

From Guam afternoon tea

The afternoon tea set here only comes for two. So that meant double quantities of everything. It’s obviously good value if you can share it. It also works out at $14 per person if splitting. Otherwise, on your own you pay the $28 (plus service charge). At any rate, pretty cheap for a hotel afternoon tea. But I gotta say the food was pretty disappointing.

From Guam afternoon tea

Lounge and hotel interior:

From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea

The afternoon tea includes a pot of tea of your choice. It was so good to have a cup of tea. It had been a few days since my last cup of tea. I liked the nice tall generous teapot serving:

From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea

I was so full and no one to share the food with, but for the sake of research, I had to try a bite of at least everything.

From Guam afternoon tea

I liked the way the platters were served though. It was a little different but cool.

From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea

The food was nothing to rave it. Not surprisingly, Guam is not a culinary destination.
The sandwiches were stout and not so appetising:

From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea

Somewhat on the dry side.

From Guam afternoon tea

The food seemed so carby and dry.

From Guam afternoon tea
From Guam afternoon tea

The desserts were better than the sandwiches at least.

From Guam afternoon tea

More dessert and scones:

From Guam afternoon tea

I struggled to even have a bite and sample everything. My heart wasn’t really in it. I was already full still from lunch and was knackered and dehydrated from the 8km swim. My tastebuds were still kinda funky from the saltwater.

Given that options for afternoon tea are very limited on Guam, I suppose it’s not too bad. Price tag-wise it’s very good value especially split between 2. It’s pretty ideal if you’re wanting tea and some cakes. And when you’re hungry enough, anything tastes good. Next time, I’ll just have to go there with an appetite!

From Guam afternoon tea

This totally Rocks!

This chair totally ROCKS!

From Giant rocking chair

I need to get me one of these bad boys. It’s a huge arse rocking chair. Literally, a huge arse could fit in it! The rocking chair to the right is a regular/normal-sized rocking chair (for scale). Saw this at a furniture store in Tokyo. Soooo tempted to sit in it – Goldilocks style. This chair is much too big. This chair is just perfect! Shame this rocking chair has already been sold.

Tumon Bay: Postcards from Guam

Guam is an interesting little island. It’s pretty tiny, with a population of about 160,000 inhabitants. You can see the whole island in a day if you have a car. It’s really close to Japan – only a 3.5 hour flight. It’s a popular holiday destination for Japanese people. Guam is actually a US territory but the island is a mix of Japanese, American and local influence. It is heavily catered for Japanese tourists. Pretty much all the signs are in Japanese, as well as in English. It was almost like a mini-Japan, perhaps a cross between Hawaii and Okinawa. I found that I could understand more by reading everything in Japanese, despite the fact that everyone speaks English in addition to Chamurro. Maps, menu, signs etc are all in Japanese. And most of the tourists are predominantly Japanese or Korean. At the same time, it has an American culture. Big shopping malls, large portion food and the currency is USD. There is also quite a strong military presence with a both a navy and air force located on the tiny island. The weather though is hot, humid and sunny – it’s actually pretty close to the equator.

It has beautiful bays and coastline, and jungle/bush areas. But it’s a super tiny island filled with big cars and trucks. 98% of the cars are imported from Japan. It seemed like there were more calls than people. The malls and shopping outlets are popular with tourists. They even have a 24-hour KMart store. However, there is not a single Starbucks store on the island of Guam. Another random tidbit I learnt was that there is a jail on the island. It accomodates 300 people, but currently houses about 700 people.

The main city centre area is Tumon Bay (although that is not the capital of Guam). Tumon is the tourist hub where all the hotels are. It’s really pretty and the water is amazing. It was very picturesque and relaxing. Water and sunshine is all I need.

These are all photos from Day 1 in Guam.

Our view from the hotel room overlooked this side of the bay to the right:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

I enjoyed waking up to this every morning I was there:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Ahh, paradise:

From Guam day 1

This was the other side, where we headed down for a swim on the Saturday morning:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

The bay was super shallow, but the water super clear. Popular for snorkelling and there was a surprising amount of fish and marinelife.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

An example of appropriate and inappropriate beach footwear:

From Guam day 1

The hotel was also really nice. We had a great view from our room and it had an infinity pool.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Surrounded by water and more water:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Brace yourself: lots of photos of pretty much the same thing. But that’s my style that you’ve come to know and love.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

This is why I love water and love swimming.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Sunset from the hotel room:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Guam was an awesome holiday mini-break. I would have liked to have spent more time there. I managed to squeeze in a lot for a short amount of time. Saturday was mostly hotel-bound and admiring the views of the bay, aside from a small swim session and resting up before the 8km swim race. Sunday was then spent recovering the 8km swim, so I really didn’t do a lot of sightseeing over the weekend.

