Tag Archive | aquathlon

Medals, prizes and a PB: Iwai Aquathlon

Summer is here! And you know what that means — the open water swimming season is open.

First race for the year was a sprint aquathlon – the Minami Boso Iwai beach aquathlon. I participated in this race last year and was back again this year.

I left home with a towel and goggles, and came back wit medals, prizes and a PB.

Getting up early on a Sunday morning is no fun. It was a 2.5 hour journey but at least I got to enjoy the scenery.

Crossing the Sumida River, with the Sky Tree in the background:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Crossing the Edogawa river:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Chiba countryside:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Finally, the coastline in view:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

The beach was deserted apart from us swimmers.

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Race course is set-up; yeah, this is not what I call a surf beach.

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Water temp was a fresh 20 degrees. Swam without a wetsuit as per usual. But I did wear my tri-suit. The locals like to wear wetsuits though. Granted, I probably have more natural insulation than most people!

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

The cloudy morning gave way to a nice sunny day complete with blue skies:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Where’s David Hasselhoff when you need him?

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Warming up:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

So first up, I did the sprint aquathlon. A 500m swim followed by a 5km run.
I am quite proud of myself. I came second out of all the females! I was actually leading the WHOLE race (out of the females), and was pipped at the post in the last 30 seconds. My swim gave me a really good lead in the run leg. Damn my shoddy running. I was so far ahead of all the other ladies. Got out of the water quickly and had a super fast transition. Whilst EVERYONE was struggling to get wetsuits off, I just took off on the run.

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

I held the lead in the run, and was overtaken right near the end.
Don’t have the swim and run splits yet, but my overall time earnt me second place female, and also second place in my age group. (Will update split times later when they become available).
My time was also a PB for the run which I did in about sub-30 which although is not fast by any standard, was good for me.
Total race time was: 40min, 41 seconds.
My time for the same race last year was: 47min, 45 seconds. I definitely was a lot faster and stronger in the run this time around.

2nd overall female:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

In addition to the aquathlon, I also decided to sign up on the day for the 1.5km open water swim as well. I needed the practice, because I’ve got 2 more 3km swims this month. My need to go fast in the run was partly motivated by the fact that I had signed up for the additional swim. The aquathlon started at 12:00pm and the swim started at 1pm. The faster I ran, the more break time I would have between the next race starting. I would only have about 15 minutes to spare.

After guzzling as much water as I could after the first race, I then braced for myself for a 1.5km swim. Man, I was so hot and thirsty.

The moved the buoys out further for the 1.5km swim and we had to do two laps of the course. Was definitely a lot slower on this swim having gone all out on the aquathlon.

I got second place female for the 1.5km swim.

Come the award ceremony, I got 2 medals and 2 prizes.

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

I still haven’t actually opened up my prize bag yet. I think it’s something like a year’s supply of acai power drink. Seriously, lots of acai products. They were the sponsor.

I am a STARfish:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Also took home a ridiculously bright orange race shirt (included in entry fee):

From Iwai aquathlon 2013

All paths lead to water:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Iwai beach is a really nice beach…probably one of my favourites. I love swimming out there. I’ve done about three races there now.

The day turned out to be really warm, I even spent the day there chilling out and went for another dip in the water. Practically had the place to myself.

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

I need to explore more of the Minami Boso region – they’ve got the ocean to the right, and the mountains to the left:

From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013
From Iwai aquathlon 2013

Stay tuned for more swimming reports this summer. Although don’t expect any more medals or prizes. That’ll be the last placing this season me thinks.

Kozushima aquathlon race report

So it’s been a while since I did a race report…or simply a race for that matter. This summer, I didn’t have much of a chance to enter in an as many events due to lengthy travel plans. At the beginning of the year, I did a slow and painful half marathon. I have also only done one other open water swim race and a sprint aquathlon race this year. Over the weekend, I finally got around to completing my first proper (longer) distance aquathlon race. I started out in 2010 doing only ows races. I needed more of a challenge than just swimming, so have slowly built in jogging into my fitness routine, despite being a really lousy runner. I have bad, uncooperative feet. So on Saturday, I did a 1.5km open water swim and a 10km run race (ie an aquathlon). I didn’t treat it too much like a race, more like a hard training session, in preparation for a triathlon I have prematurely and foolishly entered. The race was on Kozushima island. Logistics for this race was a bit of a nightmare. Because it’s on an island, access is only by boat. And the boats to get there were all fully-booked! I ended up having to take the Friday off work and get there the day earlier. At least there were seats available on the Friday. This meant staying on the island for two nights. Next nightmare was accommodation! I rang up 10 places and they were all booked out! No room at the inn! I very nearly thought I would have to camp on the island! I ended up finally finding a place to stay at a little minshuku. Thankfully, this place had a room to spare. Actually, they weren’t booked out at all. They even had rooms to spare. And it was in a great location. A 5-minute walk to the beach and my room had partial sea views.

