Friday, August 22, 2008

olympic repechage

If there is anyone on this planet who hasnt been watching the Olympics, I'll clue them to what the repechage is. Basically it is what happens when you dont make the finals of your sport in the heats. Some sports get another round to advance to the finals, via a "loser's bracket." There is no repechage for swimming, but there is for rowing. Obviously there are no heats/finals in triathlon, but if there was a repechage in this 2008 Olympic year, it would undoubtedly be called The London Triathlon.

The London Triathlon is the largest triathlon in the world with around 12,000 people participating. crazy. While all of these weren't pro men, 70 of them were. And of said 70, we had multiple world champions (triathlon and duathlon), previous olympians, german national champions, the entire population of french professionals who didnt make their olympic team, cheeky brits, and basically everyone in the world who was a good triathlete. Since it was the same weekend as the opening ceremonies, no current Olympians were there. But apparently everyone else thought the same thing: "maybe i'll go to London this year because it is during the Olympics and the field wont be too strong." It was quite comical standing on the pontoon and listening to everyone talk about how ridiculously stacked this "easy" race had become. oh well, game on!

After 200m long false start in the water, courtesy of Benji Sansome (french, of course), the race actually started and we were off. The swim was mayhem, but I came out in the group. The transition was inside a convention hall (I started to have flashbacks to my various Boston Triathlon disasters). The bike was sketchy, turny, and windy. I got to the run, and had a little struggle. I finished 24th. Not really what I wanted, but I am keep grinding it out. The training will pay off soon!!

I have decided not to race again for 3 whole weeks! Why thats enough time to take a break, do some base training, and then get into the speedwork. All joking aside, I hurt my foot before/during/after London. I actually have been having foot problems for a while, but after London they got bad. I decided to take some time off to let them heal. Actually judging by the fact I could barely walk, I was forced to take some time off. After a week of R&R, well actually swimming loads and biking, my feet seem good enough to run on. I am in the midst of a large training block leading in to my next few races...I only have 4 more weeks here in France and then it is back to US of A. Then to China. Then US of A. Ahhhhh the travelling never stops. I have slept in so many different and strange beds this year. I have definately set a personal record. Since there is no races for a while and the GF just left France, I will send updates on training and whatever else is new to my life. until then enjoy the pics of me suffering in Londres

i look quasi-fast in this pic...

....and not so fast here
to be a tourist, if only for 3 hours



Wednesday, August 06, 2008

i'll take it!

A win is a win. Well, in this case it was my first win of the season, but not in an actual triathlon. It was a "multisport" event. Technically it was an "aquathon" or "aquathlon." I dont really know the appropriate nomenclature. Anyhow, this race consisted of three stages: 200m swim/2k run, then 200m swim/4k run, and finally 400m swim/4k run. There was about 10min break in between each one so not too much rest. The one with thes fastest combined time from all three was the winner. It was only about a 800 total swim and 10k total run so it was a little more run focused....

I had decided a long time ago I was not going to do the race. Even though it was about an hour away I am getting a little tired of racing and just wanted to stay at home and train. Well the pool situation has been dismal at best in St Jean recently, and when I woke up Sunday morning to find that once again the pompiers (firemen) were again not swimming (which means I have no access to the pool. The ocean had huge swells so open water for the umpteenth time in the week was a no go. Allright I guess I have to drive down to the aquathlon and race to get in a good swim workout. My track workout for the day was turned into 10k of "aquathlon" race pace whatever that is.

As I arrvied I had two goals. One, to get a god solid swim warm up and cool down and a good workout on the swim portions of the race. Second I wanted to feel strong on the run portion. I had done a 1:45 progressive tempo long run the day before so my legs were quite smashed. I also figured that since the race was in the middle of nowhere and we were racing for peanuts that no one would show up. I though I would be out racing the dudes on my team and some other older Frenchies. Not the case....several D1 and D2 Frenchies decided that this would be fun to race. I had my work cut out for me. The race went from: "I am not doing it" to "I will just use it as a workout" to "I am going to have to get my butt in gear and race" To make matters worse there was an article in Ouest-France mag about how fast I swim and how I was the favorite for the race. How did they know I was even racing? I didnt even know I was racing until 3 hours before the race. Now I really have to do well!

If you have ever raced in Europe, especially France, you know how sketchy the courses can be. When the are designed it seems as if they try to hurt the athletes. How do you make an aquathlon sketchy? Since there is no bike, you have to be creative. Instead of starting people in or near the water, put them 100m or so away from the water under the giant finish banner. Next make the course short (way less than 200m) and put the turn buoy at like 50m away. And just for kicks, make eveyone run barefoot on jagged concrete (of course no carpet) and halfway through the run to the water insert a 90 degree left hand turn straight into a 10% downhill boat ramp (read pothotes and jagged concrete everywhere). Throw in testosterone, a narrow road, frenchies who couldn't break 2:00/100m in a pool but for some reason want to be first into the water, and huge boulders on either side if you "crash" and you have a race.

As far as the race itself. It was good. I was a little cautious on the first etape (I was not interested in doing the slip-n-slide on the boat ramp) which resulted in me exiting in 15th place after the quick shower/swim. I must have had the fastest run split, cause I was like last out of transition and the leaders were in a different time-zone. I put my head down and ran into 4th about 5 seconds behind the winner of the first race. Not too bad for me for the first one. My parents opted not to give me a SINGLE fast-twitch fiber from their gene pool. Le deuxieme etape went much better. I was second out of the water, took over the lead in transition and rocked the run to win the stage! Woo-hoo. The last race was even better. I led out of the water and led the whole run to take the third stage and 2008 Jard-Sur-Mer Aquathlon Victory (read: extreme sarcasm. This race is really not that important). I felt awesome on the runs and was really happy with how my legs responded being so tired. It was a real confindence booster to run well super tired, even if the race was not so important.

Now it is time to finish off the prep for London. London is a big race for me and hopefully I can rock it. It is high time for me to step up in some big races.....until next time!

warming up in the wetty
leading out of the water of round 3the race to my shoes