Cocos Island Swim Race Report: Guam 8km swim race

I owe you quite a few blog updates. The blogging has taken a backseat lately. When I haven’t been at work, I’ve been swimming training. For the last 5-6 months I have been (secretly) clocking up miles in the pool. Since January 1st of this year, I have logged about 220km in the pool. I have been in training for a year (being 2014) of endurance open water swimming.

My main event for the year was the Guam Cocos Island Crossing swim – 5mile (8km) swim race. I’m pleased to say that I finished it and was happy with my performance.

The race was on Sunday June 1. The days leading up were tiring.

I got a massage on the Thursday night (I’ve enjoyed incorporating massages into my training routine).

Here’s a rundown of it all.

Friday looked like this: Start work at 9am (a little earlier than usual). Finished work at 5:30pm and headed straight for Narita airport. Lugging wheelie suitcase throughout Tokyo and up and down stairs was a bad move. Carrying suitcase upstairs strained my arms a bit. They were sore the next day. I needed to be in tip top condition for Sunday’s race. I usually travel with a backpack and usually don’t lug the wheelie suitcase around. Bad move, bad move. Flight was just after 9pm. Arrived into Guam at 2am.

In the early hours of Saturday morning at 3am, I checked into the hotel at Guam and literally just crawled into bed. What a long day. Swimming friend, Lisa, was also doing the race and had arrived earlier and was already asleep.

Saturday – having only gotten into bed at 3am, I reluctantly got up at 9am for a casual training session. We headed down to the beach and set off for a swim at Tumon Bay. The place was gorgeous. And the view from our hotel was awesome. I hadn’t been able to check it out earlier. The Bay area is beautiful – clear waters, sunshine. Amazing. We did a a slow relaxed swim. I cut mine a bit short as I was super exhausted, but Lisa continued on. I headed back in to the hotel to grab some food. It was about 11am, so it was more an early lunch. Then went back to hotel room to rest. I was a bit sleep-deprived and the heat was a bit draining. The sightseeing would have to wait until after the race. Before I knew it I had fallen asleep into a long power nap. Lisa woke me up at 4:30pm. Ugh, time to get up for the pre-race briefing which was from 5-6pm. We got our race caps and tshirts and a briefing (which was all in Japanese). As we had to register in Japan we were kind of lumped in with the Japanese participant contingent – we were all at the same hotel and had a separate briefing etc.

After the briefing we ventured off for dinner. Settled for a nice carb dinner of spaghetti at an Italian restaurant.
It was then time for an early night. We were in bed by 9:30pm, coz that’s just how I roll on a Saturday night! Next day was gonna be an early start and I had only managed handfuls of sleep at a time in the 24 hours prior.

Sunday morning: Lisa was up at 3am to do her pre-race getting ready ritual. I am not a morning person and I rolled out of bed at 4am and straight into my cossies. Got all my gear together and then we headed down to the lobby.

Pre-race fuel packing:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Fruit salad was breakfast, which I had purchased the day before. Plenty of fluids to sip on to stay hydrated – mostly water, coconut water and sips of gatorade as well. I didn’t end up eating the Cliff Bar and only ate one banana, although had planned on and should have eaten two. And some sports liquid (gel).

Here is what I packed for post-race replenishment:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Didn’t end up eating half of that stuff after the race. But better to be prepared. Basically we had to bring all food and supplies as there would be no opportunity to purchase anything after the race and the one-hour bus ride back. Better to have all the junk food on hand. Just think of all those calories that I would burn off and that needed to be replaced.

There was bus for the Japanese group that would take us to the race venue. Bus left at around 5am and we got to Merizo Pier – the south end of Guam at about 6am. I ate a breakfast of fruit salad on the bus on the way.

Merizo was about an hour away. Some pics of the coastline from the bus window along the way:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Weather and water conditions were looking favourable. Flat and glassy.

We arrived about 6am at Merizo Pier. Race time was at 7am. There were 2 course options: 4km or 8km.
The 4km race started at Cocos Island and you swam to Merizo. This has been the original race course for about 20 years. Swimmers are required to take the ferry across to Cocos Island. A ferry takes the swimmers across there.
Only in the last couple of years have they offered the 8km swim, which is start at Merizo, swim to Cocos Island and then back to Merizo.

Race course:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Time to Grease Up courtesy of the Vaseline table:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Vaseline helps to protect against jellyfish and chafing.

