Welcome to the Heat pt2
With our time at Club La Santa coming to an end, we couldn’t bare the thought of not spending the rest of the week there so decided to see if there was any space for the rest of the week. We were in luck! We could stay there if we changed rooms each night until we left … sounds mad, but we were sold!
Day 4 Wednesday
Wednesday started with a sunrise 8km (5miles) run along our favourite trail as an out and back. The heat was feeling normal now and I didn’t need a drink the whole way, although I my body was well hydrated from regularly drinking throughout the holiday. My legs were surprisingly still feeling fresh despite the recent marathon and daily activity this week. It just shows the stress of work in daily life and the impact it has on physical and mental recovery compared to the chilled out nature of ‘doing nothing’.
I let my go to trainers for the week, the Hoka Speedgoats, have a break and wore the first pair of trails I ever bought for a change. They were good but felt like I had put my stabilisers back on haha! Nothing beats the cushioning of a Hoka (all sponsorship deals considered Hoka if you are reading this!).
I find Hokas narrow at times, but the new designed Speedgoats seemed to hold up for the week with no issues, along with the trusted injinji toe socks of course. They are now a strong contender for my Marathon des Sables shoe of choice!
After the run, we took the legs out for a spin on the MTB’s where my hands were red raw from holding the handle bar grips too tightly to stay upright over the stones and rocks. My MTB skills were improving all the time though and I felt much more comfortable riding on the more technical bits! After a rest by the pool, it was time for a fitness boxing class. This was a standard boxing class consisting of upper cuts, drills and burpees, not forgetting the standard smelly gloves.
We ended the evening with our favourite cheap and quick dinner spot at the poolside cafe where they have the best Vegan burger I have ever had. Bold statement I know...
Day 5 Thursday
Second long run day. This was 23km (14miles) with a heavier backpack and reversed route. We set out early to watch the sunrise which was stunning. I put on some motivating tunes and ran to the “beat in the heat”! I loved this run and got really into it, especially when it finally hit a slight downhill at mile 10 after feeling like I’d been running uphill from the start haha.
My choice of bag, OMM, actually felt a better fit today with a bit more weight in it. It didn’t rub or shake about at all and I am very impressed with it.
Of course, we had another 20min swim to make the most of the amazing 50 metre pools. We were also fascinated by the two Inverclyde synchronised swimming teams training in the pool alongside us and especially the tapping of the beat of the songs on the metal pool steps by the coaches so that the swimmers could follow the tempo. It was amazing how loud and how far this tapping carried under water.
Day 6 Friday
Sad that it was our last full day. Another running rest day was on the plan to recover from the 14miler on Thursday. We went for a nice gentle long MTB cycle on the trails to the nearby town to grab lunch and then a gentle cycle back.
We then (of course) had another 20min swim and madly - another Body Bike Smart session.
Our bums weren’t happy about it but it turned out to be one of the best classes I’ve ever done. Unsure if it was the teacher, the workout, the great tunes, just getting used to the technology or the jelly babies I ate before - or combo of all of these - but it was amazing!
Day 7 Saturday
Volcano run day! My run started with a leisurely 10km through the town La Santa to the volcano that is ⅙ the size of the biggest climb at MDS (known as Big Jebel). This didn’t quite go to plan. After running to the volcano and ¾ of the way up the very steep climb to the top I realised the path was not as clear or easy as I first thought.
With sheer drops and very unstable rocks and stones, I called it quits and walked back down the way I came. I knew I could’ve got to the top but it wasn’t worth the risk of not being able to get back down safely.
After sliding my way back down, I ran back around the base of the volcano and did a few hill reps up the smaller and safer trails on the other side of the volcano. All in all it was another good run to end the week on a high! It was however time to leave the heat and head back to the Jersey winter for the next few months.
The week has certainly given me the confidence that I will be ok in the heat of the Sahara carrying a heavy backpack and I was particularly pleased that I seemed to get stronger as the week went on feeling better and better with each run.
Having the rest of the day to recover at MDS after the runs will be vital and I am not planning to spend my downtime at MDS swimming, bike spinning, boxing, cross-fit, abs training or even the amazing bungee exercise!
Now it’s time to build endurance, keep the mileage up, run with my gear as much as possible and enjoy the build up to April 2020. Next up, the mud and cold temperatures of the Wendover Woods 50.