I've titled this blog post '13 because I have a feeling I'll be coming back here in the years to come! The first seven days of training here in Lanzarote have been brilliant. Sands Beach in Costa Teguise has so far proved to be a really good location, with great cycling and running routes right from the door. The resort itself has been great, with the biggest advantage being the on site 25m pool. It takes just over a minute to walk from my room to the pool deck, so there's no way I can come up with any excuses not to get the swim training done. Also, the food here has been excellent. There's plenty of healthy options to choose from, as well as some not-so-healthy choices if its been a big training day! I'll definitely have to exercise some self restraint whilst I'm here, otherwise I'll never see anything close to race weight!
The first few days here didn't entail any difficult training, it was mainly a case of settling in and getting familiar with the surroundings. I met up with Kona qualifier David Flint who was staying at the resort and showed me one of the local bike routes on the first day. David was good company and it was nice to hear about the island from someone who has been here a few times before. I spent the first few days exploring the local trail routes, which seem to be almost endless. Some of the more popular trails are well marked, whereas others are more technical and a little challenging to follow. They're pretty dusty too, so my sparkling Adidas Boost's are now sporting quite a bit of island dirt! I ran in the morning a few times, but the first time I tried running at noon was a bit of a disaster. I probably stopped three times over the course of 7 miles, feeling absolutely exhausted from the heat. It's been close to 30 degrees on most days, which feels hot enough to require some acclimatisation.
Last weekend I cycled cross-island to La Santa village to meet up with Sam Baxter, Matt Molloy and Owen Martin, who were all spending a week here in preparation for Kona. It was nice to see some familiar faces again, although I must admit to being a little jealous with all the Kona talk over our delicious paella dinner! In the morning we headed to the lagoon, which is where the race next weekend is being held. It was a good opportunity to test the waters and follow Matt's feet for 4k. He inflicted the hurt a few times with some surges, which left Sam and I gasping for air!
Later that morning we headed out on the bike and Sam and I went a separate route, which ended up being just over 80 miles. The highlight of the route was climbing Fermés (a nasty climb that had me churning at <50 rpm in my easy 39-27 gear), even though Sam dropped me and must have put a minute into me in 5 minutes of riding! That's what I call coming good for Kona! I was laughing on my way to the top (what else can you do when you're going so slowly!) and I was happy to keep the front wheel down and not inadvertently do a wheelie!
The rest of the ride was great, taking in some great roads and sights. I was promised an 'easy' ride beforehand, but at times I was doing all I could just to sit on Sam's wheel. I was happy for a quick drinks stop which gave me the chance to catch my breath again.
The next day was slightly easier, although I again made the mistake of running at midday. Clearly forgetting how catastrophic the last attempt was, the result was again the same. I jogged home with my tail between my legs feeling a little frustrated at how poor my running was going. On Wednesday morning I met up with Stephen Bayliss for an easy spin and it was nice to have some company again. It was the first overcast morning since arriving, and I tacked on a little extra, adding on the Tabayesco climb. As I approached the top it started drizzling and for perhaps the first time in my life, I was pleased to see rain!
With overcast skies and third time lucky in mind, I left for another midday run… success! I didn't feel like I was suffocating with every stride and instead felt like my old self again.
This morning started out with my longest run to date post Ironman Copenhagen - 90 minutes with a hard 20 minute interval in the middle. I set off around sunrise to avoid the worst of the heat and got the job done. This was the first day since arriving that I hadn't ridden, which almost felt like a wasted opportunity seeing how good the riding here is. Still, I'm here for a long time and there are plenty more sessions to get done! At lunch time I got my swim done, which was probably the highlight of the day. There were some harder sets thrown in, which culminated in some of the fastest times I've set this year. I'm not going to get too excited though, as I still feel I've lost some swim fitness in the post-Ironman recovery period. Another short jog rounded the day out and ended my first week here.
I'd like to end this post by saying a HUGE thank you to all my fantastic sponsors whose support has made this training trip possible! Until next week...