Friday, March 13, 2015

LPC Triathlon Camp - Day 6: Lots and Lots o'miles

Today seemed to be a weird repeat of last year, just with more miles. But hey, all miles are good miles when your goal race is an Ironman, right?

In the morning, we had the opportunity to run the stunning Orange Grove Trail...which is a 10 mile loop near Lake Louisa State Park (just beyond it actually as we found out). It's beautiful red dirt road which is pretty easy to run on.

See, here's a picture of a bit of the trail.

I actually love this trail, and find this run to be the best of the week.

Given I haven't been doing any hard running the past month, Coach Mark said to run the 19k fairly easy to moderate today (a loop and a bit of the trail)...making sure to have fun, while adding some steady effort in if I felt good and my calf didn't bother me.

I haven't actually downloaded my watch yet - but I ended up running with Beth, one of the other campers for most of 5-15km. This was great because she pushed me harder than I probably would've pushed myself, especially on such a warm morning. At the same time, I enjoyed the run immensely because I wasn't worried much about pace and the scenery was great.

On the last km, Beth finished strong...but I had another 3km to go, so I held back a bit. I crossed the one loop finish, and then turned around and ran a 1.5km out and back to finish my 19km workout.

At the end, Beth, Lindsay and I were thrilled to have had a great run. Honestly, it is mornings like this when you feel happy to be alive.

Really happy with how the run went, especially given yesterday's double-Sugarloaf day. Also, my calf didn't bug me at all...yea!

Watched a few others finish their workouts and cheered the last two guys in (one who ran an entire double loop since he's training for Boston).

We grabbed a Starbucks on the way home - and then had a very quick meal before we had to head out for our bike ride.

Oh, the bike ride. It was interesting to say the least...and definitely felt like a repeat of last year.

You see, last year, the coaches managed to get me (and the folks I was with) lost in both directions on the way to the Allen's Challenge (a fun event that involves watching people try and devour 11 scoops of ice cream and 6 toppings within 15 minutes). If you look at last year's post, you'll see I rode 75km instead of 60km thanks to our lack of directional ability.

While I joked about last year's directional challenges being the coaches' wanting me to do extra mileage...I kind of have to wonder about the truth of it when almost the exact same thing happened today. Except the route was longer this year, so it made the extra mileage even more challenging. Instead of the 35km easy that we were supposed enjoy on the ride to Allen's...our small group of 5 ended up going a good 50km to get to Allen's.

But, hey - we managed to find the ice cream spot after stopping several random people on the street and then at a fire station. Of course, thanks to our 15km delay...we got there after everyone else had taken a break and after one of the campers destroyed the Allen's Challenge record (held by Coach  Mark) by something like 3 minutes. In truth, It looked like they were all just waiting around for us to arrive so they could leave.

I admit, I was disappointed. Watching that ridiculous challenge has been a highlight of camp the last two years. And being so late meant I didn't even get any ice cream.

Admittedly, part of that was the fact I decided to ride home (at that point, I figured I might as well go for the extra mileage) while the other 3 campers I was with opted to get a ride home from Allen's. I don't actually know if they got ice cream, but I hope they did. Meanwhile, I managed to down half a Dr. Pepper before I had to turn around and ride home.

Aside: I honestly don't recommend riding 90k in the heat on 1 gel and half a Dr. Pepper (after running 19k in the morning)..but I am proof it can be done. Thankfully I had plenty of water in my Camelbak and had brought an extra bike bottle full of water - so hydration wasn't an issue. Phew.

Thankfully, we got home without any detours. I admit that I rode around the resort's entry round-about 7 or 8 times so my watch would tick over to 90km. Because, well, now I've done a full 180km of riding in 2 days....along with my 19km run today and my 3k swim yesterday. That's actually not too far off an Ironman (another 22.2km of running and 800m swimming)...although it was spread out over a lot longer than the 17 hours I'll have next November. Figure it's a pretty darned good accidental simulation though. Right?

And really, if you're going to have extra miles - today was a perfect day for them. It was sunny and warm, but not as scorching hot as yesterday. Really, other than a bit of wind, it was a great day for a ride.

