Tuesday, March 8, 2016

LPC Florida Tri Camp - Day 0-1: Fun Time in the Sun!

Year 4 of attending the LPC Florida Triathlon Camp. Hard to believe it's been four years! Some days it seems like yesterday since my first time at camp.

I sometimes wonder if I should keep doing these daily updates since I've now done three years worth…but the truth is, I enjoy writing about what I did each day – and every year is different, so I figure even when we do similar things, my knowledge and awareness are different, which might make for a fun read for people. So, I am doing this again.

People starting out in triathlon who might be imagining their first camp experience should look up my blogs from March 2013 (start at the bottom and work up)…and then read about my progress year over year: March 2014 and March 2015. I went from falling several times and being terrified all the time to being an ok rider who is still learning how to make left U-turns. One day! One day! But if I make all this progress, anyone can!

This year, LPC offered the opportunity to come in Friday night, rather than Saturday. I LOVED this option because it gave Saturday as an open day before camp started on Sunday. Coach Mark picked me and two other campers from the airport, stopped at the grocery store so we could get a few things to tide us over, and then dropped us off at our camp houses.
I was happy to find myself back to the start of it all - in the House of Secrets. Funnily enough - with my friend Paula who was there my first year as well!
Saturday: T-1 Day
With a bunch of people racing in the ITU race in Clearmont on Saturday, I decided to spend Saturday watching the race, then I could take it easy before starting camp on Sunday.

Watching the ITU race was a ton of fun. I got to see part of the women’s race and then the men’s race. Everyone related to LPC  did incredibly well – and wow, it’s amazing how fast they can go! They are rockstars!

The start of the Men's Race

Apparently, I wasn't the only one taking pictures...but it was so bright, I couldn't see what I was getting in my pictures!
ITU Men's Race

Stayed to watch the medals ceremonies. Sarah Haskins - who was the guest speaker at camp last year - came in second for the women! I am hoping a fellow camper will give me a picture of the women's podium, since mine didn't turn out.
Men's Podium - ITU Clearmont
After getting back to the resort, I picked up my bike and then did a short 45min ride with several of my housemates. We just rode around the resort, but it has ups and downs throughout so it made the ride interesting, while never being particularly busy. Fantastic! Plus it was a chance to get our bearings (because I am still directionally challenged). The weather was amazing.
The Missouri contingent arrived in the late afternoon - Paula, Karen and Jenny, and another woman from their tri club. Party time!

That night, most of my house smushed into a big truck (8 of us) and went out for Mexican to celebrate my friend Paula’s birthday (yes, the Paula who came to cheer me on in Arizona along with my friend Karen). I admit to eating far too many nacho chips (thankfully Jenny did too) along with a veggie enchilada and another veggie thing I still don’t know how to explain.

Happy Birthday Paula!
I was full to bursting, but I made it home and just hoped I wouldn’t feel too awful in the morning for the start of camp. On the plus side, all the food was tasty…so I can’t complain.

Sunday: a Swim, a Run and a Bike

I got up still feeling full from the day before, so I wasn’t sure how the morning was going to go. I admit to visiting the bathroom several times…and I did warn people early on that they didn’t want to run near me. Ooops. But hey, at least I’m honest.  Thanks Mexican food! Thankfully the over-full feeling didn't last very long and I was good to go pretty quickly!

The day itself dawned gloriously beautiful. Our first order of the day was a short (20 min) shakeout run. In previous years, I always took this way too fast. This year, I actually managed pretty good pacing, mostly because my stomach hadn’t settled down yet. I ran by myself for the first 10 minutes, then joined another camper from my house for the run back. I was actually faster on the way back when I was talking I think (and because my housemate is very fast even going easy) – but all in all, it was much better pacing than any other first run I’ve done here. I think I was well above 5 min km pace the entire time. Go me! 

We got back to River Island at Orange Lake Resort….where we had a wonderful yoga session to loosen everything up further. After all the travelling, it felt great.
Yoga/Exercise Time
The swim was a bit different this year. I finished the warm-up and there wasn't really a separation of groups like I thought there'd be. Apparently a very small group (of way faster-than-me folks) broke off before I got there, so it was all the rest of us together.
The actual swim was amazing – in the 350m lazy river pool. When it comes to open water practice, this is such a perfect way to do it since there are no walls!
Today was mostly easy swimming and then several laps of drafting practice. The first few rounds, I was with a wonderful girl who probably wanted to shoot me since we weren’t the same pace. When she was drafting me, I kept getting away. Thankfully, we were able to change it up after a couple of attempts – so hopefully she got better practice!

I ended up in a group with two guys at that point. To be honest, this didn’t work any better for me, since the one guy was way too fast and got away from me within about 2 min of starting each loop. In my effort to keep up, I usually dropped the second guy trying to draft me – so I suspect all 3 of us just ended up doing 2 laps on our own. Oh well! Our little group was just the weird ‘too fast, but too slow’ group. Can’t do much about that. For me it was nothing new. In races I almost always have the same issue...not fast enough to draft the fast (much lest super-fast) swimmers - and generally ending up on my own in a 'dead' zone because I don't want to go slower than I am. So funny!

After the main part of the swim, I did a couple of cool down loops, then headed off to join some of the other campers in the hot tub.

After a lovely stint there, Coach James took half my house to the grocery store and we got a pile of groceries. Back at the house I had some lunch and watched my Missouri friends cook up a storm. That is so not me. I bought a lot of nice, healthy easy to cook stuff that doesn’t require any prep time. Got to love vacation.

In the afternoon, we had an easy bike ride from the resort. I loved, loved, loved this. I’ve come so far from that very first ride I went on back in 2013. I’ve graduated solidly to the ‘B’ group – not being either the fastest or the slowest in the bunch. I’m still the most useless bike handler (as evidenced by my inability as of yet to make left U-turns with any kind of consistency…still...after 4 years of trying. One day!). But hey, after making my couple of atrocious turns, I could catch up no problem, so I can’t complain.

For the ride we went out to a sub-division about 10km away…and then practiced a rolling paceline. I admit we kind of got away with ourselves there, really pushing it at times. But I had a ball. At one point a group passed us and Coach Mark had me ride with that group while he took my place in the first group I was in. Then later, it switched again as they passed us. Not sure whether he had me change to push harder, or just too keep the numbers even – but whatever it was, I had fun the whole ride. Originally we were only planning to do 2 loops, but we ended up doing 3. That was awesome. I also felt pretty good about going faster in a group. That's amazing for me.

On the funny side, my watch kept giving me bizarre speeds – like 18 km an hour when we were probably above 30 for large parts of the circles around the sub-division. Despite doing the same ride, my watch says I did 10km less than everyone else! Gah! I may have fixed the issue. We'll find out on the next ride!

After the ride, we had a bit of free time, so several of my housemates and I went over to the main clubhouse for the resort for some hot tub time. Yes, after swimming, biking and running – I went and got in more water! It really was a beautiful afternoon.

We ended the first day with a camp pot-luck dinner, which was fabulous. I ate way too much food and had lots of great conversations. Met a lot of the new campers who I hadn’t actually spoken with earlier in the day. What a great group!

Soon enough, it was time to head back to the camp house. I started writing this blog, but my mind started to turn to mush, so I went to sleep. I finished the last few paragraphs today (on Day 2)...although I'm posting on Day 3. Yikes!

And speaking of Day 2….

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