"Life is either a great adventure or nothing." ~Helen Keller
Two weekends ago, I packed my bags for a weekend in Lima. The trip was a bit of a last-minute decision. The last couple months have been chock full of adversity, and I’ve been focused on simply re-finding my groove, executing each day and not looking beyond that. When coach suggested I go down to Peru for the ITU CAMTRI race there, I had mixed feelings: “Peru seems cool! But am I ready to race?” I knew I needed a points infusion to improve my ITU world ranking, so as I’ve found myself doing so often since embarking on my triathlon adventure, I put feelings and emotions aside; I knew it had to be done, so like it or not, I was going, and I had no choice but to show up.
The first 60 hours of my trip were all business. Food packing (Trader Joe’s and Hammer Nutrition galore!), bike packing/unpacking, training sessions, and rest, as I went into the weekend coming off of a big training block to get back in the swing of things and my legs were feeling it! My only goal going into race day was to race gritty and let everything else take care of itself. I was certainly very pleased with the result—who doesn’t love the podium?!—but I was more pleased by my consistent run and my ability to just get out there and race hard, regardless of the last couple months. The result also doesn’t change all the work I have ahead of me as we proceed into the 2nd half of the season—it was right back to work for me with a 70min run immediately after we raced!
But training shmaining. the last 12 hours of my trip, I was free to explore before I headed back to real life. Fellow competitor (and English speaker!) Leanna and I headed out on the town, and we covered a fair amount of ground!
A few things I took from my time in Lima during my brief visit to the southern hemisphere:
Lima has Winter!
For some reason, I didn’t process how south Peru is! I always thought it was a temperate beach town. Beach town it is, but Peru definitely has as winter. It was grey, drizzly, and in the 50’s for the entirety of my time there. The water was a balmy 59 degrees—brrr! For vacation, I suggest going during our winter!
Peruvian cuisine is bomb
I was conservative leading up to race day and stuck primarily to food from home. But afterwards, we were able to explore a few of the local culinary options. Yummm! Still dreaming about my croissant and chocolat chaud (insert heart eyes emoji!).
Two Thumbs Up for Hospitality
The people I met during my weekend in Peru were all so warm, welcoming and helpful. I was particularly impressed by the lengths all the race organizers went to in order to make sure each athlete was looked after. For being in a country where few spoke English (and given my Spanish is still next to non-existent), I hardly ever felt like “WHAT IS GOING ON?” (which believe me, can be a common feeling at ITU races in Central and South America!).
Bonus Points for Views & History
I can only imagine the views from “El Malecon”—a stretch of about six miles along the cliffs overlooking the coast—in the spring/summer when the sun is shining! Even in the fog, it was quite a view; in the last lap of our bike, which climbed quite a little hill up from the beach to the Malecon, I honestly had to take a second and just take in the amazing view and the fact that I was there racing in this beautiful place! I also loved all the colorful buildings tucked in near the Bridge of Sighs, closer to where we stayed in Barranco, the “Soho of Lima.”
Following the race, I was only able to scratch the surface of the amazing cultural experiences Lima has to offer. Leanna and I visited the Basilica & Convent of San Francisco and the historic quarter of the city. The European architecture and quaint alleyways were so fun to see and walk through. I always love learning about the history of the places I travel, and this city is chock full of it!
I only wish I had more time to explore the countryside and mountains outside of the city. Machu Piccu is on my life bucketlist… but that will be for Adam and me sometime after my athletic career is over. Needless to say, we’ll need much more than 72 hours!