Running in Tokyo/Japan - Marathon/Clubs/Track Races


2010 Tateyama Sprint Triathlon Race Report by 3rd Overall Chris Parry

This was a very unexpected pleasant result; achieving 3rd overall at the 2010
Tateyama Triathlon in Chiba prefecture, Japan. It surprised everyone that after years of over
indulgence, there can still be an athlete inside me. There were 100 male
participants for this 25.75km race. I was 16th out of the swim
section, 4th by end of bike portion, and then just 12 seconds behind
2nd place after the run.
For more information on this triathlon and for results, please click here:

When I applied, I applied as with the others in my team for the Olympic event, however
was too late (as full) and decided to do the other race that day, the Sprint
race. I thought a bit of a waste considering the race is just over an hour long,
for all the travel, cost and logistics. However having done some research, a
sprint requires a good 60 minutes of warm-up (if taken seriously) and 20 min
cool down, and so would get in some good exercise for what was after all only a
training day Cat 3 race for me. After watching 2 waves of 200 people start for
the Olympic race, I had ample time to warm-up. Without the warm-up, one will
only hit their potential late in the Sprint. My warm up was 15 min easy bike
with 5 x 30 sec sprints, 15 min easy run, with 5 x 50 M strides, easy swim to
first buoy to observe land marks, and fartlek swim back to shore to examine
entry and exit. I also tested out the “Caveman Diet for Athletes” book’s
recommended breakfast 3+ hours before of one watermelon, one peach, one honeydew
melon, 2 eggs and a sachet of BCCA amino acids.

For the swim, I was a little too relaxed. It was as if I thought, “this is only 750 M!”. The
sprint to the water was really a sprint and I was nearly run over both on land
and sea at the start. By the 1st buoy I had not gone all out for
position and was well back due to lack of anticipation. I concentrated hard
during the rest of the race on trying to keep the remainder of race like a 400M
pool tempo swim. This also did not work well as forgot to sight and draft. I
came out in 12 minutes and 50 seconds, not at all fast, but only 3 minutes off
the pace with my events to come.

The transition area was not at all clever. It was a narrow path with two lanes of 400 bikes
each on a bars to either side, and barely space for two bikes to traverse. As I
came into T1, it was chaos as Olympic participants finished their bike race at
same time. In any event it was the same for everyone.. The sprint participants had
to run this gauntlet for 400 M and the T1/T2 times inclusive of the bike time I had
(38 minutes) would have been substantial. In any event I shouted my way through
and hopefully made some time on my politer Japanese competitors. The bike was
technical as many corners, roundabouts, gravel, even a jump, overcrowding and
again little overtaking space. The guy who designed it must have had a lonely childhood
designing road circuits with lego. I was not overtaken on the 20k bike ride and
took 13 of the 15 Sprint competitors ahead of me, plus many of the slower
Olympic competitors that had crowded the narrow road. It was a case of catching
one after another and over taking as carefully as possible, while shouting “ooikoshiteiru”
(overtaking). There were many crashes on what was little more than a country
lane plus some imaginative hazards thrown in by the course director.

T2 was very smooth and after running the bike gauntlet (to drop bike off), I felt good
enough to sprint out. Taro Shirato, the celebratory Triathlete in Japan, and MC
for this race announced on the microphone my name and some Japanese about “Chris”
and 3rd. It was the first time the possibility of my first podium finish
entered my head and it was a great lift. My cadence must have been 92/3 for
first 500M. Also I took Paul’s Flueron's advice to not take gels on the bike
as they lead to stitches on the run. Instead I sucked sweet pastels on the run.
I read some research that having something sweet in your mouth gives the same effect
as taking the gels, as this tricks your brain into thinking you are taking in
lots of sugar/energy and allows body to work hard. I think this works. Again I
was not over taken by anyone on run and continued to overtake in style while
weaving across the path. I have to say overtaking all the time is a new thing
for me, since deciding to push my triathlon training to
10+ hours a week. The thrill of improved performance made all the hard work very

For those out there wanting a podium chance, I recommend taking a sprint slot at an event that
offers both Olympic and Sprint. The stronger triathletes and professionals
invariably always ebb towards the Olympic distance. But be warned, the Podium
can become addictive. Also the Sprint is
a good option in the summer heat. The faces of pain for the Olympic triathletes
in the 36C heat was truly shocking, but will make a sprint on such a day even
more enjoyable. After the sprint, one also really enjoys the warm down, jog and
10 min swim, as opposed to being too tired after the Olympic.

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Comment by juergen wittstock on August 3, 2010 at 4:05pm
Yes, Chris, I missed that picture! Great!
Comment by juergen wittstock on August 2, 2010 at 10:58pm
Great job, Chris! And thanks for the report!

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