Thursday, September 27, 2012

Japanese/American Goodwill Modified Triathlon

Before we were stationed in Japan, my husband and I had been doing triathlons for about a year.  I had signed up for my first triathlon 3 months after our daughter was born.  My husband thought they looked so fun that he did one too.  Suddenly, we were alternating races and taking turns with the kids every couple months for that year.  So of course when we heard we would be moving to Japan, one of the first things we looked for was races.  We discovered the Annual Japanese and American Goodwill Modified Triathlon.
This year's shirt design
  This race is longer than a sprint, but just under the Olympic distance at 1k swim/ 4k run / 28k bike / 4k run.  (The run is separated into 2 parts because the location of the swim start is not appropriate for a bike transition area.)  Though this is only one race per year, we were stoked.

After quite an uneventful stay here as far as races are concerned, we were very excited once registration finally opened and we could find a way to get our training on track.  With children and a husband that works long hours and is often out of the country, it makes training hard on BOTH of us!  Thankfully I was able to round up several athletic-minded friends and start a "Mommy training group" and my husband got to do some training while working out of the country for a couple months.  During that time I got 2 mommies consistently into training with me, plus another occasionally joining for fun, and we all got to take turns watching each other's kids to train.  Still complicated, but enough training to complete the race.  I am extremely thankful!  And, I ended up talking 3 women into signing up for the race.

RACE DAY!  My husband and I were both signed up, so we needed a babysitter!  Luckily a wonderful friend volunteered to help out.  There were only 49 Americans total entered for the race and around double that in Japanese.  The small American turnout was disappointing for us to see, but it was nice to see my little training group was not the only group of females entered.  Here are all the American female competitors prior to start...
The race was split into 3 mass starts with 2 times around an out and back course.  Here's what it looked like...

If you're thinking that looks crowded, you're absolutely right.  A somewhat frightening MESS!  An ordinary triathlon has a rough start for 50 meters or so, but when you're doing 2 laps around the same course with overlapping groups, we were running into people the whole swim.

From the water we ran up to our shoes and ran 2.5 miles to the bike transition area.  Here are 2 of my friends the gym got a photo of exiting the transition area...
We biked 3 laps around a bike course before returning our bikes and heading out on the final 4 km (2.5 mile) run.  Someone at the gym barely caught me in the blue running off down the sidewalk...
This run was 2 laps back to a finish line in front of the gym.

Thankfully, we ALL finished!  My husband got a flat tire, but managed to repair it and still beat a lot of people.  My friends did amazing, especially the first-timers.  I was so proud of them.  Most incredible were the Japanese athletes who attended the event.  They dominated it, taking almost every metal in every category.  Though, I was extremely lucky to capture one. :)
Beautiful day, wonderful friends, couldn't have asked for anything more.

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