Saturday, September 3, 2011

Triathlon Training in the Motherland

From August 28th thru September 1st, I trained at Idlebreaks, a multi-sport training camp nestled in the countryside of Malaga, Spain.  Founded by 7-time Ironman finisher Andy and his lovely wife Tracy, Idlebreaks has been catering to athletes from around the world for 6 years.  Many of the athletes make repeat visits, and within my first day here, I was convinced I'd have a lifetime experience.

Solo flyers like myself participate in a self-catering program, which includes self-meal preparation either in my apartment's kitchen or the large kitchen by the patio and the choice to set my own schedule.  I lucked out that I chose an off-season time to visit, so other than a couple who was only leisurely exercising and mostly site-seeing, I enjoyed private training sessions.  For groups of 6 or more, Idlebreaks can organize a fully-catered visit including home-cooked meals, prompt laundry service, bike rides with accompanying van support,  on-demand driving service, organized open water swims, masseuse, and an onsite outdoor 25 meter pool, cold recovery tank, and jacuzzi just to name a few features.

My primary goals for this visit included regaining my confidence with cycling and swimming.  Granted I had surprised myself with my PR results at a Half Ironman triathlon race just 6 weeks before, I wanted to plant the seeds for a big training year ahead, and do so without the stress that normally accompanies training in a place like Gotham City.  In just 5 days at Idlebreaks, I witnessed my strength and confidence re-building in my toughest disciplines.  Andy closely observed my techniques and offered some insights to make even the toughest climbs seem thrilling (I didn't say pain-free though!) and tips to help overcome my intimidation of open water swimming.  He and Tracy also created a true haven of their premises, offering amenities to accommodate a tired, sore athlete yearning to soak in relaxation after the day's adventure.

A tradition is to attend bingo night at the local village of Villanueva del Rosario.  Andy said that someone from his camp always wins.  There are 3 rounds and guess who went home with the grand prize of $50 Euros?!  Paid for my massage that afternoon.

I concluded my stay at Idlebreaks on a memorable note with twist of the ankle, a notorious repeat injury of mine, while running through the nearby pueblo.  Not to worry, Andy was quick to respond to my call and rescued me with ice packs in the van.  I trust that he's quite accustomed to these types of calls after catering to so many (stubborn) athletes like myself.

While it was sad to see my time at Idlebreaks come to an end and the bags re-packed for the next stop in my journey of the Motherland - Madrid - I promised Andy and Tracy that I would return, hopefully early next summer with some fellow triathletes in tow who will be training for the inaugural Ironman Mont-Tremblant in August 2012.