Laura’s 1st M distance triathlon in Saint Jean de Luz


Saint Jean de Luz M Distance – 10 September 2016

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by Laura Whitworth

It all began this time last year when I decided to sign up to my first Olympic distance triathlon. SLJ was the first race that came into my mind. I grew up in Espelette, only 30 km from SLJ, so it was on my bucket list. It’s also a race my parents did a few years ago, they adored it so I thought it was time for me follow in their footsteps. Or at least try, as they are the real pros 🙂

The Olympic distance was on Saturday at 3:30 pm, the late start allowed use to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in our airbnb overlooking SLJ bay. Good views & good weather, a great way to start the day.

Four Expatriates participated in the M race: Raja, Mathieu, Anaïs and myself. It was also Anaïs’s first M (she did amazingly well, well done Anaïs!). After setting up in transition in 2 different areas, we headed to the beach for the start. The course was pretty easy: swim 2 laps in the bay. I loved the swim; there were only 35 women and we set off 5 minutes before the men. img-20160910-wa0006

We also had a great support team cheering us on with: Louise, Hugo, Kathryn and Jérôme.

After finishing the swim, I had the normal battle with my wetsuit. Then I was on my bike cycling in-land in the Basque countryside.  It’s a road I know well and many happy memories kept me motivated. The course was an out & back and was quite flat. No drafting allowed. I drank one bottle of water, but forgot to eat during the whole race … a mistake I paid for later.

I started the run feeling strong, but very soon had a major lack of energy. At the time I didn’t understand why; the views along the coast kept me going … on the run I normally overtake people who overtook me on the bike. But not this time; I learnt a valuable lesson, eating is important and that food is energy!

I was happy to see the finish and happy to see Hugo joining me to cross the line.
My time was 2:46, I had a great time but there is definitely room for improvement.

It is a fun, friendly and affordable race with amazing views. I highly recommend it and will do it again next year!

In all, I had a fantastic weekend with the Expatriates, the weekend also involved BBQs, sunbathing, hiking, Renault bar, sardines & cider and a lot of Gâteau basque! Thank you for all joining me.