Got home in time to take a quick shower and then head out with my house to the camp dinner at the ESPN Club in Walt Disney World. I admit, I was pretty tired by then...but it was a fun evening spent with fantastic people.

Tomorrow I head home (or technically to Detroit since I head home from Windsor on Sunday). Sometime over the next few days I will write a recap post....but I'm already looking forward to another great week at CampLPC come 2016. Who's with me?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

LPC Triathlon Camp - Day 5: Climbing Sugarloaf...twice.

I admit, I am almost too tired to write this blog entry. It's only my history of managing to get my recap out the same day that's getting me to put my thoughts into words for all of you. 3 years of triathlon camp and counting...I didn't want to disappoint anyone.

Day 5 started with a swim at the awesome 350 meter lazy river at Orange Lake Resort.

Okay, this picture was technically after the swim, but you can see one part of the spectacular pool. The workout was great...2 laps of warm-up, then 2 of drafting practice, then 3 laps of descending laps, a lap hard, and then a lap of cool down. Which is apparently 9 laps. I think? Or am I adding that incorrectly? I honestly can't add right now. But if it was 9 laps, that's over 3k of swimming - which is kind of amazing.
Overall, the swim was really good. My descending reps would have been descending except I got kicked in the face - but that's triathlon for you.  It just made my hard lap all the much better.
After the swim, we had some very important hot tub time, not to mention Starbucks Coffee time. Priorities, right? I needed to caffeinate before the big afternoon ride after all!
What a nice looking bunch, right?
We came home and ate a ton of food before heading out to the starting point of our hardest ride of the week - the Sugarloaf Mountain climb. Here are people getting ready for the start.
The interesting thing about today's ride is that Coach Mark wanted me to climb Sugarloaf 2 times. The past two years, I've just been happy to make it up once - but this time, the goal was two reps. The question of course was how to get the two reps. Personally, I was a bit nervous about going down when some friends opted for the 90km ride with a 20km loop around to climb Sugarloaf again, I figured that would be a good option.
I did not really think about how hard doing 2 loops of 20km of hills would be. I'm not that smart. But hey, I made it up once....see, here is the proof.
I even got a picture of myself...only on the first go though...I was too tired to think about getting one the second time!
Shortly after our smaller 90km group started off for the second loop, my chain fell off. So they all were way ahead of me, while I stopped to fix my chain (with Coach Nissim's very timely help). I caught up with the 72km group (heading back to the starting point - an Irish Pub - for a beer while the rest of us rode more) only to find out the 90km group was way ahead. On Coach James encouragement, I went as hard as I could to catch up.
I don't think I've gone that hard ever, but I did catch up (because they - eventually - stopped to wait for me at a corner...phew). After that, I was feeling pretty toasted, but I still managed to make it up Sugarloaf on the second loop. See, here we are...a small but might group.
Aside: what you don't know is that there were groups that did 125 and we weren't as crazy as some.
After the second climb, it was a leisurely (cough) 30km or so to the Irish Pub, where we completed our journey for the day. I admit, when I was done, I was thoroughly glad I signed up for a FLAT Ironman race. I couldn't imagine riding another 90km like that one.
Of course, Coach Mark was quick to mention it was early in the season and I would never ride that hard in an Ironman or I'd be walking the that made me feel better.
The Irish Pub included a very well earned beer.
Special thanks to both Coach Mark and Coach James who made the day incredibly memorable. Their constant support, encouragement and daring really made me push harder than I might have otherwise.
I think climbing Sugarloaf twice will end up being my biggest accomplishment of the camp - although tomorrow's 86km bike after a 19km run could be a close call. But that ride should be pretty easy....relatively!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

LPC Triathlon Camp - Day 4: Lake Louisa State Park Brick/OWS

Today was a fantastic day at camp - set in the beautiful confines of Lake Louisa State Park - a perfect training ground for triathlon, especially on a Wednesday morning during a week that isn't March Break (although last year it was perfect too, so time doesn't seem to matter much).

