Fabulousness!! This is my best race to date! Excellent! It was just a really great time. So many smiling faces, worried ones too, exciting folks, great energy from the crowd, lots of support.
I had such a good time. Of course I was freaking out at the time, making sure everything was setup right, getting in the insane line to check in with my bike, parking.. all that business. It was awesome though.
It really started on Saturday when we drove to Annecy to pick up my dossard (bib) and other stuff. It was hot as satan’s balls out that day. I thought I was going to die, and I thought I would quit the race if the next day was going to be that hot. It was a nightmare. We got there and had to park up by the Chateau on a large hill in the old town because we arrived at peak tourist time. I was freaking because I didn’t want to expend too much energy lest I use it all before the race (really, ali? what is wrong with me?).
We made our way to the tents right by the mouth of the lake and got all my stuff sorted. Turns out, I was number 7! Can you believe it! In the US, only Professionals get low numbers, so being #7 was very cool! This will be my one and only shot at having a low number! Suuuper cool! I felt special. They gave us a black Scott sponsored bag with all the numbers and business in it. Then proceeded to get my 25th anniversary “gift”. It was a bike jersey! and in a women’s small! A WOMEN’S SMALL! That means it fits! Not a generic t-shirt that I’ll have to give to J because it’s really for dudes. I was so impressed. Plus, it’s cuuuute and it fiiiiiits! They also gave us a neutral flavored gel which I’ll try at some point…mebe. I asked a Hydro dude (Annecy Tri team name) about parking for the next day…everyone was happy and excited! It was a good atmosphere.
We dilly-dallied around Annecy for a little bit longer, tried to shop for people, but were unsuccessful. I did end up with a cute summer dress…pour moi. You know how it goes. I can never find anything for myself, but when I look for others, BOOM I buy everything for me. Such is life.
Finally made it home with a little time to spare, made it to the pool for a quick 500m loosen up workout in the murkiest water I’ve ever seen in a pool (eeeeewww) around 7PM then home to cook dinner. I did my hair and all that for the next day…yes! DRESS FOR SUCCESS! :p
Since this puppy started at 12PM, we didn’t have to wake up at some totally incredible time of the morning, so we work at 7 (normal) and moved along at normal pace. Very nice, by the way. I thought it would be terrible to race at noon, but since it was overcast, it was super duper. I think I may have performed better because it wasn’t ass o’clock in the morning!
Anyway we got there and it was slightly drizzling, overcast and not warm. I changed in the car, put some tights and a long sleeve jersey on and headed out. Before getting on the line to go into transition I hit the bathroom across the street in the library/tourist building — beautifulllll! It was so pristine, clean and with toilet paper. I was a happy camper! Ran back out and put all my numbered stickers and whatnot onto my bike and helmet.
I got tagged on the left arm and left leg with a big number 7 and ran to find my little chair! They had chairs set up for everyone along with bike racks to stand them up. It is nice, you get an assigned spot and if you rack elsewhere, I’m sure you’ll get a penalty. In the US, as I remember it, it’s a fight for a spot in transition. It was nice to not have to fight this early, because of course later in the swim, people will be punching others.
Got everything situated, then J called me over to tell me the ladies next to me were speaking English(!!), with American accents (!!!!). JACKPOT. I ran over and said hi and introduced myself and we all started chatting. It was nice and took my mind off the race. One woman, Lara, was very nice and we ended up chatting a bunch before and a little during the race.
Stretching and trying to work my nerves out! (By Justin)
So finally it was time to go, after much bouncing around and a quick 5 minute jog around and out of transition, and a bitch of a time getting back into transition. Wetsuits on and barefoot, all ~1300 of us walked and waded into the water for the start. PS. the start was like 1/2 a mile away, no joke. It was dumb and a far walk!
Everyone heading to the start line for the swim!
The Swim – 1500m (1 mile) – 00:34:49 (roughly 2:19/100m):
Lara and I ended up with 3 minutes to spare before the “gun” went off (it was some guy screaming, because I didn’t really notice a sound…I just saw people swimming so I figured I’d start too). There were 4 waves, 1 women, 10 minutes later 1 wave of men, and 5 minutes after that another men’s wave. Then 5 minutes after THAT the relay wave, so not really any dudes to be jackasses.
I placed myself in the back on the inner outside, which was perfect I think. I didn’t really get run over, I got a lot of hands on my feet and I tickled some feet myself. In fact, I was trying really hard to stay on some feet because I didn’t want to swim alone and make all the effort myself. So I found some lady with a bandage on her left foot and stuck with her for ~300 m. Then we turned the buoy and she was gone! I went on my own for a while until I caught some other feet and hung out. Then I was getting tired and a little sea sick (yup, totally can happen – slight chop will do it). I was maybe halfway done at this point. I started hearing a sound I hadn’t heard ever, a deep rumbling under the water. I breathed on my other side to see, and I saw a bunch of pink caps, the first wave of dudes. They were here already. Boohhhh! It’s fine, I ignored them since I was on the outside and they weren’t coming for me.
