For a couple hours, Mónica Sánchez posed for Playitas Resort as a model. The beautiful triathlete told us her thoughts before an Ironman.
How did you get started with triathlon?
I began with triathlon in 2010. I have been a marathon runner since my early twenty’s, but one day I got injured and went to buy a triathlon bike. Once I got used to the bike I decided to give it a try and signed up the Ironman Cazumelonly half a year later. After the race I thought one Ironman is enough, you do not have to do more than that and took a year off. When I heard about the Ironman in New York City, which is where I live, I could not stand the idea of not participating in that race before my very eyes! I was glad I did it, as they never had this Ironman again. After that one time they decided to discontinue the race. Afterwards I really got stared with triathlon: I did the Ironman in Cazumel again and then Los Cabos, Lake Placid, Cazumel, Los Cabos again…. And now I am here, doing Lanzarote. This will be my eighth Ironman in three years.
How did you feel, when you finished your first Ironman?
I knew I was going to do another one. I was happy, or even exhilarated. It is one of these experiences that you cannot put into words. I think it is one of these experiences that teach you to be really grateful to be alive, especially as a physiotherapist. I worked with people who have lost a limb or who cannot work, just running one mile, or 26 miles, or ride a bike for 112 miles or swim that far – it is a gift. To me it is not just about qualifying for Kona, which of course would be wonderful if I would, but for me it is rather about appreciating what I can do today and celebrate that by demonstrating that you are grateful to be healthy and to move.
You are physiotherapist. How can you combine both – the triathlon and your profession?
That is probably the hardest part I think, more than the training itself. I am very fortunate that the company that I work for, which is based out of New Jersey, allows me to work flexible hours. So I set my own working hours and I try to put them around my training schedule. My pool is across the street from where I work, so I can go in the middle of the day and train and then go back to work. However, it is difficult, because when you want to succeed in Ironman you have to out in a good number of training hours every week. I do not know how people juggle it if they have children, the work and triathlon. It is definitely a big sacrifice, but when you have an employer, friends and family that are supporting you it is possible.
Can you give us some details about your nutrition and how you organize your meals around the day?
Well, I think there are a lot of triathletes who are a little bit stricter about their diet than I am. I love food; I love all kinds of food, so I am not that strict about the food I eat. I eat a lot of lean protein and carbohydrates as well as a lot of fruits and vegetables. I am very fortunate I have not had any issues; all my blood work comes back fairly regular. I think the way I am nutritionally balancing it with my training is working. As far as where I take in when I am racing I think I have my nutrition sorted out very well over the races. Luckily I have not have any issue with cramps at the end of the races. It seems to be working, although a lot of people make fun of me for carrying all of my nutrition on my bike, as I have everything I could need on my bike – it is a picnic!
Can you tell us more about your life in New York City? It seems to be exciting to train in a crowded place as the Big Apple!
It is funny, because I started training in NYC and did not know about anything besides of that. Oddly enough, there is a very integrated and supportive triathlon community in NYC and also New Jersey. If you go around 45 minutes out of the city, to the jersey shore you can get some nice long rides with wind and currents, but they are flat. And when you go north towards Connecticut there are some hilly rides, but again, it does not compare this place (Fuerteventura). I would say the training here is a lot more effective at places like this.
How about the swimming? Are you driving to the lake Hudson?
🙂 We are not going there, although there are group that do it! We mostly train in the pool or go to the shore, but keep in mind that the winters are really looks, starting in the middle of October and then you cannot go into the water until late April. It really is not the best place to train, but the community and all the support we get is wonderful. Some of the triathletes go down to Florida in the winter to train for a couple of weeks to escape the cold. It all depends if you are able to get some time off, not many have the liberty to do so. And the distances in the US are much longer than in many other places.
Your name is Monica and your surname is Sanchez, which is Spanish. Can you tell us something about the origin of your name?
My father was from Spain, more precisely Alicante and my entire father’s side of the family still lives in Spain. My half-sister lives in Madrid and my mother is from Chile. So, my parents met in the US and decided to stay where they were in Washington DC. When I went to the physiotherapist school I went to NYC and fall in love with the city.
After a week here at Playitas, what can you tell us about this place?
I love this island and I love Las Playitas. I have never been here before. I have been to Gran Canaria before and now here on this island I am really positively surprised, especially as a triathlete. This place has it all, I literally feel like I am in heaven. It starts with the fact that I never had to share a lane, the open water is right there, just steps away from the pool. You can jump into the ocean; go back in the pool and to forth. You have incredible rides with minimal traffic, with smooth paved roads and the same for the running courses. I ran up the mountain to see that view and that was incredible. I can tell I got stronger here already, even so it has only been a week. And all the other things the resort offers as the cycle center. I have never had help with my bike before! Normally I have to go find a bike shop, but here it is right there next to your feet. I also liked the healthy whole-grain and organic food in all the restaurants. I really do not want to leave! 😦
Thank you very much for all the positive comments!
Swim, Bike or Run?
Fanta, agua con limón and mojitos 🙂
Car or public transport?