My first taste of Triathlon out in Lanzarote - 10/01/19
I am travelling out to Lanzarote for the first time and to see some old friends, whilst trying out some new things.
Being a swimmer has taken up most of my life and it is hard to imagine what my life was actually like before swimming. I actually used to take part in other sports too when I was younger. When you are involved in sport your body changes and is so adapted to the sport you do, which helps you to achieve what you want to, but it feels so alien when you actually want to try out some new things.
The reason I have come to Lanzarote is to catch up with some friends who are over here doing some Sports/Triathlon camps and to try out some triathlon for myself.
It is terrible, but I actually can’t remember the last time I rode a bike outside, whether it was on the roads.. Anywhere. It must be years. That’s probably what I feel most anxious about. I think when you're young, you don't have so much fear for anything and seem to take it all in your stride. But, as I have been training solely on swimming since I was 16, I have completely neglected all other sports apart from the odd game of volleyball while on training camps. So the thought of being out on a bike, frightens me a bit, but I know I'm in the best hands over here to help me.
There are no expectations of what to expect over here or where it will take me, but I am just really looking forward to trying something new and to see if I enjoy it.
I am over here with the Robin Brew Sports team. A quick introduction on how I met Robin. At around 12-13 years old I was on a training camp with the British Swimming start program, where they brought lots of swimmers from around the country to train together. I was from a very small club and going away on these camps was always so daunting for me, knowing that I was doing a lot less training compared to some of the other girls, due to pool time at my home program, I always felt like I was trying to keep up with everyone and I definitely didn't have the natural talent like some of the others. On first meeting Robin, I remember just feeling such a calming and kind coach, who would always be trying to lift everyone's spirits, even in the middle of a really tough training set.
If you had looked at me in that pool back in 2003, you definitely wouldn't have had your money on me to even get to an Olympics, let alone anything else.
Robin is an Olympic Swimmer, while also winning multiple Triathlon events and always challenging himself (More recently Cycling from Tavistock all the way up to Sheffield and riding for around 24 hours) and now trying his hand at some Rowing (For Fun) where he has just started breaking various British records in his age group.. Basically.. a Machine!
First day arriving in Lanzarote and luckily its just a steady day.
Going through some drills on the running track and then a 3km run around the complex. I have done a bit of running throughout my swimming career but, stupidly, I have never actually done a warm up before, just gone straight into a run! It’s weird because with swimming it's always been drilled in to me to warm up before and cool down after, but I have just never applied it to any other sport that I have tried! Basically, just blagging my way through it…
It feels so good to have a bit of sunshine on my back and just being over in Lanzarote just makes me want to go out and be fit.
After the run, we head to the pool for a short swim to loosen off the travel and the run. There is literally no better place to swim, than in the outdoors with the sun on your back and seeing the clouds in the sky (In my opinion). Makes a big change from swimming indoors and being back in the cold at home.
One of the strangest feelings asking Robin
‘What time are we starting tomorrow?’
His reply ‘Is 9 a.m. ok?’
I have never been a good early morning person. I wake up every morning and really struggle to get out of bed and I have always been so jealous of people that can just jump out of bed in the morning, no matter what the time. It is really strange that I actually turned into a swimmer, because of all of the early mornings I’ve had to do. At my home club, we used to have to be in the pool at 5.30a.m.!!
But what a lovely surprise, starting my day at 9a.m. feels pretty good to say the least!!
On to the Second day and it is my first time out on a road bike. I have been doing a bit of training on a watt bike, so I have used Cleats before on there, but never out on a road bike. Robin took me through all the basics, how to use the brakes, gears, unclip/clip in! I did a quick loop round the block on one of Robins bikes, as I don’t yet have a bike of my own/don’t even know what kind of bike I need and off we went.
We started with a loop around the training complex - Club La Santa and I instantly thought this is pretty cool. Being outside/actually being able to talk to other people while exercising is quite fun. I have always loved social kick in swimming but that is normally a bonus at the end of a hard set/cooling down after some hard metres. After a few loops round the block, Robin thought I was ok to go out and about on the streets. I started discovering all these new words/actions that cyclists do. CAR BACK - Meaning there is a car behind and to watch. Or some hand movements to indicate to the person behind you that there is something on the road/pothole, that kind of thing. I don’t trust myself to take my hands off the bars yet though, so I’m just trying to stick to everyone and try and not fall off! I don’t feel too stable on the bike yet, everyone is looking relaxed/stable whilst I feel like I'm wobbling all over the place but for my first time… I’m doing ok! Had a couple of small inclines, which felt a bit tough on the breathing!I think I was definitely in the wrong gear 90% of the time and I was always asking how to change gears but I was slowly getting the hang of it all!
Overall really enjoyed my first time out, but my god.. my bum was hurting! I'm not used to being sat on an uncomfortable saddle for a long period of time! I mean the ride was only around 30km but it felt like I had been sat on it for days!
This is where I learnt the importance of a good pair of cycling shorts!!
We then went out for a 5km run around the complex to run off the bike ride and see how our legs felt after it. My legs actually felt ok and it felt so nice to be out running in the sun.
