Well it is finally over. After one very long and fantastic week, the 24 of us from Man Tri found ourselves crammed back on a flight home. It was a brilliant camp and thoroughly recommended. It was really nice to have people to train with, to be able to train on decent roads, to have some proper training weather!
My totals for the week were:
- Swim – 11.7k
- Bike – 386.57l
- Run – 57.1k
- Total Time – 27 hours 28 minutes
As you can see, there were some good miles put in, and there was also a lot of intensity that the totals don’t show. A well as the tough rides on the bike thanks to the hills and wind, there were the races, which despite all good intentions all turned out to be full on. It was only the half marathon that I managed to hold back a bit, but even then I was pushing hard.
Obviously the number of hours that I put in was the biggest thing that I was pleased with. I lasted the whole week, only have to cut short one ride due to a niggle. Starting the camp the way I did, (i.e. with very little decent fitness) I was pleased that my body came through the way I expected. I really came into form throughout the week and just got fitter and fitter. I really felt like I could have continued longer than the week, though there were signs of exhaustion rearing their heads.
My swimming came on well, and I really found my feel back in the water, something that I have been lacking for a long time. It was also nice to get some time in wearing my wetsuit, and getting used to it again. Though I do fear that I may need to trade mine in as I have bulked up a bit and it is getting a bit tight around the shoulders, causing premature exhaustion. I also managed to get some good tips, so I have some nice pointers as to where to take my swimming. The main thing is to make sure I extend straight with my arms before the catch, and to keep a high elbow so I don’t slap my forearms on the water, which I have been doing apparently. The facilities there are incredible. As well as the lagoon where you can just jump in a nice large body of water to get some open water swimming in, there is a 50m olympic pool:
The bike was good. I clocked up more volume in a week than I usually do in a month, and with around 25,000 feet of climbing, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Lanzarote is incredible for cycling, with some incredible places to ride. We did most of the IM Bike route with all the major climbs, and it was amazing. One major difference I noticed was the reception from other roads users. Whereas over here, you generally tend to get a honk, two fingers and some abuse, over there you get a honk, cheer and some encouragement! Training with a group again really made a difference, and a lot easier to get out and beast myself with some good attacks and competition. My cycling really on, to the point where on the last day I managed to put in a good tt effort to pull away from the pack on the last ride, after the mini-tri and still felt that I could have done a lot longer.
My running was looking a bit sparse when I put the training pan together, but I still managed a good block of running, and I am feeling a lot more fluid in my running again, much like my swimming. Being able to run every day really allowed it to come on as I ran myself back into fitness. The track session and races allowed some good speed work that with more, will help improve my speed.
Another big bonus was managing to swim, bike and run all the main days, although the totals were slightly lower than I had hoped. Being able to do this every day gave me the biggest improvements.
Without name dropping, the number of top pros we saw there was really inspiring, and really helped motivate the training.
Ok, maybe disappointments is a little strong, but there were a couple of things that if I did the camp again I would change.
The first of these is the swim. I didn’t manage to get a long swim done, and I probably should have done one day. The last day was also a bit of a let down. Although it was great to get out on the last night, it did mean that I didn’t do any training on the last day.
My diet went to pot. Admittedly, with all the training I was doing, I needed my carbs. But 3 lots of ice cream a day towards the end was a bit excessive. I also noticed that I really wasn’t getting enough protein in, with was hampering my recovery, so will need to look at this for the future. Nutrients were lacking a lot as well. Although this doesn’t matter for a week, if I was to keep this up, I would need to get them in for it to be sustainable.
With my current fitness levels, there was no way for me to get the gym and yoga in and still train. If I went again, it would hopefully be with a higher level of fitness that would allow me to sustain this. Missing out on the gym, not just over camp has meant that my knee has weakened, so after the half marathon, the old hamstring/back of the knee injury flared up again. I managed to keep it under control, but if I kept up my exercises and stretches, I think this would have been stopped.
Overall though, it was fantastic. It’s just a shame I am in Russia for the Malaga camp, otherwise I would be straight on that! For now, I am back to potholes, training alone, and bad weather. Boo.
PS You should be able to view all my photos from camp on my Facebook page (even if you don’t have it)
Well that’s it and we are finished. There is a swim tomorrow morning but I doubt I will be able to get up in time, and I am extremely pleased with how the week has gone. I will put a reflections post up in the next couple of days when I am not rushing against a ticking clock in the Internet Corner! Suffice to say, the numbers are big!
