After yesterday’s 65km bike ride, Spa Junkie can barely walk. And she has yet to begin the endurance training…
At sunrise, I wake and warm up for another day of Extraordinary Activity by going for a gentle jog along the beach.
It’s soon time for another set of swim drills. “Today we're going to focus on endurance,” my instructor announces as I climb into the water. My mind starts racing. If today is endurance, what was yesterday? He pulls out the stopwatch and, before I can protest, blows his whistle: I hurtle down the pool with considerably more speed than style. We perform four 250m sets (or four lots of 10 lengths of the pool), with 25-second recovery breaks in between. All this before 9am.
Breakfast is buckwheat pancakes, organic yoghurt and local preserves. I’m absolutely ravenous but resist a third trip to the buffet. It’s even harder to stop myself from crawling back into bed.
I wince as I ease my groin (which has only just regained feeling from yesterday’s cycle), back into the saddle for a 70km, high-resistance ride through several local villages. Again, the scenery helps to distract my aching muscles, but today our route takes in ever-higher peaks and while I am enjoying being out in the glorious sunshine, my relief is palpable when we finally reach the downhill approach to the hotel.
I walk into the restaurant with a swagger that resembles a cowboy after a week of cattle herding. I request a second pillow to sit on. Lunch is fresh seafood and a buckwheat pasta salad. I’m sure it tastes great but at this point I just devour whatever is put in front of me. This is the first time I will tackle all three disciplines in one day and after a too-short rest, it’s time for the run. I have never considered an 8km run to be a breeze, but after the endurance training in the pool and the hilly 70km cycle, I think of it like light relief. When we hit the scenic trails my legs find a rhythmical stride, yet there are moments when I falter and my lungs plead for air. I hit a metaphorical wall and refuse to go on. There are two trainers, however, and so the rest of the group continues while Kypros stops to supply me with water and energy bars.
Kypros is wonderful; at no point does he push me harder than I feel I can manage. There is no military-style bravado or yelling at me to carry on. Instead he is supportive and explains how important it is not to over-exert myself. He says he thinks that I may not have drunk enough water during the day, so he makes sure I have enough. We walk and run – in alternating bursts – back to our elegant base camp, weaving past the Baths of Aphrodite en route.
Dinner is a Cypriot-style sunset barbecue. It is hard to imagine how my body will react to the remainder of the programme – I’ve already done more exercise in three days than I would in an average fortnight.
On day four the stakes are upped as pool drills are swapped for an open-water point-to-point. Check back on Saturday December 15.