Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two weeks until the LPC Triathlon Training Camp

Back in the fall, my brother Anthony suggested that I sign up to go to the LPC Triathlon Training Camp in Florida during March break.

I know I have a lot to learn about triathlon. Sure, I’ve read almost every book on the subject now (When I decide to do something, I start by reading every relevant book I can get my hands on), but books are only good for so much. I’ve been able to figure out how to build a training plan, how to structure my training weeks, what to watch out for in terms of injury and building distance, and a range of other things. I’ve also read some great, motivating, and funny stories by real triathletes.

What you really can’t learn from a book, however, is technique. Sure, you can read about technique – but when you’re an utter newbie, most of what you read makes no sense at all. Also, when it comes to some activities, you are almost too nervous to try things because you’re afraid of killing yourself accidentally (come on – you know it’s true!).

What you really need is someone to point you in the right direction, or to look at what you’re doing and make suggestions.

That’s easier said than done when all the people I know who do triathlon don’t live anywhere close to me. So, when my brother suggested going to camp for a week, I was intrigued by the idea.

Intrigued in a hypothetical way, that is. At the time, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. I’d just started working independently in September – and while I was optimistic about work, I had no long-term guarantees of being able to pay my rent. I figured I needed to save all the money I could.

So, I told him the only way I could go is if I got a good project. I did have one potential opportunity on the radar – and if I got that, I figured I might be able to go to camp as a reward.

A couple of months went by. The project continued to hang nebulously over my head. As January rolled around, I knew I had to make a decision soon. While the project was creeping closer to approval, I wasn’t about to make a firm commitment to the camp without a signed contract.

And then a completely different project dropped into my lap. After getting over my amazement (the project practically fell out of the sky), I realized that I could now seriously consider whether to sign up for the training camp. I admit, it wasn’t as easy a decision as it might appear.

Why? I was anxious. Really. Really. Anxious.

Here’s the thing. I don’t train with other people. I’ve spent the last 14 months getting fit – almost entirely on my own. Sure, I have Trainer Chris – but outside of my sessions with him, I do everything on my own: swim, bike, and run.

I was terrified about the idea of going to a camp with other people and feeling completely out of my element. In my head, I figured everyone at the camp would know more than me and I’d be entirely embarrassed by my ineptitude.

So, there was the dilemma. Go to camp...with the possibility of looking like a fool, or stick to going solo – maybe not learning as fast, but with a much lower likelihood of embarrassment.

I knew the camp would be the better option. But as someone who can’t say the A-word, I was very leery of pressing “go” on this particular opportunity.

So I did what anyone in this kind of conundrum should do (no – the answer is never stick to the status quo…you should know me better than that). I called the Coach, James Loaring (yes, the same James from the Loaring Triathlon).

That made all the difference in the world. Sure, the website noted that the camp catered to everyone from beginner to elite. But how true was that, was my question. I love my brother – but since he’s a lifetime athlete, I was a bit worried he was being a bit too optimistic regarding whether my going to camp would be a good idea.

Coach James alleviated my concerns. He told me more about the structure of the camp and that everyone would be divided into different abilities for each discipline – so in some cases, I might be in the complete beginner group (the biking), while in others I might be in a more intermediate group (like running). Believe it or not, this really made a big difference…knowing the skills are divided is a good thing. I know there is a lot I can learn from more advanced folks, but at the same time, I didn’t want to ever feel like I was holding other people back.

He also mentioned that a lot of the people who go to the camp will be stronger in some areas than others – that’s a good thing too. So whereas some people might be great bikers, they might be newer swimmers, or vice versa.

That’s something I needed to hear. It made me realize that everyone going to the camp is going with the expectation that they can improve. Doesn’t matter where their starting point is – they are committed to getting better. And that’s something we all will have in common.

So I signed up (which came as no surprise to my friends. They know how my thought processes work: get an idea into my head and I’m done for, regardless of how much I suggest said idea is not in the cards).

…and now the camp is less than two weeks away. I am hastily making lists with the hopes I won’t forget anything important. I’m also trying to figure out if I need to buy anything before I go (I do need a spare pair of goggles) – and idly wondering whether I can fit my foam roller into my suitcase (I really hope so).

I’ll be keeping a record of my time at camp here on this blog (March 9-16)…so be prepared for a bit of nervous anxiety, hopefully mixed in with awesome adventures, learning – and fun!

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