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Penny Comins: It's Thai Time...
Posted by: Penny Comins
Posted on: Wednesday 17th September 2014


Tags  Kona 2014  |  Penny Comins  |  Thanyapura


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With Norseman done, followed by an inspiring trip to Morzine, Penny Comins is now all systems focussed on her preparations for the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

She should have no excuses on the big island - having just completed week one of three weeks at Thanyapura Sports Centre (www.thanyapura.com) in Thailand. She arrived, her bike arrived... unfortunately her luggage took a detour! Here is her first update from Thailand.


This is the last piece of the puzzle; three weeks at the internationally acclaimed Thanyapura Sports Centre. In the heart of the jungle in Phuket, Thailand lies one of the most amazing training facilities I have ever seen. Over 160 million Euros is rumoured to have gone in to building the complex and is now headed by the legend Macca himself. What more could you ask for? Heat, humidity, amazing facilities and ex pro's as coaches. I was quid's in.

I am one week in and already had to have several nana naps. It has been nothing short of tough. Sure, each session is either twice the volume or three times the intensity I usually do but to top it off my luggage didn't arrive for the first six days. Yep, you read right. I had a bike but no shoes, no clothes and extremely important - no sports bra. Couple that with having to get up each night at 2am to see if it had come in on the flight, disappointment and broken sleep. I was a wreck.

Penny Comins

Being industrious and extremely lucky my friends were travelling past and lent me what they could. I brought some Thanyapura kit, Rocket Science, which was excellent and spent the next six days hand washing it every night. The only thing that suffered was my skin from chaffing of damp clothes and my feet; I was running in my old Newton's that I only wear for casual now. Track sessions in these have left my feet shredded and my legs like rocks. A violent and rather unpleasant sports massage later at the local Thai massage centre I was fixed. The experience reduced me to a 12 hour sleep too.

Much like my luggage, Macca was missing for the first five days and turned up at the track session. His involvement with the junior development squad was commendable. It is great to see such an acclaimed athlete giving back to the juniors. Chatting to one of the team on the ride out the following day to the TT course he said that they all live on site and go to Thanyapura Academy. There is a group on a sports program that has a mix of triathlon and academic study. It is the first year they have run the scheme and is aimed at developing young stars in triathlon. He then took off and I was left to battle out four times five kilometre time trails where everyone was seeded and managed to mow me down each loop.

Penny Comins

If the training isn't getting to me mentally the weather is. It can be as hot as I want it to ready myself for the Kona heat and then pour down. And I mean really rain. Sometimes you can hear it come rumbling through the gum tree plantations, shaking the trees and thundering towards you. You brace yourself and just think of the washing when you get home. Sodden through, covered in road grit the sun will then pop out and bake you dry. A very bizarre feeling.

Penny Comins

The coaches know this and the sessions go on regardless of the weather. Each week there is a schedule that anyone can slot in to. I am not here on a camp and with the triathlon package I can go to any sessions. I have found many stay outside the complex and just buy the week and come to the sessions. They tease me that I am in the old folks home with my meals all included. I laugh as the meals are some of the best I have ever had. All the menus have calories, fat, carbs and protein broken down for each meal so you know that the burger will destroy the training effects you have just done for the day.

The hardest session of the week = the Thai sports massage. I have never yelped so much. The TT bike session did leave me very depleted too.

The quirkiest Thai thing of the week = passing a girl on a bike holding a kitten in the front basket

The training tip of the week = No more weights this close to the race, just keep up with the core and stretching (that means sleeping right?!)

Quote of the week = Jurgen Zack “Your all out 100m is the same as your warm up 100m, what is wrong with you?!” (Jurgen meets metronome Penny)

My Mum “I have planted six lettuces in the veggie patch will be just right for when you get home, one a day should get you to race weight”

Penny Comins


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