I’m not completely sure how to begin besides just flat out saying: I am disappointed.
But let me qualify it first by saying that I had a lot of fun also! The atmosphere *was* a lot more competitive than I had hoped considering it was the shortest race known to mankind, but it could have been because I can’t speak the language well. I went into this thinking it was a training setup, not really a race, because it’s such a short one, and I haven’t done a race since 2009! However, I always get race anxiety and say to myself the night before, who knows what is going to happen? Maybe I’ll do really well, so well in such a short race, that I might even place! I mean come on, it’s a tiny little race, and probably beginners will be there, not anyone crazy serious. Oh how wrong I was. Listen, I didn’t delude myself into thinking I could be champion of the race here, but I was hoping to do better than I did. But as J and I unloaded, and got the race packet and all that jazz, I deflated…a lot. My apparently enormous head (for why?!how did that happen??) popped quickly when I saw those svelte French ladies and dudes with their aero-bars and other ridiculous triathlon paraphernalia. The guys with their bulgy muscles and all too tan faces looking cocky, and the ladies with their nicely fitting shorts and also very tanned-selves. I wanted to prove something I guess, to myself, that I have done this before, this is not something new for me and I would do okay! This is how it was on the inside, on the outside, I was all nerves, asking all kinds of questions in poorly annunciated French to the referees (yup, in stripes) or fellow ladies. I was all jittery, frazzled. Then I saw people jogging for warm ups, and I’m thinking…really? This is like going to take an hour…or less, so why are you wasting energy? Maybe they do it differently. I don’t know. I felt nervous and crappy, so crazy things were going through my head.
J came back from dropping my after-race stuff at the car, then we went over to the pond to feel the water and warm up a bit. I walked in and at first it was nice and warm! Then I walked in until the water was up to my calves and dear god was it cold! I said to myself Okay, let’s do this then… So I dove right in and swam a bit, practicing my good form and my bilateral breathing that I am now comfortable with (cool!). I came up to take a breath and thought This shit is ICE! as you can see from the photo below.
Yeah!! Also please note the amazing head gear I have on. It is truly something special…and is from the 1960s. Why aren’t I wearing a ton of make up to go with it? This hat will come to haunt me in about 20 minutes…
So after that fun time, we lingered around until finally it was time to get to the start line! In this race, the women got to start 7 minnutes ahead of the guys, in something they call “Retrappe Moi Se Tu Peux!!” or “Catch me if you can!”. So all 30 of us ladies lines up at the start of the water. I chatted (yea,, weird huh?) with some ladies prior. Everyone but me and ~5 other gals had wet suits on, which was interesting. It’s such a short swim that I figure taking the thing off would be longer than anything else, but maybe my body wouldn’t have frozen if I had one on! Some lady asked me what type of swim she should do. I’m like, um whatever you want? She said well what are you doing? I respond with the freestyle and if I get tired some breaststroke. Then I threw in, you could back stoke if you want also, seriously it’s up to you. But freestyle is fastest. She nods. (BTW the entire thing was mimed. because I don’t know any words in French about swimming except for: Nager (pronounced: Nah-jhey) = to Swim, Froid (pronounced: frowhad) = cold, and Allez!(pronounced: allay) = GO!). What a weird thing I’ve gotten myself into.
That dude is yelling us where to swim, because they didn’t tell us prior…GENIUS. Damn France!! Get your shit together.
After a few moments of last minute freak out, and wave to my lovey, we finally started!
I think this is a beautiful image captured by Justin of the mayhem that occurs during the beginning of an open water swim. Everyone’s kick and punching, and trying to fight the water, run on rocks, and just swim. It’s a whole different experience than anything else in the world. Then, when your face hits the water, that’s the best part. Well the best part of getting kicked constantly in your right oblique by the lady who racked her bike right next to you, and then her saying “pardon!” very sincerely. I scream “Allez! C’est bon!!”. Which is really what I said the entire race to anyone who passed me, which was 120 people. She stayed with me for a good portion of the swim actually.
Anyway, that shit WAS cold, I was huffing like a maniac, feeling spent after only a a few minutes. I notice I’m breathing on one side, and not being efficient AT ALL, wasting energy left and right. So I slow down, get into gear, start rolling correctly and do the both side breathing. I felt better, but I took a lot of breast stroke breaks. I turn the last bouy, and see a pack ahead and pack behind me. I made a break for it, leaving my fellow side-kick-er (SEE WHAT I DID THERE??) and then zigzagged a bunch then finally came in the chute, alone. I ran up the chute only to hear everyone scream “Chapeau!!” or “Bonnet!” and I saw Justin screaming “hat!!”. I am all in a tizzy thinking whaaat?! Finally I understand I am to take my swim cap off. I tear it off, along with my own swim cap and my goggles and hurl it at the ground (Master Shake style..I swear it would have exploded if I had the touch). They say, “noo! Ouii!!” I saw “Quoi??” Then I turn to start running to my bike, slip (because I am soaked!) fall on my side, while everyone watches, they saw and said “ohhhh!!” and I’m like “ughh,” get up and run away. It was so….French.
