Marseille 5150 – Week #4.1

Hey there!

Already 2 weeks since I crossed the finish line of the Marseille 5150 race. No choice. I gotta to share it all with you.

Days before the race

As I told you in the previous post, I fasted for 72 hours during this last week (until Tuesday night). Then, I reloaded, drinking 1.5l of maltodextrine per day (thursday, friday and saturday). On the side, I started eating regularly on Thursday morning. As my Coach said “From Thursday morning on, it’s Carnaval!” 😉

I am telling you right away. I will fast again. It wear truly a unique experience. First because to feel such pain allows you to better deal with race-pain. Then also because ever since that fast…I no longer have cramps in my feet when I swim!! 🙂

In terms of training, here is what this pre-race week looked like:


3.4 – Marseille 5150 2:48 – 9.5k 9:18 – 220k 2:38 – 23.5k 14:44 – 253k
3.3 – Training Camp 3:21 – 9k 26:43 – 655k 3:10 – 33.1k 33:14 – 697.1k
3.2 – Training Camp 4:52 – 11.8k 14:19 – 343.1k 3:15 – 30.7k 22:26 – 385.6k
3.1  5:19 – 13.3k 8:00 – 182.8k 1:55 – 19.5k 15:14 – 215.6k

I get to the race site on Saturday. The transition area is open 24h in advance. I drop my bike and some other space ships are already in racked up. A few days ago, my Coach asked the “bike guy” to set up some aero bars to my bike. I only had the chance to try them once and realized my level is to be able to keep my balance!

That’s why after looking at my bike for 10 minutes, I decide to remove the bars. I won’t use them and I’m not gonna carry 600 extra grams of stuff. I also decide to remove my 2nd bottle-cage. One bottle is enough to ride 40k. I also remove the black thing where I usually clip my hand-pump. In such short race, either I finish full-speed or I come back home walking.

Mentally speaking, those last 3 days feel like the last 3 days before the London race, last May. That is to say : I am stressed 😦 It’s really something I need to improve in the future. It’s not that bad and I don’t even know if it makes me lose some seconds on race day but still, it simply prevents me from being my happy self for 3 days. Kinda bad, right?

The D-Day

Start at 7:10 but I am one of the first to be in the transition area, at 5:10am. Yes it’s early but just like in London, I am convinced it’s the right timing.

Once again, I don’t have any clear goals for this race. Yes, I do have some numbers in my head. I dreamt I was making a podium. My Coach told me “from now on, when we race, it’s to win”. A friend teased me because I act like I just want to finish in the top 25% but he says I am going to win my age category. Greta, my training partner, finished the 2013 edition of that race in 2h28. So yes, I do have numbers in my head but what I really want is to negotiate some key moments with greatness.

At the start of the swim, I want to be on the very first line. I refuse to be late and lose minutes, overtaking slower swimmers.

During T1, I refuse to be kind with my wetsuit and lose 3 minutes removing it!

During the bike, I noticed in which straight line, I will clip off my shoes (it’s my first race with automatic pedals).

Last but not least, during the run, I want to be able to go beyond the pain I will feel. I was watching the finish of the Hamburg race of July between Alistair Brownlee and Vincent Luis. They’re side by side but Brownlee wins it even though Luis is renowned to be a better finisher. What stroke me during that finish is the look on their face. On Luis’ face, you can read “Damn, I’m all out, I did my best, I’m all out”. He has the face of someone who’s doing a violent effort…but that’s it. He’s almost good-looking! But on Brownlee’s face, you can read “God damn it, I’m all out, I am going to die but no I can go faster, there’s no pain…Aaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!!!!”. Brownlee doesn’t look good during the last kilometre of a race.

This is what I want to feel at the end of the run. Go beyond my fatigue et have my face tortured with pain.



Water exit

At the start, I am indeed on the first line. The sea is calm. At the gun, I sprint to the water. I take hits left and right but nothing too impressing except the wave we’ve triggered. The first half goes well but on the way back, the sun rays are in my face and I can’t seem to see where I am going. Here, I make the mistake of keeping my pace and going towards what seems to be the right direction. It’s only once I am alone that I realize I may have swam for 50 or 100 meters in the wrong direction. Next time, I will keep my cool, slow down, even stop swimming for 10 seconds and really look at where I am going.