We could see out to Cocos Island. And there was a rainbow. It was a good sign.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Water looked flat for now but it would change once we started swimming.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Cocos Island:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

The course marked by about 15 buoys was a curved route, not the most straightest direct route. And the 4km and 8km swimmers all started at 7am. So the 8km swimmers had to make sure to stay right of the buoys so we wouldn’t swim into the oncoming 4km swimmers.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

I guess it doesn’t look too far….

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Water temp was warm about 24-25 degrees. My ideal water temp although for a long distance race it could have been a bit cooler as it definitely got warm out there as we were swimming. Air temp was in the 30s.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Ready or not:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Number #302. Mind the 4am bedhair that I’m rocking. Not looking my finest in these pics.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Pre-race selfie. All greased up. Goggles. Check. Swim cap. Check. Cossies. Check. Shoulders. Check.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Just after 7am we were off. There weren’t many of us in the 8km swim. As it turned out, only 28 of us. This meant that most of us would be swimming our own race as we’d all be spread out over the 8km swim. They had a couple of hundred swimmers in the 4km swim though. I started off ok. The water was nice and I was really enjoying the swim. It was fun for about the first 2km. There were lots of buoys to follow so that made sighting easy but then they seemed to get further and further apart. I kept swimming but goddamn it that island did not seem to be getting closer. I started to worry a little. I was not getting closer to the island at all. Was there a current? Was I getting pushed back? Was the island being moved further back? Was I moving at all? Were my arms working? Was this all a dream and the alarm clock was going to go off any minute? Sadly the latter was not the case. Nothing to do but keep pushing forward a little stronger.
Lots to think about when you’re swimming 8km.

I thought to myself: “by the time I get to the island/halfway point that will only have been 4km and I have to do it again to go back”. The thought of doubling that and doing another 4km was overwhelming. I even half-wished I would get stung by a jellyfish just so I would have a reason to quit the race. The 4km was mentally tough even though I do 4km most days at the pool. I had trouble sighting the turnaround point. Where was that last goddamn buoy? I didn’t want to miss it because that was where the drinks boat was going to be. Surely enough I saw it. There was a kayak sitting by the buoy. Boy, was I happy to see that. I swam up to the kayak and grabbed a cup of water. I stopped for a mini break whilst treading water. I had two cups of water, and took a gel (I had carried 2 gels with me tucked into my cossies. One for the 4km and one for the 6km point). I asked the guy for the time. It was 8:12am. Alright. Not bad. Was happy with that. 4km in 72min. I had beaten the cut-off time. There was a 75min cutoff time to reach the halfway point. I actually cleared the 4km in about 60-65min because the race hadn’t actually started until about 7:10am. Buoyed by the fact that I was within the cutoff and that I could see a handful of other swimmers behind me, I continued on. At the risk of sounding like an Nike ad, “Giving up is not an option”.

“You’re halfway done”, I told myself. “It’s all downhill. Just take your time going back. It only took you an hour to do 4km. The total race time cut off is 2hr 45min, so you’ve got another hour and half to do the last 4km, and you’re not last. There’s a bunch of people behind you. You can do it”. I entertained myself with thoughts of all the food I was gonna eat after the race. The massage to look forward to. The sightseeing. And oh, the retail therapy I would indulge in after the race. I was going up to hit up the shops as a post-race reward. I almost made a deal with myself before this swim race that I could get myself a Macbook Air if I finished this race. But I decided to save that for passing JLPT level 1 this year. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be getting a Macbook Air this year. Anyway, I digress. Swimming is awesome for thinking a million thoughts. At least I didn’t have to count laps. Counting 4-5km worth of laps in a 50m pool gets pretty monotonous.

Swimming back to the Guam mainland was harder physically but mentally fine. Sighting was a big problem for me because basically all you saw was the giant landmass of the Guam coastline and from Cocos Island it was hard to spot at what landpoint you should be heading for. We had been told to look for a high mountain/peak with antennas/power lines. Do you know how small antennas are when you are 4km away? And floundering in the water, no less. And when you are shortsighted! One of the best things I had done in the lead up to the race was purchase myself prescription lens goggles. What a world of difference they make. If you knew where to aim for, for the finish spot, you could straight-shot the distance back, but if you couldn’t, you could follow the buoys but that was going to be a longer distance. I ended up following the buoys for most of it but kept well clear right of them so I would be in better alignment for the finish goal.

Everything was getting tired. Shoulders and elbows were getting sore. Even my upper legs were weirdly getting sore. Prior to this race, I had never actually swum 8km in one go. The furthest I ever got to was 7km in a single session, and a couple of 6km sessions. I did do 9km in one day but there was split over a 5km morning swim and a 4km afternoon swim, so 8km in one go was definitely testing me physically. I found the first 4km tough mentally though.

