The Centro Altitud is like a big space ship.
At 2350m above sea level It’s both sunny and snowy.
The cycle from the nearest city of Granada is 31k and takes me 2hours uphill.
The run from Sierra Nevada village at 2200m 8k uphill to the military base at 2550m takes 41minutes 30s.
Last nite was -8 when I got there.
With everything under one roof Spain’s Altitude centre is an athletes haven for every kind of sport. The 50m pool has underwater cameras, underwater viewing areas, even plasma tv poolside. The rest- weights room, cardio room, indoor 100m track, outdoor track, analysis centre, sports med & physio included so we can monitor blood markers for iron/ hemoglobin/ hematacrit. Breakfast, lunch, dinner & wifi under the same roof to train 24-7 is just about perfect. Day off? In 3 weeks here we have 1, I’m happy to sleep & read. I’ve read 2 books since I’ve been here (I’d recommend both Nicolas Roche & Andre Agassi).
We’ve also cycled up the mountain 4times so far, and run to the top from here 3. I’ve had my first experience on rollers (sorry Declan), and my first track session of 2012 in Granada (8x split 800s, 45rest 3m between sets). Coach Chris & SINI physiologist Declan were here for 10days and have handed over to Tommy for the remainder. We even had a visit from RTE folk for a wee slot on winning streak on Saturday night. Alls well and the craic is ninety with Conor, Gav and Caroline for company. Basically its been all go since my last blog and to fill you in on the rest….
After Tongyeong I had some time off, headed home to Derry and on some holimadays to Portugal to lye in the sunshine a few days. With no more than a few lengths granny stroke and a walk as means of exercise for 2 weeks it was poles apart from my daily routine.
I was asked back to talk to the ‘sporty kids’ in my old school (Thornhill) and to St Cecilias where I had done my PE teaching practice a few years ago. I hope I said all the right things!
I was nominated as Novembers Irish Times sportswoman of the month and got to attend the end of year prize ceremony where Nina Carberry (Jockey) picked up the overall 2011 honors.
In December I headed off to my winter ‘home’ in Aguilas to swim/ bike/ run/ eat/ sleep in the sunshine. Apart from the usual Gav & Connor, we were joined by a host of others including Martin Muldoon Irish Ironman, Caroline Ryan Irish track cyclist, Philip Deginan pro-cyclist and young Jack Wilson who cycles with my club in Lisburn. Athletes Darren McBrearty & Thomas Chamney joined in the craic to make great entertainment at the dinner table and meant we had a whole room full of Irish to cheer on Fionnuala Britton (coached by Chris) to European Cross Country success. The camp was fab as always, and a few 4 hour rides in the mountains set me up for a Lap-of-the-Lough with the Maryland boys when I got home 3 days before Christmas! (Lough Neagh that is- 89miles in 4hours 51mins)
Christmas brought a Downtown Abbey box set and no actual days off as I opted for a 5k road race in Stranolar on boxing day. I thought it would be fun to go all out from the start (cos it was only 5k), but it was in fact no fun at all at 3k when I reached a new max heart rate of 177! I was just glad to finish in 18.30ish, It was actually a 1minute 30s pb as I hadn’t done a 5k since being a ‘serious athlete’ some 4 years ago. I tried again on new years eve at a ‘Park Run’ 5k in Cavehill where I was a bit more conservative and managed a similar time 18.45ish over a tougher course. Happy enough I suppose with only winter aerobic miles in my legs.
With the race season fast approaching I need to start thinking about which races to do. Having signed this year for the best French Team, POISSY, I’m hoping to open up with a Duathlon (run bike run) for them if it works out, before taking on an ETU and then the first WCS of the year in Sydney which will be a big race, with all the big guns. Then flying the following week to the Japanese Island of Isgahaki where I bagged a silver medal last year.
So my first few races should look like this;
FGP Duathlon, Vitrolles, France 11 March, TBC.
ETU cup Quarteria, Portugal 31 March WCS Sydney,
Aus 14 April WC Ishagaki, Japan 22 April.
After that I’ll regroup, though have a rough idea of what I hope to do, I’ll leave it at that for now.
Lastly well done and good luck to my world class swimming, cycling and running buddies. Beth Carson of Lisburn won 2 bronze medals in 2.02.44 200fc & 100.86 100fly at the weekend in Luxembourg. Whilst Caroline Ryan will head on to a bike track camp in prep for the London World Cup, and Amy Foster will be looking a to dominate in the Irish Indoors 60m 12feb at the Odyssey. Go the girlies!
Hope you all are training hard, and have got your hotel/ tent for staying in Hyde Park in August!