11 April 2012

First Try

The big dog, ready to race, and Dappei-kun, the green nosed mascot dog character of Tateyama City
This winter I decided to take the advice of professional coaches and get off the bike and try some other exercise.  So I started swimming at the 50 meter heated pool at the Setagaya Sogo Undojo next to Kinuta Park.  And I decided I would add running at some point, then try a triathlon or two.  

I will always stand on the cyclist side of the great divide between cyclists and triathletes, but it has been good to work on a few different muscle groups at least during the winter.  And I love the pool -- only a 10 minute ride from my home, open 9AM to 9PM, 7 days a week, usually not crowded, and only 200 yen if you are in and out of the gate within 60 minutes, which is plenty for me to swim, shower and change.  When I started, I felt I needed to apologize and explain to the lifeguards watching "you know, I WAS on the high school swim team ... 32+ years ago."

There were two hiccups in the plan.  First, I was traveling for a month and did not swim at all during that time, nor as much as I should after returning.  

Second, I always seem to suffer injuries, eventually, when I run.  Maybe if I weighted less.  Maybe this time since I weigh less than I did 5 or 10 years ago ...  but no.  I somehow injured my right foot and stopped running a few weeks after I started.  

At least I had signed up first for a "Sprint" event and so would only run 5 km.  The event was at Tateyama in Chiba on Sunday, and was a lot of fun.  My son, Henry, was a good enough sport to at least come along for the morning.
Running ... does not come naturally, yet.

Unfortunately, because of the cold weather (air temperature was about 4 degrees C when they started the first races Sunday morning ... though it was probably more like 9 or 10 degrees when my group started at 10:20), the swim was cancelled, and replaced with a 1km "beach run" through the sand.  

I guess these thin-as-bones triathletes get chilled, even with wet suits, if it is too cold when they are in and emerge out of the water.  Wimps.  I am (over)confident I would have done well in a cold choppy open water swim against a bunch of skinny, shivering 60 kg athletes.
I ended up 28th out of 131 in the "Citizen, Sprint Distance" category -- the lowest, shortest possible category, filled with plenty of first timers.

I dominated on the bike with the second fastest time -- the only faster split was the overall winner of the category.  No one passed me the entire 20 km, and I passed almost all of them.  I was probably 80% back in the pack out of the first transition and onto the bike, and when I got back for the second transition to the run, the Sprint Distance bike rack was still almost empty -- only about 10 bikes.  My first two of the three 6.8 km circuits, I was basically just hollering "tourimasu" over and over, as with mamachari on the Tamagawa path, getting people to pull over so I could pass.  These folks really need to learn how to ride.

I started the last segment -- the run -- quite slow, worried about my foot  and whether I could make it through without re-injuring it, not having run more than a few hundred meters at any time in the past 3 weeks.  the time I got to the turn around and had been passed by a bunch of folks, I was confident ehough to speed up, and actually passed some of them back on the return trip.

Astroman from TCC, a New Zealander, was in the "Age" category Olympic distance event (above "Citizen" and below the pro "Elite" race -- I guess a kind of Masters race category for real tri-athletes) and placed second in the 50-54 yr old group to someone named Mark, who looked like he was about 5 cm taller and 20 kgs lighter than me.  Both Astroman and Mark said they are doing the Ishigakijima triathlon, as am I.  Looking forward to that in less than 2 weeks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Gook luck for Ishigaki ! A very nice race and you might see a french team there :)