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.
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:
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.
Lovely water vista:
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:
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.
The very cool lifeguard team. They would have given the Baywatch cast a run for their money!
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!
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!
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.
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:
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).
Seriously, flat feet much?
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!)
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.
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).
Goal to complete a full aquathlon distance, now complete, although painfully slow as it was.
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