Interview with Martin Stenmarck

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A good day starts with a good coffee, he says. Martin Stenmarck is here with “The Girls” but we are sorry to say ‘He just got married’. The Swedish singer had time to give us an interview during his stay at Playitas Resort.

How did you start singing?

I started as a young kid, as a 3 or 4 years old. It has always been around in my family. It just ended up with me doing what I loved as a child. My grandfather was a great singer, was always a singer, so compared being a singer or not with being a doctor but with a doctor for the soul. I loved that. It’s a fine thing to be an artist in our family, so I started as a kid.

Singer, composer, producer? How do you see your future?

In my future, as a singer, a composer and producer I believe that I will keep on doing this for the rest of my life. I want to keep on doing it until the day I leave this earth to the next level. And the great thing is, as a singer, you change, the only you get you can’t do the things you did when you were 20. We talked about this morning when you turn about 50, 60 some things start to change at your throat, because of the cords get harder, so you really need to keep them going. But as a composer you can still write songs until the day you die. You don’t have to have the lyrics and the melodies in your head. And as a producer, I haven’t produced anything on my own yet. I want things to move fast, I’m a bit impatient with the producer thing, but I have a lot of ideas. That’s how it’s going to be probably for the rest of my life. So composing absolutely, producing maybe not and singing as long as I can, that’s the future.

Your next record /project?

Now I am working on a solo show project and I’m just in the middle of it. The theme is: I grew up in a big family, I have a lot brothers and sisters, and actually I have 11 brothers and sisters. And that’s not very common in Sweden. It’s stories about growing up in a big family with a lot of crazy stuff going on. I played some of the records to some music stations and they feel like this is going to be a new era in my career. And it feels really good to be in the process right now. But at the same time I travelled to other countries. During this time as well and I recorded a lot with musicians all around the world. I’ve been to the States and Dominican Republic for the Latin thing. Probably I’m going to Zimbabwe, just to record other kind of music. So I have two projects rolling. But the world music thing will take a couple of years, but it’s a process.

How hard is to be famous? Relationship with Press, TV…

The thing is I live in a very good country in that perspective. Sweden is really nice to their famous people, it’s quite easy, and I can take the subway and stuff like that. Of course, If I go to an amusement park with my kids on a Saturday when there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of people taking pictures and writing autographs and stuff like that, that’s more like: if you want to keep your privacy and keep your focus on the kids, especially. But the thing with being famous is there’s nothing good with it, except for people come to you and see your gigs and buy your records. But otherwise it’s nothing I recommend. The best thing, in a perfect world, people would come and visit your shows and buy your CD’s and no one would recognize you. Press it’s always the same questions. I married my girlfriend after 20 years; no it’s not that interesting anymore.

How important is for you the Eurovision singing contest?

Well the Eurovision was something very fun. It wasn’t something important for me it’s a huge thing in Sweden. We call it the melody festival, the pre competition before you enter the competition. The winner of melody festival can compete in the Eurovision. And in Sweden it’s a huge thing. I have attended 3 times and I won one time so that’s why I ended up with the Eurovision. It was fun, but it has almost nothing to do with my career. So it was more like a spectacle. I went to Kiev, ended up on the 19 th place. I put some money on a booker thing, I put myself as #1, Greece is #2 and Malta is #3. Greece won and Malta came in on number 2 and I ended up at 19. But it’s not important, it was fun.

How important are sports to you?

Sports is a good thing to do,  as an artist you need to have the energy and the strength to carry on during an entire show. And I work quite hard when I’m on the stage. For me it’s like 90 minutes it’s like a Body Combat thing. So for me it’s rally really good to be in a good condition. And I love being outside, doing the mountain biking. And when I’m on tour it’s really easy to bring the running shoes, so I can train wherever I go. And that’s a good thing. So it’s a good thing for me to do it on the show. I don’t do it to look good, I do it to feel good, and that’s the most important thing.

