Bathtub Laps and Climbing Coastal Mountains in Cape Town
Cape Town is a stunningly beautiful city, reminds me a lot of Rio -- coastal town, great beaches, nice mountains within city limits, great food, good people. It also happens to be where the University of Cape Town (UCT) is located with whom I am doing a lot of my research. So I do find myself in Cape Town quite often and I don't mind it one bit!
Combining triathlon training with this work trip was not that big of an issue as cycling is huge in Cape Town and the routes and views are gorgeous (there is a reason why Cape Argus is one of the world's premier cycling events). Plus my work counterparts at UCT happen to be great athletes, one of whom ran Boston in under 3 hours.
So the cycling and running was well covered, not so much the swimming. I was staying in a hotel which had this bathtub... err pool to offer:
On the weekend after a really late night out with friends, I woke up early to receive my rental bike and a ride to Houts Bay where I was going to start my ride. I had already biked to Cape Point (Southern most tip of Africa) on a previous trip so this time I was going to bike through some wine country and climb some nice hills including the famous Chapman's Peak.
The funny thing is as I was heading out of the hotel in my bike shorts, cleats, and helmet, a bunch of my work colleagues (the non-athletic ones) were getting ready to board a tour bus for a guided romp around the city. Now every person has a quirk or two and my big quirk is that I absolutely hate organized tours -- I would have to be beaten and shackled before I ever board a tour bus. The freedom I get from exploring on my own, getting lost, and finding my way is priceless. I simply do not understand why people volunteer to be herded like cattle... ughh!
So after feeling sorry for my colleagues, I got dropped off at Houts Bay with my bike and a map. I brought my Garmin along this time in order to keep my HR in check and stay in low zones on climbs.
The views were magnificent. Here are some of the pictures I took but they do very little justice:
|This picture taken right from the road. Stunning beach!|
|The long winding climb up Chapman's Peak|
|I could get used to this view|
|I didn't see any but whales can often be spotted from here|
|While descending Chapman's peak, I hit a big pothole and my garmin went flying. Unfortunately it never worked again, but I got a replacement under warranty (since the bike mount failed). The ride continues further North into the city center|
Running the Paris Monuments (and some unbridled revelry afterwards)
One of the key advantages of being a pseudo-academic is that I get to travel to some fairly nice conference locations. This particular one was in Nantes, a cozy and quaint fishing town in Western France. The conference and the crowd turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected and a subset of us found and spent an inordinate amount of time at a salsa club that night after the conference.
Of course, I tacked on an extra day to my trip to spend in one my favorite cities in the world, Paris. One of my good work friends, Mattea, had just moved to Paris to start her Ph.D. at the Paris School of Economics and I was excited to go hang out with her.
The TGV gets you to Paris in a jiffy and Mattea and I were planning to meet in the afternoon and my grand plan for the morning was to do my weekend long ride on a Velib. Unfortunately, that plan failed miserably as the bike kiosk refused to accept any of my credit cards, even my uber fancy World Bank issued diners mastercard.
|Désolé, mais je n'accepte pas les cartes de crédit américaines|
Next up was some serious hill climbing all the way up to the Basilica.
|Time for quads to work -- this is much steeper than it looks|
|But this view is the reward!|
|A bit hazy but you can see most of Paris from here|
After a swift descent onto the main streets, I flew past some Oriental neighborhoods towards the Seine. Finally got around to taking this picture next to the Louvre...
and then eyed my destination...
Finally made it to the tower and soaked in the beautiful Fall day!
|My Paris run -- About 10 miles|
No run can be complete without a recovery drink and I managed to find a French version of chocolate milk
|This place has the best macarons. Period.|
|Thanks Mattea for a great evening!|
Sleepless Treadmill Intervals in Kampala
Kampala is a great city but for some reason I'm never able to sleep very well while I'm there. The hotel I was staying in had a nice pool so swim workouts went pretty well, though the kids splashing all around me kept wondering what in the world I was doing swimming laps.
The lack of sleep and long work hours caught up to me one night and I wanted nothing to do with a treadmill, let alone intervals on a treadmill. I had woken up at 4AM and worked through till 10PM. I was wiped out and ready to collapse. As luck would have it, my beloved coach Ed Zerkle chose this very day to send out one of his signature motivational emails. Here are some key excerpts:
Ughh.. Off to the gym I went and knocked off treadmill intervals at 10:30PM going on 3 hours of sleep. On the bright side I did sleep quite well that night!
Long Run and Food Poisoning in Jo'Berg (in that order)
Given that I have four projects running in South Africa, I was back there barely a month after my Cape Town visit, but this time just to Jo'berg. After a blitz of non-stop meetings over three days, I finally had some free time over the weekend to look forward to. One of my RAs, Meg (also a runner) volunteered to run with me on Saturday so we set out at a local park for a nice 10 mile run.
For some reason I didn't realize that Jo'berg is at significant elevation, 5,000+ feet above sea level, so the 10 miles were considerably harder than they should have been. But Meg was great company and she told me all about her athletic exploits with her dad growing up. This was perfect conversation as I'd like to nurture a similar outdoors oriented relationship with my daughter as she grows older.
|Run in (and all around) the park|
Over dinner we planned an ambitious mountain bike adventure for the next day and I was totally psyched about it. The problem arose over the course of the night, however, when my stomach completed revolted against dinner and I ended up spending the night next to the toilet and most of the next day in a state of absolute nausea. Normally my stomach is pretty resilient (and boy I have eaten some iffy things!) but I guess my luck ran out.
The best part of the whole ordeal was that I had to board a plan that night, but the anti nausea medication knocked me out completely and I slept all the way home..
Overall, these trips confirmed to me that work travel and training are indeed compatible and combining the two can be a lot of fun!