Tuesday, April 1, 2014

...you are stronger than you think...

Camp thoughts…where do I even begin? 

I have attended numerous tri camps in the past 6 years…this was my first time as a coach.  How different it all is.  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, I’ve never been so grateful for everything my past camp coaches have done to get all the logistics in place than I am right now.  It’s tough work…getting SAG bought and set up, marking courses, organizing travel, showering @ 9:30 pm, meeting and socializing with the other athletes, AND making sure you are taking care of yourself (i.e. feeding hydrating, etc.) WHEW! 

BUT here’s the deal…IT IS ALL WORTH IT!  We had some MAJOR breakthroughs this week…seeing the athletes overcome fears, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, climbing mountains in PR record time…all the exhaustion of planning and organizing goes right out the window.  I am not sure Krista and I could be any more PROUD and satisfied than we are right now.  I would call this camp a HUGE success.

We had an incredible group of athletes this year.  Such a dynamic and diverse group, different athletic abilities, different ages.  We had local Scottsdale athletes, a couple east coast, west coast and several of us from the midwest…many will become friends for life.  Everyone stepped up and put their best foot forward and worked hard.  That’s the point of camp right?  Spend 4-5 days out of your routine; build a big fitness base and WORK HARD.  And that we did…

Thursday was an easy ‘optional’ run.  I put optional in quotes because everyone ran it.  Easy social jog, we didn’t want any matches being burned…we had a big week in front of us. 

Even Baxter needed to hydrate!

The Monday before camp, our coach Michelle was having major FOMO and decided to hop on a plane from Hawaii and join us!  She asked Krista and I to keep it a secret so she could surprise her athletes.  That was a tough secret to keep!  We were all super excited about her arrival late Thursday pm!!   (Needless to say her other athletes were super surprised and excited to see her!  Read her camp blog here!)
Me, Michelle, Krista...BSC coaches!

Our version of pillow service for coach Michelle!

Friday morning was a BIG day…huge.  A long bike to Bartlett Lake, a ~40 min OWS in Bartlett Lake then a 14 mile CLIMB out of the lake (where we spotted IM world champ Rinny and Tim) then enjoy the decent ride home.  It would have been about an 80-mile day, except Jen Sparkles and I decided to ride to Cave Creek and added another 12 miles to our day.  Why not, right?  Actually we I missed our turn…my bad.  ;)

Coach and sparkles :)

Either way it worked out perfect.  It was a tough ride and with a little coaxing of the bodies with nutrition, we all pushed through.  Krista and I were able to see some folks pushing their bodies and most importantly their minds…

’you are stronger than you think’

Barlett Lake!
My friend and inspirational speaker, Jenne Fromm so kindly agreed to take some time out of her Friday evening to virtually ‘hang’ out with us and teach us a little bit of how our minds work both for us and against us.  As usual she changed a couple peoples lives that night.  Everyone should check her out here! She’s quite an amazing individual.  I am honored and proud to call her my friend.

We had an ‘easier’ day on tap for Saturday.  ‘Just’ a 3-hour ride, including a jaunt up 9-mile hill.  Pacing and nutrition was key for this ride, especially since we had a mountain to climb the next day.  Krista and I each rode with a different group.  My group practiced pace lines on our way to the climb, super fun when you don’t ride with a big bike group very often!  Once we got to the bottom of the hill our strategy was this…spin to about mile 5, then add a couple of gears, @ mile 8 ATTACK and catch the front group.  And holy shit, we did it.  PERFECT pacing...

’you are stronger than you think’

Solid bunch of athletes!

Off the bike we had a 4-mile run.  We asked everyone to stay inside themselves for the first 2 miles and negative split this run.  It’s a lot harder to do this as most feel really good off the bike and are ready to charge.  It was noon in the desert and the false flat on the way home made for the negative split to be a SOLID challenge.  I think we had an almost 100% success rate.  A quick 3k swim shower and we had ourselves another HUGE deposit in the bank.

Sunday was the day I had been waiting for…for literally YEARS.  The EPIC Mt. Lemmon climb.  We got up early and caravanned the 2 hours down to Tucson.  Having never had experience Mt. Lemmon, I knew had to pace myself and needed to convenience the others to do the same.  WOW.  What an experience.  It was exactly what I had imagined it would be.  HARD.  BEAUTIFUL.  FUN.  And 2 hours and 45 minutes later, I was at the cookie cabin...
’you are stronger than you think’

Me, Krista and Sippy!  At the top of the Mnt.

Not too long after that, we were ALL eating cookies and pizza.  It was so amazing to see our athletes push the limits especially mentally and literally arrive at the top.  It’s a feeling that brings tears to your eyes when thinking about the metaphor of climbing a mountain, on a bike, by yourself.  

Pizza, Cookie and Sparky!!!

Then we had to get down.  It would be quick (time), it would be fast (speed), and it would be in a wind storm/headwind.  I am not the best/comfortable descending, but holy shit THAT was fun.  We had a couple athletes VERY hesitant to descend and one actually wasn’t going to, she wanted to ride in the SAG wagon down, but Shane with his negotiation skills convinced her he would leap frog with her down.  She drank the cool-aid and we once again had a 100% success rate of both the climb and the descent... 

’you are stronger than you think’

And all of a sudden it was Monday the last day of camp.  L  We had a l5 mile route and a 10 mile route planned for the group.  How would our legs feel after 190 miles of riding 14k feet of climbing?  Would they show up to play?  But of course they did!  I think everyone was a bit sore/tired, but the run got done.  Krista and I had terrorized marked Paradise Valley in a delirium the night before… & the route was absolutely stunning at sunrise.  Such a joy to be there…running.  Especially after the days leading up to it, there were little to no complaints had by any.

Sparkle and Kelly selfie!

Another quick swim and we were done!  (both literally and figuratively)  It was bittersweet at that point.  I didn’t know if the sadness was actually fatigue or if I was terribly sad it had to come to an end.  I think it was a combo of the two!  

Thanks Planet Sun for protecting us all week!!
Camp was a huge success!  Krista gets all the credit!  She worked super hard with figuring the logistics of the rides/runs.  This camp wouldn't have been without her.  She is a solid athlete and an even more amazing coach.  She's been a rock in my world and I am incredibly thankful to have her in my life.  Thank you Krista!!  You are amazing and I am so thankful for our friendship!

Thanks recoverye21 for our CUTE camp tanks!

I also must thank all of the athletes for working so hard and pushing themselves to the limit.  THANK YOU!  They deposited a huge amount of fitness into their ‘bank’ $$cha-ching$$ and it will come in handy very soon ;)   I wish everyone the most success in 2014.

Thank you to Shane and June.  We really couldn't have asked for a better SAG crew!  Water, nutrition, directions, photos, motivation, you name it - they had it ready for us.  We really couldn't have asked for a better support system.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

And last but not least, THANK YOU to our sponsors!!

Recovery e21 - Amazing product.  This stuff has gotten me through the most grueling training rides/runs and 2 Iroman.  Good stuff.  Get it.

Planet Sun - Did I mention not one person got burned in the desert sun?  Not a ONE!!  This stuff is top notch along with the people/company that run it.     

And here I am.  On the plane…revisiting the past 5 days.  Sad, excited, motivated, ready to race, experience new things, new challenges.  I never thought I would be doing what I love, not only as an athlete but now as a coach!!!  I am so inspired and excited to keep the momentum going.  The love and support I have within this community is crazy strong and I am incredibly blessed and thankful to have TeamBSC as my friends and family. 

...until next time, remember ’you are stronger than you think’

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