The girls… Tell us what you are doing at Playitas

We are trying to find out a new concept, we think there is a lot of training camps and travels in Sweden. It’s getting bigger and bigger, we like that but we want to put a little extra touch on it. That’s why all the leaders have a love for music and are very good at singing or playing a guitar, they’ve been in the music and producing stuff. So, all our leaders are musicians or singers or producers. And that put’s something extra because every night we can talk about that, we can talk about music, we can play a lot of music, so I think we’re adding something extra for the girls that we bring. So this is like a tryout where we see if the leaders manage to play during the night times and the leading the classes through the day time. So it’s going to be really nice to talk to the girls after this week and see what they think about it.

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What kind of remarks do you have about Playitas?

Playitas is a great place it’s when it comes to sports, it has everything. If that is your focus it is absolutely perfect. The best thing in Playitas for me is the staff working here. Because everyone that I met during this 3 or 4 days is really willing to help and really concerned about what we think about the stay. That is the heart and soul of Playitas, you guys working here. I’ve been here in two different travels and this time I think the food is even better, there’s an energy here that I like, so love to the place. The healthy food concept is perfect and the girls really like it.

Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Do you manage your accounts?

Time to time I do that. I have people helping me out with starting up big events like if there are TV shows or tours or if I have a release of a new album, then the record company or the management need to put out some new information. But I think for me its ups and downs.

Sometimes I’m really onto it, almost every day. And sometimes it takes a week, or two, that’s not very good. But I run them on my own, especially Facebook and Instagram and I think twitter is just connected to one of the others. I’m somewhere in the middle, I’m not really good at it and not really bad at it. But it’s okay some of my posts on Facebook reach 1 million people. It’s agreat thing the social media you need to manage that and I should learn more. I need to be better.

If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

Someone told me many, many years ago, maybe 25 years, that I am.. he called me the lone wolf, I think that’s something.. I believe in dreams and things that you see in dreams. And I imagine myself as a wolf many times and seen a lot of wolves. So I would be a wolf. I can be a team player when I need to because music is all about keeping a group together and creating something together, but a wolf can also be that strong that he can manage on his own. So that’s me, I’m a wolf, in a good way, a nice wolf.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

It happens stuff to me all the time, when I’m on tour there is always something going on. But for me personally a couple of weeks ago I just got married that was fun; it was one of the best parties I ever had. I can’t tell you the funny things that we laugh about in the tour bus. I can’t tell you. That’s not a good thing, to laugh at someone’s side.

How do you spend your free time?

I don’t have that much free time, I have three kids and I always work on Fridays, Saturdays and the evenings so maybe I have a couple of hours every day Monday to Friday, but then I do sports, I see my friends, almost everyone has regular work. Like common people. So I have to meet them at Lunch, that’s how I do my social thing. Sports.. but I write music and then I just try to spend as much time as possible with my kids. Twelve, Ten and Four years old. So there is a lot of fun going on.

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Quick ones

Favorite place to live?

I love Sweden.

Most beautiful city you have visited?

Probably Venice or Barcelona but my favorite city is Rio de Janeiro.

What’s your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is lobster. I could eat that for the rest of my life.

What’s your favorite music?

If I could only choose one then it’s probably rock music, like Bruce Springsteen, U2 and a lot of Swedish artists.

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Lotte Friis. The smile of a Danish mermaid

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Lotte Friis was inducted into Playitas Resort Hall of Fame

We interviewed the Danish Olympic swimmer Lotte Friis, who proves that dreams really can come true! Here’s more of what she shared with Playitas Resort Blog about her life, plus her tips on training and nutrition.

  • You started swimming at the age of… ?

I started swimming when I was five years old because my parents have a pool in the backyard. So, they wanted me to know how to swim. So we drowned it! And then it just like involved from there. I think on this level, like a lead level, since I was fifteen. So, twelve years now 🙂

  • Who did you admire when you were a teenager? Any idol?

