Sunday, February 08, 2009

Leaving Camp

The morning was, in a word, glorious.

Cheryl, Jennifer (Daisy), Amy and I headed out for an easy 27 mile ride. The sun was shining, blue skies and surprisingly light wind. The pace was comfortable. I reserved my spot in the back of the line for the first half just taking in the surroundings and enjoying my last outdoor ride until I head to Tucson in early March. About half way through the ride, Jennifer and I traded the lead a few times and kept the line cruising along.

And this is the hardest part about traveling for a training trip in winter – could you imagine if every day you could ride outside? If you could run in shorts and a shirt and call yourself dressed? If you could swim in an outdoor pool?

What kind of athlete would you be?

Some strength training with Heather and then the camp concluded. A quick share of final thoughts and we headed back to our separate lives. For one weekend we came together, learned, laughed and got a glimpse at the sunny life of a triathlete in Florida.

One of the best things about a camp is the dynamic of the groups, a variety of personalities mixed together with one thing in common: we are all athletes that love the sport. What better reason to get together?

A few reflections:

Amy: Strong as an ox, this girl can ride. If I am that fast at 45 and look that good please somebody pinch me. She has no idea how strong she is. Jen and I must have told her a dozen times girl you are meant to ride with the big boys – get out there!

Cheryl: I’m not sure Cheryl ever broke a sweat out there. That chick is rock solid and she can ride. I’d watch out for her – what’s underneath that quiet is a strength that I wouldn’t want to tangle with on the swim and the bike. Get out there in front of the race Cheryl and own it!

Jen C: Peppy, zippy, springy. I keep seeing this image of her doing running man in the running store. She has the zippyness of a 12 year old and a spring in her step. Not only that but she can ride like a rocket. If someone takes off she’s right on their wheel. She is more powerful than she gives herself credit for and as I told her many times this weekend – STEP IT UP! She’s got what it takes.

Holly: Holy crap where did she come from!?! Great open water swim stroke and taught herself how to swim. Not only that – but girl can hang on no matter what the speed. Always smiling, pleasant, excited.

Courtney: Definitely the sleeper. If you watched the IM Arizona coverage, her husband was featured as the soldier who trained for the race while in Iraq. Well, surprise surprise – he signed his wife up for the race this year! Incredibly talented and speedy for someone just starting out – and to see her dressed in all of Heather’s gear was absolutely adorable.

Monica: To be so young and so spirited! Ah, I want to be 24 again and just starting out. So patient, kind and caring about all of the athletes. Great to have her there for support.

Rachelle: What I like most about Rachelle is that she does the work. You tell her what to do and it’s as good as done. No excuses, no overanalysis, she stays out of her own way. Plus she’s a workhorse. She came to me this year with an ambitious goal and I told her that we would have to work hard to get there. After meeting her this weekend, I confirmed what I’ve been learning all along – she’s willing and ready to do the work to there.

Kristen: Has what it takes - and needs to let it out! No more nice! There is strength that is just waiting to grow – I saw It on the bike. Loved her sense of humor – wearing the pink jersey, laughing at my short shorts on the run.

Kate: Sooooooooooooooo sweet, smiley and calm. Also so much stronger than she knows. Ironman is her distance. Not sure anything could disrupt her or shake her calm. Great attitude for long distance! Also I am giving her the vote for most pink wardrobe – and bike.

Melissa: Oh Melissa. Kind of looks like the Little House on the Prairie girl but would have been kicked straight out of the farmhouse for dancing or forgetting her “filter”. Wow. Zingy. Tall. Legs Magoo. Learning to tap into her inner animal on the bike. Push those pedals and hurt! It’s in there. Let it out.

Molly: Pippi with her longstocking braids and innocent smile. Inside, however, is a monster that I think we unleashed with 4 words: make her your bitch. I wanted to push Molly this weekend on the bike – to get her to find those big gears, push them with force. It worked. On Saturday I could tell Molly was tired at the start of the ride. She would do most of the ride alone and rather than giving up or feeling down she said to me “I need to do this.” YES YES YES! I was so proud of her at that moment. Getting better is not about winning every workout. It’s not always about keeping up. Sometimes it’s about being dropped or finding yourself on a ride tired and alone – the processes and thoughts that go through your head and how you work through them are what make a better athlete. So many athletes get impatient or down on themselves before they even give themselves a chance to get better.

Miss Daisy: Like cheese, definitely is getting better with age. Enough said.