The water was definitely choppier as time passed, compared to the morning’s glassy conditions. Not strong chop, but small and steady and there was definitely a current as the tide picked up. It was a beautiful swimming location though, ideal for beginner endurance open water swimmers.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Finish ramp in sight. I was so happy that I had finished it. Done. Completed. Survived. Hell yeah. This had been a bucketlist swim for a while and I was glad it was over.

Lisa had finished 13min prior to me, and took some photos of me coming into the finish line:

In good form, even 8km later:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Shaky legs: Feeling weird to be vertical again.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Start and finish point:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

I loved how they had an ambulance ready and waiting at the finish line. Perfect. There was my ride home.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

The post-race selfie (to compare with the pre-race one): Feeling pretty damn happy.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

I was super happy with the achievement of swimming 8km. Was very pleased with my time of 2hrs 23 min (and 55 seconds). I got 4th female overall. And Lisa and I dominated in our age category. She took 1st place and I took 2nd place. I even scored me a medal! Fancy that (although am still waiting for that to arrive in the post due to a medal mix-up and someone took my medal home). There was also a 20min difference between myself and the 3rd place woman in our age group.

Mind the swollen goggle-y eyes:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

There were only 28 starters for the 8km and I came 14th out of all the men and women. About a third of the men were all military dudes as well, so I was up against a strong bunch of swimmers. I’m not your model swimmer. I’m basically a 30-something year old, overweight office worker. Am not tall nor lean nor even that fit, so was happy to just to swim 8km just to finish the race and swim the distance. And let’s face it, it was an excuse to go to Guam. So basically right in the middle. Pretty much an average swimmer but beat half the people there. Such results were unexpected but I was super happy. I had been super worried that I wouldn’t make the cut off time. And I had never swum 8km before either.

My tongue and lips were feeling super funky.

Cocos Island conquered. Looking pretty damn pleased with myself:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Post-race thoughts: They recommend that you be swimming on average 25km per week in training prep for this swim. Whoa. Really?! I had only been doing about 15km per week. The swim conditions were favourable, I thought, compared to a rougher water ocean swim. I didn’t come across any jellyfish which was awesome. Although jellyfish are a problem for this swim. Water was clean and clear. I got few stings/bites from sealice etc which caused some discomfort during the swim. I didn’t do the swim as comfortably as I thought I would have. So yes, I definitely recommend swimming 20-25km a week. I could have trained more, but time constraints make that difficult. I actually felt like I did a lot of training for this swim, but if I had wanted to finish in a faster time and to do it more comfortably, I definitely would need to train more. For my goals, what I did was sufficient and doable. More training would have led to an imbalance in my lifestyle. For 8km, I always knew I could do the distance. It was more a matter of could I do it in the allocated race time limit. I could potentially have shaved off a couple of minutes if I had wanted to. eg reduce rest/fuel time at the turnaround point. Between the 4-8km mark up, I was also taking periodical sips from my second gel. I also took my time in the second half. The second 4km took me about 10 minutes longer to complete than the first 4km.

Overall though, I felt pretty good considering, after the race. I drank lots. Didn’t have much of an appetite until a couple of hours later. It took several hours for my tastebuds to adjust again. Lips were swollen and pruny. I will admit that I must have peed been about 8 times during the race. This is why I love open water swimming as opposed to a pool. But by the time I got out of the water, I was in dire need of an actual toilet. An 8km swim in the open water is definitely going to cause some bowel movement.

It was then back onto the bus for the trip back to Tumon. On the way back, our bus temporarily broke down along the side of the road.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Race started at about 7am and I was done and out of the water by about 9:30am. The day had barely even begun.

Back to the hotel room, for a much needed shower and relax time. We then had a big celebratory lunch.
Cue meat coma. Needed the protein, what can I say.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Thank Guam for US-sized portions!

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

And I enjoyed a well-deserved massage later that evening. The poor shoulders and arm!

So that’s my main personal big swim race challenge for the year done. I think I’ve decided that I want to do a destination swim every year. It needn’t be a long swim, just a destination swim race.
I have also stupidly signed up for a 10km swim race later on this yea…well, actually in a couple of weeks time. And not just one 10km swim race but 2! One of them is not until later on though so have another 2 months to train to get up to 10km. Ugh. I blame my housemate. Somehow I’ve been roped into doing them. Thus, the swim training continues. Why do I do this to myself?

Local news wrap up of the race.

And I appear in photo 26 of the photo gallery. Not. At. All. Flattering.