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Lanzarote Triathlon Camp 2020

Let’s start at the beginning. How did I sign up for this ? Or  how did I hear about it?

When I got my new job at the end of last year, it meant that I had to change some of my upcoming holidays. Mainly because I can’t go on leave when I’m at the train driving school. In my previous railway job I was able to take leave anytime I wanted. So the triathlon camp I have planned for May in Bolton is probably won’t happen, because I’ll be learning all about train tractions.

But on the other hand I have ended up with 14 days leave at the end of February.

I’m following Lizi Duncombe on Instagram for a few months now, she’s a great athlete and a massive inspiration. One day I’ve seen one of her post about a Tri camp, which happened to be right after my Rules final. Quickly messaged her and asked her if it’s really for anyone? I mean I didn’t want to end up being left behind, or simply just get lost on an Island. She said it’s definitely for everyone, and she took my details and then Toby contacted me.

Toby Garbett is a British Olympian , 2 x World Champion Rower and he’s running this camp for a few years now. After a long phone call with him he confirmed that this camp is really for everyone and then talked through the rough schedule.

A few days later I signed up for it, which was at the end of December.

So I was ready to go to Lanzarote on the 21st of February. But first I had to pass my Train driver’s rules final. So it was a bit of a risk for me, because if I didn’t pass I would have wasted all the money I have paid for the camp and then for the flights etc.

At the end I have passed that exam with a great 98.6%, so a quick pack up and not even 24hrs after my exam I was on an easyJet flight to Lanzarote. 

Day 0 – 21st February – Friday

A friend of mine lend me his Bike box, which was brand new, and it was also the Tri version of it. So I only had to take off my wheels and pedals. Great, I can do that, I think that’s all my bike mechanical skills.

I was a bit worried about the flight and the travel with my bike. I mean I never done anything like this before. I do have insurance for the bike ( Yellow Jersey ) and it also covers me as well ( training, racing in the UK or abroad ). But still there’s a worry about the ‘what if’ situations.

Got to the hotel around 8pm on the Friday, quickly checked in, left my bike at reception, got shown my room and off I went to have some dinner before they started to close it down.

The hotel is in a great location, right by the Marina and there is a really cute shopping street with top brands, and also a fair few restaurants.

Even though I have travelled alone I ended up with a massive room with a big bed. If I ever go back I’ll request to have room 10 again.

The first night in a hotel always different, you don’t know the bed, you don’t know who’s next door and if they’ll make much noise etc. But to my total surprise I did sleep well. 

Day 1 – 22nd February – Saturday

Because most people only arrived today or on Sunday we didn’t have much planned for the day. 4pm easy swim in the 40m pool.

So after breakfast I ventured down to the Marina and bought the usual sightseeing items ( fridge magnets and postcards ). Then back to the hotel for lunch, for an extra 20 euro I was able to get lunch in the hotel.

Then I went down to the bike garage to assemble my bike. I was hoping that it’s still in one piece, and nothing is broken. Had to YouTube it how to put the rear wheel back, but luckily watching the video took me longer then the whole assembly part. So my bike was all ready to go for a ride.

Then packed my swim gear and went to the pool. Because I never met with anyone before I really had no clue if I find them or not. I knew that Lizi’s flight was delayed, but Toby got here a few days ago. So I was hoping to recognise him.

Then at the poolside I have recognised Dee, she was our yoga instructor. I’m so glad I have started to follow her in Instagram as well, so knew how does she look like. Luckily she did recognise me too.

Well that was my first hurdle over, found some of the camp mates. At least I’m not lost or anything.

So on Saturday we only have done a really short 30 mins swim session, so Toby was able to see our technique. My kicking is okay, but I keep crossing my arms. So the plan for the week for me was to correct that.

7pm team dinner, we had our own table in the far back. Bumped into Dee in the restaurant and she showed me where we were sitting. At this point we were still missing some camp mates, due to a massive sand storm , which was coming over from Africa, the airport has been closed down and planes been turned around.

The food at the hotel is in a buffet style , so you just go and help yourself. The only thing is that I had to pay for my drinks at dinner, because I was half board only. But at breakfast I was able to drink the juices, teas and coffees. Definitely not bad for the price I have paid.

Day 2 – 23rd February – Sunday

We have started the day with Dee and my first ever yoga session at 7.30am. Have to say it was a totally different experience, but did like it. I mean I always thought that yoga is easy, but it’s definitely not. I used muscled which I don’t think I have used before. But I did enjoy learning something new.

At 10am we had our induction with Toby , and was talked through about the plans for the week. Had to sign a waiver , got our freebies ( custom flip flops, buff and some kinesiology tape ) all thanks to Meglio.