From Kozushima aquathlon

On Friday, I snorkeled and explored the island. The island is fabulous for marine activities – snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming. The waters were teeming with marine life. That’ll be a separate post. Took some awesome pics. Saturday was race day. Breakfast at the minshuku was served at 7:30am:

From Kozushima aquathlon

However, the race didn’t start until 1:50pm. The weather was concerning. It rained in the morning, then cleared up to be a ridiculously hot day. This summer has been crazy hot. Temps were in the 30s and I was worried about running in the heat and the humidity of the middle of the day. I had the morning free, so I decided to walk a part of the run course to familiarise myself with it. Kozushima island is beautiful. Wonderful coastline and beautiful beaches and water. My favourite beach on the island was Sawajiri beach.

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

Lovely water vista:

From Kozushima aquathlon

The swim part of the race took place on Maehama beach (the beach next to the port). This beach was ok. On the Friday, I had tested out the waters, and there were a lot of jellyfish. In the race briefing, we had been warned there would be a lot of jellyfish but during my swim, I didn’t see or notice any. Thank God! Maehama beach:

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

A pretty nice race venue, I might add on a nice little island. This was the first race where I would test out my new wetsuit. I vowed I would never own a wetsuit, being the swimming purist that I am. But unfortunately, wetsuits are compulsory for triathlon races in Japan, so I had to buy one. I ended up forking over about 200 buks and buying one on the Internet (I don’t really fit into Japanese sizes) which is always risky because you can’t try before you buy. I had only worn it once before in the water at a test open water swim training session at Kamakura beach. This would be the first time under race conditions.

From Kozushima aquathlon

The very cool lifeguard team. They would have given the Baywatch cast a run for their money!

From Kozushima aquathlon

Wetsuits have a negative effect for me. I actually swim faster without one. I already have a high percentage of body fat so I don’t need the extra bouyancy. If anything, I felt that it weighed me down and made me feel heavier and slower. It also gave me a hell of a neck rash. I barely have any skin left on my neck. For me, I like the feeling of being light and free in the water, and a wetsuit detracts that from me. I would much rather prefer to be as close to naked as possible when in the water. The wetsuit felt cumbersome in the water. During the swim, I was really bothered by the stinging and chafing on my neck. 1.5km swim time was 30min and 32 seconds, which I wasn’t happy with. I had expected to swim well under 30minutes.That being said, I was the 5th female out of the water, and overall 33rd place (out of total 99 people). The swim course was 2 laps of 750m, with a land exit between the 2 laps. The water temperature was a whopping 29 degrees! I seriously debated not wearing the wetsuit thinking it would be kind of dangerous in this heat. But I really needed a trial run wearing it. I wasn’t really relaxed swimming in the wetsuit. How lovely does the water look!

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

Transition was awkward. I got out of the wetsuit pretty quickly though. Helps that it was sleeveless. The thing with the transition was that it was on the sand! Here are our transition baskets laid on the actual beach!

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

There was no possible way to clean and dry your wet feet! How were we supposed to put on socks and joggers when your whole body is wet and there was nothing to stand on but sand, and we all had to dump our wetsuits on the sand. At the transition, I took off goggles, cap, wetsuit, threw on my glasses, a cap, and wrist sweatbands (yeah, I know, I went bought sweatbands. How very 80s of me. But seriously, you try jogging in 35-degree heat). I had also bought a race belt and buckled that on as well. I didn’t know what to do with my wet sandy feet. So I held my joggers and socks and ran up the beach barefooted until I got up to the beach promenade where I sat down and tried to brush sand off my feet with my hands, threw on my socks onto my damp sandy feet, threw on the shoes and just started running.

