Saipan pro Mieko Carey will leave the island on Monday to compete in the 2012 XTERRA Japan.
Carey will be gunning for her fourth straight XTERRA Japan crown and will have 2010 XTERRA World champion Shonny Vanlandingham as the biggest stumbling block in her bid to extend her reign in the annual competition in Marunuma, Gunma Prefecture.
Though she considered the American pro as a threat in the Aug. 25 triathlon tournament, Carey is excited to see Vanlandingham again and race against her.
“Shonny will be there and I am happy to race with her again and with my other XTERRA Japan friends,” Carey said.
Carey raced against Vanlandingham last year during the XTERRA Saipan Championship with the latter finally winning the Crown Jewel after stunning seven-time champion Renata Bucher. The Colorado native then sustained an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury in her knee in September 2011 and was forced to miss the 2011 XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii and a couple of early races this year, including the 2012 XTERRA Saipan.
Vanlandingham just returned to triathlon in the second quarter of 2012 and competed in back-to-back weekend XTERRA races this month. She finished second in XTERRA Brazil on Aug. 4 and won XTERRA Portland last Saturday.
Carey only raced in a local MTB event last week and is tapering off from training after surviving the grueling Kaike Triathlon in Japan last month.
“I am resting my body after that tough race in Kaike and I am recovering well. I have a minor leg injury, but I am undergoing therapy and my legs are getting better every day after getting treatment from Shelley,” Carey said.
The Saipan pro added that when she slowed down from training several weeks ago, she was able to watch the Olympic Games and was inspired by the Olympians' perseverance.
Carey said she will be like the Olympians when she competes in Japan. She will push herself harder, face all challenges, and aim for a best time.
The 34-year-old triathlete's best time in the 1.2-kilometer swim, 25K mountain bike race, and 10K run is 3:00:16, which she posted in 2009 when she first won XTERRA Japan against Australian pro Kylee Lock. In 2010 and 2011, she timed in at 3:03:00 and 3:00:25, respectively.
“I will enjoy the race in Marunuma next weekend and will have my family and Saipan friends in mind when I cross the finish line,” said Carey, who will miss her family's support in Marunuma, as her sister is scheduled to give birth on the race day.
“This race is for the new baby in the family,” said Carey, who thanked Gold's Gym, IT&E, Brabu Pharmacy, and Bike Pro for supporting her races.