Jenn Annett duplicated last year’s third-place finish in the Valley First Challenge Penticton Sunday, but improved her time by 10 minutes while experiencing a panic attack.
Annett, 29, isn’t sure what caused the attack that occurred while swimming, but added that she had not had one in years. She finished the swim in one hour, 11 minutes and 11 seconds.
“I think I just let my nerves get to me right at the beginning and jumped in a little bit too quick,” said Annett, denying that the pressure of competing on home soil got to her.
With husband Jason and son Nixon by her side, Annett crossed the finish line in 9:48:58, 21 minutes after winner Carrie Lester of Brisbane, Australia, and nearly two minutes behind Mackenzie Madison of Springfield, Oregon. Annett, who won the Peach City Classic triathlon a month ago, said it was a tough day with what she described as an “awful” swim, followed by losing half her nutrition as she headed out on the bike.
“I figured it could only get better,” said Annett, who was the second fastest on the bike (5:10) and run (3:23:53). “I just tried to do what I do best. Put my head down and get in the game. Just try to stick to it. The run was rough. I wanted to walk and just curl up in the middle of the pavement.”
Annett, who was happy with her final result, said she didn’t want to lose the ground she gained. She also knew she couldn’t catch the eventual winner.
“Carrie is an amazing athlete. She always puts on an awesome performance,” said Annett. “She is just overall strong.”
Leading up to the weekend, Annett said one of the things she would look forward to at the end was a beer at the finish line. The top finishers were doused with it. When it was her turn, she opened her mouth to get a taste.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I never ever want to look at gels or Gatorade or Coke again. That beer was the best tasting thing in the world.”