Hello from Las Catalinas, Costa Rica! Who's interested in joining me for an off-the-beaten path beautiful, amazing, tough off-road triathlon?!
I've been living on the pacific coast of Costa Rica since October soaking up the sunshine, guiding people on the trails and in the water, becoming an Open Water Certified SCUBA Diver, hiking in the mountains, climbing volcanos, whitewater kayaking and rafting, rappelling down waterfalls...among other things...
...and on February 21st I can add racing a triathlon to that list!
I've been hearing rumors about the Las Catalinas Triathlon it since I arrived and recently people have been coming out of the woodwork to train for it: swimming here at Playa Danta and riding and running the beautiful trails to prepare for the race. The local shop Pura Vida Ride is an awesome meeting spot for athletes complete with delicious espresso drinks, fresh homemade banana bread, a full bike shop and super staff. The energy is inspiring and so I've decided to indulge...
Las Catalinas is a new town being built with the purpose of creating a way of life that is healthy, sustainable, fulfilling, and fun. It's plan is to keep 82% of its property as a natural preserve with a full-time staff for trail building and trail maintenance. So far there are more than 50 kilometers of purpose-built mountain bike and hiking trails in the hillsides just inland from the ocean making it an absolutely perfect place for a true off-road multisport race. Playa Danta - the local beach - is one of Costa Rica's finest: protected, often calm, with warm, clear, blue water.
Lucky for me I'm ready to tow the line anytime! I've been staying quite fit with this active lifestyle I've been living here: my daily four kilometer very hilly bike commute to and from work, chill sunset swims out toward the nearby island, running along the beach and rocks for a bit of a coasteering mission at low tide then bushwhacking and scrambling up the hill to the trail and following it back around to town, and otherwise simply playing around in the Las Catalinas natural surrounds - pushing, pulling, hopping, skipping, jumping, slacklining, paddling, handwalking, tree climbing on any given day. I'll be adding in a little purposeful speedwork over the next couple weeks and be good to go! A few of us have already had a few mini-tri hit outs in the early mornings. Good, challenging times.
Costa Rica's own XTERRA Champ and Olympian Leonardo Chacon will be here this Sunday January 25th for una charla - or a talk - about swimming and the triathlon course.
And finally MovementU returns for a RUNNING 101 workshop on Sunday February 1 lead by Yours Truly! A few spaces left. Don't miss out! More info in a future post.
Click here for more information and to register for the 2015 Las Catalinas Triathlon!
Landed in Squamish! and other than what I'd been hearing from a couple of key friends about how great this place is and of course knowing it's close proximity to Whistler...I didn't know what I was in for. It was made clear upon arrival. Boulder has its Flatirons...Squamish has THE CHIEF...AND the sea...and old gorgeous green old growth forests...
I've only been driven by the MTB trails as my shoes seem to have been left behind in Boulder, but should be here shortly. They seem INSANE and INNUMERABLE...more on that later.
In the meantime - keep Squamish on your adventure destination list. It truly is Canada's Outdoor Recreation Capital.
MOUNTAIN BIKING - TRAIL RUNNING HIKING - WHITEWATER KAYAKING ROCK CLIMBING - ABSEILING CANYONING
COLOMBIA SOUTH AFRICA DENMARK SWEDEN ITALY USA GUADELOUPE ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA NORWAY AUSTRIA ZAMBIA FRANCE ECUADOR
5 x MTB Races - 1 x XTERRA - 1 x WARRIOR RACE
1 x Naked Ride through Cape Town
SUPERB STELLENBOSCH CHENIN BLANC - EMPANADAS - CARBONARA - BILTONG BRAAIS - FRESH EGGS AND MILK - FRESH DOUGH - GELATO - COLOMBIAN COFFEE BEANS - VETKOEK - FYNBOS GIN
MovementU hit South Africa and Sweden
WHITEWATER KAYAKING / TRIAL-BY-FIRE / NEW LOVE!
In April 2012 I had an urge.
I gave things away. Sold things. Got rid of my car. Bought a bike to get around town. Digitized my photos and any other memorabilia to minimize my amount of stuff.
Told video clients I would be taking a break from all things digital and to find someone else for the upcoming year.
Held my last scheduled MovementU event for the year.
Took two bags, two bikes, my camera equipment and my computer to New Jersey - Mom and Dad allowing my some space to leave a few things in their home - THANK YOU.
And on December 24th I headed overseas.
Click HERE for a colorful glimpse into my year.
Came across a recent article from Competitor Magazine based, in part, on an interview I did with them on the subject a while back. Bobby McGee and Bob Seebohar also offer their thoughts. Well written. It begins...