I run to my bike totally wasted of energy, which I am so unhappy about. Got my bike business together, got my bike and ran.
I mounted and bike away. I made sure to say thank you to as many of the referee and volunteers as possible. They are important and I appreciate what they have done for me and everyone else participating. The first 10 min of the bike feel like shit, as I’m trying to cool down from the swim. People are passing me incredibly fast, I hooo and haaa at the ladies for being badass, and almost get tossed into the grass a few times from fast dudes. Not cool. Finally hit the turn around, they say “Allez!”, I say, “okay”, then they ask me if I’m english (whaaaa?), I say “Yes. Thank you, Bye”. Ride back up the giant hill I just came down (at a fantastic speed of 30 mph), then make it back to transition with a time of ~27 minutes (huh..how’d I manage that?). I dismounted, booped my split button on my watch with my face (aww yeah, I wish I had a photo of that!) and ran to put my bike back.
T2 was much better. I’d say I kicked it’s ass. I take my bike shoes off, slip my running sneakers on and go to run, stop short in a kind of football player stance, legs wide, make sure I didn’t forget anything the French wouldn’t forget, turn my bib around to my front and take off! 54 secs. BOOOM.
I’m running, it’s kinda hurty, my HR is at 175, not so good. I slow down, then there is a little kid (15? he’s racing me?!) that is bent over. I ask if he’s okay, he says yea. I say no probs. Then a dude stops running, pulls over next to a trash can (on his left, not his right…so I can see everything he is doing), pulls his right short leg up and starts peeing. I swear! I am thinking Are you kidding? No blockage? No? So I yell “Suuuuuper Bon!!”, which translates to super good. He chuckles and/or looks annoyed, says stuff I can’t hear nor understand and runs off. I tell it like it is. Get over it.
Next, is a hairpin turn up a hill, not a giant one, but annoying enough for me to want to hurl, so I took a 20 sec walk break at the top, then continued on my jolly way. Said hello to some volunteers, made my way through some forest bit, fixed my shoelace, more forest bit, then….then it happened. My right toe caught a tree root, and I went flying forward onto the ground, scraping my legs and knees and letting out a giant bellow, “Auuugghhh” style. Awful. I never fall! I am not THAT clumsy! Aaaacccck! Whatever I got up and kept going. Then I hit some plush grass for a bit, decided I was tired and walked for a bit. Saw Justin yelling me for, I was so sad at this point, or maybe I’m just so said now looking back at that point. I don’t know. I picked it up after 10 sec walk rest and he got a nice photo.
I look happy, and I was. I’m just bummed out now, after the matter.
Finally, I turned down the chute to come to the end. Some ladies screamed “Couraage!! Alleeeez!”, except they were smoking cigarettes so I couldn’t allez! There was a dude behind me by like 30 sec, who could have easily ran faster and beat me and I was looking for him to make a move so I could “race” at this point because I wanted to try it out (I don’t know, it was like I was on drugs at this point, ok! Don’t judge!). He did not, so I kicked it into high gear for myself and crossed the line in 62 minutes. I apparently expected 70, so that’s awesome!
I smiled during the entire race, I promise I did, except for a few times when I grunted and things really hurt. But look at the smile above! I’m so pleased I came in 8 minutes earlier than expected! How cool!!??
The run down in times:
Swim: 11:44 minutes. boo!!! What happened here!
T1+Bike+T2 (Ala France): 30:18 – why would you put T1 and T2 with the bike?! Also. cool!
I know I did T1 in ~2 min and T2 in less than 1 min. It was better than the other races I’ve done. No doodling!
Run: 20:26 – holy balls! I did 10:30 minute miles! That is 2 minutes faster than usual per mile! Where did that come from?!
This race was a serious lesson learned for me. I need mental toughness, better bike training and less anxiety. I also see that I’ve improved on my running, which is fantastic! J and I are so pleased to see our running training paying off, in a big way! I know I need more confidence, from within not from anyone else. I just have to get out there and do it. Unfortunately for J and I, double work out days (morning AND evening) are a must for the next 6 weeks, if I plan on finishing the Annecy triathlon in July. Oh and also climbing the Col de la Faucile, at least once…