From Kozushima aquathlon

By the time I started the run leg, I was the 5th female out there. And this is where I lose it. I really wish my running was a lot better to be able to maintain my lead. This 10km course was intense. It was extremely hilly. We were on a crazy hilly island. It was a tough, hard course. A lot of people’s times were slower than normal for a 10km run. They actually used to hold a triathlon here, but it was deemed too hilly, curvy and dangerous, they used to have bike accidents, so this was the first year they changed it to an aquathlon event instead. Still, the hills were a killer. And it was 2 laps of a 5km course. The flat parts of the run course were nice though along the coastline. Run course:

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

Now during the run leg, I was in a lot of pain! It also happened to be the first time that I was wearing a tri suit, which I wore under the wetsuit for the swim leg. This meant that I was already wearing shorts and a singlet so I didn’t need to faff about with clothes at the transition. The shorts though come with padding for the bike leg in a triathlon. I was in for a rude surprise, when I felt major discomfort. How shall I put this delicately… it was something akin to adult nappy rash. Under the shorts, you don’t wear swimmers or undies, so I was suffering major chafing in a majorly sensitive area. Holy crap. I had heard of saddle sores, but I had not been warned about this kind of friction. You try running in wet, salty, sandy, sweaty shorts for 10km in 30 degree heat. Basically, I had two mantras going in my head during the run course. “Nappy rash. Blisters. Nappy rash. Blisters.” I didn’t know which was worse! — the chafing or the blisters on my feet. I couldn’t run as fast as I would have liked given that my feet were giving me grief. You might already be aware that I have a lot of feet problems…namely blisters and that I am very prone to them. I think the fact that I have flat feet (absolutely no arch) doesn’t help. More surface area for friction. And given the crappy transition, there was no way to properly dry my feet and get rid of the sand. So my feet were moist and sandy. I’m not exaggerating when I say the blisters were slowing me down. It hurts to run when meanwhile this is going on…WARNING: ugly feet photos coming up NOW! This is how my feet looked after 10km. Believe me, I wanted to quit during the run. Yeah, I know I gotta HTFU (Harden The FEET UP).

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

Seriously, flat feet much?

From Kozushima aquathlon

Friction is my Enemy Number 1. Given the hilly course, my nappy-like rash and blisters on my feet, I finally hauled my arse to the finish line. The 10km run took me a whopping and painfully slow 1hr and 9min and 27 seconds. I’ve mapped out the run, and yes, there was definitely one hilly section. And we had to do it twice. A lot of people struggled on this section. I much prefer an absolute flat courses! To hell with hills.

5km course x 2 laps

Total race time for 1.5km and 10km hill run was 1hr 39min and 59 seconds. Transition time is included in there as well (although I’m not sure if that gets lumped in with the swim time or run time). Hooray. Made it to the finish line in one piece! (Check out the sweat wristbands!)

From Kozushima aquathlon

I ended up being 12th overall female (out of 21 females), and 70th place out of 99 competitors (male and female). I surprised myself by not coming last! Despite slow times, I did ok relative to the field. I was actually 2nd place in my female age group (of which there were 5 of us). Unfortunately, no AG prizes. Only the top overall 6 places got prizes. Bummer. I was disappointed. Far out, I have no idea how I am supposed to squeeze in a 40km cycle in between all that, in the upcoming triathlon. I’m going to be looking at about 3.5 hours for the OD tri. Ugh. My feet were in a lot of pain after the race. Could barely walk on the soles of my feet. Had to bandaid and tape them up. Had a shower back at the minshuku. And boy was I stinging in places where one should never be stinging. It hurt to shower (and pee for that matter. TMI?). Finally, got myself refreshed, although I was rather exhausted and sore. Definitely feeling a little worse for wear. Definitely was not looking as fresh as this during the race.

Saw the sun set.

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

In the evening, there was a party and awards ceremony. It was all a free all you can eat and drink spread, prize giving and taiko performance (all included in race entry).

From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon
From Kozushima aquathlon

Goal to complete a full aquathlon distance, now complete, although painfully slow as it was.

From Kozushima aquathlon

5193322 2012-09-04 10:18:21 2012-09-04 01:18:21 open closed kozushima-aquathlon-race-report publish 0 0 post 0 aquathlon Fitness here and there in japan Japan Swimming Swimming Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo life Travel _edit_last 253158 _encloseme 1 _encloseme 1 _encloseme 1