One of the best parts about this camp is the fact you can get camp transportation. This meant that I just dropped my bike off at the LPC Camp House and it got loaded in the coaches' custom-made trailer (for lack of a better word, they've set it up to rack bikes in a very stable and safe way)...hopped in one of the cars, and then picked up my bike at the awesome. (They also transport the bikes to and from Florida, which makes my life a million times easier as well)

This year, the coaches also managed to squeeze in transition racks (maybe they have a secret TARDIS), making our transition practice and brick workout at the lake incredibly realistic. It was awesome.

We rode one loop of the resort (11km) and ran 1 mile as a warm up before getting into the transition practice. As a part of that, we had a couple of demo transitions before we did our own transition practice. We started at a line and pretended we were coming out of the swim, got onto our bikes at a "mount" line, rode around the parking lot to a "dismount" line, then transitioned to the run and then ran a hundred meters. It's such a good way to get familiar with transitions, especially for the beginners in the crowd. But I always need more practice given I've managed to waste a lot of time in transition at races - usually because of trying to get my watch working, but still: practice makes perfect.

After the transition practice, we got into the main workout...3 reps of a brick workout - the 11km ride around the park, and the 1 mile run (same as the warmup). My goal from Coach Mark was to descend the bike workouts effort-wise (the last one should have been the hardest) and to keep the run segments fairly steady.

In reality, I ended up taking the first set too hard...I don't have the exact bike time, but it was definitely the fastest of the 3 reps...and then I followed that with a quicker than I was aiming for run (~4:45km pace). In my defence, I had my watch in bike mode at that point so couldn't see my I wasn't trying to run hard.

The second rep of the bike was pretty close to the first rep I think (23:00), while the second rep of the run was more around what I was supposed to be running at (~4:57 pace)

On the third rep of the bike, I started to have issues. While I managed the second half of the rep pretty well, the first half of the rep was slower. I am not sure if that was just accumulated fatigue, biking after running, or what. Probably a bit of both. Either way, the entire rep was a fair bit slower (around 24:30). Interestingly, my last run rep felt much harder, but I was better able to keep the pace consistent with the second rep...ending up with the exact same pacing.

BUT, on the cool side, that last bike rep was still faster than my fastest bike rep from last year! How awesome is that? And last year I only did 2 main-set reps...while this year I was able to do 3. So I've definitely come a long way since last year. Not to mention my fastest rep today was a good 2 minutes faster than my fastest rep from last year.

Here a few of us are posing for a "Hey we did it" selfie (which turned out terribly). Thankfully one of the other campers caught the attempt on camera. LOL. Thanks Beth!

Originally, we were going to do yoga right after the interval brick workout, but we were pretty much all scorching hot (It was about 89-90f) from the runs so Coach James and Mark decided that we should do the open water swim first.

I have to say, while putting on my wetsuit while sweaty was a little challenging (and hot!), the swim itself was amazing. I will admit, I love swimming in open water. I don't know why, but it is just so much better than swimming in a pool.

For the swim, Coach Mark and Coach Nissim lugged some buoys out for us to use. (Really, the whole day felt like going to a race it was so well set up). We swam a quick lap out to one of the buoys for a warm-up and then were given the option of doing 2 or 3 loops (out to one buoy, across to the other and back into shore) of the "course." I decided to do 3 figuring it was a great day for a swim. After those loops, we did a 4th loop with a partner so we could practice drafting, and a 5th loop just because we had the time.

The water was pretty much as nice as you could make it. It was a bizarre colour (apparently the trees in the area turn the water a murky red-brown), but otherwise calm and quite warm.

Here we are starting the swim (Coach James took this one). I'm already in the water, so you won't see me here.

Following the swim, we had a nice relaxing yoga session led by one of the other campers who is also a yoga instructor. It was really helpful for loosening up all the muscles I'd been working all day long. Also, lying in the heat after a cold shower was quite pleasant...although I think a few people who didn't have the chance to shower found the heat a bit harder to handle.

Coach James of course caught us on camera. Yes, that's me in the white shirt. I would've worn a tank top, but I used that as a replacement towel since I didn't bring long sleeves it was. On the plus side, I wasn't going to get burned.

On the way back to the house after yoga, Coach Mark mentioned the possibility of getting a late lunch/early dinner at an all-you-can-eat pizza place called CiCi's. For $9, we got all we could eat pizza, salad, pasta and pop.