I didn’t really have idols, I am more had stuff I admired from different people, because I always feel like I am me and I can’t compare myself to anybody else. But there was a lot of people that had qualities and results that I admired and I really wanted to match or beat. So, that’s more like what I tried to do when I was a teenager.

  • We can realize that freestyle is your favorite style but, what about the rest?

Freestyle… I mean no, I am always like I swim freestyle and I love freestyle. I am not really pick anything else, which sometimes can be a problem, like my coach wants me to do some other stuff once in a while, so my shoulders don’t get to tired from doing freestyle all the time. And I am always like, No… I don’t want to. So, freestyle is my fun, my favorite.

  • You always, of course, are involved in swimming. When you finish your career, your professional career in swimming, would you like to plan/organize some swimming events or training camps?

Yeah for sure, I would love to give some of my knowledge that I’ve like built up over the years and give it on to somebody else. I mean when I retire from swimming, I am probably still gonna be pretty active. I think it is hard, not to do stuff yourself. So, I probably wanna do triathlons and stuff like that, just to keep my body moving. But for sure, I would love to teach kids or adults for that matter. All about swimming and do that and try to spread the world of swimming to the world.

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Lotte swims at Playitas Olympic pool

If we say “Ledecky”, how do you feel?

🙂 Katie and I are pretty close. She is a really nice girl. She swims actually only or trains actually only 45 minutes away from me, in the States, where I live now. But she is a sweet girl; she is the best long distance swimmer ever in the world. By far, I think the best swimmer at the moment. She is so amazing; she swims so fast and she is just opening our eyes for what is possible, not only for swimmers, but for female swimmers and females, all over the world.

  • We heard that you have a good relationship with her brother?

🙂 🙂 🙂 Yes! I met him a couple of times. I met her mom too. Her mom is or her entire family is great and I am gonna go down, especially because they live so close, they invited me to come for dinner and a night out, because she lives just north of Baltimore, where I live. …They invited me down, to spend some time with them and I am looking forward to it.

  • What do you usually eat when you are close to a competition?

In the morning I probably eat some yoghurt, some muesli and maybe a piece of bread or two, with some jam or Nutella. Depending on what’s on the hotel, when we are there. For lunch I probably eat some pasta, a little bit of meat, not too much. I probably eat the same I can in the evening, maybe rice or potato, depending again on what the hotel will serve but definitely I will eat carbohydrates at lunch and at dinner.

  • Let us know your thoughts two minutes before a competition starts

I think I am just trying to concentrate on my race plan, especially because I swim the longer events, that’s what I am gonna have to focus on, like how am I gonna swim my race, how am I gonna get the best out of my race. And I think just trying not to doubt myself because I know I’ve done the work and I cannot really do anything more than do my best and hope that’s enough.

  • Can you give us some training tips?

My biggest tip is like no matter what, it’s always gonna be some days were you don’t wanna work out, were you don’t wanna train. And I think my biggest tip is, thinking of what you wanna achieve with the training. It doesn’t matter if you just wanna get in shape, you wanna loose those extra kilos, just trying to think of that. Like why you are doing it, because that always helps me get through the hard workouts, all the workouts that I don’t wanna do.

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From left to right Andrés Morente -Marketing Manager-, Andreas Raelert -triathlete-, Lotte Friis, and Stephan Meyvisch – General Manager-

  • Tell us something about your stay at Playitas?

I would recommend Playitas because it’s a perfect mix of relaxation and holiday and sun and the warm but you also have the opportunity to do some active stuff, like you have the opportunity to run, you have the opportunity to swim, you have the opportunity to play tennis, football, volleyball, there are classes you can take, there is everything, basically. You can play golf. So, I think that’s a perfect mix, to have that relaxation you want to when you are going on holiday but still stay active.

  • What about your free time?