Also Toby has explained that this is a “ continuous camp” which means, we sleep – train – eat – train – rest and keep repeating it for the whole day and the again for the days ahead. So it’s a crazy busy camp, it’s hard, but it’s also totally rewarding.

Because of the sandstorm our morning bike ride had been cancelled, it was way too windy and the air wasn’t clear enough to cycle.

We had our first run session in the afternoon though. There is a really nice 3km loop around the resort. There are up and down hills so makes the run more interesting , but there’s hardly any shade. There’s a few palm trees but that’s all. I never been to Lanzarote before, so it was a total surprise to me that there’s hardly and greenery. Sunglasses and a visor needed for the runs. It wasn’t crazy hot, but because of the lack of shade meant that the sun caught us a lot. It was our Long run day, so I managed to do 3loops, the faster people went up to 5 laps ( 15km).

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After the run I’ve decided to go to the shops, just to get some lunch for a few days. Spending and extra 20 euros on lunch in the hotel everyday can be quiet expensive.

So when I was leaving my room I finally met with my next door. B. was sitting infront of the room, looked like he got locked out. Him and M. were sharing a room. Well that’s my second worry over. At least now I knew who’s next to me, and luckily they are not weirdos. Specially that we had a through door between our rooms, it was locked but I was a bit worried in the first few days about what if they can open it haha.

Swimming was at 4-5pm every day, because Toby hired the lanes out, so we didn’t have to share it with other hotel guests.

I never swam in a 40m pool before, so it was a different experience. Wow it feels like crazy long compared to my usual 25m pool. But because it was a salted water pool , everyone was really buoyant, no wetsuit needed. This time around we had to do a Pyramid set, started with 2 laps and slowly built it up 400m ( 10 laps ) and back down to 80m.

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I’m not a fast swimmer, I mean I’m not a fast cyclist or runner either. But every day I tried to do my best, even if it took me longer than the others, or just covered less distance.

Just before dinner at 7pm we had a champagne reception. By this point almost everyone arrived. Then we went to have dinner.

This time around I made sure I’m not sitting at the end of the table, I really wanted to make sure I’ll interact with the others. I’m always pretty nervous meeting with new people so this camp was a good practice , just to see how I get on with others, or am I ending up sitting at the far end and not talking to anyone. Luckily the company was great so did have a great evening.

Day 3 – 24th February – Monday

Yayyy cycling day. The weather is back to it’s normal self so we got the go ahead for the bike ride.

But as usual we started our day with Yoga but then instead of having breakfast we went for our first trail run, which was on the coast. I have to say I rarely do trail runs because they are such a hard work, and I’m more like a comfort zone runner, and as you’ll find out later on I’m the same with cycling and swimming. But the view from the coast was incredible. It was definitely worth it. My pace on the trail was over a full minute slower than my normal running pace on the road, and also my heart rate went up higher as well. But just tried to do as well as I could and not worrying about pace or heart rate.

After the run we had our usual team breakfast, then down to the bike garage and finally went for a bike ride.

I really should have looked into Lanzarote more, it’s a tiny island, but crazy hilly. It’s like when my sister and I turned up for the Isle of Wight half marathon and expected a flat course, we’ll have to say that was crazy hilly as well.

So as I said before I’m a comfort runner/swimmer/cyclist. I have my set cycling routes from Andover down to Stockbridge , Romney, Winchester and back home. Even the longest 60km route hardly has any hills in it. I think its about 4-5 hills maybe, and because I know the route well I know how to pace myself so I get over them etc.

So Lanzarote is crazy hilly, we had a 12km bike ride from the hotel up to the main main road, which was in the middle of the island, so this 12km was almost a constant uphill. Ohh dear me why did I sign up for this ? I hate hills so much. But I’m here because I want to get better, get out of my comfort zone more and be a better athlete. Even though I’m still slow. We have only done a short 30km ride , but was more than enough for me.

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I haven’t cycled outdoors since the end of September, because the weather is pretty bad, and I do like using Zwift. But using Zwift is not the same as cycling outside. So after speaking with Phil ( my coach ) we have agreed that I’ll cycle as much outdoors from now on as I can, well weather permitted. By this point I had a mild panic going on , I always thought I’m better on hills. I mean all the hills I do around me are short but steep , so I’m happy with them, but having mile long climbs that’s totally different. So had to message Phil, so he could come up with a contingency plan for me.

It’s so good that I had bought some lunch from the shop the day before because by the time we got back from our ride, we didn’t have much time till we had to go for our swim.

Day 4 – 25th February – Tuesday

We started our day with our usual yoga session, then went to breakfast straight away, because Toby wanted us to be out riding by 9am. Long day planned in the saddle, with more hills, more heat, but with a coffee + cake stop. You know we triathletes are cycling for the cakes. We do anything for a good cake and coffee.

