Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I didn't go to summer camp very much growing up. My kids go every summer and I have seen all kinds of movies and t.v. shows about summer camp. Short of the ones about the crazed killer, it always looks or sounds like so much fun. When I grew up and became a triathlete I discovered training camps. I just finished another amazing training camp in Tucson with my coach Hillary Biscay. While there is a great training advantage to doing a sport specific camp, I have found that there isn't much difference from summer camp.

Summer camp offers the chance to make new friends from all over. It isn't unusual for those relationships to grow into life long friendships. At this years training camp, I was blessed with having athletes of all levels there to really push me. In our own little circles, it is easy to find those that we are comfortable training with and stay in that group. In training camp, everyone brings their own experiences and talents to the workouts. Perhaps it is ego or perhaps it is the need to fit in, but very quickly there was a "no man left behind" mentality with a "suck it up buttercup"expectation that makes everyone rise to the occasion. In that environment, strong bonds were formed and new friendships very soon became to feel like long lost buds. Something about smashfests shared that makes the heart grow stronger.

Me and Super speedy Damie Roberts

At summer camp, the food is always fun. So when we spend an entire week training and having all of life's distractions somewhat removed makes food the next priority. I have never trained this much at a training camp and the "smashfests" were enough for me to experience food in an all new way. I am glad that my fellow campers shared that sentiment as we all had stories of midnight snacks. Of course, coach did not let us down with the promise of an extra special goodie at the top of our Mt. Lemmon expedition. She assured us that the mountain would ask a lot out of us and that we would be rewarded at the top.

Maik Twelsiek tempting me.

The best part of camp is all the fun and games and special activities. Well camp did not let me down. Coach had such a special activity for us without even batting an eye. Her reputation for getting amazing swims out of athletes is true. We all got to experience the very famous 100-100's. Even more special for me was that I got to be in the same lane as Hillary and Maik and Michelle (super athlete straight in from Hawaii!) for the warm up of 30 100's as I was instructed to just make the interval. Just like the best camp, my leader saw more of me than I did.

No camp would be complete without care packages and smores at the camp fire.

When all is done at camp, the camper has played hard and made formed strong bonds through being challenged together. As usual, coach had a final challenge left for us as way to really cut our knees and elbows on. The best part was that giggles and tears were shared and we all succeeded in a spectacular bonding smashfest that gave each of us the ammunition to hold each other to a new standard of excellent play!

Super Ironman Michelle and I smashed after playtime on the trails

Most of all I was reminded that playing really really hard is fun. When I see kids play full out they don't "wonder if they can do it", they just go for it. They don't let fear stop them from jumping in the deep end or swinging as high as they can or riding their bikes as fast as they can - they just do it. Camp gives me an opportunity to remember that it is fun to not grow up and play full out. So the next weekend I didn't wear the heart monitor and worry about zones for my half marathon. I trusted the "play time" that I had done and decided to play "chase". I figured that if I caught each person in front of me I would "capture the flag"! I did and it had a giant PR on it. All that fitness settled in and I play all "not grown up". So love the fact that I still get to run fast, ride my bike and splash around in to pool.