I think it depends on how hard I’ve been training what I’d like to do when I have time off. I either like just to relax back home, reading a good book, watching television or a movie. I like also spending time with friends and family because when you are on the road as much as I am with my swimming, you’d like to go home and see people and have fun with them and just hear what’s up with their life because sometimes you get caught up in this little bubble you are in and you are just focused on yourself. I’d just like that, like either just being home alone or being out socializing with people.

  • How is your life in the U.S.? 

The States is different, especially big seen it’s a different continent. And every country I’ve visit, I feel like has a different way of doing stuff, a way of handling stuff and a way of like approaching stuff. And I feel like if you told me two years, three years ago that I will live in the States and I will love it, I would’ve been like you’re joking, no way, but I do love it. I feel like it’s exactly the place I need to be, at the moment of my career. Like, I am not young anymore in swimming, like I am one of the oldest ones and I don’t mind that because it shows that I am still here and I am still ready to fight when I go to meets. But it is definitely the freedom I need, living over there and the approach, like I train with younger girls, I train with teenagers and I am fine with that because they push me, because they have all the energy and they are so excited to go to practice every day, for as I’ve been in this for over ten years, a little bit more old and I have to practice again. So, they keep me young, they keep me motivated. That’s for sure.

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Lotte showing her best smile

  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

In five years I probably be definitely done swimming but I would love to be still involved in swimming in somehow, that’s for sure. If it’s gonna be just as a team leader or team manager, if is gonna be as a coach. I don’t know. But I will definitely also be… I’ve never have gone to school, I’ve only gone high school, as I really would like to going to college, trying to get an education, like doing something. No question about that yet. Hopefully! I mean hopefully I’ll be in the stages of beginning a family if I haven’t already started.

Åsa Lundström interview

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Photo: Ginés Díaz

We caught up with Åsa Lundström who is actually at Playitas Resort. Hours of training and 2015 Orca photoshoot form part of her day-to-day activities. She is working really hard and keeping a cool head as she prepares for the new incoming season. The battle is on! 

Why do you start in triathlon?

I can’t really say why, it was more a coincidence. I moved to Denmark to study medicine and the guy I started studying with was also Swedish and a triathlete. He convinced me to go running or swimming and also meant that I would like triathlon. I wasn’t sure about it because it might be too hard and I´m not a good swimmer. But he helped me to learn the basics of freestyle swimming and then I tried my first triathlon in 2009. And I was really hooked.

Did you practice any sports before?

I’ve always been active. I played soccer, did cross country skiing and alpine skiing as well as all kind of different sports. I also used to teach classes in the gym. But to be honest, I was always active but nothing concerning the three different disciplines of triathlon.

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Photo: Kilian Kreb

What do you think is your secret of success?

I think there are few thinks that should be part of the recipe for success. One, and maybe the most important thing, is to have a passion for what you do. If you don’t like training and the things you do you won’t last for the amount of time that is needed to build a strong athlete. The second ingredient is persistence: making overtime experience and muscle memory will help a lot.

Are you studying?

No, I’m studying part-time only.

Working?

No. Well, working on the bike (laughing).

And training…are you doing anything else?

I just quit doing teaching classes because I was travelling too much. Right know it’s divided into 95% triathlon and only 5% medical school.

How many days do you travel to a race in advance?

It really depends where the race takes place. If there is a time difference I want to travel there as many days in advance as there the time difference is. For example, Melbourne has a time difference of nine hours that means I want to be in Melbourne at least nine days before the race.

You are a Swedish, living in Denmark but your second home is Playitas. Is that right?

Yes, when I’m walking from my room to the Swimming pool or to the Gym I meet a lot of people that I know or that know me. It’s more than at home when I’m walking through the streets. So maybe this here should be called my first home (laughing).

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Photo: Playitas Resort -Hall of Fame-

Do you have some tips for training?

