Sunday, March 13, 2016

LPC Florida Tri Camp - Day 4: Brick at Lake Louisa State Park

One of the best parts of the LPC Florida Triathlon Camp is the brick workout over at Lake Louisa State Park. Okay, there are a lot of best parts to the camp experience, but Lake Louisa is one of the few places where the riding is almost completely traffic free. Doing the brick workout there also allows everyone to go at their pace, so everyone gets the workout they want that day.

As a reference, this was also where the ITU race was on Saturday - so this was my second time here this week. I was excited for the training opportunity.

Lake Louisa State Park
In the same parking lot where some of the ITU stuff had been set up, the coaches set up a real transition area (complete with a bike rack) which makes practicing transitions very real.
LPC Transition Zone
We started with a warm-up loop for both the bike and the run. The bike was an 11km loop around the park complete with some turns and some nice long but not too crazy hard hills. The run was 1 mile (or less for people who didn’t want to run as much) – and  a slight uphill out and downhill back.

My legs were a bit tired from the ride the day before to Allen’s, and my asthma was giving me a little grief because of a bit of humidity in the air, but I was feeling good overall. I was just conscientious of keeping everything as a real warm-up, unlike last year when I went too hard right off the bat.
So I simply went out of my way to enjoy that first loop and not worry about speed. Not that my watch was giving me distance properly (still!), so speed didn't matter. Whatever speed it said I was going - it was far less than actual. So the whole time focused on effort. I am sure Coach Mark doesn't mind that. It's good practice.

After the warm-up, we went through transition practice - running up to our bikes, changing into bike gear, mounting, riding a brief circle, dismounting, racking our bikes, changing to run shoes, and then running out. This was fun. I actually did a pretty good job with this – much to my surprise. I must be getting better at transitions – not that you’d know it from my snail pace transitions at IMAZ. I think the whole thing took me 2:06 – which is great for me. Of course, we didn’t have to peel our wetsuits off either – so that would have added a lot more time no doubt.
 Lap 1 - You can see why I need to sunscreen my lower back!
The main set for me was 3 loops of the 11k bike/1 mile run. Coach Mark had me try and descend 1-3 – and build over the course of the set. During each set, we practiced transitions – which I really liked. 

The first set went pretty well, and I descended the second loop just a bit. About mid-way through the second set the wind really started to pick up. By the third loop, I was a bit nervous with the shifting wind – and had a bit of nervousness going downhill. At one point I even felt my bike blow sideways a bit on a fast descent (for me anyways), but I managed to keep control. I’m definitely getting better at bike handling when something unexpected happens, that’s for sure.

After my last bike rep (which I think was marginally the fastest), I had a slightly slower final run.  My legs were too tired to push as hard as I wanted. But I was at least in the same zone as the first two runs, so that’s not too bad. All of the reps were above my target steady and tempo paces mind (i.e. around 5:00-5:05 per km, rather than around 4:55 and 4:35). This was a bit frustrating, but I also was erring a bit on the side of caution early on hoping to descend…so I can’t really complain! I am glad I had good bike sets at least, and that the runs were passable.

After a quick break to eat, we changed into our wetsuits and had a short open water swim in the tea-coloured Lake Louisa. The colour has something to do with the trees along the shore, but the outcome is that the water is very dark and somewhat eerie. You can't see anything.
I've never seen an alligator - thank goodness!
Oddly, I don’t mind the dark water at all because, unless all I can see is sand, I don’t want to know what’s in the water with me. I hate weeds more than anything – kind of odd I know, but that’s me for you. It’s not that I don’t swim fine above weeds – I just really hate looking at them because often I get this sense they’re reaching out like arms and I want to avoid touching them. My triathlete friends find this funny.
Coach James giving instructions (Photo: Brad Reiter)

The open water swim was awesome - probably because I love swimming in open water so much more than in a pool. I ended up swimming at the back of the second group – and finally got a ton of excellent drafting practice. It seems like every round I had someone’s feet, which was awesome. I did very well sighting, even with people in front of me. I’m glad for that since I’m sure that’s the main reason I could stay with people. I didn’t wander off the short course at all.
 And we're off! (Photo: Brad Reiter)
After the swim, we had a wonderful stretching session with Coach Liz Campbell. Between the yoga and the swim, my legs felt so much better than they did right after the bike. I was almost recovered or so it seemed to me. Not like I tested it.
About to start yoga
That was it for the training part of Wednesday. It was an incredibly productive morning that's for sure. The afternoon: not so much. I think most of us relaxed for a few hours. In the later afternoon, my housemates and I went to the outlet mall (thanks to Coach Nissim for the ride) and had fun shopping. After a less than stellar experience in the Sketchers store, I did find a nice pair of run shorts at Nike. Thankfully I didn’t see anything at Pearl Izumi that really called my name. I feel pretty good for only spending $20 – between the shorts and a pretzel to eat while waiting for others to finish looking around!

After a fight with traffic (Lesson: Go earlier in the day!), I got home and had some dinner before heading off to bed. At least I think that’s what I did. I don’t really remember now. Most of the evenings are a bit sketchy since I was so tired!

All in all, it was an amazing day!

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