Sondra and Sherry Lynn: Wonder twins activate form of peppy girls with so much spirit for the sport I wanted to put streamers on their aerobars. I LOVED THESE TWO! I want what they’re drinking because it’s full of GRRRRRRRRRR! Totally impressed here – who is in their first year and hangs on to a paceline in their first group ride? Who? These two did.

Heather: What can you say about a champion that you wouldn’t already expect? Like I said – nothing fancy to her success. A clear understanding that her body is her business. What would you do if your body was your business? How would you treat yourself? You would eat often and well, you would take your recovery seriously, you would believe in yourself, you would commit to your goals, you would spend more time focusing on what you’re doing than wondering about everyone else. You would actually do it – not just talk about it, read about it or wait and wish. Not only that but how many pros would take a weekend out of their training schedule to share what they know with you? Completely selfless, passionate and down to earth. Ever wonder what it takes to be a champ?

Todd (her husband): BEST SHERPA EVER. Gave up his entire weekend to drive us, feed us, photograph us, direct us, clean up after us…patient, witty. What a catch.

Me. With the exception of swimming, I do my training alone. I do my thing and do it the best I can. I don’t get caught up in comparing myself day to day because I know it’s patterns over time that count. I'm fairly patient with the process. But in all the work I do week to week, waiting is the hardest. Some days I’m cruising on the treadmill, some days I literally feel like Fat Elvis running 1 minute per mile slower than I would like. My longest ride has been 1:45 on the Computrainer. I haven’t run outside more than once in the past 5 weeks. All that said, I had no idea where I was at or how things were going - I wait, I trust but really...who knows? This past weekend I realized that fitness is fitness no matter where it is done. Indoors, outdoors, if you follow your plan and commit to yourself fitness it will transfer when and where the time is right. You cannot expect to be fast and fit when it’s 10 degrees outside or on a treadmill. But when spring emerges or you find yourself in a sunny place, if you trust your plan and let it work for you, you will find yourself feeling fitter than you expected. You realize you are an athlete- no matter where you live. You work hard. That counts for something. The miles on the trainer, the pace on the treadmill – all irrelevant for right now. Do the work. It will pay off. I realized this past weekend, I’m right on track. Moving along and when the time is right I will get where I want to go…

At the end of the camp, Heather, Jennifer and I talked about next year. We will do the camp again. We appreciate the patience of the campers this year as we learned what works, what needs work and will put together a camp for 2010 for strong women looking to escape to a sunny place with other athletes.

Can’t wait. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!

10 comments:

TriGirl Kate O said...

I'm blushing, thank you.

IM Able said...

"Do the work. It will pay off."

I think I'm going to print this out and post it across from my bike trainer.

D said...

The paragraph about yourself... thank you! I know you guys have the cold/dark worse than I do, but you take it all in stride (of course, you don't have two jobs to work too :P). I will keep trucking through the winter months and have faith that my training will shine when it counts. I trust my boss, now I just need to trust myself!

ADC said...

Yay, sounds like a great weekend and a really great bunch of ladies.

Sherry said...

Elizabeth, it was such pleasure to meet you this past weekend! I want to thank you for all of your help and for your words of encouragement. Sondra and I entered camp feeling like little fish in a very big pond, but we left feeling like SHARKS! I can't even begin to tell you what a confidence booster this past weekend was. Thank you so much! I'm sure I'll be seeing you again. :o)

Wes said...

Oh, I get it now. I couldn't be cabin boy because you had somebody more IMPORTANT to do it. An Iron Champion sherpa. Fine! I'm off to see if the knitting club needs a sherpa...

Jennifer Cunnane said...

You are awesome! And, very humble person and triathlete I might add...

cheryl said...

I second everything said above - such a great experience to meet and train with you , Jen and HG. You are funny, and smart, and an amazing athlete, and the quote queen, I'm going to steal some from this post and use for my motivation. thanks Elizabeth!

Melissa said...

Hey Liz. Thank you so much for your words on the bike (and all weekend). Loop #1, Ride #1...you told me to get up there and catch that wheel....those words stuck with me ALL CAMP! And when I wanted to slow down and drop off the group later in camp, I thought of your words and kept pushing.

He he...people used to tell me I looked like Laura Ingles from Litthe House O.T.P. growing up all the time.

Thanks again for the awesome weekend!

~Robyn~ said...

So I read that first part as "an easy 27 mile RUN" and I'm thinking, "Ok I know you are full of awesome and badass, but an EASY 27 mile run??! Come on that's just nuts!" Then I re-read it and figured it all out.