A general tip could be to get as much variation as possible in the training. Don’t do only four hour rides or long rides, don’t run the same loop or the same distance all the time and don’t be used to swim always the same session. Try to do as much variation as possible! Everything from few 20 seconds sprints to half an hour runs in your race pace to stimulate the muscles as much as possible!

You finished on the 2nd position at the Ironman in Klagenfurt in 2013. What can you tell us about the race?

It was really a good race for me; I was feeling that I had a good day. Of course, since I am staying so often Playitas, I like the hilly biking a lot. The conditions were also perfect in Austria and I felt really strong. It was the race where I set my best personal time and also the Swedish time record for the Ironman distance.

What would you like to do when you finish your triathlon career?

I want to be a doctor (laughing). This is a dream I’ve always had. Even though, it’s been on hold for a while, it’s still my dream that I want to accomplish. This is one of my main goals!

What kind of remarks do you have about Playitas?

One of the things I can say about Playitas that hopefully most of the people already know is that Playitas is a really good place to train for. It´s so accessible from Europe; the time difference is small and the weather is quite stable. But people who are come to Playitas should also know that you don’t come to this island because it’s very pretty. You come here because it makes you strong and it really does! The atmosphere I experience when I walk through the Plaza Rambla is really familiar. It’s like a family atmosphere which makes you feel like home even when you are far away.

Short questions:

What is your favourite meal?

It’s probably steak from my dad’s hunting because I know where it comes from.

What is your favourite place to live?

For training it could be anywhere. I am Swedish and I’ve been living in Denmark for 7 years. Right know I miss Sweden that’s why I would have to say Sweden. But it’s definitely not the perfect place to train.

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Photo: Playitas Resort

How many hours do you train in a week?

If I am at Playitas or have big training weeks I train up to 35 hours. When I am at home it’s more around 20 or 25 hours. After an Ironman it’s two hours (laughing).

Swimming, biking or running?

As long as I‘m in good company it really doesn’t matter!

How many hours do you sleep?

I try to sleep never less than 8.5 hours.

How many bikes do you have?

(Thinking and counting) Right know…5 or 6. I’m not quite sure.

What is your favourite distance?

Ironman Distance

Photos:

Gines Díaz 

Kilian Kreb 

Playitas Resort  

Interview to Andreas Raelert

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Andy Raelert has been training in Fuerteventura on the way to Kona. The German triathlete participated twice in the Olympics – 2000 and 2004 and has a vast collection of titles such as the world record at Challenge Roth, the Ironman European Championship and 3 times winner of the ‘Triathlete of the Year’ award.

Andy gave us an interview between training sessions and we had the opportunity to get to know him.

 Why did you start triathlon?

In 1992 when I saw a documentary about the Ironman World Championship in Kona and I was very fascinated to see the pictures about triathlon and then I decided when I was 16 years old (1993) to do it, so I did my first triathlon and I got addicted.

What’s the secret of Raelert brothers’ success?

Easy! 🙂 We train mostly together. Triathlon is a very individual sport but to improve yourself you need a worldclass group. If your brother is on a world class level we can push each other and sharing special moments, the good and the bad ones.That’s the way we enjoy triathlon.

Playitas Resort attended to Ironman Klagenfurt 2013 and we have to say your arrival was absolutely amazing. What did you feel when you arrived to the finish line as first triathlete?

Happy because my goal was to managed under 8 hours. I did it twice, not only in Klagenfurt, eight years ago in Roth I did it too but crossing the finish line is very emotional. That’s the reason triathlon is also so popular, the professional athletes and the age groups athletes are racing the same race which it’s really unique worldwide. In triathlon everybody gets though the same moments,  it’s like a rollercoaster even the winner is not having a smooth day  everybody is only cheering for you.  The only difference between professional and age group triathletes is just the time at the finish line. You have the feeling that everybody is just cheering for you and this moment is very very special. You are very proud you made it.

You are actually 38 and getting better as old wine. Where is your limit?