Would hungry triathletes go for such a deal? What do you think?

At the end of the meal, Coach Mark even went for a joy ride. Yes, the car made noises and the lights flashed.

Originally, we were going to do our swim video analysis today, but Coach Mark got caught up discussing things with another camp house, so we decided to postpone our swim video seminar until tomorrow - which is good, since it gave me this time to write my blog entry for the day. Phew! Wouldn't want you to miss out!
Tomorrow, we had back to the Lazy River for a decidedly not-very-lazy swim. In the afternoon, we'll be doing the infamous Sugarloaf climb, which Coach Mark wants me to try and do 2 times. We'll see how that goes since the second rep will be entirely dependent on whether there is enough time for me to do so. But either way, it's bound to be another amazing day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

LPC Triathlon Camp Day 3: Awesome ride with a wee brick run

We had the chance to sleep in today - not that I did. I was wide awake bright and early since I didn't sleep all that well. Isn't that always the way? ::laugh::

After breakfast, we all met at the main camp house at 9am for a bike maintenance seminar, including a reminder of what to carry on your bike to change a tire, plus a walk through of how to change one. Having now changed one tire (for my Dad during his epic 64k ride on his 64th birthday), I felt I knew the basics - but then there was a great discussion about how to get the tire back on the rim when you don't have the strength to just push it over.

A couple of methods were showcased, including using your palms and re-fitting the tire around the rest of the wheel to loosen it a bit more (and potentially enough to get it back on the rim).

Thanks to Coach Ryan for the demo.

Following the demo, one of my House of Dreams housemates got a flat and had the opportunity to change it. That was good timing, right?
As I mentioned yesterday,  Coach Mark and I decided I should ride with the intermediate group for today's ride. This worked out much better than I expected and I was easily about to keep up to the group's speed.
I was very excited because we took much less busy roads than we did last year thanks to one connector road getting paved in the interim. They also put a crosswalk at one pretty scary corner. This meant that my two biggest "scary bits" were taken out of the equation!
I am finding we're not riding as much this year (i.e. I rode 34km compared to 43 the first day, 17 compared to 22 the second day, and 63 compared to 73 today), probably because there are more groups than there were last year. I will be honest - from a mental perspective, I really don't like riding less because it kind of feels like backtracking.
But, truth be told, I think the quality of the riding has been a lot better. Today for example, thanks to the new routes, I was able to ride faster - and that's a skill I really need to develop: comfort with riding faster outside. Coach Mark keeps telling me I have the potential to ride a lot faster than I do (according to my FTP test) - I just need to get comfortable and confident doing so. So riding less miles with more miles at higher speeds is much better learning/practice for me than just getting regular miles. And I certainly did that today.
Our group did a number of loops around an empty subdivision where we practiced paceline switching and cornering...and our group was regularly breaking 30km/h, and even were up around 35km/h for very short stretches with the wind at our backs. Being able to ride that fast in a group outside was kind of great because it shows I can ride pretty decently, especially when there aren't cars wandering around.
During the circles, Coach Mark noticed I was still breaking around corners (yes, I'm afraid of falling), so I tried to make sure I kept my fingers spread back away from my breaks around the turns from that point on. I still slowed down and had to catch back up to my group, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it was for the first few rounds.
After the practice, we went off to a couple more out-and-backs and even made a trip to Walt Disney World...well, the sign at least!

I was still feeling really good when we turned to head back home, but Coach Mark had us all slow down for the last 10-15km or so - so the ride back to the resort was really easy. Given how warm it was getting, that probably wasn't a bad thing since we still had the brick run.

Once back, I quickly changed into my running shoes and one of my housemates (Lisa) and I went off on a brick run. We did one loop of the resort (3km) at a moderate pace - and it was more than enough. I think it was hovering around 90 degrees around that point.

Back at our camp house, we cooled off in the pool. Just dunking my head under the water a couple of times made a huge difference. I felt re-energized.

