Friday, January 27, 2012

4 Days in Maputo

This week has gone by so quickly I barely had time train, let alone blog about the (lack of) training! It was supposed to be a business prospecting trip to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and I must say I learned a lot about business here.

The city reminds of Luanda, capital of Angola, as it was back in the 90's, when I used to live there.  Very little traffic and an easy going environment.  Not like the hectic rhythm of Luanda nowadays. I got on the plane on Monday afternoon and it was pretty empty so I was able to sleep since there was nobody by my side on the little Embraer plane.  

As I arrived I had a driver waiting for me to take me to my guesthouse.  As I arrive to the guesthouse the guy at reception checks me in at takes me to chose from two available rooms they had ready for me. He opens the first room and the AC was on, nice and humble room.  The second was opposite the hallway and as he opens the door I see two huge cockroaches running from the door and hiding under the bed!!! ....WTF!?!?..."I'll go with the first room please!" I quickly settled in and tried to forget about that incident!

The following morning I woke up at 5 am as I wanted to go for a jog to see the Indic Ocean sunrise.  It was lovely to see the sun rise off the Maputo marginal (bay).  I think it was the first day back to school and I was surprised to see so many kids up at 5:45 and 6am walking to school! Everyone with their little uniforms walking together and you definitely see the excitement in the children's faces.  I suppose the first day of school is always exciting regardless of whether it' in the UK, Spain, Portugal or Mozambique!

That day I had quite a few meetings scheduled so I proceeded to fulfil my professional obligations but in the evening I met up with some friends who just so happened to also be in Maputo on business as well and we went out for a nice meal! I must recommend MarnaBrasa if you ever go to Maputo. It is a lovely family owned seafood restaurant and the the food is great! You will absolutely love it, but do expect to pay quite a bit for the food and service! It is, however, worth it.


I actually did this course twice, Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday I did 13Km and took it a bit slower, but Thursday I stepped it up a bit and went 1 Km shorter.  The good news is that in one of my meetings here I was I met a lawyer who is helping us on the ground, and in the middle of the conversation I found out he is a triathlete as well, and he had just returned from competing in South Africa's 70.3 Ironman! He happens to be the national coach of the Mozambican team, and he is in charge of creating and developing the triathlon federation in Angola as well! Unbelievable coincidence, and I am really excited about the possibility of competing with the Angolan flag (if I ever make the team, of course).

I was supposed to have travelled today to Angola  today but I had a very important meeting confirmed as I was about to cross immigration at the airport so I decided to go back to check in, get my luggage back, and head to town to book a hotel room and attend the meeting.  This time I went t a different hotel... so no cockroaches!

All in all it was a great week.  Maputo is an easy going place and Mozambicans are very, very pleasant and lovely people in general.  Business-wise it was a very positive trip and will soon have to be back here, but for now, its back to the UK for 10 days before I travel again! In the meanwhile, here are some more photos of Maputo:
Hotel Avenida's Pool
Hotel Avenida's Gym 
View from Hotel
View from Hotel

View from Hotel

View from Hotel

Large Avenue in Maputo

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jackpot! Olympic size pool!

Ok, it sounds like my training in Luanda is about to be stepped up a notch! Just like my recent "finding" of a gym I used in the past, I decided to stop by the national swimming center in Luanda to see if it was operating.  I was pleasantly surprised with my findings! The olympic size pool was operational and empty at the time I went to check it out! This was great news since my pool back in London is only 26m long and busy all the time, no matter how early in the morning I turn up.

Now, with Luanda being the most expensive city in the world and my experience with gym shopping turning up a gym wanting to charge me $50USD for one day's workout, I was prepared for the worst with the pool fees.  The young lady at reception showed me the fees and was pushing me to sign for the yearly package at $1000USD per year! You gotta be kidding me! I told her I live in London and I will only use the pool every two months or so when Im in town so she called the manager to see if there was anything he could do! After a 20 minute wait (because the manager was fixing the power generator), the manager showed up and listened to my case! I told him none of the packages were in line with my needs and I suggested just paying for every time I go in swimming! Anyway, after a long debate he accepted and said it was an exception! GREAT! I can now swim in an olympic size pool in great sunny weather, cycle on technogym spinning bikes, and run as I have been doing lately! I have a feeling I'll train more here than back in the UK! Let's wait and see.

