Wilflower 1/2 and Dubai Update

Well I guess it is time to get everyone up to speed as to what has been happening over the past couple of months.

I finally got back to racing – starting my season off with the Wildflower ½ on April 30th. It felt great to finally get back to toeing the line of the races rather than watching from the sidelines. The race went well – I crossed the line in 2nd place. You can see my whole race report on the Multisports.com website at the following link:
http://www.multisports.com/news/1115171052.shtml

The next big event after Wildflower was a trip to DUBAI with some of my TriDubai teammates (Peter Reid, Cameron Brown, Jo Lawn and Chris Legh) and the Multisports.com gang (Roch, Huddle and Paula). The purpose of the trip was to introduce us to the beautiful country that we are representing as well as help out with a training camp for some local athletes.
Overall, the whirlwind trip was a great success. Dubai really is an amazing place. Heading over there, I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised on all fronts. The local people were incredibly friendly. Being a woman in a region of the world where male dominance is the flavor of the month, was something that I was concerned about. All of my reservations went out the window immediately. Everyone made us feel very comfortable and did everything they could to make sure we had everything we needed, and more.

We were fortunate when it came to the weather. Typical temperatures at this time of year reach 45+ degrees C – which for our metrically challenged is near 120+ degrees F. We had one day of these temperatures before a “Shamal” came through giving us relief and cooler temperatures (only 35degrees C). As far as training in this weather – you definitely want to get things done early in the morning or later in the day. The first day we arrived, Huddle, Paula and myself went for a run at 11am – big mistake. We made it a whole 25 minutes before we had to call it.

One of the highlights of the trip was the mini training clinics that the Multisports.com crew put on for the local athletes. Because triathlon is only starting to become a sport that they are aware of in Dubai, we instead worked with single sport athletes – cyclists, swimmers and runner. We were very impressed with the great deal of natural talent that the local athletes had. Most of the athletes were running on pure talent and with some simple guidance, it will be amazing to see their progress. The kids (average age of all athletes was <20years) were very receptive to the information presented to them. They were just like sponges, soaking in everything that they could.

We had the opportunity to do some hands on training with the athletes as well. With the cyclists in addition to doing Anaerobic threshold testing – they also did a 20km TT (based on the HR ranges that we determined for them). The TriDubai athletes also took part in the time trial – Cameron Brown smoked through the field – impressing all left in his wake. It was fun to be right in the middle of the action. For most of the athletes, I don’t know that they had ever worked out with female athletes at all. So to have three women riding right along side of them was a new experience.

The runners also did an AT test and then we shown some running drills by the Multisports.com crew. Again it was a lot of fun to be right in the middle – doing the drills right along side of them.

Underwater videotaping for the swimmers by Roch was a definite highlight for these athletes. With limited sports funding this was something that they would otherwise never have a chance to experience. Again just like sponges, they soaked in everything that they were told and seemed to be very receptive to the information.

I really look forward to following the progress of these athletes. Roch, Huddle and Paula will be developing training programs for the athletes to follow. With some training guidance, there is sure to be some incredible improvements.

We were also given some free time to be able to check out the sights that Dubai had to offer. One day we took a water taxi across the Dubai Creek to the local market. This was an interesting experience. Streets upon streets lined with merchants selling everything that you can imagine. Dubai is very well known for it’s GOLD. So the boys- Cameron and Chris picked up some great Mother’s day gifts for their wives.

The local beaches are really beautiful. We spent one afternoon playing in the surf and hanging out on the beaches. With some pulling of strings, we got permission to spend some time on the beach that overlooks the incredible Burj Al Arab hotel – the World’s only 7 star hotel. This is an amazing sight – from the exterior, and then you walk inside. The TriDubai team members were given an exclusive tour of this landmark. It is hard to even explain how amazing this hotel is – very glamorous. The hotel is on its own island and it is about 1km around. Of course you know that Chris Legh and Cameron Brown had to see how long it would take to swim around. The ocean was very rough and the second that they started their swim, every lifeguard on the beach was up on their feet, blowing their whistles and waving their buoys. There was no chance that these two were going to stop. They were met on their way in by one lifeguard who swam out to meet them and scolded them mildly.

All in all, the trip was a great success. We learned a lot about Dubai, and hopefully made a difference for some of the local athletes.

Up next will be the HONU half-ironman in Kona on June 5th. This will be a great opportunity to race on the big island in a race other than IM Hawaii. Look for a race report after the race.

Heather

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