I haven’t had 3 weeks off work since I started work as a doctor in 2003.
So the opportunity to spend 3 weeks training in the Canary Islands in January felt a real luxury.
If I’m honest I was a bit nervous about the trip before I left. I’d been completely and utterly exhausted since I’d handed in my PhD – I don’t think I’d appreciated quite how much of a toll mental stress can take on your body.
In the final few weeks of writing I’d literally been living the life of a zombie – when I was awake I was working or thinking about work and when I was asleep I was dreaming about work.
When I eventually handed it in all I wanted to do was go to sleep! So Christmas passed me by in a bit of a blur. I was dragging myself out training but wondering why I wasn’t enjoying it and how on earth I could be going so slowly for so much effort. I guess I knew deep down I was just tired, but that doesn’t stop you asking questions of yourself. Finally, after 10 days or so of big sleeps and afternoon naps I started to feel more like myself, stopped needing the mega sleeps and generally got my mojo for everything back. Phew – that was a relief.
Anyhow, after some fun rides and runs with my Cambridge buddies it was time to pack my bags and head off to Lanzarote to visit my friends Daz and Debs at Trisports Lanzarote (www.trisportslanzarote.com).
This is the third consecutive January I’ve stayed with them and I honestly couldn’t think of a better winter training venue. You can roll out of bed into their 25m pool, there are running trails on the doorstep and I know there will always be huge quantities of good food alongside excellent banter at mealtimes. Check it out if you’re thinking of heading to Lanzarote!
I had a brilliant week bonding with my brand new Vitus Chrono and getting in some big bike miles and I was pleasantly surprised that, contrary to what I had thought, my biking hadn’t disappeared completely over the winter. Clearly short hard turbos work!
So week one flew by and I then nervously got the ferry to Fuerteventura for the Team Erdinger training camp. To say I was nervous about this was an understatement. It was my first time training with a professional team and I speak minimal German. So I guess I really wasn’t sure how it would turn out!
It was a bit of a baptism of fire at the start with two days of very professional photo shooting – I’m not a fan of having my photo taken at the best of times, let alone with loads of makeup (they had a makeup artist….) but it actually turned out to be a good way to get to know the team. They couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming though I think they probably think I’m much quieter than I really am (!), particularly in big group situations when they were all talking German!
All in all it was a great 2 weeks and I certainly learnt lots though there were definitely a couple of days where I was tired and ready for home. It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed at times when you’re surrounded by world champions and high profile professional athletes (not just Team Erdinger, it seems like half the European pro triathletes were out in Playitas)! However the odd ‘tired’ days were balanced by the far more common ‘pinch-myself-days’ where I really appreciated how lucky I am to have got myself in the situation where fundamentally, my life for the next 2 years is doing what I love. I guess that’s part and parcel of pushing yourself – there are always going to be points where you’re out of your comfort zone but the only way to progress is to challenge yourself mentally and physically.
Anyhow, all in all I’ve got 3 weeks solid and fun training under my belt which I hope will set me up well for the next couple of months. I’m back at work part time in February and will have to somehow kick start my brain back into gear to finish up some bits and bobs for my PhD and prepare for my viva at the start of March.
Sunshine aside, I’m quite looking forward to getting stuck into the more traditional winter training for a few weeks – mud, mountain bikes, rain, cold and banter!