I’m not sure! In triathlon, especially on the long distance triathlon,  experience is what you need. If you go through on the single datas, in terms on speed, output on the bike and mileage for the run it’s all about experience. I’m not old enough to quit and I hope for still 3 more years to be at the top level.

Who is the most powerful of you brothers – Michael or Andreas?

Michael, unfortunately, has more talent that I have. He just have to be more patient. To be a world class athlete you have to be good at all three -swim, bike and run- We are brothers but with different characters. He’s younger but he needs to be patient. Sometimes Michael wants to go with his head through the wall and sometimes it works and sometimes not.

How long before do you travel to a race?

It depends. If it comes to a  very important race for me then I’d like to be at the destination a week before. If it is oversees with a different time zone then I travel 2 weeks before the race.

How many countries have you visited?

I think the right question would be: is there a country I haven’t travelled to? Yes, for sure I get around quiet a lot and it’s great to see all the different countries and nations with different cultures.

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From left to right: Andrés Morente (Marketing Manager), Alexandra Lochmatter (Events & Groups Manager) and Andreas Raelert

Do you have much time to visit them or just for the race?

I’m not on a vacation trip as a professional. So I don’t see that much as you can see if you are on a holiday but if you are on a training camp or longer you try to get around and you see a lot, if you are focused on the race you don’t see much, but when your mind is free you can see a lot.

Some tips for training?

Never lose the passion, never forget what you want and really enjoy it!

Why do you choose Playitas for training?

Playitas is a very unique place worldwide. I’m looking for the best facilities where I can train and at Playitas you have a perfect pool for swimming, great weather all year long, good roads for cycling, low traffic and some nice training trails around the resort. The staff are very helpful and focused on training as well as providing everything a professional athlete requires, the food is also of a high standard for professional athletes.

What can you tell us about Fuerteventura?

Sometimes it can be a bit windy – September and October are not that windy and after a training camp it can be that you feel it was too long on the island with all the heat and the wind but then when you arrive home you just want to return to Fuerteventura as soon as possible. 🙂

Favorite meal?

Carbonara

Favorite place to live?

Where my friends are

How many hours do you train a week?

High volume: 45hrs, low volume: 15hrs

Swim, bike or run?

On a good day three, on a bad day none of these.

Final remarks…

Great area, great club, great staff who takes care of the athletes and I will be back in November and hopefully next year.

Thank you Andy and never lose your smile!

Interview to Mónica Sánchez

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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!

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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.

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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!

Short questions:

Swim, Bike or Run?

Run

Favorite meal?

Pasta

Favorite drink?

Fanta, agua con limón and mojitos 🙂

Car or public transport?

Public

 

Interview to Jenson Button

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In an exclusive interview to Playitas Resort, Jenson Button talks about the Challenge Fuerteventura, his charity projects, the F1 Championship showing a good sense of humour.

When you sit in front of a Formula One World Champion, you probably expect the interview is gonna be fast, real fast. Wrong! Jenson Button stayed calm and answered all our questions wisely as a F1 driver, a triathlete and a gentleman.

You are well known as a Formula One driver, but can you tell us more about Jenson Button the triathlete?

Ok, I started doing Mini- triathlons about 10 years ago, but it was more part of training I would had, for instance to one of the islands around here. I went to Lanzarote to do trainings, but it was very basic – training a couple of hours a day, eat, and that was about it. I did not really get into it until 2009/2010. In the last 2 years we started to take it a bit more serious, I came together with close friends to train together and travel to different races around the world. I have done three half-distances now. The first one was on the Philippines that one was just great! Then there was the one Oceanside and finally Berlin last year. The Challenge here is number four. It has been going fairly good so far. I was able to finish in the top five in the past three triathlons, on the Phillipines I even got on the podium with a third place. And that is my aim here as well, to get in the top positions in my age category.

You finished in 4 hours and 19 minutes last year. What is your goal in the race here?