"You know you’re supposed to warm up your muscles and joints before you head out for a run. But did you ever consider that the way you perform that warmup could be hurting, not helping, your run? It’s true.
New research supports what many respected coaches have known for years: The preferable pre-run warmup should include movements that are designed to activate and elongate your muscles."
WINDHOEK, Namibia (April 24, 2012) – Colorado-based elite multisport athlete and journalist, Jessi Stensland, has joined the first North American team to participate in Namibia’s six-day Windhoek Lager Namib Quest Extreme Mountain Bike race April 29 through May 4, 2012.
Approximately 100 teams from across Africa and the globe will participate in this six-day, 500-kilometer/311-mile journey from the Namibian capital Windhoek to the coastal town of Swakopmund through the remote Namib Highlands. The Windhoek Lager Namib Quest is an extreme safari by mountain bike where participants will travel through some of Namibia’s most iconic landscapes, including the soaring sand dunes of Namib Naukluft National Park.
“I’m thrilled to have the amazing opportunity to take part in this race while experiencing some of the stunning untouched landscapes Namibia has to offer,” said Stensland. “I think it’s only a matter of time before the Windhoek Lager Namib Quest joins the ranks of other global ‘bucket list’ events on the extreme mountain bike circuit.”
Stensland joins teammate Luis Vargas, and Manager of Adventure Travel Programs for REI, North America’s leading outdoor adventure retailer/consumer cooperative and travel provider, who is also an avid mountain bike racer and photographer. Luis is also a valued member of Sustainable Travel International's Board of Directors.
Both teammates will be covering the race on assignment for Active.com which receives 1.7+ million unique visitors a month. The pair will also contribute to other North American traditional and online media, while generating video footage of the event for future use by the event organizers and for editorial purposes.
Sustainable Travel International works very closely with festival and event planners throughout Namibia as part of the North American Destination Marketing campaign.
About the Windhoek Lager Namib Quest
The Windhoek Lager Namib Quest is the only true multi-stage mountain bike event in Namibia – an extreme wildlife safari on wheels, through spectacular landscapes, desert, and indigenous villages to the ocean. Riders will have the privilege of passing through areas that are essentially closed to the general public, providing an up-close-and-personal connection to Namibia’s unspoiled land.
An eco-friendly low-impact race village is built each night, complete with hot showers, catering, massage therapists and a mechanical support team.
For more information, visit AEP's Namib Quest website
About the Namibia Tourism Board
With the mandate of promoting tourism both nationally and internationally, ensuring the quality of accommodations and other tourist facilities, and developing environmentally sustainable travel practices, the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) was formed by an act of Parliament in April, 2001. It brings together both the private and public sectors and is the only national body devoted entirely to implementing the national policy on tourism. The NTB’s domestic and international offices provide custom-tailored services to the members of the travel trade.
To discover more about Namibia’s vacation experiences, visit Namibia Tourism
About The Team
Jessi Stensland (www.gojessi.com) is an elite multisport athlete and video journalist, with 20 career wins both nationally and internationally. In 2004 she won the Half Ironman Mexico, her first attempt at that distance. The highlight of her career however was the Olympic journey which culminated with the 2004 US Olympic Triathlon Trials where she finished 4th and 6th among the American women. Since 2006 Jessi has covered events such as the Tour de France, the Ironman World Championship and the Tour of California. She recently covered the Boston Marathon for Powerbar. Her sponsors have included Specialized bikes, Oakley, ClifBar, Asics, Active.com and XTERRA wetsuits.
Luis Vargas is the Manager of Adventure Travel Program team at REI. Luis has spent more than 15 years in the Adventure Travel industry guiding, managing and developing business across the globe. He has previously held leadership positions with leading brands such as Backroads and The Walt Disney Company. Luis has raced his bike competitively in such events as the Everest Challenge, the hardest stage race in USA cycling. Luis currently rides for the Second Ascent team based out of Seattle, Washington.
The Stensland-Vargas team’s participation in Windhoek Lager Namib Quest is supported by Air Namibia, Africa Extreme Promotions, and the Namibia Tourism Board North American Destination Marketing Campaign.
Africa Extreme Promotions
Mobile: +264 811 288 481 / +264 811 275 778
Terry Levine – Media Liaison
Namibia Tourism Board – North America
212.725.0707 x. 128
MovementU's Spring Tour is in full swing. This past weekend we were creating speed, sustainability and smiles for a great crew in Colorado (below.) MovementU hits New Jersey on March 24th, Boston April 1st and Chicago April 14th. Join us!! www.movementu.com
In December 2003 I quit the sport of triathlon because my body couldn't handle it. In January 2004, Athletes' Performance took me under their wings and introduced me to movement-based training. By April 2004 I had the race of my life at the US Olympic Trials. The rest of the year was a dream.
