I started my triathlon race from Trocadéro…as I missed my wakeup call at 6AM. Actually I did not really miss it, I was too petrified to get up! I realized the day of the triathlon how much was involved and I would have rather stayed in bed and enjoy a leisury breakfast with croissants and fresh orange juice. Instead I wolfed down a banana and a dreadful sort of energetic muesli.
So, as it stands, I was the last one in the bike park, frantically trying to get my shoes in the right order (so I would not run with my bike shoes and vice versa!) with the judges shouting after me to get the hell out towards the river Seine…nice way to get motivated for a very long swim in the river Seine I’d say…
Anyway, I galloped bare feet with my wet suit, glasses and the white triathlon cap towards the departure, 1.5 k away towards the triathletes. Luckily I found a nice chap to chatter with along the way (funny how chatting about anything does calm my nerves J) and here we were, all gathered around a plastic sort of bridge enabling us to jump in a dark grey river. Loads of athletic looking men, which should have been my dream in a normal environment, but made me really scared at that moment. Where were the ladies??? Mind you I found out afterwards that they were only 135 triathlete ladies out of 2346 competitors at this event.
So here we were jumping in groups (I even wondered if someone one was going to jump on top of me!).The start of the race happened so quickly (I guess the judge wanted to get on time for a nice Sunday lunch) that I did not have time to realize what was happening. Forgot to say that, like most triathlete, swimming is not my best discipline. I endeavoured to learn to swim free style but as I found out, one more time, practicing freestyle with 1500 other swimmers going like crazy, is not the best. So I calmed down, tried to get my head above water, and went for it. It felt like salmons going upstream. People going past, arms, legs everywhere. I was saved by Carol, one of my Expatriés triathlon buddy, who enticed me to start freestyling without panicking. So off we went, bridge after bridge, the Eiffel Tower disappearing and reappearing every single time.
Finally they appeared… the nice metal steps leading out of the metal looking waters…going out make you feel like you are drunk : no leg power left . From the effort of course! The cheer leaders made my day, as well as the automatic showers. I feel like in the Alien movie! Getting out of the inferno, back to the normal world.
Then Galloping again, still bare feet with the wet suit dangling, I reached my Porsche bike (It goes very fast indeed, superb piece of equipment) and tried to figure out how to get rid of the wet suit the fastest way without falling all over. Luckily the judge (must have been the one shouting at me at 7.30 in the morning) gave me a tip: walk on the wet suit with the other foot. So my brain finally agreed to kick in and here I was, jumping in my bike shoes, grabbing the Porsche and running as fast as possible towards the start line.
40 kms on the bike is, in fact the best part of the triathlon. This year I have learned a new trick: drafting (thank youuu so much Bob J). So I found a nice competitor going a bit faster than me and…became his shadow. We ended up going as fast as the wind (well…for me anyway !) and in a group of four bikers. It felt good, especially for me as I was behind most of the time (French men do not like a lady in front…suited me fine in this instance)
Back to bike park for the last transition after 1h17 of flying in my Porsche. Pompom girls cheered me again, it felt good!
Jumped in my running shoes (good job for the triathlon laces, all elastic and no laces to tie, my brain would not cope!) and now the worst feeling to come : the 10K race! My legs feel like they refuse to obey, my calves are so tense it feels like I have no power and I am running on springs!
But that is where the motivation kicks in I guess. I just carry on, God only knows why! After a stop at the bar (glasses of water on a table that is!) I start running the hill towards Trocadero and the same happens again: I saw the sign 6 k and assume that perhaps I have run so fast there is a possibility of having already reached 6k. However I knew that I am not exhausted enough to have reached this distance!
The run is hard but all the contestants stick together, cheering each other and enticing the one that start walking to run again. So I join in and make sure a chap starts running, until I realize that he is on his second round and I have one more round to go! Luckily the runner explains that the second round is easier (oh yeah…and pigs will fly!)
In fact he is absolutely right. I guess after the first half of the run, I coaxed myself in realizing that I have less than half an hour of effort and then I’ll feel like the world champion. However k 8 feels like it’s never going to end, I’ll never make it bladibla…and it’s the finishing line appearing! I always sprint like a crazy lady; I just want it to end.
So that’s it! The very best feeling is giving my foot to the person collecting the electronic chips! Then I stew for a while in my wet sweaty trisuit but also relish every second of this feeling: I have done it again and yes I am a champion! J)It does not last for very long though….but it is worth all the training achieved, the stress I went through (will I achieve a better timing this year? Yes I did. Will I not drink too much water from the Seine River?? No I did not.
Just one question: Why do they call this Paris triathlon short distance….??? Bloody long one if you want my opinion