I lost those other feet, then found this lady breast stroking like a beast. I swear, she could breast stroke circles around me. I couldn’t keep up with my own breast stroke, so I hung out behind her and did my freestyle. It worked perfectly. I followed her all the way under the bridge and into the canal. This was a sight to see and was quite amazing for the swimmers I think! The bridge and canal were lined with loads of people shouting and clapping and taking photos. It was so energizing.
Swimmers heading to the canal under the Pont Des Amours.
Swimmers heading under the bridge and through the canal
I tried to pass the lady I was following at one point, but I could see she was having it. Finally, we made it to the stairs, and we all got pulled out and up because the stairs were very….slimy…yeah, that’s the word, just crazy slimy with algae. And the canal “floor” wasn’t solid, it felt like a net, when I put my feet down. It was the weirdest feeling. Honestly, the whole swim portion of triathlon is the weirdest experience. There is nothing like it. Duking it out physically with other people to get ahead, and sometimes it’s life or death. A little scary when someone kicks you in the stomach and you get a punch in the head. It’s incredibly disorienting and nerve wracking and nutty. I also always think to myself at this point “why am i doing this!!” but after and before I am always giddy. However, I think I had a good race this time, because I started to think this “Oh god, why oh why” type thing, then immediately shut it out and said “Just do it! Come on!” and moved it and focused. It felt good and I felt my mind was clear.
T1: A million minutes – or – 00:05:00 minutes.
I walked into T1 because the grass was all slippery, got my wetsuit off fast, put socks and shows on. Shoved my gloves on my hands and got the helmet on. Thought about a gel, thought about not a gel, thought about a gel…seriously, this is ridiculous. I had a plan going into this race that I would take a gel ON the bike at the beginning just out of town. Somehow I talk myself into changing plans and get all crazed. Finally, I had a gel, but didn’t finish it. What the hell was I doing? Then I finally ran off. The transition area was very long, so I chalk up 3 minutes to actual bike readiness (and gel thoughtfulness) and 2 minutes to running around with my cleated bike shoes and bike on very wet grass dodging dudes. boooo.
Bike – 40km (26.7 miles) – 02:17:00 (~12 mph):
This is basically an average of my max speeds of 34mph and my min speeds going up hill at 4 mph. Yah, no kidding.
The bike started off pretty cool, except for the time when I took my half empty gel out to eat and it went flying. Booo. Then it was cool, I was averaging ~20mph going out, way very nice. Got passed by some dudes, the usual. Then after 10 minutes, we hit Sevrier and turn right for the ascent, BOSSE #1! I shifted down to my lowest gear and cruised. I knew I didn’t want to ruin my legs for the rest of the ride because the other hills were way more bitchy. Anyway, dudes passed me in giant clumps every couple of minutes.
Amazing how many people were in this race. Even more amazing were how many females were in this race. Out of 1300 people, 115 were women. Absurd, really. But I know why. Because men suck to race with, they are assholes, most of them anyway. As I was cruising up the mountain some guy passed me and said in a condescending tone “Beaucoup Drole!! Beaucoup!” and got out of his saddle and biked away. I only knew he wasn’t saying I am the most awesome because of his tone and douchey aura. It happened fast that I didn’t get a chance to say anything and all I did was smile, because I was so happy to be in this race. I kept thinking he was telling me I was a big joke. Well I was sorta right, his non-sentence translates to me being “Very funny! Very!”. Which really gets me mad. I’m not mad because he thinks I’m funny for going so slow, I’m mad that I didn’t understand and didn’t say fuck off or something back. My favorite retort that I’ve come up with since is, “What’s funny? The fact that I kicked your ass in the swim? Yea, that IS funny!” And If I had remember his bib number I would totally have written him some mail saying what an asshole he was and this is why women don’t want to “play with the boys”, because the boys are fuckheads and do shitty things like this, and pull my leg during the swim so they can beat a woman. Feel manly now, asshole? Do you?
Anyway, I shook it off and really didn’t let it bother me because who was he? Some lame ass guy, who thinks he’s awesome, but obviously has a small penis and needs to make up for it by being a schmuck. Problems. That one. I was seriously smiling the whole time except going up the really bitchy hills because I was really really excited and happy to be doing the race. That was what I was training for. Since Yvette came last year (2011) and we took her to Annecy and accidentally stumbled upon people finishing the race, I’ve been obsessed with doing it. So J and I trained and trained and I was doing it (the reason I got number 7 is because of how damn fast I signed up, I believe)! So I smiled.
