So, week one of my challenge is done and if I were actually in South America I would be halfway between Barranquilla and Barrancabermeja, just south of Aguachica (aren't these great names!)
My current mileage split is sitting like this:
The paddleboarding and kayaking elements are yet to kick in.....
It would be difficult to try and simulate conditions given that the air temperature in Colombia is currently sitting around 26deg whereas London has been fluctuating between 1 and 10deg this week. And then there was the snow!
The water conditions however, I feel I might have been able to simulate to a point. Passing through this part of Colombia, the town of Magangue sits on the Magdalena river, which possibly shares some of the features of the Thames...a bit muddy and fast flowing.
The only difference being I can't help but feel that the Magdalena would have been significantly warmer than the Thames. I felt cheated by my two swims this week. With temperature in the Thames at around 6deg, I could only really stay in for about 11 or 12mins and with the river flow creeping up by the day, where I would normally have covered around 5 or 600 metres in that time, my Garmin depressingly recorded 2 or 300metres. Who has ever trained in an endless pool? Swimming for over 2minutes if was depressing to look up and see that I had barely moved! Was I tempted to fudge my distance to account for my real efforts? Yes! But that would be wrong - what if I was actually swimming against the current in the Magdalena?
Yes, hands up, the majority of my mileage this week has been cycling. Mostly due to Covid restrictions and easing back into my running after a bit of an achilles issue. Far from the dusty, hot hills of Colombia, my cycling has revolved around essential work cycling trips (laden with panniers), laps around parks and turbo/Zwift sessions.
But I did do those 'around a volcano', does that count??
And so onto the other most important component of the week - refuelling! Well at this time of year I would be gearing up to host my legendary (even though I say so myself) Burns Supper. Eight or nine friends, great food, Burns recitals, music and the slightly controversial (but delicious) haggis lasagne. So cue a pared back version for two.
BUT what a great surprise, in the spirit of what would be a welcome addition to anyone away from home doing an an endurance challenge - a 'Scottish Care Package' arrived from my lovely training buddy Allison all the way from Aberdeen. Comprising of butteries (look them up!), haggis, neeps and tatties crisps, shortbread, fudge and Irn Bru pastilles, what more could lift your spirits? Apparently sent as a thank you for arranging our weekly TRX training sessions. Well Allison it's been a pleasure and let's do some more reps next week to offset those carbs!
What does week two hold in store? Well you might think 'more of the same'. But no, Coach Tom has pulled a wildcard challenge for this month and here is is...
‘To prepare for the long climbs and descents in the Andes, this week let's get you doing something that you love… 1000m of climbs and descents at 6% or more on the bike’
Hmmm...thanks Tom, I think the word 'love' is ironic. Some more creativity will be required to try and get those sessions in.
And for those who know me, those descents worry me more than the climbs.
But that's another story for next week...
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.