70.3 Pays d’Aix
For once I don’t particularly want to write. I’m tired, my fingers are struggling across the keyboard and I don’t know how to make yet another race sound entertaining. So my 70.3 Aix-en-Provence will be summarised with a few photos and drawings.
Coaching myself has its ups and downs; I am still trying and testing and even though I (obviously don’t) know myself well, I am commonly struck with the classic triathlete syndrome of doing too much, too often, too hard.
With no one to tell me to stop being so stupid I managed to dig a bit of a hole for myself in the month following the Cannes triathlon.
70.3 Pays d’Aix loomed, the heaviness in my legs remained. I gave myself a few easy days at the beginning of race week but there was little change. Ho hum. I backed off the training a bit more, packed my bags and ate a few extra squares of chocolate. I reasoned that if I wasn’t fresh for this race I would bounce back further down the line at another one, so what the hell. I stopped worrying, stopped looking for excuses and put my race face on. If nothing else, it was a beautiful day for it.
Lake Peyrolles was beautiful in the morning mist – which considerately cleared just before the start
© Getty Images
Pain face on the bike © Trimax Activ’Images
Aix must have one of the longest T2s on the circuit. You chuck your bike at a volunteer and leg it 500m down the street, looking like a wally in bare feet with your helmet still on, until you finally get to grab your transition bag.
Maria Czesnik was about 50 seconds up the road. Natalie Seymour was for all I knew breathing down my neck. It was get-my-skates-on time.
I expected the fatigue and the pain. I expected my bike riding to be below par. I expected to be dropped on the flats and I suspected the descents would play in my favour. I accepted that the run would be a question of gritting my teeth and putting on foot in front of the other for as long as it took. I never expected to be in with a chance of winning, let alone dream I would actually grab the tape. The toughness of the race was written all over my face at the finish and in a masochistic, twisted way it made everything that much sweeter.
© Trimax Activ’Images
Some athletes celebrate by dancing around #doingalucy or flapping their wings. I did things with my usual (lack of) style, being dragged onto the (preposterously high) podium by second-placed Maria and then almost falling off it moments later when my hamstring decided it didn’t want to join the party.
Some races bring you back to the basics, and reward you for hard work when you think you least deserve it.
I wasn’t the strongest, the freshest, the fittest, the skinniest or even the fastest in any of the three disciplines that day. But somewhere inside I suppose a little voice told me told me that if I just kept believing, and fighting, I could do it.
Spraying champagne over Maria Czesnik and Natalie Seymour. Well done girls!
As a footnote I would like to thank
- Triathl’Aix triathlon club for welcoming me at a number of training sessions over the last few weeks, it was great to get to know you all!
- the organisers for putting on such a well-organised, and most importantly safe race; after my recent experiences with Renault Clios in Southern France it was very much appreciated, and should be an example for others to follow.
- Trimax and Activ’Images for providing great live coverage of the women’s event; it’s not often we get as much “air time” and even if I didn’t necessarily need everyone to see the snot running down my face during the entire race, I know for a fact that all my family and friends watching were impressed (at the pictures, not my snot)