Oh probably a bit slower! I think the bike is tough and it depends in which direction the wind is blowing. The swim I hope to finish in about 28, 29 minutes. And the run, well, I normally do a 29 (minutes) on a flat course, but here it is tough! I think the important thing is not to worry so much about the time, but to look for the positioning and that is what I am aiming for.

Jenson, you are doing a lot of charity work…. Can you tell us, your fans, how can we collaborate with you?

Every year I do a triathlon in the UK, it is a very short distance triathlon, you could call it a beginner distance. We race as much money for the Jenson Button trust, which is my trust. During the season we work out which charity we should work with and this year it is cancer research. The last two years it was “healthy heroes” which is a charity for injured soldiers. We think it will be 500 participants in the race and every participant is, obviously, trying to raise money for the charity. Apart from that, I do different events around the world at Grand Prix to raise money for the charity as well. I think we can increase our charity work within the triathlon scene around Europe, maybe to the Middle East. So far it has been going really well, the people have been fantastic. They were not just entering the triathlon, but raising as much money for the charity as possible. It is not me, but the help of all the participants that results in the success of the charity.

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Photo: Miguel Ángel Jaén http://www.majphotography.com

What do you think are the similarities of triathlon and Formula One?

Aerodynamic – it is amazing the amount of things that you can buy, it is not a cheap sport, all the aero you can get for the bike, you can never be sure if the things actually have the effect. We just read that a product is supposed to be good and it looks good, so we buy it and put it on the bike. So, there are a lot of similarities in terms of aero in the car and the aero on the bike. Another aspect is the mental side of the sport that really play a big part, especially when you do a longer distance in triathlon. Here on Fuerteventura and the windy course, you always have to remember that everyone has got the same conditions and you have to try to be stronger than the rest of them.

Let’s talk a little bit about the Challenge Fuerteventura. How do you feel about the race?

It will be a Challenge, yes it is the perfect name for the triathlon. I am looking forward to it. In February I had an entire month off due to an injury, so this is good training for the season. The swim looks good, the water is clean – there used to be so many jellyfish! And the bike course is really good with nice scenery. It will be very tough with the wind. And then the run were it is just about bringing it home for me! The best thing for me is that the finish line is right next to a bar. Hopefully I will collect a little thing around my neck, so I can just go straight to get a well deserved beer 🙂

Why do you always race with the number 22?

The 22 is my race number in Formula One, so I wanted it here as well. And it is the number had when I won the championship back in 2009, so it means a lot to me.

Your engineers are talking constantly to you while you are driving with 250 km/h. How can you stay concentrated?

My engineers make sense that is the thing!

Well, it is a part of racing, especially the way it is now with the power unit. It is not just a normal combustion engine; it is a turbo engine with 160 HP in your back, there is so much that we have to change in the electronics throughout the race, therefore we are nonstop adjusting it. The engineer needs to be on the radio, so I can concentrate on the racing.

About the island: Did you have time to walk around Fuerteventura?

We have not walked around the island, just from the villa to the beach, the restaurant and the bike shop. Yesterday we drove the bike course and stopped off in a little village, Pájara, and went to a restaurant there which was amazing. A peaceful little restaurant, there was no one around, just us and I had goat for the first time which is a new experience for me. We also cycled around yesterday and saw a lot of goats. I have never seen this many goats in my life!

So Formula One: You are in the 8th position right now. Louis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are really strong right now and it looks like they might win this season. What do you expect for your next races?

The position does not matter. When you have one the world championship once you do not care about where you are unless you are winning. It is about developing the car at the moment. Mercedes has a massive advantage on everyone. For us, we had a good race in the beginning of the year where I have been on the podium and since then we have had some difficult races, so we have to develop. You cannot put the finger on one of us in motor sports, it is a team work.

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Jenson, lets talk about October 18th, 2009 in Brasil, do you remember that day?

