Cheese and Trails in Mauritius….

DSCF5228A plate full of cheese dribbled with olive oil, a little bread and two omeletts…..no, this wasn’t my choice for breakfast, but the choice of Yan De Maroussem, LUX’s trail running and hiking guide, who was about to take us on a hike up le Morne mountain.

I was keen to get some advice from him about trail running, sports nutrition and the development of adventure sports on the island so was looking forward to the morning.

After breakfast we head up along a 4×4 track to the first stop at 130m, in the distance we see the kites lagoon and right across the island from the beautiful, mountainous  south west side to the flatter north, with the national park in the distance.

‘Don’t stretch your muscles beforehand… ‘says Yan, echoing the advice of Stephen Price. ‘ This damages muscle fibres.’ Yan is about to run the Ultra Marathon the ‘Grand Raid’ on the nearby island of La Reunion, with 162 km to cover and 9643m of elevation gain, so I listened…

‘You can only digest so much carbohydrate,  so I no longer eat sweet stuff – I have 160g of cheese in the morning, with a little bread and oil, then drink for the following hour. During a race I only have protein bars, in small quantities, and soup during the race for salt.  The night before, its fish and vegetables- I don’t believe in carb loading….and I only run on water, all sports drinks are too sweet.’

I believe day to day the body is designed to digest fat in the morning and there are only two hours in the afternoon it can digest sweet stuff, then at night fish, and sea food,  no red meat in the evening, only at lunch time when I have 200g of red meat, 500g of carbs in afternoon or 300g if I’m not  training. Then twice a week you can have a ‘gala meal’- anything you want plus booze, but no frequent drinking.’

IMG_8911Trail running is popular on Mauritius and Yan is trying to promote it. There is a  calendar of events, including the Dodo trail in July, the – Royal Raid 35-80Kms Mauritius Mountain Run  on the 11 May and the Mauritius Marathon 14 July 2013 and the terrain of the island here certainly lends itself to trail running.

At 335m we get to the single track and can see the Black River peak which the Dodo trail goes through. Yan tells to us about the flora and fauna; there are rare species here such as the Trochetia here: the traditional flower of Mauritius. There are also stags, which are hunted….

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As we move higher up the trail, the path gets more and more technical and we are have to scramble using our hands until we get to the top, where we reach a cross commemorating the slaves that are said to have died here. Yan says he’s run to the cross in just 25 minutes…..but ‘women are better at trail running because of their mental capacity and ability to hold onto fat better….’

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Keen to run all the way back down to the hotel, Yan advises me to keep my centre of gravity low, even sitting down on steep points, keeping 5 points of contact , or sidestep the trickier sections. I feel quite confident downhill, possibly as I do have a low centre of gravity being quite short… so I’m off …enjoying the technical challenge…. Yan says trail running is ‘a spiritual thing……it engages you mentally… the trees the flowers, just  go with it – it’s god’s creation…’ and I certainly feel exhilarated and ready for some….cheese?

But first we have a cookery lesson with Eve….. again, something I was keen to refresh my repertoire of, having not enjoyed cooking very much over the last year in  Chamonix. We make a steamed beetroot and carrot salad adding garlic cumin seeds, lemon juice, fresh herbs and served with houmous. We then cook a coconut milk Quinoa and spinach salad and brownies made from Medjool dates and cacoa…..which are full of anti-oxidants and taste like the real thing!

IMG_8912-001The rest of the week consisted of kite surfing, paddle boarding, gym sessions and sea kayaking. So whilst you are in a resort- which I assumed wouldn’t be my thing – you actually get to really enjoy what the island has to offer, have some unique experiences and learn some new skills, without feeling like you are training. And you are given the tools to continue the good work when you go home….. the perfect kind of retreat in my opinion…

You can hear an interview with Yan on my soundcloud page and a full article on the trip is due to be published in Zest magazine shortly.

How to book a Fitness Weeks at LUX
The prices for the wellness adventure week start from:

5 nights for €1800 including 2 activities

7 nights €2300 including 4 activities

This price is applicable 17/5 – 11/7/14 or 23/8 – 12/9/14, but this is subject to change. It includes tax and Half Board for a Superior room.

Best way to book is direct via email at luxme@luxlemorne.com

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