Saturday, March 30, 2013

Camp Day 3 - Gates Pass/McCain Loop and 100x100 Swim

When Shelly and I came to camp last year, there were two things we didn't get to do - the McCain Loop section of the Gates Pass ride, and the full 100x100 swim (we only got to do 100x75, which was still my longest swim ever by a long shot). So this year there were two things I refused to leave here without doing - and we did them both today.

Doug led our group this morning for the ride (the Gold Group, the other groups were the A Group and Group 1 - haha). Here we are getting ready to roll out:

And the obligatory matchy matchy group shot:

This ride was beautiful. It was nicely overcast so we had a little reprieve from yesterday's blazing hot sun. Jeff, Aixa, Linda, Taryn, Kate and I rode up and over Gates Pass and then down to the end of the road. I still didn't know if we were going to be able to ride the McCain Loop until we all regrouped at the bottom and Doug said OK! Let's roll to McCain Loop! Yessssss!!!

I swear I smiled the whole time I was riding that section of beautiful rollers in the middle of miles and miles of saguaro cactus as far as you could see. I got a huge boost as well when Doug rolled up and told me that I was riding strong "like an ox." How cool is that?! He later told me and Linda and Aixa that we were riding really strong and that he had a hard time catching up with us, which made us all beam like crazy.

Then, we tackled the big hill on the way back home. This half-mile climb was difficult for me last year on my road bike with easier gears to climb in - I remember having to stand up for the whole climb and being afraid to topple over. I was really truly scared approaching it today. I was in front of Linda, and I started to panic and wanted to tell her that I needed her to back off in case I fell over on the climb. At that very moment, I realized that Linda was getting ready for a self-described "mini meltdown" and that her fear had her close to tears. I yelled at her and told her to remember that she grew balls yesterday and that she should use them. And with that exchange, we both HTFUed and climbed that hill. Here's proof (the scenic overlook at the top):

I was jubilant after the ride but then immediately began to feel nauseated and couldn't really eat anything once we got back to the condo. This would be a problem later during the swim.

Here's the before shot - more matchy matchy. Not sure what the other campers are thinking of us at this point, but it's still fun for us! 

At the pool, Hillary handed out the workouts and I was happy to see that mine was for 100x100. Aixa, Taryn and I would share a lane and Aixa and I were expected to take turns leading. 

I led the warmup and then Aixa took the next set. Somewhere along the way, I started to feel nauseated and tired and couldn't keep up with the pace. I apologized and asked Aixa to continue leading. And then I had to drop back and let Taryn go because I couldn't keep up the pace. And I wanted to cry and I wanted to quit and my shoulders hurt and I could barely move through the water and I was trying not to throw up in the pool and I hated my life. But I kept going! And I decided that today's swim was the check that my ego needed and a good reminder that I have lots to still learn. I spent about 5000 yards learning every detail of Taryn's feet, and I am thoroughly grateful to her for allowing me to do so. :)

Linda enjoyed a similar sufferfest with Hillary in Lane 1. So I'm in good company. Here they are happy and smiling and finished!

And because I'm a crazy fan, here's our workout again for posterity:

And our reward afterwards. I think I'm still in a calorie hole but I'm climbing out. Gotta gain some strength for tomorrow!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tucson Smashfest - Days 1 and 2

Ahhhh so great to once again feel the tired soreness that can only come from a couple days of smashing yourself at camp!

Yesterday, we met the other campers (16 total) and went for an "easy" 1 hour run. Easy - haha. My heart rate was sky high but I kept a happy face and kept up with Linda (well, she waited for me). Later I found out from the other kids that their heart rates were all super high as well, so at least I wasn't alone. But at least we looked cute! Nearly every female camper showed up in a pink Lululemon top. Here's a few of us (with Grand Coachie in the middle).

The girls and I have been so excited for months to get our goodie bags - imagine the joy when fabulous brand new pink Tyr swim bags filled with amazing stuff appeared after our run! Linda's expression says it all:

Out to dinner at El Charro with all the campers to get to know each other a little better and eat a giant burrito:

Day 2! We met first thing in the morning to ride. Here's a shot of our coaches, Hillary and Maik, and our sag driver, Gail, getting ready for the ride:

And here's Doug Friman, also coaching us this year. Here's a pic of him on his size 63 Team Liquigas Cannondale holding Linda's tiny QR with 650 wheels. He was admiring her pink cables:

Today's ride was 90+ miles out to Madera Canyon and back. This involves a 3-mile Category 1 climb in the middle of the ride. Everyone handled themselves like rockstars and we were happy campers at the top! Here's a shot of Aixa and Linda (Linda crushed this climb today - Coachie says she grew balls today. Haha!)