We (several of my housemates and I) spent much of the rest of the afternoon lounging around the pool and chatting (okay, there was some beer involved too), while being entertained by Marlon (a fast triathlete from Trinidad) trying to get into the pool. Apparently it is boiling hot in Trinidad most of the time, so he finds cold really, really cold. It took him a good 20 minutes to get totally immersed in the pool and it was quite a performance throughout. The rest of us gave him a good round of applause when he finally got his head under.

Kudos to him since I was only in the pool for 5 minutes (It was pretty chilly).

After enjoying the patio heat (mostly from the shaded part of the backyard), we joined a few folks from one of the other houses for dinner at Orange Grove Resort (where the lazy river is). We got more patio time there, along with some good food and a bit more beer.

I finished the night with one of Terry Linseman's absolutely incredible homemade cookies (Terry is Coach Mark's Dad), which he warms up for a few sends in the microwave to make even more delicious. He's promised to send me the recipe at some point - which is good since I think they might become my recovery food of choice.

Tomorrow we are off to Lake Louisa State Park - which has been my favourite day of camp the last two years because of the chance to bike on the beautiful in the park where there are almost no cars. I'm really hoping tomorrow will be just as awesome - although there is the slight possibility of a thunderstorm in the forecast. Here's hoping it waits until the afternoon if it needs to rain though!

Monday, March 9, 2015

LPC Triathlon Camp - Day 2: NTC Clearmont

On Day 2 of the LPC Florida Triathlon Camp, we got up bright and early to head over to the National Training Centre in Clearmont, Florida for a number of sessions. By early, I mean that I set my alarm for 6am because I don't like numbers that start before that if I can help it!

The first session we had was a warm-up run, including a short game of soccer, followed by a whole series of running drills (As, Bs, Cs, Karaoke, etc.). I knew the running drills already, but I actually got a great piece of advice about the Bs that finally made me be able to do them smoothly (I've always done them terribly in the past). The piece of advice was to pause when you lift a leg and before you kick it outward. You don't pause for more than a micro-second, but enough to feel it and then shift into the next movement.

Oh wow, what a difference. Suddenly I could do the Bs without any problem!

Here we are doing the drills.  I believe this picture is from Coach James (at least I "borrowed" it from his Twitter post).

After the drills, we went to the long hill and split into two groups for some hill repeats. Those of us training for longer distances worked on reps of the hill that had a lower incline than those training for sprints/Olympics. Mind you, I'd have done the lower incline anyway given I'm only now starting to run harder again following my calf injury.

And on that note, Coach Mark's instructions included going no harder than steady, so I did my best to keep it that way on the hills and I think I did a legitimate job of trying to do so (maybe not perfect, but a legitimate attempt). It's so hard when people are passing you, but I just focused on what I was doing!

After the run, we had a bit of time to change and eat a quick snack before heading to the pool for our swim workout. The NTC has a fantastic outdoor pool that is an utter joy to swim in. Here we are (another picture courtesy of Coach James).

Can you find me? I can, but I know what my swim cap looks like! If you want a hint, well - I was right in the middle pace-wise during the lazy river session, and that was right for this as well.

The swim was really well done. We had 4 coaches, each of whom led a 20 minute session with a group of 2 lanes. That worked perfectly for getting advice on different technique and drill sets while also getting the benefit of everyone working with each coach.

Coach Mark led our group off with some open water exercises (like trying to catch the person ahead, and different sighting drills (head-up free, eyes out of the water free with side breathing, and then full sighting). I actually quite like sighting, but head up free is really hard.

Coach Nate (Nate Kortuem is Sarah Haskins' Coach. He came by to lead part of the swim session) has us working with bands around our ankles. I found this much easier this year than I did when we tried it last year. I didn't sink nearly as much, nor did I feel quite as dead afterwards.

Coach Alexandra had us doing a range of swim drills focused on rotation. Including kicking on side,  dog paddle, shark, and shark with the hip lead roll. I realized I've been doing the hip lead roll wrong all the time and finally figured out how to do it right.

Coach Karsten had us doing a main set...but that's right when I had to get out to go do my swim video with Coach James so I missed much of that part. Isn't that terrible? I came back just in time for a descend 1-3 100s, but to be honest, I was already pretty toast so I think it was more like 3-2-2. But I gave it my best.