Tomorrow I am off to Mozambique for a week of meetings and I'm already looking for pools and gyms to keep the training schedule going. Bad news is that Im still not going to London, and I miss my ladies like crazy! The good thing is that 2/3 of my time away has passed so I'll be home next Sunday! Yeaaayyyy.

Keep posted for news from Maputo, Mozambique, and here is a nice Maputo sunrise.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Found a Gym in Luanda

Today I decided to find a place to cycle a bit and I went Gym shopping.  First stop was Hotel Tropico's gym, which apparently is the best in town, but as such, they were taking the piss with the price, charging $50USD per session!  They are out of their mind!

I got back in my car and I headed to Fitness Luanda, which I had attended about 7 years go! They had nice facilities and were affordable ad $15 per session, but most importantly, they had 2 spinning bikes in the gym area for clients to use! GREAT!  They also have 3 spinning classes every day so my lack of cycling here in Luanda has now been resolved! All I need now is to find a pool! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Luanda 15Km run

Today I went a bit longer. says i should have swum for 1 hour and run for 1h:15m but, as i mentioned yesterday, I aint got no pool to swim on here in Luanda! Went out for a longer run and actually felt pretty good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No bike, no pool... I just run here in Luanda! 10Km yesterday and 10Km today, and I keep feeling better.  I need to try and pace myself a bit slower in order to keep the HR at or below 3.5/4 as that is what my plan says.  Im off to Maputo next week for a week and I will try to keep the 10Km a day for the remainder of my stay in Africa.  hopefully when the Duathlon gets here I won't feel so bad, at least not in the run, but I gotta make sure I hit the turbo trainer back in the UK

Here are the details for today's and yesterday's runs. Click on each for more details.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Training in Luanda - Flu Hangoverrrrr......

Oh, the feeling of not being able to lift your legs or carry your body through the next few steps! Crap...that's what I was feeling tonight as I dragged myself out of my sister's apartment to go and do 10Km.

I've been sick since the 1st of February, the day after the Sant Cugat race in Spain, and here I am 15 days later trying to kick this fricking bug off my body with some sweat in this African heat.  Thi sis not the best way to start off the year's training, specially with the duathlon coming up in 2 weeks back in London.  I am SO NOT READY, but I suppose I can always use the Duathlon as a tough practice session.

Im not going to say much  more as Im dead tired and need to rest for tomorrow's meetings, but here is tonight's info, and below last week's info as I also tried to do a set of 10Km, although I felt much better today.

And this is last week's activity:

No, I did not run on the water. They have done some construction on the bay and they have extended the side-walk to where there used to be water, therefore the "optical lilusion". I'll try to get 10Km under my belt again tomorrow.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I got my Argon-18, E118

Finally, I got my new frameset this week while in Spain after a very thorough price comparison.  Here are some shots of the frame when I got it home.

I was able to save quite a lot £££ by buying it in Spain and I can not wait to build it up over the next few months.  I have also just bought the Prologo Nago Evo Tri 40 saddle to put on the E118 which should arrive in the post in the next few days.

Next, I need to save up to get my Fast Forward F9R wheelset as per below:

Following the wheels I will need to make a call on the groupset and shifting system as Im not sure if I want to spend the money on the fancy Di2 or if I should go for the SRAM Red TT with the R2C shifters.  Time will tell!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sant Cugat San Silvestre - 10Km

Today was the last day of the year and I was able to finish off with a nice PB on the 10Km distance.  The goal was to run the 10Km in anything better than 46 minutes as this was my most recent PB, also recently set this past week while I'm in Spain.  as I warmed up I set my Garmin virtual pace to 4m:30s pace so I could chase that pace throughout the race and, hopefully, I would finish off somewhere near that pace.

As the gun went off I started off at a pace of 3m:40s/Km for the first 5 mins and I was feeling great. The atmosphere was great I was always trying to find someone to chase down the field.  My first 4Km were at an average of 4m:01s pace which was not bad to be honest, and there was even a point where my pace was at 3m:06s/km! After that I settled into a nice pace which was challenging and uncomfortable, but I was able to hold it for the remainder of the race.

At the end of the day, mission accomplished and a new PB was set today for the 10Km.  I finished 467 out of 2500 participants. Slowly but surely I'll get there! The idea is to keep improving all throughout the pre-season so that when spring gets here I am able to push myself that bit extra during the races.

Below are some stats with some of the race details. In the meanwhile, HAPPY NEW YEAR!