That’s it, I see the blue arch so I start kicking. I finish the swim in 28’30.

I run to the transition area and just like a pro, take off my wetsuit in 10 secondes 🙂 Good job.


Ready to dismount the Arcadia

In Provence, there is no such thing as a flat road. Therefore the course is a mix of uphills, downhills and the Gineste peak: a 4,8km road with an average climb of 4,7%.

I have one bottle with me (coconut water + agave syrup today) and 2 cereal bars, taped on my frame.

If you looked at me riding, you would probably frustrated because my natural technic seems to be the following: overtake riders during the climb…then let other riders catch me back and overtake me during downhill sections!! 😦 (no need to look further to know what I need to work on next: curves and aerodynamic.

Last straight line and once again, the transition is perfect. I clip off my shoes, get off my bike at 20km/h and overtake 3 other riders on that one move. I finish the bike section in 1h21.



First and last km. All out

That’s it. I dropped my bike. I now wear my Hitogami at my feet and…take off. I don’t know this feeling of brick thighs that most triathletes fear when transitioning from bike to run. When I start running, it’s as if you just had cut my chains. I decide to start off fast. Once again inspired by Alistair Brownlee. Try to install fear in the head of those at my level. Once again, I can count on one hand the number of guys running faster than me. The course is relatively flat with one 100m hill at the beginning of the loop though.

Everything goes well until the 9th km. This is where I am starting to be face to face with my pain. I have been waiting for that moment. Pain must be read on my face…not just in this post!

9.1k = My legs hurt but the guy, 10m in front of me, has “The Boss” printed on his tri-suit! No doubt, he’s mine!

9.2k =My legs hurt. 2 guys of the same team are 20m in front of me. When I overtake them, one says to the other “Go, go! Go with him!”. I am now 5 meters ahead and I hear him again “Go! Go with him now!”. I speed up and look back. He didn’t move a bit.

9.5k = I just overtook 10 runners. But I am alone now. The next runner is 100m ahead. I am alone with the pain in my legs…and on my face. But no, I cannot go any slower. I got to speed up.

9.9k = I caught up that guy and my face is all tensed. I did what I wanted to do and I controlled what I wanted to control. There is still one guy and one girl 30m ahead. 30 little meters which appear gigantic…except for me. I clench my teeth and go past them.

I am proud beyond measure. I still have a lot of work but spiritually, I am where I want to be. I finish the 10k run in 38’45.

I finish the race in 2h32, which makes 160th (out of 1060) in the general ranking and 23rd (top 6%) in my age-group ranking.

Then, I analyze the rankings and pay special attention to the 22nd guys who came ahead of me in my age-group. What do they have that I don’t have? What do I need to improve?


 The 1st  22’02  0’49  1h 02’45  2’15  34’18  2h 11’30
 Me  28’30  1’12  1h 21’33  2’27  38’45  2h 32’38
 The 23rd  34’05  3’24  1h 21’33  3’14  44’54  2h 32’38

PS : I know someone who’s going to eat pool laps and hours riding!

My next race will be on Sunday September 28th in Nice. This will be the Final of the French Nationals!

Still 8 weeks to prepare and I am so luck to leave for the French Alps for 6 weeks of altitude training. For sure, this will be the topic of the next post 🙂

There is something amazing happening in the evolution of this dream and this triathlete life. The thing is that now, people around me believe in it…more than before. When I come back home from training, everyday, I am asked how it went, as if it was something super important.

But I am just a boy with a dream. That’s all I am.

Last year, I was all alone with a dream and people looking at me with tens of different emotions. But today my family members talk to themselves and say ” Nah, you don’t believe it hard enough! You gotta believe it more! Me, I do believe”. I find this evolution amazing.

Think about your dream. Think about where you can be in 1 year…

You can believe.

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