We spoke to one of our sports travel insurance customers, triathlete Amy Kilpin, about her experience of the Lanzarote Marathon 10K and training out of season.
A small island off the African coast in the Pacific Ocean, characterised by majestic volcanoes and dramatic lava fields. Who knew it would become a triathlon Mecca. Lanzarote is a hub for athletes across a multitude of sports, and it’s easy to see why.
Just a four hour flight from Europe and you can benefit from year-round sunshine with temperatures around 18-22 degrees celcius – even in the depths of “Winter”. Silken smooth roads, spectacular climbs and world-class sporting facilities are just some of the aspects of athlete appeal.
As a triathlete, I can’t stop coming back. It is like my spiritual home. I look at the mountainous silhouette against the sunset backdrop and feel like I am breathing fresh air for the first time. Poetic or not, you need to experience it to believe it.
Two weeks before Christmas and I am here yet again. I was lucky enough to be offered a race entry into the Lanzarote Marathon – being this time of year, I opted for the 10k as a quality race to work on speed/tempo before my next race in January. Organised by Sands Beach Active, a hotel with a sports aspect in seaside resort Costa Teguise, it was a great event to sharpen me up at a time of year when it’s mostly about long slow miles.
I was also extremely fortunate to be offered a week’s stay at Tri Sports Lanzarote. This is the training camp of all training camps. Run by lovely, hospitable couple, Daz and Debs, Tri Sports Lanzarote offers the option of fully coached training weeks with a full triathlon itinerary, or the ability to stay and do your own thing, while Debs ensures we are all (extremely well) fed with a limitless supply of fresh, tasty and varied food. It’s certainly an incentive for all the training!
Nestled in the mountainside on the Southern coast of Lanzarote, with an ocean view and a mountain vista, it is the epitome of idyllic. What’s more, it’s a luxury 9 bedroom villa with its own grounds, including a 25m pool, bike workshop and gym. Daz and Debs have thought of everything to make it the most functional yet comfortable place imaginable while you’re making the most of your training on this fascinating island. I felt truly at home.
On race day I was a bit nervous, stupidly, but I think my body just knows when I am racing, whether it is an off-season 10k or a world championship triathlon. I wasn’t hung up on a particular result for this race, I just knew I didn’t want to have a terrible performance, even though I knew that at this point in the season, it’s hardly going to be PB territory.
I started out pushing hard but at a pace which I felt was sustainable. It was hot, and there were hills. Every time I felt myself relaxing into an easier pace I pushed harder – my pacing, as a result, was impeccable. My primary thought was how quick a 10k is! It’s over within the hour – I am used to racing for over 5 hours, this was an amazing feeling!
Down the finish chute for a nice sprint (ish) finish and I just crept in at 49 minutes. Hardly breaking records (even my own) but nevertheless, this was probably better than I expected at this time of year. I later discovered I was 9th in the Senior category and 13th female overall out of 156. I’m not really a runner so this was quite pleasing. Yep, I’ll take that.
The marathon and the other distances forged a fantastic atmosphere on the day and the team at Sands Beach did a commendable job of the event. Everything ran smoothly and the post-race offering was brilliant – they know how to do food and drink out here, that’s for sure!
The rest of the week was focusing on some long miles on the bike and some quality hours in the pool, as well as making the most of the surrounding hills for some run hill reps. Lanzarote is no mean feat for athletes – the often ferociously strong winds and warm weather can provide challenging conditions – it can only make you stronger! In between the training, the relaxation at Tri Sports Lanzarote is second to none. It is the ultimate in peace and tranquillity. A real home from home.
I feel content that I have managed to fit in a week of high quality training to mark the end of what has been a very satisfying year for me in triathlon. I am working towards 2016 – hopefully another successful season, and I am pretty confident that a few more training camps at Tri Sports Lanza will be instrumental to my performance. Thank you yet again, Lanzarote. Hasta luego.