Today was another early start and we had a sprint triathlon, with a 400m swim, 15k bike, and 5k run. The swim started and we were all set off at once in the pool and it was the usual melee, but I sat on Tom’s feet, who is just a bit quicker than me, and had the perfect draft for the swim until my chip started to come off! I came out the swim in 7.30, and I think that water is slow, but it also includes time getting to T1. Given the heavy week, I was pleased with that. I had a quick transition, and got on the bike for the next leg. One thing I need to work on is my transitions, T1 I lose all momentum getting onto the bike as I don’t jump onto it, rather stop and get on, and T2 I need to work on getting off the bike whilst still moving.
The bike leg is the same as the duathlon, and I held back a bit so as not to blow up on the hill to Tiajo, but still managed to blow, but a bit furhter this time. Once at the turn around, I put the hammer down and just tucked up on my aero bars, feeling pretty good.
Another quick transition and I was out on the run for the same 5k course. I pushed hard to get the legs working and then settled into a good ryhtym. After about 1k, I was caught by a woman, so I sat on her shoulder, expecting to kick again at 1k to go. However she started to struggle, so I decided to up the pace and push past her, and soon dropped her. I carried on up to the turn around, and saw a big line of people who were close behind, so pushed on. At the 1k to go mark, I gave my usual kick, but with no one to push off, it is a bit more difficult! Coming into the stadium for the finish, I saw a guy catching me with about 200m home so had to sprint home and that hurt! But I came in under the hour and in 9th place! Pretty pleased with that, and also pleased with the fact that the 5k was my fastest of the week!
After a quick nap, we were out on the bikes for another supposed ‘easy spin’ and to begin with it was. We then hit the first biggish climb and someone decided to attack, and race instinct kicked in and I followed. I tried to push through with a counter attack, but Nick the coach was staight on my wheel and I didn’t have the legs to carry it through. We had a good roll unto Soo where I decided to go to the front and pull. A nice decent and I tucked up onto the aero bars and sat at a nice comfortable HR with someone on my wheel so carried on. Once on the flats I pushed the pace, and still had Andy on my wheel so carried on. After about 2k I turned around and it turned out we had dropped the entire pack! It was nice to know my legs were still feeling good after all! It was beautiful weather for it as well and a nice end to the week.
This evening we had a bit of fun playing Beach Volleyball, then I went to a massage class, to learn the basics of sports massage. It was a really interesting lesson, and I have a whole crib sheet for the girlfriend to work off! Apparently I am a natural according to the teacher! Ha!
Anyway, totals and reflections to follow. For now its time to celebrate and get ready to go back to the cold and potholes 😦
Today was long run day and consisted of the La Santa half marathon, which as I found out is a tough, hilly course with some terrible road surfaces, but great fun! I got up at half 6 and had a nice big bowl of cereal and then promptly went back to bed only to wake up at 7.40, 5 minutes before the start! A quick change and I rushed to the start, just in time to pick up my timing chip.
We set off and I was struggling until the hit the first water stop, which was my first drink fo the day! Still feeling pretty bad, I plodded on catching up with a few people and then more water and I slowly began to feel better and get into a nice rythym. After about 45 minutes I was feeling great and despite the course was doing well with a nice heart rate and good rythym. I had a gel every half an hour, and it wasn’t until the last 5k of the race that I began to feel it. A couple who were running together caught me up and I ran with them for a bit, having a bit of a chat and pushing a bit to keep up. Another gel and some more water and my legs came back. With about 1k to go, I kicked, and did exactly the same as yesterday and dropped the other two to come home in 1:53:18, which I was pretty pleased with given the course and the week! It was also the first time I had worn my compression calf stirrup things, (or gimp socks as they are better known!) and they really worked well. I have been having problems with my right leg for the last day or so, and it has been cramping up and lot and there is one god almighty knot in it that needs sorting out, but I didn’t have any problems during the race.
Unfortunately after the race, my old knee injury starting to rear its head, the same one as my Ironman, and it stiffened up a bit. We had an easy ride planned so I went out on the bike, but it soon turned into a quick pace and I was struggling. At the first stop after 15k, I decided that was it and turned around to head back on my own, and a nice comfortable place to finish with 30k. The knee was ok, but I didn’t want to risk it. It is annoying as well because the ride they did was really good, but I am finding my limits.
A good few hours in bed worked well in the afternoon, and I had another swim this evening, with the wetsuit on, doing a bit of technique work. I only did 1.7k as I want to have the arms reasonably fresh for the triathlon tomorrow. The wetsuit is feeling better, but I think I am going to need a new one.
So we have a sprint triathlon tomorrow, and then a bit more training and then it is all over! I am feeling pretty good actually, and am going to miss it when I leave. I do need a rest though!