Before that year, all of my racing seasons had come to close only once my performance had taken a dive, a sure sign that my season was over. Not the most fun way to end a season. Alas, that's how it went.
It was thanks to Athletes' Performance's methodology that integrates all aspects of performance into one complete training program, that I began to truly understand the concept of training with a purpose. Completely gone were the moments of misery and exhaustion, the disregard for sleep and recovery and the lack of confidence in my training and racing.
I have learned so many things over the years. I've gotten to experience first hand, with my own body, what many only get to read about in scientific studies. One particular example comes to mind. I was reminded of it after reading yet another twitter from a professional triathlete that mentioned: "It's simple. Train more and you'll go faster." This certainly has truth to it. However, assuming he means swim/bike/run more miles and minutes, then one major drawback is: there's no insurance policy against injuries, which can kill anyone's season, including top pros who have their career and major $$ on the line. A few examples, all from this past season: Terenzo Bozzone, Paula Findlay, Michael Raelert. The key here is, although volume works, it's not the only, nor the most efficient, and in my opinion, not the best, way to go about it.
Another mentioned to me this summer, in preparation for a triathlon that included a 40-45 minute climb on the bike: "You need to ride 2.5-3 hours consistently to prepare for that climb." Wait what? Why wouldn't I just do what it takes to ride 40 minutes faster and faster? My power output over a 2.5-3+ hour ride would never train my body to generate the amount of force required to maximize my power potential over a 40-minute climb. That's like saying you could squat with 100lbs for 3 hours and that would prepare you to squat with 300lbs for 40 minutes. Really? On the contrary, the opposite is what works quite well. If you train to handle 10 x 300lb squats it makes 30 squats with only 100lbs easy. Seems simple to me.
No doubt, before I started movement-based training I was riding a lot, and I was fast on the bike, but I was also often on the verge of injury. Training wasn't always fun, and it didn't always make sense.
Here's the story that comes to mind...
In 2004, I had a stellar year. Unlike previous years I was still fresh as ever come November, so on a whim I decided to tack on one final race: Half-Ironman Mexico. It would be my first race at that distance. I considered it more like a vacation with a race at the end as it was in beautiful Huatulco, Mexico, and the race organizers were going to cover our accomodations and food all week. All we had to do was get ourselves down there.
Greg Welch had some great advice for me, which included not changing much from my current Olympic distance training load, including doing nothing longer than 2.5 hour bike rides.
I found myself at Athletes' Performance prior to the race, doing their typical training schedule which includes 4 days per week of 90 minutes of movement, 90 minutes of strength and 30-40 minutes of cardio system development (usually consisting of intervals on the bike or treadmill.) When it came time for an ESD workout on the bike one day, I remember asking them if, due to this longer race I had coming up, they would keep me on the bike a little longer: 60 minutes total instead of 30 or 40. I suggested I could warm up for 10 minutes instead of 5 and warm down for 5 minutes instead of 2. I asked if they could increase my interval work a just a bit: instead of 20 minutes total maybe 30-40 minutes. Metabolic Specialist Paul Robbins nodded his head and off I went. At some point in the workout I was completely crushing it, my heart, lungs, legs, everything felt like it was about to burst and I remember asking how long it had been. The answer I got: 6 minutes [of work.] When the workout was over I'd done a total of 9 minutes of work in a handful of intervals. I was never happier to get off that bike. They didn't have to tell me, I knew it: I was better. Once my heartrate came down I wasn't miserable, exhausted, unable to move, as was often the case after a hard group ride. I was fresh and confident in my work. It was obvious that my effort caused a positive change on a cellular level. Tomorrow I would be able to do more work. It was consistent workouts like that which inspired one of my favorite quotes: "Today's 100% is tomorrow's 99."
It was a fantastic lesson and one I've never forgotten. I like to create change fast. Sure I may have adapted over miles and miles, weeks and months, and gotten stronger, but I prefer to make those adaptations in the least amount of time. Another key factor: time efficient workouts like that allow for plenty of time to work on movement efficiency, strength and recovery to get ready to do it all again.
In the race I got off the bike with a 25 minute lead over the other pro women and easily won my first attempt at the 70.3 distance. A short race report is here.
I was sold.
A perfect end to a perfect season. And a perfect beginning to what's proving to be a fantastic rest of my life in endurance performance.
Enjoy the effort. Challenge your 100% daily.
Go get after it in 2012!!