Monday, April 08, 2013

Billy Goats and Fishes

Day Three of camp was a fun one.  Having done 100x100 several times I know what happens.  Hillary makes it fun and I am sure she gets a kick out of the sensory deprivation hallucinations just as much as I do.  Although seeing some of the “deer in the headlight” looks on the first timers still is cause for some alarm.  Hillary (Aka Julie McCoy cruise director)  had also set up some Active Release Therapy for me so I knew the post swim celebration was not in the cards for me.  Good thing Tim and I got to hit Pico De Gallo on Thursday!  

The day starts with the climb up and over Gates Pass with the McCain loop.  This was strictly a “social ride” but we were still in our groups.  I have heard about the work that Tim had been doing, but as soon as we hit the loop – Quadzilla let us all see the benefits of his work at Vision Quest and solid computrainer sessions.  Still I enjoyed the ride and even though my brain was reminding me of the hit it took on every bump (which are plentiful on Arizona roads).  At the base of the pass on the way back, my friend Susan was unsure of the climb. While it is quite steep, it is really more daunting by look than by feel.  I find that there are those times while riding where the road from a distance is unnerving but once I engage it isn’t nearly as bad as it seemed.  Kind of like life.  So Susan and I tackled it together and after that she was unstoppable.  

We had a short break and then it was off to the pool. Swimming 100x100 is one of those workouts that doesn’t really compute until I am on the back end.  The best way for me to take it on is a section at a time and Hillary always gives us some good sections.  At some point my ability to do math becomes even more impaired that under normal situations.  Last year I had the privilege of leading the lane with Tim and Neal. Poor guys got to witness my inability to add and subtract thus we went on the same interval for most of the swim.  This year Coach took mercy on those at my bidding and just gave us a simple interval.  Still, we all got confused as to where we were at different times so we may or may not have swam a little more that 100x100.  Having never done drugs that caused hallucinations, 3+ hours in the pool gets pretty close I think.  Hillary likes to intensify my experience by dulling the senses while doing the first 30x100 in her lane. The oxygen deprivation from that lane lends to my incoherency on the back end.  
This was an early night because the next day was Mt. Lemmon and more adventures. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Camp day 2- The good, the bad and the ugly

Day Two of camp is clearly one of my favorites. It is the long ride around the shootout loop with the added on 13 mile climb up Madarea Canyon. The first ten miles are pretty gradual and the last 3 are lung busters.  Last year we all woke up in the morning to the sounds of what we thought was a storm only to find out it was a wicked wind.  The only person not phased was Michele Simmons who lives in Hawaii and trains in crazy wind all the time.  I was really excited when I got up in the morning to a calm day. Now I was going to see what a year of training with watts was going to give me.  The group gathered and rolled out. True to form, Neil set the pace right out the gate.  Maik kept us in control and the first half was pretty uneventful except that this year I noticed scenery on the rollers more than last year.  Right before the first sag stop (sag this year was one of my dearest friends Gail) the boys punched it.  I tried to go with them but knew not to use up all my coins this early in the ride. We regrouped at Sag and then headed down to the turn into the canyon.  Tim and I had already talked about how we planned on capturing our power output going up the canyon so when we made the turn I hit my "lap" split. The group started up the climb together and then brakes and then wheels touched and the profanity and then I had a face to face meeting with Arizona's asphalt. 

Now this was not my first rodeo at bouncing on the pavement and one thing I know is getting back up and riding as soon as an asessment is made that all is ok is critical.  A Once over proved that nothing on my body or frame was broken, both wheels rolled fine so it is was time to ride.  Blood dries fine and while I knew I had hit my head hard I was sure that I would be ok.  About 3 pedal strokes in, I reached down to shift to an easier gear to spin my legs and the shifter came off in my hand. Now this was a problem. We were at mile 2 of 13 climb and my bike was stuck in the hardest gear.  Maik was not thrilled about my insistence to see how far I could go and stayed with me as the rest of my group rolled on.  Stay focused Dawn - if things get wonky I can get in the sag car but you came here to see what you are about so now is the time to decide.  I can always guarantee on big ring strength workouts and I told myself this was just another one.  Sometimes I even fantasized that I would be able to make it up the last 3 miles.  Gail drove by and asked if I wanted in and I told her that I wanted to see how far I could get. At mile 10, it was clear that I would need a ride up the last 3 miles.  Coachie rolled up as she was leading the second group and told me I had taken a page out of her book and to get on up to the top.  From there I got to cheer on all the athletes doing it for the first time and decide what the next step would be. Clearly I could descend and the ride home is flat. I borrowed a helmet as mine was cracked and rolled out with my group. At the bottom, Hillary suggested I go with her group. It is flat and fast for the last 40 miles and without gears I would be a hazzard with the fast group.  Still, I was able to put in some good efforts leading the second group and that gave me chance to be with most of the crew from San Antonio.  Hillary had already called the folks at Freewheel to let them know we had a bit of an mechanical so Tim (who was also having some issues) Andrew and I took our bikes in.  The crew there was great and even had a set of my shifters. They were awesome and got us rolling in time for the afternoon swim.  Getting in the water with this- 

Was less than desirable, but the water would help loosen up the stif joints that were on the way.  My head did not love moving in any direction quickly so flip turns were interesting.  Still, we got in a good session and I was even asked to demonstrate band swimming. Who knew that even though I have grown to like swimming with my ankles tied together, I had gotten good enough at it to demonstrate!  That was great for my bruised ego. 

