summer feeling both energized and confident that I'll do well.
Well, well for me of course. I don't have any delusions of grandeur. I just want to finish all the triathlons I do with a smile on my face and the knowledge that I am out there doing awesome things.
I've had a bunch of people ask me what I learned at the camp...and I've been spending the past couple of weeks thinking about it (and being completely overwhelmed by real life...hence the delay in this post).
Looking back, I can honestly say that I learned a lot of great skills and drills related to swim, bike, run - and I got a lot of opportunities to practice, especially on my bike (which I desperately needed). The coaches were all top notch, enthusiastic, and very knowledgeable about their respective areas and triathlon in general. All of them were very willing to talk and provide feedback, advice and suggestions.
But I also learned a lot of other things that weren't necessarily in the camp description - some about me, and some about triathlon...
So...in no particular order, the top lessons I learned at the LPC Triathlon Training Camp include:
- Wow, the whole cyclical nature of training really works. Looking back, it is easier to see just how the sessions earlier in the week provided a foundation for the last couple of days. Sure it was just a week, but given how many different people were at the camp - the structure really worked - seemingly for everyone.
- Triathletes are a really nice bunch. Seriously. I've never met a nicer group of people all at once. Everyone was enthusiastic, supportive and nice - no matter who they were or what their experience was.
- Training in adverse conditions isn't necessarily a bad thing. I doubt I'd ever have gone out riding in the rain like we did that one day at camp. But since I was there, I wasn't going to miss a session, rain or not. Now I realize that riding in adverse conditions isn't actually a bad thing. After all, what if it rains on race day? It's a pretty terrifying feeling riding along with rain practically keeping you from seeing anything. Better to have at least some experience early - so you don't panic later.
- I really need to buy one of those Aero water bottles that has a straw. It might take me years to learn to grab a water bottle off my bike..and really, water is kind of important. Something easily accessible would be awesome.
- Swim starts in a group are crazy. We practiced some swim starts over the course of the week, and one day I managed to elbow one of the guys in the face and knock his goggles off. I had no idea I'd done it and needless to say apologized profusely after the fact (although I'm apparently never going to live down the fact I didn't even notice I'd done it). But there's definitely a lesson there. I expect I'll eventually be on the receiving end of a knock myself...so maybe it's important to think about what to do "if" scenarios. Or I can just keep my elbows up high. :)
- I'm not a pretender. I went into this camp worrying that I was going to be seen as a pretender. I'm an idiot. I fit in just fine and really need to get over the "I am not a real athlete" mentality. Done. There. Gone.
- The Sugarloaf Climb isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I was seriously worried about this climb because I'd heard so much about it. In reality, I got to the top of a series of hills (yes, Florida has them)...and found out I was there...trust me, if you're reading this wondering if you can do it...you can. The challenge is actually getting home afterwards because your legs will be exhausted from the hills!
- I have way more endurance than I thought I did. I am still blown away by having done a 10 mile run followed by a 40 mile ride on the same day...and not being toast afterwards. I actually got up the next day and did an easy 6k run. Really! How awesome is that? I never would've dared do the two workouts on the same day on my own...but now I've done it - I kind of feel like I can do anything.
- Learning from experienced coaches makes a world of difference. I learned more in a week than I'd have learned in years on my own. More importantly, now that I am home, I can keep working on the different drills that I was taught - so I can do triathlons this summer with much more confidence. Sure, you can read books - but having access to real, knowledgeable coaches is worth it's weight in gold. I can now see why people hire coaches to help them over the course of a season.
- Have fun! I had a blast at camp. Sure, I went in wanting to learn stuff - but it was darned fun, too. Even during the harder sessions (the rain being the worst), I was smiling. Why do something if you don't love it? Fortunately for me, the camp just helped me realize how much I enjoy training, learning, and pushing myself. I am already looking forward to next year.