Sunday, March 9, 2014

LPC Triathlon Camp Day 2 - We swam...and biked...and ran! :)

A glorious first day at camp. Woke up to beautiful, sunny skies and lovely warm weather. Not super warm when I got up – but compared to what I left behind in Toronto – it was still wonderful!

So what did we do today?

Well, this might come as a shock - but we swam. And we biked. And we ran. Although not in that order!

Started the day at River Island – where there is a lazy river that’s 350 meters long with a slight current. Terrific for practicing triathlon swimming drills – although the first thing we did when we arrived and dropped our bags was go for a short warm-up run around the resort. Best 4k I’ve had in 4 months I think…shorts, t-shirt, no air hurting my face. Really, it was awesome. We were supposed to run easy – but I kind of went under 5min per km without thinking just because of my utter joy at the conditions.

Why no – it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. :) A great, effortless run will do it.

After that, we did a number of dynamic stretches. These ran the gamut from simple arm circles and leg swings, to standing balance and single leg squat drills. On a funny side note – I’ve taken to doing the leg drills while waiting for the subway. It’s amazing how much room people will give you when you’re doing single leg squats while waiting for the train – or just waving one leg around a bit while standing on the other foot. Try it sometime!

Following that, we got into the Lazy River and went through some excellent triathlon specific drills. Because the river is very shallow and curvy – it was perfect for doing dolphin dive practice, not to mention sighting drills. We also did several “starts” and my personal favourite – drafting practice. I tried to draft in races last year – but I really am not particularly good at it – so this was much needed for me!

Got back to the camp house were we all had lunch and a bit of down time before we had to meet up for the group ride. Before we started, they had a good 20 minute discussion on checking your bike before a ride (and before races) for common issues. I really, really appreciated that since I wouldn’t have a clue what to look for other than a tire needing some air!

We separated into three groups on the bike – which was wonderful for me since I didn’t need to worry about all the speedy folks. I could just ride and worry about not tipping over. Coach Nissim stewarded 5 of us on a 43.5 kilometer ride – including 5 circuits of an empty subdivision where we practiced leading the pace group.

Now – I am still by far the weakest bike handler at camp (I knew I would be). But I managed to both lead the group (calling out the turns since I have yet to be able to make hand signals…fortunately there were no cars in this loop to worry about) and not have a heart attack when Coach Nissim had us ride two abreast and switch leaders (going through so every pair had a turn in the lead). Last year, this would have been terrifying for me – so definitely something I consider a big improvement!
As a side note - I obviously wasn't looking around at all last year during this ride - since nothing looked familiar. I didn't even recognize where I had my first tumble on my first day with clip-less pedals (going 0 mph) - although my housemate Stacy, who is a returning camper, did.

Other great bike things I learned today…wow, I LOVE being able to shift my gears. How did I not do this at all last year? Seriously, I think I shifted ever 5 minutes – and found the ride so much easier (and yet faster) because of it! I am seriously thinking of riding this bike in triathlons this year since the gear shifting will improve my speed – since I can’t yet use my aerobars on my triathlon bike. Fortunately – one day I will get there – so it’s not like I’d be wasting my tri-bike – it’s more I am taking a step back so I can take two steps forward!

After some time to clean up, everyone met at the LPC Camp House for a potluck dinner. There was a ton of delicious and healthy foods – which I guess is a sign that we’re at a triathlon camp – since anywhere else there would’ve been way more desserts and less healthy options! (laugh).  I made tomato and cucumber salad – which was gone pretty quick.

We did have cake and ice cream at the end since it was Coach Mark’s 29th birthday yesterday.

And as an aside…can I say, wow. I had no idea Coach Mark was so young. Doesn’t that make me feel old at 35! ::laugh:: Not that age matters – Coach Mark has already helped me a tremendous amount in the 4 months he’s been coaching me. I just feel so much more prepared – and I still have 2 months until the Mississauga Marathon – and 3.5 months until my first triathlon of the season! When I was training for Run for Heroes, I pretty much dropped swimming and biking all together for the couple of months beforehand. Now, I’m training 3 days a week on the bike and at least 2 on the swim – in addition to my 3 days a week of running. No idea if the cross training will help with the Marathon – but it will certainly help with my triathlon season!

So – if I had to sum up today’s experience and lessons learned?

1.       Perfect, warm weather. Enough said.

2.       I am definitely a bit better on the bike than I was last year. I still have an incredible distance to go before I can consider myself passably competent – but every step is a step in the right direction!

3.       Dolphin dives are harder than they look…but I think I’ve gotten it down to basically being one “butterfly style stroke, with a big long shallow glide. I don’t know if that’s really an accurate description – but it seemed to work for me in terms of visualization.

4.       Running outside in shorts and a t-shirt in weather that wasn’t too hot or bitterly cold. I loved every second of it.


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