Today we have cycled through Tías up to Teguise and then back to our hotel. The first part was mainly uphill, but the way back was down hill. All in we did cycle 55km, have to say I am pleased with that. Wasn’t a fast ride by any means, but I did enjoy being outside.

After a bit of an afternoon nap ( I mean who doesn’t love afternoon naps ? Specially when you worked so hard for it ), we met up at the pool to drop off our swimming gear, and we went for a run. I never done a run – swim brick session before, so it was interesting. But at least I had a chance to wear my tri suit.

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The plan was to run a 22.5mins out and 22.5mins back , then quickly jump into the pool and swim continuously for 45mins. The run part was pretty good, mainly because it was around the resort and we were running on the roads, my pace was slower than usual though. Probably because this was now day 4 and started to feel tired. But on the other hand I was happy with my swim. Okey not a crazy speedy swim, and definitely slower than my other ones. But I did swim continuously for 45mins. This is the first time doing this since last year’s SwimSerpentine in September, I swam continuously 2 miles then, but since then I didn’t have to do any continuous swim. I usually do drills, or maybe up to 400m’s.

 

By this point I started to get really stiff and sore. Why the hell I didn’t bring my foam roller with me? Specially that I do have 3 at home. I never though about it. So quickly asked around and managed to get a lacrosse ball for the week, which was great for my back, and then also got a foam roller for the night. Next time around I’ll make sure I have my foam rollers with me.

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Day 5 – 26th February – Wednesday

After another early yoga session, we had an early breakfast to, and was out on our bikes from 9am. Lizi finally made it to the camp, and we went out with her. She’s got a bit delayed because of the cancellations caused by the sandstorm.

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So the plan for the day was to even go further up. Yeah, you heard, more hills. At this point I realised how unfit I am, and I really need to do more hill work.

So we have cycled past Teguise and went up to Haría. It was such a hard work, but at the end the view definitely was worth it, and also I need to mention the awesome cake stop at the top.

On the way back to the hotel it was mainly down hill, yay I love downhills. So we managed to get back to the hotel pretty quickly, overall we did cycle 78km. So as you can see the distance was slowly creeping up, even though we started to get more tired.

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When we got back from our ride we had to do a mini brick session. Straight off from the bike we went to do a loop around the hotel. I have to say I hardly felt my legs, they felt like jelly and the heat didn’t help either. But on the other hand this run turned out to be one of the fastest run for me in the week. How strange is that.

The swim was another pyramid session after the initial 160m warm up. Have to say after all these long days out on the bike and then on the run, it was really refreshing to jump into the pool.

At dinner I’ve spoken with Toby that I’m a comfort cyclist and I hardly do any hill work. So doing that 12km uphill everyday is a massive struggle for me. Then we agreed that when I go back home I need to do more hills, even if I’m slower and they are a much harder workouts.

After dinner went out with some of the guys for a coffee. It was good to leave the hotel and be outside in normal clothes, even if it was just for a bit.

Day 6 – 27th February – Thursday

I’ve started to master these yoga sessions. I’m still pretty inflexible, but it does relaxes me a lot, makes my breathing under control and it’s just a great experience.

Straight after yoga we’ve gone for our morning run. It was a trail run again. Ahh well I need to improve my running as well. So let’s do this.

The plan was to do a shorter ride today, so we are all ready for the BIG one on Friday.

This time I was grouped up with Toby, Lizi went out with the faster group.

After yesterday’s cycling defeat, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this ride. But I did try to have a positive mind.

Climbing up that first 12kms are started to get better. Then on the main road instead of turning right we did turn left. It was mainly a flat and fast course, but did have the odd bits of hills. Not sure because of my talk with Toby the day before , or not, but he did kept an eye on me. So I ended up following ( drafting) him or D. for the whole course. I can’t believe how much easier my ride turned into . Don’t get me wrong I still had to peddle hard to keep up with them. But instead of being lazy and roll down hills , like I always do, we peddled down all of them and up all of them. This was my “ A day “ of cycling, definitely. I was tired by the end , because I’m not used to this much peddling, but it was definitely worth it. Me who hates hills, they made them so easy. I literally tucked behind them , had the same gear set up as them and just peddled, I never been so fast going up hills.

I just wish drafting in Bolton would be legal haha. I would definitely ask one of them to come along and help me around the course. I can dream, right?

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Day 7 – 28th February – Friday

The plan was to do an over 100k bike ride, longest of the week. But usually plans are change, specially at my end.

I really didn’t feel the ride at all, I managed to get over being physically tired, but mentally I was knackered. So when I got up to Teguise I’ve told Lizi that I’m going back to the hotel. P. had to leave as well, because of his early flight, so we ended up cycling back together. At the end it ended up as a 50km ride. It wasn’t my best or even my worst ride, but I just didn’t feel it at all. But there’s always something to learn from even from a bad day.

