The Trailblazer

Triathlon Training Day — A Santarena Story

By 3 January, 2019 No Comments
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It’s triathlon training day.

You wake up before the sun rises, pump up your bike tires and fill your bottles for this morning’s long ride. Your bike preparation complete, you and your fellow triathlon campers caravan out to the foothills of the mountains, where after a short warm up you’re climbing. As you do, you notice the sun as it begins to rise over the mountain and the valleys beyond in the first moments of dawn. You take in fresh air, and the only sound you hear is your smooth pedal strokes. Satisfied, but knowing that the day has only just begun, you finish the ride back to the bottom of mountains.

On the way back into town, you and your fellow riders stop in at the Copper & Stone market, a new spot that just opened up that serves great juices that are perfect after this workout — fresh, clean, and high energy — and you recap the ride. Gear shifting during climbs and descents was a key part of today’s practice, and you’re feeling more confident, but there’s always room for improvement.

When everyone’s wrapped up breakfast, it’s time to head to the coast. After a quick detour back to base to grab your goggles and cap, you meet up late with the crew as they’re doing some warm ups on the beach for the open water swim session. They give you a hard time, but that’s just part of the fun, and you make up the time quickly and start the workout.

The water is pleasantly warm today and the surf is darn near flat, so you don’t run into much trouble fighting your way out past the breakers and quickly settle into a rhythm. It’s easy to sink into the pattern of stroke and stroke and stroke once you’re out cruising through the waves, but the water’s particularly clear today, and in the early morning light you can see schools of golden trevally drifting along the bottom, a pair of sea turtles slicing through the water, and the graceful gliding figure of a few rays soaring along the bottom. Give it another half a k, and you round one of the islets, starting to feel the burn of the workout as you return to the beach. Those easygoing sea creatures zipping around beneath you are just taunting you at this point. Cheaters.

The waves have picked up just a bit as you return to the shore, and with one last big push you catch a wave, surfing the rushing water the rest of the way in and flopping up on the shore to watch the rest of the crew as they tumble their way into the beach. There are fist bumps and agua de pipa and fresh fruit, and the camp coach leads the team in a cool down stretch as the heat is picking up. You gather your gear and head back to home base.

You relax for the better part of the morning, which you spend lounging by the pool reading in the cool breeze until lunchtime. One of your favorite spots, Limonada, just revamped their menu with a ton of new colorful and organic options, and you’re meeting some of the other campers there for lunch. While there, you joke that this menu might finally be enough to make you go vegan, which your vegan friends are, of course, supportive of (as they always are). Still, you’re not quite over those smug fish this morning and go for the Asian fish tacos, which hits the spot and satisfies your post-swim hunger.

After a brief siesta, it’s time to head out to the trails. You opt for the longer trail run option, and the rewarding view from the hills is breathtaking. You stop just for a moment to take it all in, and any fatigue in your legs disappears. It’s time to finish the run, and you feel inspired to pick up the pace.

You spend some time chatting with the coach as you both head back into town, before eventually making your way to the WAKE Day Spa, where you’re so ready for some relaxation. You’re just going for the Essential massage today, but a few friends are trying out the new Salt & Stone treatment, which improves circulation and blood flow. You resolve to wait and hear how it is, because that sounds like it might be just the ticket a few days before the race.

You all leave WAKE feeling relaxed and refreshed, and head back to spend a little chill time before dinner. You put on some music and leave the window open to welcome in the fresh breeze blowing through town.

As late afternoon falls, you step onto the balcony, looking out across the skyline. It really is quite the sight in the golden light of early evening, and you snap a quick photo, seeing a text from the crew. Turns out they’re having cocktails downtown at a rooftop terrace before dinner, which you don’t need to be invited to twice.

You change into your clothes for that night and meet your friends on the rooftop, heading straight to the bar and noticing that Jose Pablo, your favorite bartender, is on tonight. You swap stories of the week with him (he’s a huge surfer, and you haven’t been out in a while with all of the triathlon training) as he makes you a gin and tonic. Never one to let you feel down, he lays out a plan for you both to hit the waves next month, once your training for the TRI is over. Your longing for the surf quelled, at least for the moment, you wander over to the balcony to meet your friends just as the sun is setting, and raise a glass to being three weeks out from the race.

After sunset, you all make your way over to Ponciana, the newest restaurant in town, built at the base of a new hotel. You’ve heard a lot about the culinary team behind it, how they almost exclusively use local seasonal ingredients, and how their atmosphere has this cool blend of urban vibe and traditional tropical style, so you’re excited.

A couple of courses later dinner winds down, having blown expectations out of the water. With a smile on your face you say goodnight, heading home for the evening. You’re not planning to do much, probably just a promenade out through your favorite neighborhood across town to relax and do some thinking, but the weather is too nice this evening not to be out and around.

As you slowly make your way up and down the hills in the neighborhood, sharing a smile with some friends out on their porches and ending up on the hill looking over town, you think about how great it is to be able to be able to fit all of this into one day. It’s just a shame that you usually have to spend so much time driving around — here and there, from home to mountains, from mountains to home, home to coast, and then all around town, to the spa and to lunch, back home and then across town to the bar and the hotel and the market. It’s exhausting, and the traffic makes you a little stir crazy.

Luckily, your home base is the Santarena Hotel, and you haven’t gotten in a car all day.

And if that’s surprising to you, and the first time you read this story it had cars in it, you definitely need to come visit.

Stay light, and see you soon.

Colin Sharpe

Author Colin Sharpe

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