That night a group of us went out to eat dinner and I discovered that I was not the only one that questioned the famous 'Mr. Woodling" book. (* we got to hold the Holy Grail of swim workouts later in the week - So I can attest that while it may seem like Coachies way to get a giggle, the book exists and was typed on a real type writter!)

Sleeping that night was interesting, but I managed to stay on one side to get some rest.  The next day would be my second out of 4 10k swims of the year as well as another little jaunt up Gates Pass. 
Gail and I at the start - One of my dearest friends that I didn't get to see enough! Means I have to go back very soon!
We all looked so great in our AWESOME Smash Kits. (this was before I found out how well it holds up when you hit the ground hard) 

While this was not my ideal start to training camp, it did give me exactly what I asked for.  I view camp and the time to see EXACTLY what I can do when all other distractions are taken away.  Usually that falls in the physical capacity, today was finding out exactly how mentally strong I really am. No one was forcing me to continue, but I am about facing challenges and seeing what is REALLY possible.  Sometimes I get to meet myself coming and going when things are going my way.  Sometimes life is going by so fast I don't get a chance to meet myself at all so I just show up. And days like today, I get to put on my "big girl panties" and suck the very marrow out of the life I have been given and once again prove to myself that fear exists only in my head and I am way more than I can conceive most of the time.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Camp Time!!

It has been a busy week.  I usually try to write when I feel like I have some insight to share but this week has been one for the books so just a quick run down.  I have been privileged to attend a training camp once a year since I started in this sport.  For the last two years I have come to Hillary Biscay's camp in Tucson.  There is so much value to stripping away all the demands of daily life and just focusing on training and what happens between the ears when all you have to concentrate on is the next workout.  Attending a camp that is organized, supported and well run really allows for huge gains and insights which is why I love this camp.  It is challenging and pushes up against self imposed boundaries that enable an athlete to see what they really can do!  Last year I brought two girls that I coach with me.  I remember them asking me on the first night if I really thought they could do it. Of course I responded with all the faith in the world in their ability to dig deep and get the work done.  Kris and Shelly did so well and learned so much that I wanted to share that experience with more athletes.  When camp time came around I opened it up to a few more. Shelly is occupied with another project, but Kris was in as were Linda, Aixa, Herb and Jeff.  I was so excited to see these camp freshman grow in the challenge.  I also couldn't wait to see what Kris had gained in her year of focused training since being here last.  The day came to load up all the athletes in the Beast and head west. Six athletes for a week of training equates to a lot of gear.
Note to self:  gear on top of the car may not stay there.  Required rearranging things mid way through the 13 hour drive.  All in all we arrived safely and everyone was in their respective casitats ready to hit it.  Jeff and Herb were staying with me and some new friends - Kate and Marc.  Kate is from Chicago and and camp first time-er.  Marc is a fellow HPB athlete and good friend who had just crushed Ironman Melbourne the week before and then came right to training camp.  Besides being a machine, he has the best attitude about this sport. We have been virtual training buddies for months so I was thrilled to finally get to put in some miles in person.  Just like going to camp as a kid, I couldn't wait to see my camping buddies from last year that were returning as well as make some new friends.  Tim and I have been on the phone at least once a week and facebooking nearly every day as we were so excited about camp and he has been crushing the bike. I have now named him Quadzilla and I was a bit nervous to see if I could still hang with him.  Neil was returning as well and bringing his way beautiful, smart, funny girlfriend who was also doing camp. We have seen each other over the year so I was more than ready to catch up with these two as well.  Since the hoof is still cranky, Coachie (AkA - Julie McCoy cruise director) had set up some therapy sessions for me.  I was bummed to not be able to run, but I am determined to get this healing thing right and keep my eyes on results.  So instead of running during the run sessions I got to get some extra ART or do some extra bike rides.  Riding in Tuscon is so fun because it is so different than home. 

Thursday morning I had one of the "bonus" rides to do - Gates Pass.  I had done it last year and was excited to get to maximizing my time here.  Jeff wanted to go with me as did Kate ( a new camper friend and roomie for the week) so I got to be the guide.  I love that ride because the views are epic, it is hard and fast at the same time and I know that it is a staple for those around here.  Knowing we were doing it later in the week, I decided to just get my cycling legs under me and enjoy the ride.  On the way back to the casita we ran into Coachie and GCM.  The Ironman Champ rode over as well and had some choice complaints about the TRX class she went to with Hillary.  Oh Boy do I know how she feels as I got the same treatment in November. Then it was off to pick up Tim at the airport and hit my favorite place to eat here - Pico Di Gallo.  I could eat my weight in food there!  It was amazing to connect with my friend and we could hardly contain ourselves with excitement as we knew what we were in for! I love first day of camp as that is when everyone is nervous and excited at the same time - feels a bit like race morning. 
                                          Me and Marc Rubin at the first camp night dinner. 
                                                  Tim was fired up over his swag bag!
                                 The girls with Me and Coachie!  How colorful we all look!

More on the next days in the next post....