Saturday, March 23, 2013

Triathlon Heaven

I'm now in the midst of a six-day stay just outside Nelson, New Zealand, a coastal town on the north end of the South Island. And, I'm pretty much living in my own personal paradise.
Backyard view
I wrote some time back about how as I've traveled around New Zealand and Australia, I've spent a lot of nights in motels and backpackers.  For this phase of the trip, I decided to do things a little differently.  I'm staying in an amazing bed & breakfast called Cat's Pjamas, located a little outside Nelson on beautiful land overlooking water and mountain, and owned and operated by Lis, the most hospitable person I have ever met, and Chris, who just so happens to have done six Ironmans (one on each continent save Antarctica which doesn't have one) and is, from what I can tell (he is, unfortunately, out of town for business), as obsessive of a triathlete as is out there.  In a good way, of course.  Lis seems to be supportive-triathlon-spouse extraordinaire, so she's more than a little tuned into the sport, too. 
What this means in practical terms is that I am staying in an absolutely stunning house, enjoying organic and healthy breakfasts filled with ingredients grown by Lis in her garden, and have my own personal guide to the region.  Every day, Lis helps me plan out my sightseeing and my training, pointing me in the direction of good cycling and running routes, and then greeting me when I get back with protein shakes and conversation.
Potato fritatta, tomatos, avocados, bread...just a normal (amazingly delicious) breakfast around here
And, oh yeah.  There's this.
That's Chris's pain cave, which I've been given access to.  A Computrainer, a treadmill, weights, a shelf full of triathlon books and magazines, a sauna if I wanted to heat train (I don't).  Oh, and let's not forget the endless pool outside. Did I mention I'm in triathlon heaven?  Did I also mention that this only costs marginally more than I'd be paying to be in a motel?

Of course, I'm still easing (slowly) back into training and my fitness is, well, pretty much completely gone, but I can't really think of a better scenario for getting started again than what I've got here.  I'm trying, for now, to keep the swim-bike-run stuff as low-key and fun as I can, while still getting it done.  That is working out quite nicely because this little triathlon heaven happens to be located in one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand that I've seen, right near Abel Tasman National Park.  So while I have a Computrainer and treadmill I could be using, I'm choosing instead to incorporate my training into my sightseeing. 
Yesterday, for example, I had a little run to do.  I drove out to Abel Tasman National Park, took a water taxi 17 kilometers down the coast, strapped on a Camelback, headed to the trail, ran the first 6K or so, and then hiked the remaining 11.  I've never actually run with a Camelback, and the extra couple pounds from that thing on my back, combined with the extra "couple" pounds on my body from my little triathlon hiatus/bender, the hills, and the tricky footing of a singletrack trail, made for a challenging run, indeed, but it was also among the most enjoyable runs I've had in a long, long time.  It didn't feel like "training" when I was out there.... it felt like "exploring."  I liked that.   The amazing views didn't hurt.
A particularly tame section of my little trail
Then today,  I'd heard there was a great farmers' market in Nelson, a couple towns away, so I forgot about any notions of aerodynamics, put a backpack on and rode my bike to the market, where I took a little rest, indulged in a toffee and banana crepe (most definitely not in the fuel plan), shopped around, bought some art, and then pedaled my way back home.  I didn't look at watts or cadence or heart rate or anything, I didn't care....I just wanted to enjoy my ride.  And I did.

I think these extensive instructions would be helpful in Chicago on the Lakefront Path

This would be how I rewarded myself for riding easy for a whole 2.5 hours

Overall, my little bonus week in New Zealand has thus far proven to be a great success.  I'm seeing the sights, I'm slowly getting my groove back when it comes to triathlon, I'm ending my trip on my own terms and leaving happy (which is not to say I won't cry a little when my plane leaves New Zealand soil, don't want to leave).   Now, we just need the midwest to warm up a bit before I get back there.

Normal fall morning in a Nelson park.  First, we see cricket...

Then a child randomly dressed as a tiger (there was also a pig and a cow and a bunny)

No comments:

Post a Comment