From Arizona to the Middle East: a long due update!
Oh boy, where to start. I’m writing this post on May 9th after a long hiatus from the website. The first quarter of 2017 was very eventful and I feel like this is a long due update but I will be brief and try to condense all the information in a few short paragraphs.
As most of you know, we have left Phoenix, Arizona, a place that we have called home for the past 3 years and where we made amazing friendships and relationships. We outgrew our small backpacks to a house full of furniture, a comfortable living and a heart full of happy memories. I’m personally not very attached to things or places, but I do love the people that I get to meet with Triathlon so I never thought it would be so hard to leave Phoenix. We are truly thankful to all that crossed our path and I strongly believe we will continue to track each other on social networks.
What most don’t know is why we left Phoenix – an apparent great triathlon training location, perfect weather and facilities, where we were well established. The truth is we were given a choice: to face a somewhat complicated process to renew our legal status in the US or find a new location to be based of. After some digging, we didn’t feel like it was worth the investment of time, money and hassle to go through the process of renewing our visas and we decided it was time to move on. As great as America is for jobs and triathlon training, the reward was not there for us. Also, late in the process, my wife, Carolina, got a job offer to work at the brand new Four Seasons in Ten Trinity Square, London, which we thought it was an unique opportunity for her and I, as a proud husband, supported and encouraged the move back overseas.
When Carolina accepted the position in London, we had already thought of Dubai to be based off. Dubai is a vibrant and exciting city, offers great weather and some of the most unique facilities for triathlon training. It’s also (literally) in the middle of the World, opening doors for me to compete at Asia-Pacific events and explore new cultures on this side of the globe. But because London is a far more exciting place for Carolina, a dream come true for her, we decided she would be based in London and I would try to make life work between London and Dubai, going back and forth the two cities for blocks of training. We both love London but I know that my career as a professional triathlete is short and I must take the most out of it while I can, and training in the UK weather year-round is, probably, much harder than in the middle east.
So here we are now. I’ve been in Dubai for a little over 10 days, still trying to learn a new culture and dealing with small challenges daily, but getting training done and meeting new people every day. When we left Portugal a little over 3 years ago to live in the US, we knew it wouldn’t be forever. We also knew we would be faced with multiple challenges and walls, and we would have to move over them to pursuit our dreams and goals. We have always kept our minds open and we feel very fortunate that we get to do what we love. We feel like we are making the best lemonade out of the lemons life gives us. Or Carolina is.. because I’m still terrible at cooking and she has become quite a star.
Obviously early season racing has taken a big toll with all the described life events. I raced and won Toughman Arizona in March and then had a false start at Oceanside 70.3. Yet, I had a stellar winter of training, the best in years with minimal physical set backs, and while we always feel like we are losing fitness for each day we don’t exercise or of bad workouts, it has been a far better few months of training than I could have hoped. Because I changed 11 time zones (!), this past week or so have been not so stellar, but the months prior to that are not lost, just a bit jet-lagged as I am. I’m set to race Ironman Brasil in a few weeks followed by Ironman Cairns two weeks later and then hit Ironman UK to close of the first half of the year.
WHERE TO FIND ME
As I mentioned above, I plan on being based in Dubai, UAE. Right now I’m still escorting the best riding/running locations, swimming pools and learning the best restaurants for recovery (always important). Triathlon is a very individual, selfish and lonely sport, specially long distance triathlons, and I do feel like at least half the time I need others to inspire and push me as well. I do try my best to “pay it back” so please continue to feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like I can help.
THE HEAT: DUBAI vs PHOENIX
I’ve been asked this over 10 times since arriving, so I will break it down. It’s ironic that I’ve moved from one desert to another (maybe not by chance..). The heat in Phoenix is very “dry”, the heat in Dubai is very “humid”. To perform well both in training and racing, you must always keep track of your hydration and while I’m fully aware of that, I have been struggling quite a bit to keep up with the daily loss of fluids, which is much worse in Dubai than in Phoenix. When you lose fluids, you lose sodium and other minerals, so it’s not just by drinking more water that you will be able to keep up with dehydration better. Dubai heat feels a lot worse than Phoenix, mostly because it’s very uncomfortable to be so “sticky” all the time. A bit like visiting Texas in the middle of the summer (or doing the marathon of IM Texas). There has been research supporting training in hot and humid conditions to promote plasma volume expansion, therefore improving performance, just like high altitude, so I hope to prove those studies correct. What seems to be a key factor to promote body adaption is the dehydration factor, and I’m surely nailing that one right now.
Rumor is that the real feel goes up to 60C (140F) here during peak summer hours.. I will make sure to snap a photo of that.