A couple of hours break for lunch and to chill and then back in for a swim later. Now this is the easy part for me, as I know swimming like the back of my hand. Swim wasn’t a big session (Compared to what I am used to in the pool 7-8km) but it was actually such a good feeling to end the day with a nice pool session.
It is definitely taking it out of me, trying out some new sports, as I get to 8PM and i’m ready to head to bed!
Day 3 in Lanzarote -
First thought -Pick the most padded shorts I have for todays ride to avoid any more pain! 9a.m. Start again.. I could get used to this! Out for a longer ride today, now I know the basics hopefully it won’t feel too bad. Goal of todays ride was to just try and stick with the group and keep moving. With 30km completed, we stopped in a lovely place called El Golfo for a quick coffee and toilet break. My butt really wasn’t comfortable but apart from that I felt ok. We started heading around El Golfo and back home. I had a few wobbly moments, where I wasn't sure if I was going to fall off/go over the edge of the road, but luckily no dramas!
It’s only when you're on your way back that you realise some of the hills you were going down before, feels 10 times higher when you have to go back up them. Around 50km and going up some hills, I felt like wasn't moving anywhere. My legs started to get sore and barely move.
With some encouraging words from the rest of the team and emergency stop for some sweets, I was back on my way. Made it back home with no problems and 66km done on the bike, the furthest I’ve ever gone on a bike and definitely the hardest ride i have ever been on.
We get back home and Robin says, now time to run off the bike. My body just wanted to lie on the sofa for the rest of the day but I got back up and went for a run, which surprisingly felt ok! My legs felt a bit heavy to start with but as I built into it, it felt reallygood and I started to feel a bit more confident in my running.
We arrived back after the run and I felt so happy that I’d actually completed it and accomplished something, albeit only small but it is something I have never done before.
A few hours to catch up on some food and rest and we were back to the pool again. This was just to loosen off the body after the long ride and run. When I get back in the pool, it just feels so natural. A bit like I am coming home but I'm really enjoying trying out some new things and the variety of training.
Another early night after a long day out!
Today we are taking on a trail run from Club La Santa to Famara, along the trail paths and its around 12km. I have never ran that far in my life, so I am not sure how I will deal with it. Swimmers aren’t known well for their running either, so it probably won’t be a pretty site. The trail is full of rocks and sand, so it is a lot more testing than being out on the road and you have to be very aware all of thetime. Feels a bit unstable on my ankles going over the rocks and on sand, but my phone has been calling out every 0.5km so that is keeping me going. It feels like I have a personal coach talking to me, telling mehow fast I am going. It is designed to be a pretty slow run because of the ground, so it is nice to settle in to a pace and just keep up withthe tempo. I am definitely not a fan of heavy wind while I'm running but I guess that is something you get used to.
It felt great to finish and doing 12km.
I guess with swimming I have been so used to having to do certain times and always knowing how fast/slow I am swimming, whereas with running and cycling I have nothing to compare it to. It actually feels nice to not have a clue how well I am doing.
The rest of the afternoon is off and a chilled one! Catching up with some rest and eating lots of food! I have been so hungry!!
My last day here in Lanzarote and I have had such a lovely time over here. It has been great to actually be in the sunshine and to be outdoors!
But first training.. Long ride ahead.
As I have never been to Lanzarote before I don’t know all the routes, so when everyone starts talking about the places we will be going by, I actually have no idea, which is great I guess as I don’t have any expectations or know how hard its going to be. I do pay attention when they say coffee or cake!!
I have loved riding in a group and even though I get a bit nervous getting close to someones wheel, it is not bad for my first week out on a road bike. First stop a bakery in Lanzarote that has the best coffee and cakes (I have been told). We cycle all the way there and find out... its actually closed! I was so ready for some cake! New plan.. Head up to another village to grab a coffee.
It was only about another 5km to the next coffee shop but it was mainly uphill, that was a burner! I actually felt like I could move a lot better than a couple of days ago and feel like I'm slowly getting used to what gear I should/shouldn’t be in going up a hill. We made it to the top and I managed to keep up with everyone, which felt like quite an achievement! My face felt like it was on fire though, those hills do make me very warm!!
We stopped for a lovely coffee and a slice of cake at a local cafe! That sugar definitely helped me get through the ride. Makes the ride home a lot better.
70km done!! My longest ever ride and my butt isn't actually as sore as the other day. I must be adapting.
A few hours rest and back to the track for a track session. I don’t think I have ever done a track session in my life! We had 6x200m Moderate, everyone jogging out to 400m. I really struggled with the change of pace. I feel like I get stuck in one place and can’t move out of it but it is good to do and test myself a bit. I guess the more I do it, the more I will adapt to it all.
Quick swim and loosen off after a long day and I did it in my Mickey Mouse costume. It is definitely my favourite ever costume!
Well my time in Lanzarote is over and I feel like I have learnt so much!
Will I ever do a triathlon?… I hope so.
Will I ever be good at a triathlon? I have no idea, but I have loved almost every minute (apart from the big hills) and I’m loving the variety of training that it brings. It has only been my first time trying out new things and there is still so much to learn but I am loving it all so far. As long as I carry on enjoying it all I would love to do it more.
Next Step.. Get myself a bike! Very exciting