It was a beautiful warm day without the gale force winds of last year, so I had a remarkable improvement over last year's ride - finished it almost an hour faster than last year, which allowed me to do this before our swim:
Eating food and hanging around in recovery boots for 2 hours after a ride like that is amazing. Last year Shelly and I arrived back at the hotel just in time to hop in the pool for the swim. So this was wonderful.

The swim! - Linda led the fast lane and Aixa and I shared lane 3 with Jeff, Kate (whose nickname is Kat which means we have to be friends), and Taryn (Taryn is also a stepmom and is super cool and I want to learn a lot from her this weekend!). We were coached by Doug and swam 3250 yards of mostly band-only (ugggg) and pull (yay!). It was a good swim and I led the lane which was cool and scary because I felt responsible to count for the whole lane and also to not fall too much off the pace.

Here's a pic of the set because I'm a crazy fan, so I saved it:

And I have to post the picture of us before the swim in our Captain America suits:

At the end of the swim, Hillary asked me how many hundreds I want to swim tomorrow, and I bellowed "ONE HUNDRED!" without showing any fear. And she said ok. So now I can think about that all night.

Only one negative for the day - Coachie crashed and has some pretty good road rash and a black eye. We are now Arizona-induced knee-scar twins, so that's kind of cool.

Ok. Time to get some shut eye and get ready for tomorrow!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tucson - We're Here!

We made it here to Tucson from San Antonio in one piece. Five people, six bikes, and a ton of luggage crammed into one Escalade driven by Coachie. Here we are at Jeff's house in Boerne, packing the bikes and stuff in tight. Note the cargo on top of the vehicle.

...about 2 hours later the wind ripped the thing off the top of the car, Aixa's suitcase tumbled out onto I-10, and the rest of it went swinging against the side of the vehicle. We salvaged our luggage and stuffed it all into the car and we were on our way again. Phew. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful (except when we stopped at the next gas station and learned that Jeff's bike was dangerously close to sliding off the back; we rearranged it all and drove to Tucson with our stuff intact. Dawn didn't even get a speeding ticket this time).

We don't have anything to do today until 4 pm when camp officially kicks off with a 1-hour run. We're staying in a condo at the JW Marriott, and it's really nice. Here's a view from our back porch (Starr Pass! It's right there!!!):

On our way out to get some coffee at Starbucks and stock up on groceries at Albertsons, we happened upon a famous Jumping Cactus (these things are real and they will hurt you - just ask Dawn!):

Here's Aixa, Herb, and Linda touristing it up at the JW:

And then we shopped our faces off at Albertsons. We have enough groceries for an army. Mostly chocolate milk and Gatorade!

On our way back from shopping we saw Hillary and Maik running on the side of the road. Can't wait to see them and run with them later today!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


You haven't heard a lot from me in a few weeks because I've been working my way through the second build phase for IMTX while also having to use my brain a lot at work. This combination doesn't make using a computer at home very appealing! But now I'll make up for it in the next week, because I'm heading out to Hillary Biscay's epic Tucson tri camp and I intend to document it fully!

How much fun to see this on my training plan this week:

We're driving out to Tucson this morning - Coachie, Aixa, Linda, and Jeff. And Herb will be meeting us there for a week of smashfests that include 3 epic rides: Mt. Lemmon (longest continuous climb in the continental US), Gates Pass (Leanda Cave, Ironman World Champion, had a photoshoot on this route for Lava magazine), and Madera Canyon (includes the famous Shootout route). We'll do some trail running too, and the thing I'm most looking forward to - 100x100 in the pool! Yippie!

This is my second time to attend the camp and I am looking to see some big improvements over last year. I'm so excited! I'm sad that Shelly isn't joining me this year, but I'm psyched to get out there again and swim, bike, run (and make some new friends!) with some of the fastest AG athletes around. But for now, let's figure out how to pack 6 bikes in Coachie's Escalade before the 12-hour drive to Tucson.