Friday, February 6, 2015

Interview Sessions: Annick

It's Friday!! That means it is time for another interview.  I'm excited to introduce Annick to you.  From the first time I met Annick, I haven't seen her without a huge smile. Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and she is really passionate about triathlon. And after reading her answers, I realize that we are a lot alike in how triathlon has really given us happiness and a new outlook.

Let's meet Annick!

How did you get into the sport of triathlon?

Around 2008-2009 when I was working for Goodlife fitness, I had a co-worker that talked about triathlons.  I was curious, but I also felt at the time that it was only for very athletic people.  A few years down the road, a new co-worker from Germany joined our team.  I learned that she had coached many triathletes, and was a triathlete herself.   I mentioned to her one day I was a bit interested in doing a tri a try race one day.  She turned to me and said, “No, you will sign up for a sprint, not a try a tri”.  Later that day I signed up for my first race in 2012, and have been racing since J

What advice would you give to a new triathlete or someone considering signing up for their first triathlon?

Learning from my past experience, I would say make sure you can swim in the open water.  My first open water swim was on race day, which was a very bad idea.  I ended up breast stroking, and back crawling the whole way, and repeating to myself, “Don’t die! Please don’t die!”   After that race, I went and joined the OTC swim program, because I knew there had to be a better method for open water swimming.  I learned so much about the sport from the amazing coaches at the OTC.  So for a new triathlete, I would highly recommend a good swim program, practice open water swimming and have fun!

What has been your greatest / proudest moment as a triathlete?

Completing my very first 70.3 last year.  It was amazing, because I started the journey believing that triathlons were for only the elite athlete.  I went from someone who could barely run 5km, 5 years ago; to completing a 70.3.  I was blown away with my results, because I finished 40 min faster than  what I was expecting to do. 

What has been the biggest challenge for you in the sport? 
Open water swimming.  I had anxiety issues when I went swimming in the open water.  Took me over 2 years to become comfortable in the open water.  I struggled a lot until I purchased an ifloat (a blow up personal floatation device that attaches to your waist).  That same weekend I managed to swim in the open water without any issues, and swam over 2000m!  The device, gave me the mental edge to feel relaxed and comfortable in the water.  My confidence grew from there, and swam without the ifloat at Bring on the Bay, a 3km open water swim race. I had a blast!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the sport? 

This sport has become one of my sources of happiness.  Through it, I have become more mentally strong, accomplished more than I ever dreamt of, and meet an amazing group of people I call friends now.  Prior to my involvement of triathlons, I suffered depression, was in a very sour marriage of 12 years that ended in a divorce, and had to leave a career because it was effecting my mental health.  I was on anti-depressant, which I disliked, made me feel odd, and uncomfortable.  I started training for races, and soon after I went off of the anti-depressants.  Three years later, and I’m without anti-depressants, and I am the happiest I have ever been.  This sport makes me smile every step of the way.  I feed off the positive energy from the members of the OTC, and I feel proud to be who I am.

How does life as a triathlete translate to other areas of your life?

Becoming a triathlete has given me a positive outlook in life.  The ability to keep on going even when things are hard or seem impossible.  It allows me to show my daughter that if you try and be persistent, you can successful and achieve things you want to achieve.  I’ve carried this attitude with me when I went back to school, and done very well for myself.

What is your dream race?

I currently don’t have a specific dream race, but would love to go to Europe one day and try a 70.3 race there.

What is your favorite pre-race meal? Any other pre-race rituals?

The night before I race, I enjoy a nice steak with mash potatoes, some veggies, and a small glass of red wine.  I go over my race bag to ensure it is all there, and relax, curled up to my partner and watch a movie to fall asleep to.  Race morning I enjoy oatmeal with maple syrup, and scramble eggs with a half cup of black coffee.  I again, go through my race gear, and head out  to the race.
Swim, bike, or run?

BIKE!  I love to bike.  I’ve biked everywhere all my life.  As a teen, I lived south of Montreal, where there was very little bus service.  So, I biked as fast as I could to meet up with my friends.  I really love the feel of climbing a hill, and then the reward of speeding down the hill after.
Favorite motivational quote?

Happiness is a choice.  Choose happy. 

Don’t forget to smile while racing.  It will make you go faster, guaranteed!

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