After the swim session, we had time for a bit of a break (and a shower) before we met up in a conference room for a great lunch (sandwiches and smoothies), and 2 talks. The first session was a Q&A with Sarah Haskins. We had Sarah at camp last year, so it was great to hear what she had to say about this past year. She actually had a great year (won a bunch of races), but then got a stress fracture. It was interesting to hear her talk about her recovery and lessons learned given my own recent calf strain. Makes me think I shouldn't have spent two months thinking the pain would go away and waiting for it to stop me in my tracks during a workout. Umm yes.

Following Sarah's talk, Coach Mark gave a session on nutrition and hydration. Every time Coach Mark gives a talk I learn something new - today there were a few things, but partly it was about the possible benefits of beet juice before a run. I'd heard it was good, but always interesting to hear more about the why. He also touched on the benefits of caffeine (which is good, since I like my coffee).

The discussion with Coach Mark overflowed his session and continued during the car trip back to the resort and I got a few more interesting tidbits about carbohydrate and marathon running...including the fact that getting faster at the marathon (or maybe just more experienced) doesn't mean you can run with less carbs...but rather you should get better at taking in more carbs which will, in turn, help you get better.

Oh, before I left the National Training Centre, I had to get a pic!

Once we got back to the house we had a short break before meeting up again for a technical focused bike session.

This session was different from last year in that we both broke up into groups - and the entire focus of the session was on technique. Our group (the beginners of course!) focused on cornering, riding slowly, making sharp turns and also a bit on drafting.

I was happily surprised to gain additional confirmation that I've gotten better, at least compared to the last two years. I managed most of the beginner drills without any issues and I actually felt pretty comfortable. My only issue (and it is a big one) was my problem making left U-turns. Every single time I tried with the group, I failed. I was so annoyed, when the session was over, I spent an additional 20 minutes working on the turns. In the 20 or more that I tried, I made the left hand U-turn exactly once. Yes, once. But I'm trying!

I took a very well earned shower after that, and then had dinner with a number of people in my house - Mostly Coach Mark, his dad and sister, and Simon (a nice guy from Halifax), although Marlon (a speedy guy from Trinidad joined in for the fun). We chatted right up until 10pm when I realized I needed to hurry up and get this blog done so I could go to bed.

Tomorrow, we have a longer-bike with a short run after. I was chatting with Coach Mark tonight after dinner and we agreed that I should ride with the intermediate group. I might be one of the slowest in that group, but it should be good experience. And, like swimming, I'd rather be the slowest by a little in one group, than one of the faster people in another. I figure it might be scary and more challenging, but it is also better for me in terms of long-term improvement.

And in case you're keeping track of the weather, it was great for our run, a bit chilly for the swim (the wind and cool air temperature, and then became warm and sunny for the bike (AKA: Perfect!).

See you tomorrow!

Special thanks: A special "Hello" to one of my readers - Lisa Atkins. Gia tells me you've been following along! Thanks for reading! You make me happy knowing someone other than my mother reads my blog! ::grin::

Sunday, March 8, 2015

LPC Triathlon Camp 2015 - Day 1: A run, a swim and a bike

After a whirlwind trip to New Orleans (I had a travel voucher that was going to expire, so I went to New Orleans a few days), I landed in Florida yesterday for the LPC Florida Triathlon Camp.

This is my third year at campLPC, so I felt pretty good coming into camp. I still think I'm a pretty terrible biker, but when you compare me to the me of three years ago - I'm made miles of improvement. Mind you, I've also biked something like 5000km since that first day of camp 3 years ago.

Aside: If you want to know where I started...check my posts from camp in 2013. While a bit awkward, I suggest starting at the bottom and working your way up so you'll see the progress over the week. You can also read my posts from camp in 2014....when I did my longest ride ever 3 times. Same suggestion...start at the bottom and work up...although the first March post from last year is unrelated.