Wow hard to believe it’s been 5 days out here now (well 4 proper ones). I woke this morning with some very stiff legs! But it was an early start for a short duathlon, which was only 2.5k, 15k, 2.5k. It was interesting, being my first duathlon. But as far as I can work out, your legs get tired quicker, and you aren’t wet for half the thing! I set of quite hard to try and wake the legs up and they felt ok, but I soon faded. I held a reasonable pace, running off a couple of people until we hit T1. A quick transition and I raced out, pegging it down the hill with the wind behind me at about 65k! I put the aero bars on this morning for this reason! However as soon as we hit the first hill into Tiajo my legs went, and it was a slog all the way til the turn around. Thankfully the rest of the ride was pretty much downhill, but into the wind, so I could just tuck up and keep the legs spinning. The 2nd run was a lot better. I got passed soon after T2 by a guy from my club, and just ran on his shoulder until the turn around point and kicked and dropped him. I felt pretty good here and the legs seem to be coping.
There was a aquathlon a couple of hours later that I was quite tempted by, but we went to the Wellness Centre after the race for a bit of cold/hot water treatment (ow!!) and some relaxing. By the time I had got out the centre, I was so relaxed I couldn’t even walk up the stairs, so I got an ice cream and went for a nap!
In the afternoon a few of us went out for a easy spin around Tiajo, and had fun battling with the wind, but I am finding that now I am fitter, active recovery really helps, if you have the time to do it. We did a nice 25k in just under an hour despite being blown to the other side of the road at points!
After this, we had the most important event of camp… The Man Tri Crazy Golf Championship! It was nice to take the mind off training for a bit, and just relax, though I have to say I think it isn’t really my sport!
Finally we had another swim set this evening. I am really noticing the difference that swimming every day makes, and find I am much more comfortable in the water, despite the fact I am pretty tired. I wore the wetsuit for the most part, but think I may need a new one if I don’t drop the new shoulder weight soon, as I am getting tired just doing 100m in it! I had a bit of stroke work done, and have a nice couple of things to work on for the coming swims, mainly keeping a high elbow so I don’t slap my forearm entering the water, and pushing my arms out more to the side when I extend.
All in all, a good and easyish day. I worked out earlier that I have clocked up over 21 hours in the 5 days! And I am certainly feeling better! My only gripe is the weather! It’s been cloudy the last couple of days, I need to top the tan up!
Today was always going to be the hardest day, and it came true to form. We have a reccee of most of the IM bike course to do, and we rolled out of La Satna in the dark at 7. It was an eerie feeling with about 15 of us, in complete silence rolling along the coast with only a few lights between us. It soon lit up though, and we made our way along the course. The first climb to Hariar (my spellings are going to be all wrong!) was amazing, just like a Tour de France climb with the roads, and I settled into a good pace, with the HR at a nice level, only to turn around and find I had dropped all but 1 person! We continued upto the top, and then enjoyed sitting in the pack once we have all regrouped. The descent was amazing, some real switchbacks and perfect roads, and we just bombed it down. Soon we were on out way to the Mirador del Rio, which was shorter than the previous but tougher. Again, I was at the front, I can feel a real difference in my climbing once more.Some of the views were just incredible coming up the hill. It was a tough one, but I felt pretty good. We came to a stop for some food and then split off. Those of us who were doing the full route continued on to El Golfo which takes you right into one corner of the island with some absolutley amazing cliffs and rocks. By this point my legs were a gonner, and it was all about digging deep and hanging in there. We completed the climb and then just had the Fire Mountains to climb. We came the other way through these on Friday, and although by no means easy, they aren’t exactly difficult. That is unless of course the winds were up, and they were ridiculous. I have been in some bad winds, notably the Tour of the Pennines, but this was another level. And the whole climb was straight into the wind. Finally we came through the otherside and it was a short run back to Club La Santa. A couple of k from the resort, with the clock at 150k, we decided to tack on another 10k to make it a century ride. I rode on until my computer said 160k and half comtemplated doing another 10k both ways to get to 180k, but quickly decided against it when I realised I was out of water and food and my legs were smoked! But all in all, I was pretty happy with 160k and over 7000 feet of climbing!
Once back to my room, I had a quick change and then out again for a 5k run, which goes into the town and back again. It is basically downhill all the way there, then uphill all the way back! Was a though run, and my knees and legs were exhausted. But I hit the pool and managed to get a short kilometer in with the pool buouy to give the legs a rest. Day 4 done, 8 and a half hours and 5500 calories!
Tomorrow we have a short duathlon in the morning, which I am just going to get round. I am not expecting anything from the legs, then an easy bike and then I will dig the wetsuit out for some practise in the pool. I need to rest up for the half marathon on Tuesday. The hard part is over!