I arrived in the evening on Thursday for camp starting on Friday with enough time to unpack my bags and get my bike setup. On the one hand I am excited to get this started, but I’m also a bit apprehensive, new people, new location: do I really belong here?
Day one starts, we swim, we run, we eat, we ride hill repeats. So many new faces and names and everyone seems to know exactly what they are doing, everyone seems to have a ton of experience (and energy and speed!). But thankfully also some familiar faces from camp in Texas this past August and everyone I talk to is super friendly. Halfway through the day we have a meeting: the main message is to do your own thing, but: the field has gotten competitive over the years, to be at the top you have to give it your best. At all times. So sleep, rest, eat (stay on top of your nutrition) and push during training. And with the positive drug test cases these past few months: only take supplements that are approved. We do not know our workouts in advance, instead we will get a text every evening with what time to meet up the next morning and what gear to bring.
Trying to settle in with all of these new impressions made the day pass by quickly, but I felt unfocused and out of place. But, that evening we get the chance to relax, get groceries, chat with the people I’m housing with, and finally my head starts to slow down.
After a long night’s sleep day two of camp starts off easy with a solid breakfast and then an easy group run. I already love these, the whole gang (about 20 of us) just sticks together and chats and laughs. But then the real work starts with an hour and a half of a strength swim. It’s good to have my coach Tim watch me swim, he walks alongside the lane, really takes the time to get a good view and every once in a while, pulls me out to give me a pointer. For the main set, depending on if you are a weaker puller or kicker, that is what you work on. I kick and kick and kick till I feel like my legs have nothing left and then we kick some more. We get to end the set with a bit of IM, so as we struggle our way through the butterfly and we get some good laughs in.
Then time to setup the bike, bring lots of nutrition because we have no idea how long we will be out and it’s a lot warmer here than what I have gotten used to in Wisconsin. A route was sent out before camp started: an 80-mile ride with 2 lollipop loops that we will be using for the duration of camp, but no body know how much we will ride on any given day. For today we just do a long endurance start (not an easy start with all the kicking we did that morning, but as I loosen up I get into a groove), followed by two 15 minute intervals (Z2 low cadence and Z3 normal cadence) and then another hour or so of Z1 back. I am feeling good, love being outside, love giving the intervals a good push, love having people to ride with and love feeling the legs burn! We have a 30-minute easy ride back to the house and then a 30-minute transition run with the last mile in tempo. As I run along the lake, my legs are moving, but my HR needs to go up, move legs, move! I feel like I’m going downhill, legs are turning, by my HR still needs to climb. Ok this can’t be a hill, I’m running along the lake, the water is not on an angle. Just push a little bit harder. I get exactly where I need to be, keep that going till I hit the last mile and there pick up the pace and just push even harder. Nailed it! Time for some rolling and stretching and a session in the Normatecs.
My coach, Tim, says I looked good today, my swim looks much better than it did in August and I look much better on the bike. And I’m running at paces off the bike that last year I would not have thought possible. So even though being at camp is a new experience, it is just what I need.
This was a solid day, I’m feeling more comfortable and had a great time. I might be one of the slowest ones out here, but I’d rather be the slowest than the fastest. Some of these athletes are the top of the world, they give me something to aspire to, and even though I might not reach their level, it is something to work towards. Just put my head (or chest) down, learn whatever I can and give it all I’ve got. 15 more days to go.
My ability to perform at this level would not be possible if not for the support of : QT2systems, iracelikeagirl, NTRecovery, baseperformance, kleanathlete, trisports.