My goals for the camp were (and are) pretty simple this year:
  1. Have fun
  2. Don't crash (a noble goal, right?)
  3. Don't get injured (during camp or on the way home)
  4. Get yet more experience riding my bike (this will be my goal forever)
  5. Do all the running without hurting my calf again (I strained my calf in January and have been going to physio and running basically easy for 6 weeks. Finally got permission to run properly again, but can't be too much of a doorknob trying to do it all today).
There are a lot of people at camp this year - with a ton of new faces. I love that because there are lots of new folks to meet and to learn from. I'm staying in a different camp house - the House of Dreams - with some great people from all over the map - from Sarnia to Halifax and Trinidad to Toronto. At camp, we also have folks from Yellowknife, Germany and lots of other places. How cool is that? There's also a crazy mix of folks from beginner to elite - from 11 to mid-sixties. We even have an expert paratriathlete here. You can't say it's not a diverse group that's for sure!

In terms of what we did on Day one....well, funnily enough, we had a swim, a bike and a run - although not in that order.

We started the day with a short, easy run in Orange Lake Resort as a warm-up, followed by some dynamic stretching and some yoga core work.

I figure the run would be good for testing my calf out. Overall, it felt great. Not even a twinge (fingers crossed it stays that way). I was better than last year at keeping the run easy...although it was a bit harder than I probably should have gone. But when a run is only 20 minutes long, it's hard to not go a little faster than you should.

I really needed the core yoga and stretching since I've been finding my shoulder a bit tight the last few days, so that was good to get ready for swimming.

Here's a great pic Coach James took of the yoga. Can you find me?


In terms of the swim groups, I was right in the middle pace-wise, so Coach Mark suggested I join the fast group. What that meant is that I worked hard the entire time to keep up because I was one of the slowest in that group.  But that's why I'm here. I'd rather push myself than take it too easy.
We worked on a number of skills during the swim, which was in a 350m lazy river (great for triathlon training since you don't have any walls but you do need to make turns and sight and keep on course. We did some dolphin diving, a lot of drafting, and some sculling, before doing a longer tempo rep (2 loops).  It felt pretty hard to me, but I think that's because I haven't swam since Tuesday this week.
After a leisurely dip in the hot tub, we headed back to the camp house via the grocery store.
After a bit of a break and some lunch, we headed out on an easy bike ride. Here's a pic of a few folks getting ready to ride. Those are Janice and Helen in the middle. I can't quite tell who the others are. Sorry guys!
Given the number of people we split into 3 groups. I was happily surprised to find myself at the top end of the beginner group, which was kind of crazy (crazy awesome!). Guess all the hard work Coach Mark has had me do on my trainer is paying off! It could also be that there weren't very many cars on the road today so I didn't feel very nervous. Mind you, being a bit quicker has nothing to do with bike handling. I am pretty sure I'm still one of the worst bike handlers at camp - although I am getting better slowly (very slowly). I used my camelback and had no issues with water. Love that thing!
We biked out to a sub-division and then rode loops around this very circuitous course that had a lot of cul-de-sacs. This meant I really had to work on my left U-turns. We had more room than a normal U-turn would give (thank goodness since my U-turns are terrible) and I managed to do them all with only a bit of slowing.
At the end of the first loop, 2 of us decided we wanted to do a second loop of the cul-de-sacs, so we joined the slowest group of the intermediate bike be group for another circuit before heading home. That loop was a bit quicker, but also quite manageable. More proof I'm in better shape than I was last year.
Throughout the bike we practiced paceline (drafting one by one), and switching leaders by peeling off the front and letting the group pass. What I realized is that sometime between last year and this one, I've learned how to look over my shoulder without veering! Whoohoo! Finally, some real progress. Last year, I couldn't even do that much. I still can't take my hands off my handlebars, but being able to turn my head is huge progress for me!
When we got back to the house, I took a shower and then relaxed while watching other people make their contributions to the pot-luck dinner (I made my one-pot dinner from Our Fresh Kitchen to bring yesterday after grocery shopping). Then we all headed over to main camp house for the pot-luck dinner and to celebrate Coach Mark's 30th birthday. His sister got him a triathlon themed cake! (Both Coach Mark's dad and sister are also at camp this year)
 After a lot of food and drink, it was time to head back to the House of Dreams and to get a good night sleep. I came back, wrote this blog...and now am headed to bed so I can wake up bright and early tomorrow for a fun day at the National Training Centre!