I’m just back from Charlottesville, where I participated in yet another Team HPB tri camp – this one over July 4th weekend. Our coaches for this camp were my coach, Alyssa Godesky (who placed fourth at Challenge Atlantic City last weekend, btw!); fellow Team HPB-er Leslie DiMichele; and Nate Miller, who is on the Ignite Endurance team. They are all completely amazing athletes, but also totally fun to hang out with, so I was super excited to get to train with them over the holiday weekend and this camp did not disappoint!
The camp started on Thursday night, but I had some work obligations and couldn’t get there before dinner time. So, the real fun for me started on Friday, July 4.
Friday: Friday was our big ride day. We rode over 100 miles, which I have only done once before. The highlight of the ride was riding along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. I had heard a lot about this ride before camp and it exceeded my expectations. The Blue Ridge Mountains are absolutely gorgeous! There is no other way to describe it. The photo doesn’t even do the view justice.
The ride was fully supported thanks to our fabulous SAG car driver and PowerBar – thanks Anne and PowerBar! – so we never had to worry about having enough to eat or drink, and the weather was perfect.
The ride was definitely challenging, with lots of climbing, and I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed in my climbing, considering all of the hilly riding I’ve been doing lately between Columbia Tri, Syracuse, and the weekly Tri360 rides. But, I made it through and you can’t help but feel accomplished after riding for 7 plus hours!
I also got to do the whole ride with Alyssa, which was really a treat for me. We don’t get to see each other a lot, so it was really nice to catch up (when I wasn’t gasping for air) and to have her watch me ride, since she is a long distance coach and doesn’t get to see me train very often.
It was a long day, but a great way to spend the Fourth.
I barely got myself to Whole Foods after the ride to buy a sandwich for dinner and was asleep before 8!
Saturday: Saturday was kind of insane. It was a Bike=>Swim=>Bike=>Run=>Bike day! And, the run was a brutal run. But, I’ll start with the swim at Blue Ridge Swim Club.
We started the day on our bikes and rode about 30 miles to the swim. The Blue Ridge Swim Club’s “pool” was built in 1913 and is filled with spring water. It’s 100 yards long with no lane lines and the water is not clear, so it’s the perfect venue to simulate open water swims. We swam and practiced race starts, which was very helpful for me, since this is always one of my biggest struggles in races. I would highly recommend you check it out if you are ever in Charlottesville!
Photo from the Blue Ridge Swim Club website.
We swam for about an hour. The swim was more tiring than I would have expected. Something about the simulated race starts really took a toll (or maybe just accumulating fatigue from the day before?), but we hopped back on our bikes and rode to a gravel road for a run. The road, Ridge Road, is about four miles long and we were told to run out easy and back as hard as we could. It was getting warm and even though most of the road was shaded, I was certainly feeling the heat. And, like the rest of Charlottesville, this road was not flat.
I ran out okay (about ten minute mile pace, which is fine for me), but then we stopped for water at the bottom of a big hill at the turnaround (at mile four) and it was really hard for me to get started again after that – especially going back UP the big hill! My first mile on the return was at 10:30-ish pace. Then Alyssa started running with me and was giving me a pep talk and even though I was really dying, I was able to push through the last three miles at about 9:30 pace. If you know me at all, you know I can always talk and I couldn’t even talk to Alyssa for those three miles! She was handing me a water bottle and I don’t even think I said thank you (so, THANK YOU, Alyssa!). I’ve decided I’m going to try to be Alyssa in my own head on tough runs in the future.
We got back on our bikes for the third time and rode back to our cars (total biking mileage for the day was about 44 miles).
Saturday’s adventure was also fully supported with a SAG car (thanks, Shannon!). One of the best parts of doing a camp like this is that everything is taken care of for you – you don’t have to worry about anything but training.
Even though Saturday’s training ended mid-afternoon, I was beat. I spent the rest of the day laying in bed in my hotel room hoping my legs would not fall off.
Sunday: I can’t say I was super stoked to get back on the bike on Sunday morning, but I did. We did a 90 minute (about 20 miles) “easy spin” (that last part was totally a lie!). I got to ride with Nate for the first time and I actually ended up having a great time! He was coaching me the whole way and I learned a ton. Hopefully I can remember it all and put it into practice over the rest of the summer.
Sunday afternoon, I did my first ever 75×100 swim! I did 50×100 at Tucson camp, so I’m slowly working my way up to the big “Team HPB Birthday Swim,” which Alyssa confirmed I will do this November! During the cool down, Leslie watched my stroke and gave me several things to work on with my swim over the summer. I really need help with my swimming, so I loved getting her feedback and hope I can improve as the summer goes along.
Mondays are super big work days for me at my new job, so I drove back from camp on Sunday night, even though camp continued through Monday morning. I wasn’t off the hook though – Alyssa told me to run for 2 hours Monday morning at home. That one was a struggle, but I plodded my way through it. Put a fork in this girl!
Last week was the biggest training week of my life (even more than the week I was in Tucson for camp) and only two weeks after my first 70.3 in Syracuse, so, I’m definitely tired. But, I’m also super excited and motivated to keep working and improving throughout the rest of the summer.
Thanks, Alyssa, Leslie, and Nate for a great training weekend!