I penned my last post “Come Fly with Me” at the airport, heading to Thanyapura Phuket, and here I am seven days later writing the next one as I’m homeward bound. I had high hopes of getting some material written and working on this blog whilst I was away, however that didn’t happen. The amount of inspiration and material I now have to write about is huge don’t get me wrong, and you will be hearing about it all in good time. But I underestimated how much the training would take it out of me. Go stay in a luxury resort in Thailand, swim, bike and run a bit, take a few photos and report back about it… Sounds easy enough right? Hmmm not so right.
From the day I arrived at Thanyapura I knew this week was going to be even more than I could have imagined. As we got a tour through the hotel and facilities I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face (although that could’ve just been due to the cute Czech swimmers we were passing). This place was absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t wait to get into the training.
The first day I was booked in for a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test, that’s basically a measure of the maximum average power you can hold for one hour (tested in the case riding on a stationary bike). Once you have that data you can extrapolate it to guide your training sessions, which is why I did it. Long story short it’s high intensity and it burnt like hell and wasn’t something I want to do again in a hurry. That afternoon despite being tired from travelling we attended the running session, some drills and skills on the track. It was not too much volume but after the FTP test my legs were a little stingy, then Tuesday was when the fun really began.
Ride 120km they said, it will be fun they said. Actually I am not sure that anyone mentioned the word fun, but I could use a few other adjectives to describe it. There were about 15 guys on the ride, one other girl and I. I rode faster than I have ever ridden in my life, I was worried about being dropped (left behind) in the middle of nowhere in a foreign country so rode like a maniac to keep up with the boys. I was so exhausted when I got home I could barely string a sentence together, but stumbled back to the hotel area. I collapsed in a heap on the bed and struggled to move as I grunted and groaned to Jeremy explaining the ride, my fatigue, pain and hunger. The week continued on a lot like this after each training session, although that Tuesday ride was definitely the most intense. When every muscle in your body hurts and is screaming for rest or food the last thing you feel like doing is writing an inspiring post, or any type of post really. If my aim is to get more people involved in triathlon, they did not want to be reading my mind on Tuesday.
Despite what I have just written, I really have had one of the best training experiences of my life. I have travelled to a few countries now for leisure and to race but a training holiday is something completely different. There is not the anticipation of a race and the emotional highs and lows afterwards (especially post Ironman). I don’t have that sense of accomplishment like you would post-race, or the sense of total relaxation after a holiday. My body hurts all over, but in a really satisfying way (my fellow crazy people will probably be able to relate).
I’ve experienced a country I’ve never been to before but in a non-conventional way. I have seen more of Phuket on two wheels than most visitors would see on four. I didn’t do all of the typical tourist attractions, in fact I barely did any. If I had my time over would I do anything different? Yes, probably add two extra days onto the trip. One to do the Sunday long ride with the Thanyapura crew, and one to spend a day on a boat visiting the islands. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and at least I will have something extra special to look forward to next time I visit.
Over the next week I will go through my many photos, and attempt to share with you the magic that was Thanyapura. Some of you will read it and probably think it sounds like the week from hell, but lots of you will be green with envy, it really is triathlon heaven. It’s not your average Thailand holiday that’s for sure, but who wants to be average when you can be awesome?