Sunday 26 August 2018 – Olympic Distance Triathlon
45 km bike
10 km run
Another weekend, another 5.30 a.m. alarm, another skirmish with wetsuit awaits. It’s pitch black outside. I’m beginning to wonder if they’re going to floodlight the turn buoys. Never mind. By the time I get to the castle dawn has well and truly broken and my only quibble is that it could be a damn sight warmer, seeing as I’m in France and it’s August. Ah well, could be worse. Here I am in the most stunningly beautiful venue in the grounds of a majestic castle with acres and acres and acres of glorious gardens and countryside. How incredibly lucky I am to be able to be here, to do this.
I’m relaxed as I have zero expectations. Six weeks on the sofa is not a recommended training plan. I’d meant to train. Honest. But once I finished my 70.3 my body and brain, mojo ‘n’ all simply got up and left. And you know what? Zero expectations is a fabulous place to be.
My swim start is at 7.30. I saunter down to the line and stop halfway to … erm … take my wetsuit off and attempt to put it on the right way around!! Like I said – zero expectations. Just as well. I took it as a sign of good luck.
Well, nobody was going to drown. The brief included instructions such as ‘if you get into trouble and get fed up lying on your back with a hand in the air signalling the marshals, just stand up.’ Yeah, it was that shallow. Not that you could see the bottom, – or your hand, or anything else for that matter. This was a swim that was blissfully current-free, but if you were prone to letting your imagination run away with you this was probably not the most relaxing swim for you. I’ve not done that much gardening in years – an hour of weeding 😊 From surface to floor it was weeds – and not weeds that you could see … some were frondy, some were flat and weird and it was quite entertaining. Some were large and moved past very quickly. Oh. Wait. No, that was a fish – nothing under 18 inches in length! Aaaaaand … stand up if you dared! Who knows what was lurking in that squidgy mushy sinky slushy mud below haha
TRANSITION OR THE RUN?
Apparently the French like to do half the run again BEFORE the bike! Out of the laKEW, across the path, around the pond, up the steps, around to the far side of the bike racks ….. hilarious. Still, plenty of time to untangle the weeds from under arms, caught in watches, goggles, wrapped around ankles …
No wonder T1 took me so long! I also struggled with freezing hands so it took me forever to try and get socks and shoes on, clip helmet … all requiring functioning fingers.
Not a lot to say about the bike. It took me a long long time to get going. I felt like I was pedalling through glue. However, I hadn’t been on a bike in 6 weeks so can’t complain. The course itself was great. Enjoyable when you had no expectations. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone wanting a fast race. Although there were no hills to speak of (nicely undulating), the first half of the course was very stoppy-starty with so many 90 degree turns in and around villages and no real opportunity to settle down. It didn’t help that there were also stretches of bone-shattering cobblestones, over which I lost my water bottle and the lack of water after the swim affected me quite a bit. Second half of the course was amazing and a combination of salt tablets and a newly acquired bottle meant I could look up and enjoy it. Shame is wasn’t terribly friendly. Being used to multiple shouts of encouragement by athletes passing me/lapping me … of which there are ALWAYS many (and today even more than usual), it was disappointing that not one athlete had a word of encouragement, even though I did my best to cheer on as many as I could.
T2 and THE RUN
The run was the best and the worst. I was happy with my transition considering I didn’t have triathlon races in my trail shoes so had to tie knots. I also realised very VERY quickly that this was where the lack of training had caught up. I started slow slow slow and it didn’t take long to realise that no other gear was available. However, the run was GORGEOUS! How lovely to have a trail run instead of road – and through and around these stunning castle grounds. Fabulous! And even though any self-respecting tortoise could have lapped me I won my own little battles. After the first 5k I was more and more tempted to do a bit of run-walking, but to be honest I could NOT come up with a good enough excuse the whole bloody way around. All I could think was tired legs, jelly legs, general fatigue – were simple not acceptable excuses to start walking, so I ran (using the term loosely) the full 10k and ended on a high if only because of that. It’s the little things, innit?
p.s. My sole injury: sore heel. I thought it was the result of running on gravelly ground in trail shoes, since I hadn’t run for a while, but no …. I’ll admit – just for your amusement: it was the result of running on two panadol which I’d snuck into my shoe in case of emergency after the bike. (Feel free to roll your eyes) 🙂
My laughable results: