tokyo running days

A marathoner / newbie triathlete's training blog.

Tuesday, May 19

DNF at Niijima Triathlon

Last weekend, I made a trip to Niijima with other Namban tri mates (Mary, Phil, Motozo, Jay and Nick) for my first triathlon race for the season. I took this Olympic distance one as a season opener and it was supposed to be a fun race.

When I looked at last year's results, I found out that third place woman's time was slower than my Oshima time last year. I suddenly got ambitious. "I might get podium."

I have been swimming a lot, compare to last year before Oshima. I joined early morning swim sessions twice a week, doing lots of drills and interval training for full 2 hours each. I also joined Saturday evening swim squad. My upper body especially arms got bigger because of it. I was the most confident ever about swimming and I was rather looking foward to it than being scared. But....

Here is the report I posted Namban list.
Mika Tokairin DNF

My first DNF triathlon. It's ironic because this was almost first time I wasn't nervous about swim leg and I even had slight confidence from recent early morning swim sessions I have been joining.

I started with 2nd wave group and about couple of hundred meters after the start, around the first buoy, I started to have difficulty with breathing and I had to keep my head up all the time swimming with breast stroke. Lots of people passed me and even 3rd wave group was approaching me with furiously fast (I felt it that way) pace. The breathing problem got worse and worse and I started to feel fear, but thank God! I found a rescue guy near me. I held his rescue board for a while and regain my breath. The guy said to me "It should be all right. Just start slowly, don't rush, relax, you can do it!". "OK, I will try..." I said reluctantly and started to swim towards 2nd buoy.

First, it seemed to have worked out. My breathing was calm and steady. But super fast 1st wave group started to lap me with furiously fast pace (I felt it that way) and my heart rate reached to maximum level because of fear and I started to have breathing problem again. I tried to continue but it again got worse and worse and I really had to stop. "I can't do this any more, let's look for the rescue guy who helped me while ago." I looked around, and found that I was middle of nowhere (I felt it that way). But this time, I really. desparately needed help. I shouted "Hey!!!" while doing dog paddling. No one noticed me. Again, "Heeeeeey!!!!". No one responded. I panicked. My breathing problem was getting worse and worse and some negative idea crossed my mind. I shouted as loud as possible. "?#&%$(?=$#!!!!!!!!!!!", then "zgjhgbvwbiqzpwbnvtzabn!!!!" and "bnrmdohesdkfjhgakdf!!!!".

One rescue woman finally found me and started to come to me with super slow (I felt it that way) paddling, talking to me "Daijobu desuka---? (Are you OK?)". No. Definitely not OK. I was rescued and came back alive! My first triathlon of this year finished less than 20 minutes (I can't believe it all happened in such short time. I felt it was like forever).. Shame, but I am glad that I stopped. This is the first time I ever had a life-threatening moment in a race.

I don't know why this happened to me all over sudden. Some said my wetsuit is too tight. Could be true, I gained my weight and my upper body got bigger because of hard swim training (and too much eating). Some said it must be cold water. Could be. It actually felt cold to me when I went into it. Or there could be other reasons. Whatever the reason was, I have to get over this experience. I hope this will be good lessons for my future races, especially for my first Ironman in this August.

Congratulations to Mary (prize winner), Motozo, Jay, Phil, Nick and Sumie! Watching and cheering you guys was really fun and I felt it was worth coming even though I couldn't finish. And big thank you to Phil for arranging such great place to stay.


Today, I went to the doctor. He is a internist and also a sports doctor Yoshiko introduced to me. He sees many marathoners. I told him what happened during the swim leg. He said, "It might be some allergic reaction. Do you have hey fever?" I said yes. He said "When your immune system goes down for some reasons, sometimes you will get sudden allergic reaction. Nervousness or too much excitement before the race can lower immunity. Over training, too."

"I'm not 100% sure, but since you are OK now, you don't need any medication. Just choose the right time for next race. Spring is not very good for who has allergy."

Hummmm, sounds like I can keep training. That's a good news. Let's hope it won't happen again in Canada.

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At June 03, 2009, Blogger columbuspatrick said...

I'm sure you can overcome this problem. You know, a bright colored swim cap helps so you can wave it if you can't swim, and you can buy swimming "noodles" that float behind you, and you can hold on to it in case you can't swim anymore.

By the way, I will either be at IM canada aug 30, or sado triathlon on september 12th. email me if you wanna meet up!

At June 03, 2009, Blogger mika t. said...

Thank you for your comment, columbuspatrick. You sound like a very experienced triathlete. If I have one more DNF at Murakami 51.5km at the end of this month, I will have to get the "Noodle"!

At June 03, 2009, Blogger columbuspatrick said...

So are you doing IMCanada or Sado tri?

At June 03, 2009, Blogger mika t. said...

I am doing IM Canada this year as my 1st IM. I did Sado B last year. It was great.

At April 25, 2010, Blogger heathers-closet said...

I was googling 'panicked swim at second triathlon dnf' and your post was the second link on the first page. I read your post and I have to say that is a very similar circumstance to what happened to me today. I am really disappointed in myself and I hope I can get it together in three weeks for my first half ironman. I can swim the crap out of the pool, but it really doesn't do anything for you in open water. I will be hitting the lake as much as possible the next 3 weeks (minus the wetsuit- I really feel that added to the problem and I even peeled it off and threw it to the beach and tried again) to hopefully avoid this hyperventilation issue!!!

At June 02, 2010, Blogger juanra said...

Hi just saw yr blog by chance as I am looking for sports doctor. I train for marathon and have been having some problems with my thigh muscles. Could you forward me the doctors details? Thanks

At June 03, 2010, Blogger mika t. said...

juanra, sorry for your thigh problem. The doc I went to see was, however, internist. I think you should go to see an orthopedist....


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