The other people were super duper! They were all saying “courage! (be brave!)” as they passed me and the women would say “allez le fille! (Go girls!)”. It was very supportive event, even though they were passing me. It was cool. Finally got to the top, continued to pass the area of the insanely cute sheep, which, much to my chagrin, were nowhere to be found :(. Verrrry sad moment. I was really looking forward to them. Then fiiiinally hit the top and flew down the descent. I took a gel and soared. Then the second bosse. Friggin hell. This one is a demon. This is like straight into the sky. Disgusting! At the bottom this guy tells me what some referees had said, saying it’s 3km to the top. I reply (in English) “Yes, I know. This one is hell”, he says “uh yes, 3km”. I say “Yeah I know and it sucks.” He rides away with a “goodluck” and I say the same. He looked at me a little crazy. I was feeling crazy. After seriously the lowest speeds I’ve ever seen in the history of me riding a bicycle of 4 mph, I hit the top close to looking like these guys from the Triplets of Bellville,
but with less bucktooth-ness going on. (I liked that movie!) I actually was very low on my bike because I was soooo tired at this point.
Then sailed down again! I know it hit 35mph at some point, can’t remember but it was faasst and I was getting cold. My toes were cold and wet from wet socks too. lovely. Made it through this town of St. Jorioz and up for the final ascent, Bosse trois. Beastly. I tried chatting with this girl, but she spoke French and I couldn’t remember the words, so I smiled and went on. Made it to the top and almost crashed into a stopped car (waiting to drive but stopped for other bikers), then FINALLY, FINALLY could relax while I sailed down the final hill. Took a gel, and made it into town with severe overcast weather and threats to rain and back to transition in one piece, without any breaks! I am very proud of this. 😀
T2: 00:01:36 BABY.. aaaalllriiiighttt.
Took the bike business off, changed socks, sneakers on, waterbottle in hand (no change of mind here!) and off off off!
Run – 10k (6miles) – 01:09:11 (~11:30 minutes/mile pace):
This wasn’t too bad! My legs felt great not heavy or anything at all! My heart rate was around where I expected it, around 170, which is normal for this type of effort. The run was a double loop of 5km each where it’s out and back type thing, and on the second loop you get a necklace to notify the referees and such that you are almost done. The 2 things I was thinking was at this point were, “oh dear..I have run 6 miles now…interesting!” and “where the hell is the turn around for this shit!”. Seriously. I had no idea that we were going to run to the end of Annecy and back, 2 times! Every time I thought we came upon the water station which was exactly at 2.5km from transition, I was tricked…it was still a bit further, and further. Well I guess I was so excited to get there that I ended up doing like under 10 minute miles for the first 2 miles, which is super fast for me! I am sooo pleased! But then I started to slow down, which was fine with me. I noted my heart rate was slowing and I felt okay. I made it to the 5k point got my necklace and headed back out. It’s at this point that I started to want to cry/die/scream. And in fact as I exhaled I made some of those tennis grunts, but more like yells than grunts. I talked myself into taking a walk break at 7.5k point (the water station again!), and so I made it there and took a 2 or 3 minute break. The kids and adults at the station were cheering for me, but I waved them off because I was okay, I had a plan this time. I took a gel because I was really feeling cruddy now and moved it back into running. I’ll say that as soon as I stopped running to walk, my legs got all seized up and hurty. It was very weird and interesting. I’ll have to look out for this in the future. I felt like if I bent over my hamstrings would just snap off.
So I kept running until like 1 mile to go. Took a 1 minute walk break again and then ran again straight for the end.
This is when I saw Justin and I turned for the finish. I saw it and no one was around so I steadied and just kept on going. No sprinting…what for? I felt good now and was so happy to have accomplished this and be done.
I was catching my breath and ready to stuff some food down my throat. NO MORE LIQUID CALORIES! Jeeeze.
Justin asks “How do you feel? Are you tired??” This is my facial response. “UHH YEAAhh”
I was really close to tears (of JOY!) when I came in because I didn’t think I trained enough for this and could do it. Well I only took a few minutes break the entire 4 hours of this thing! I am sooo happy!! YEY.
After some coca-cola (wtf!) as my after workout calorie fix, I sat and needed a break.
Taking a rest after the race on my special #7 chair. (By Justin)
Man, that felt good.
So in total 04:08:26. 4 hours of racetime exercise. Good gawd. That is heavy duty. I think if I work my bike, I can shave out at least 30 minutes. But honestly, I’m not going to be too critical, I did my best and I’m so happy to have done it and am proud for my performance!
And I’d like to say thank you to Justin for supporting me in everything I do. I know I couldn’t have done all this without you. You are my special couta! I love you. 😀 Can’t wait to go back home and be normal again!!!