Monday, 21 September 2009

La La La Santa..

We’re nearing the end of our acclimatization/final prep training camp in Lanzarote. It’s been a great couple of weeks and I’m happy to admit that my impressions of club La Santa as an overpriced holiday camp for those who require their training spoon-feed were all wrong. Had it not been for Rachel’ generosity sharing the apartment that (as second placed female in the IM this year) she got a very good deal on, we could not have afforded to stay here in the first place and would never have known. But we’ve found it to be such a perfect environment when its time to just get the head down and fous on training. It really could not be easier – the gym ( excellently equipped and spacious, could do with air con or a few more windows), pool (50m, 8 lane out door), track (newly surfaced and swept clean daily) and the numerous free classes (ranging from highly energetic jumping on and off boxes through dance workshops, yoga, Pilates and stretching) are within 2 minutes of the apartment. We’ve not had time to make use of the free bike, kayak, windsurf or raquet hire of course, but families that do so really get great value for their stay. The apartments are a bit small and scruffy (and that’s comparing them to the get-pissed-quick cheap family aparthotels we’ve sampled in Peurto del Carmen!) and the on-site restaurants and supermarket somewhat overpriced, but we’re not here for luxury and I’ve managed fine alternating between the very good quality all-you-possibly-eat-and-still-move buffet restaurant and self catering from the cheaper supermarket in Tinajo. This is beginning to sound a bit like a travel that’s enough of the pros and cons of La Santa except to say that if you can put up with the constant upbeat cheesy dance tracks pumped from tiny speakers around the complex at all hours of day – and you do get used to it- this is an excellent base to focus on being an athlete in preparation for a big race. If you were on a more casual or cycling focused training holiday, and not requiring specific facilities you might find it a little claustrophobic and be better off in the cheaper and more diverse side of the island. I think in future we will be doing a mix of both.

So, after the Vitruvian I started off with a pretty easy week. That race was a bit of a knock-back for me. Or perhaps a reality call. Either way it had me worried about my form and I’d been advised by a few people that I’d shared these concerns with that I should treat this 2 week period in the sun as a bit of a ‘holiday’. Well – with Steven off all day racking up monster mileage and hours and little else to do around here having sworn off alcohol, caffeine and icecream in prep for Kona, I was finding a bit hard to imagine I was on hols! I hadn’t even brought a book to read – so intentions were pretty clear to anyone bothered enough to read between the lines: get out there and get in shape.

Trouble was: I was tired. So the first days passed in short cycles of feel good, train: sessions go well. Feel a bit tired. Too hot to sleep. Get up, train: session goes ok. Feel more tired. Too hot to sleep, concerned about feeling so tired. Get up, train: session just about ok but really not that good. Worry about not being all that good. Feel very tired. Worry about feeling very tired and not being able to sleep and not being very good. So tired fall asleep anyway. Easy/rest day. More sleep. Wake up- feel better, train: sessions go better. Feel a bit tired……it’s a shame that it was relatively late in the trip that I realized that with the help of a little Valarium ( herbal sleeping remedies) and a 9hr sleep, I could reset to phase 1 of the cycle a lot sooner than my planned training schedule allowed.
Sharing with Rachel has provided a real insight into how a real Pro prepares for a race – the sort of training she’s doing, the effort she puts into recovery and attitude in general is inspiring. Of course she follows the same sort of cycle – has had good days and off days – but manages to retain a positive attitude and deals with it sooner, or just finds another level of motivation and pushes through. Guess that comes from experience and the confidence of some great race results this year. I reckon we’ll see some exciting stuff from her out there in the lava!

In all, things for me picked up in this second week – I have swum and run every day, including 3 track sessions, made good use of the gym and, though less cycling than I’d expected, have done some good quality bike sessions. Eaten well, stayed sober and weaned myself off caffeine. Got my bike serviced in Pro Bike – for 100E new chain, brake blocks fixed up the gears (both derailleurs bent out of line) and gave it a good clean. Runs lovely now! Hope it stays that way after the 2 flights back to London on then on to the Aloha State. Finger’s x’d. I’m now having wheel choice dilemmas and debating with Scott the merits of riding on power over the cost of the heavy32 spoke training wheel that the unit is built into ( and the fact that the bloody thing STILL plays up!) and a deep- ish section on the front versus worrying about being blown off the road……

So much to think about, it seems. I’m going out to ride my bike.

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