It’s day 7 and so far I have done every single session, I never trained this much in my life in a few days, usually I do this much probably 2-3 weeks, but definitely not in 7 days.

So yes, I was pretty disappointed, because I did wanted to do that 100k , would have been a great start of the year. But it didn’t happen, can’t change it unfortunately.

We got back to the hotel crazy early, because cutting the ride short, so I messaged Dee and asked her if she wants to come out with me for a coffee and cake in the Marina. Ahh and they had the market on as well. My bad day suddenly turned into a great one haha.

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We didn’t do any running this day, instead we had a 30mins yoga session followed by an easy 30mins swim session. It did feel like the perfect ending of a tiring but fun trip.

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I had an early flight on Saturday so I really thought I won’t do anything on Saturday. Well how wrong was I ? At dinner Toby said that we will do the Saturday duathlon well early, so G. and myself can participate as well.

Early night turned into a bit of a late one. Because I had to pack away my bike, and wasn’t planning to do it till Saturday morning. Luckily the box form AJ is supercool and I only had to take off my wheels and pedals. So 10 mins max. But at 10pm everything looks way too long.

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Day 8 – 29th February – Saturday

No lay in for the wicked, and I also had to unpack some things for this morning’s duathlon.

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We’ve met up at the pool at 7.15am, left our swim stuff there and off we went for our run. We’ve been broken into a few groups, according to abilities. I had to run just over 4km and then swim 24 lengths at the 40m pool. I knew that I can finish the run first in my group, but also knew that I’ve get beaten in the swim part. So the plan was to run as fast as I could to build up some time, so I’ll have more time to swim. At the end the guy who ran slower than me, ended up beating me on the swim part ( just as I have anticipated) and it wasn’t a small win, he managed to finish 3 full laps ahead of me. Oops. I clearly need to improve my swimming game.

But it was crazy fun and the whole thing took us less than an hour.

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Quick shower and off to have my last breakfast at camp with the team. 

Final thoughts:

And that’s the wrap for a productive , trying , challenging, awesome, fun , crazy week in Lanzarote.

I’ve done something what I never done before and never thought I ever will, because I’m a pretty shy person , and I’m someone who loves her comfort zone.

I never been in a training camp like this

I didn’t know anyone here

Found it on Instagram and after speaking with Toby I’ve paid him 😬

Never travelled with my bike

Never been on this island before

NEVER trained this much in my whole life in 6 days.

  • Am I tried ? Yes.
  • Did I have great days ? Yes.
  • Did I wobble on some days ? Yes.
  • BUT I didn’t skip one single session and I’m still smiling. Even though I’m mentally and physically tired.

But till then here are the stats:

Swim : 11 200m ( 4:15:17 )
Bike : 268km (13:20:49)
Run : 34.9km ( 4:10:05)
Yoga : 4:12:04
15 507 calories been burnt
25hrs 58mins and 21 sec all together 😱

Am I coming back ?

If I can get the time off next year I’ll be back without a doubt. I met with so many amazing and inspirational people on this camp that it’s totally unreal.

I knew it in my whole life that I’m a comfort zone athlete. I don’t like hills , so rarely do hill reps on the bike or on the run.

I’m happy with my swim pace , so I just stick with that. I love getting faster on my runs , but that’s the only thing I work hard for.

BUT this week showed me that I’m capable of doing so much more. I just need to step outside of that comfortable place and be a bit uncomfortable.

This past 8 days given me so much confidence that I can’t even describe. I know I can do the training and the hard work if I set my mind to it. My body is totally capable to do it. I just need to do that small step and being uncomfortable a tiny bit.

I’m still not a great cyclist , I’m not fast or even strong. Those Lanza hills killed my confidence a bit. So that needs to improve , a lot, and I’m the only person who can do that.

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So next time I’m out riding , I’ll make sure I change up my routes and go somewhere new. Even if I just push myself a tiny bit every time , that would make me much better in the long run.

Being comfortable is great , and I do love that feeling, but that doesn’t make me any better.

And I do want to be better, I just need to set that bar a bit higher each time and try to reach it and just work hard till I can get there.

Do I recommend this camp ?

Totally! When Toby told me months ago that this camp is for everyone he didn’t lie. I’m far from being fast, but I had an amazing time with them and learnt and improved a lot in this past week. So yes, I definitely do recommend it, you can be a total beginner or even a pro, you’ll definitely will enjoy your week. 

If anyone have any question please just comment below or message me, and I’ll try to answer.

Also here’s Toby’s website : Lanzarote Fitness Camp 2020 | Toby Garbett – Olympian and two-time World Champion rower

Lizi’s website: Triathlon Coaching – Road to Kona

Dee’s website: https://deeoppyoga.com/

Love,

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