A very special day, I remembered October 17 was one of the worst days on my life. The qualifying was wet, it went really bad and ended with a 14th place. And I had to finish 5th that day to win the world championship. I remember saying to my dad: “Tomorrow we will win the world championship; we will fight through and at least get 5th”. I woke up the next morning and felt really positive. Then we raced and when I finally crossed the finish line as the 5th I got the radio message from the team: “You just won the world championship” and proceeded to sing “we are the champions”. It was a really emotional day, considering that one year ago we did not even have a team.

What do you usually do when you are on holiday?

This, this is what I do when I am on holidays. Not interviews :-), I do triathlons. I have a week off, so I am here training and racing with my crazy friends. I struggle just to be at the beach, I can do it for 20 minutes and then I need to jump into the ocean or jump on the bike. This is a release for my from the circus I live in.

You have almost been here for a week. What can you tell us about Playitas?

Obviously I am here now that everyone is preparing for the race. It is a good little complex and I think the important thing is that everyone here is really friendly; there is a good atmosphere because there are so many happy people. Everyone is enjoying the sun and the sea while doing the sport that we love.

Short questions:

The last thing you do before you sit inside your McLaren: Have a gel.

Your favorite Formula One race: 2011 in Japan.

How many miles do you fly every year: No idea, I fly three times a week.

What is your favorite triathlon distance: This here, the half-distance.

Swim, bike or run: Bike.

How many bikes do you have: That’s a very good question. Probably around 12.

Jenson, thank you very much and good luck for the race!

Muchas gracias! 🙂

Checkered flag!

 

Interview: Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshöfer

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Felix Walchshöfer, CEO of the Challenge Family stayed at Playitas Resort and we got the opportunity to go one on one with him.

It’s a pleasure for Playitas Resort having you here in Fuerteventura. How are you Felix?

Really good, I just had two wonderful weeks of training here at Playitas with great weather – so much better than at home! I am absolutely happy!

And your family, we mean… Challenge Family?

We are doing very well in the Challenge Family as well. Recently, we had several new races, particularly in the U.S., and it is steadily growing. We are feeling great about the latest developments.

17 races in 2013, 22 in 2014 – 5 more races in just one year. That’s definitely a ‘Challenge’. What can you tell us about your next or new projects?

Last year our main focus was on the U.S. We started three new races – at the east coast, in the mid of the country as well as in California. The next step will be South America; we are currently looking into Brazil. Furthermore, we have various additions in Europe.

A lot of people probably asked you before, but… swim, bike or run?

I would say that I am most talented in swimming, but I enjoy most running.

How about the bike?

Yea, well, I have to get over it! [Felix smiles]

As I am normally on races during the weekends, it is hard to find time for longer biking tours which does not make it easy for me when I am biking in the races.

We met your sister last year. Are you guys coming to the Challenge Fuerteventura this time?

Yes.

Both of you?

We will have to sit down and discuss all the races that are going on in the next time, but one of us will definitely be there.

Your life is all about triathlon, but what about other sports? Do you find any time for it?

Unfortunately not, professionally and private it is all about triathlon for me. I tried different things, I was actually coming from athletics to triathlon, but I am already happy to find enough time for triathlon, so I do not want to do further sports at the cost of my triathlon training.

What can you tell people who’re starting with triathlon?

Well, I think it is an absolute fascinating sport. Lately, more and more people start with triathlon due to health reasons. Swimming, biking and running – that is a combination of some of the most healthy sports and everyone is able to do these disciplines. My advise for people who just get started with the sport is not to take it too serious. Just go have fun and do it with your partner, friends or family – it is just a wonderful sport!

How would you define Playitas Resort?

In my opinion, Playitas is an amazing place for training. The facilities are perfect and the staff is one of the best. Everything is about sports and the management really takes care of the details that are important for the sportsmen coming here. The island is wonderful with its biking roads through the landscape and the swimming pool in the resort is ideal. All in all, it is an absolutely perfect location for the sport.