Michelle actually brought up the idea of making this an official training camp. I thought about it for a few weeks deciding if I wanted this to be something I just focused on for myself, or if the idea of running a training camp was really something I wanted to do.
In all honesty, it didn't take long for me to make the decision. For years I have planned workouts and crazy training adventures for myself and whomever else I could get to tag along. This time though, I would be taking on a much greater responsibility and leading the "Camp" as the coach. Since I started coaching a few athletes this year, I've realized how much I love it. I love sharing knowledge and pushing others (and myself) to new limits.
While recovering from Ironman AZ and sipping cervesas in Mexico over the hoidays, I started writing out the camp itinerary. That was the easy part. We have so many amazing bike routes in Scottsdale, and I also wanted to add in a day trip to do the Epic Mnt Lemmon Climb. We made the big announcement of the new TeamBSC all over social media and in conjunction announced that Kelly & I would be putting on the early season camp in Scottsdale. I was overwhelmed with the response and before we knew it out camp was pretty much full with a good mix of locals as well as out of town athletes.
This morning I woke up with such a sense of satisfaction at how everything went. I met some awesome new people over the weekend and still can't stop smiling knowing how well everything went. It also goes without saying that everything is a learning experience and we've already been given some great feedback. My mind is racing thinking about some improvements that could be made to make it even better. I sent out out this email to all the campers this am, and hopefully it gets across how happy I was with everyones heart and grit that went into all the big training days:
We could not have done this camp or had things run so smoothly without the help of my husband who was SAG extraordinaire, and a few of my amazing local friends!!
As much as I would love to go on and on about every detail about camp, I'm pretty I would lose anyone reading in about 10 minutes so I'll go ahead and do a short bullet overview/picture recap of each day!
Day -1 Thursday PM social run. We met at my house (camp central) Thursday evening for a nice easy run through one of my favorite neighborhoods. It was a great way to meet (those that could attend), shake out the legs and also put together SAG stuff for the Epic Friday ride/OWS
The ride from my house was about 30 miles of gradual climbing with a regroup before descending down to a lake where we would do an OWS. We had perfect weather and the group did amazing. We also had a nice little Rinny & Tim O'Donnell sighting as we were climbing out of the lake. Totally planned, of course.
We only had a couple hours to clean up and "recover" before an amazing virtual presentation (LOVE TECHNOLOGY) by Jenne Fromm. It was inspiring, thought provoking and just awesome. I went and picked up dinner from Pita Jungle and we all sat around my living room taking it all in.
Day 2 - Saturday 50+ mile bike ride including 9 mile hill, 4 mile negative split brick and a 3k pool swim workout. This day was just fun. Again, we had awesome weather, figured out the regrouping and riding together logistics and it went flawless. Below is the only picture I got of EVERYONE. What a stellar group of athletes!! Seriously, the talent, experience, heart and grit in this group is just amazing.
I got a chance to chase Michelle and another TeamBSC athlete through the 8 mile section of rollers out in Rio Verde. It felt awesome to push like that behind two super power cyclists. When we regrouped and headed up 9 mile hill I was in my element. I love this climb, and my favorite thing to do is negative split the effort. I didn't go too crazy because I wanted to set an example with my athletes and all campers of how to execute camp by not burning too many matches on just one given day. A successful camp is stringing together all days being consistent and happy. I did however head out on the brick run returning with my last mile at half marathon pace wondering if I had maybe gone a little bit too hard... But, I found out later in the pool when I hopped over a lane at the end to chase the speedy fish that I indeed have a pretty big fitness bank to pull from. YES!
Day 3 - Sunday Mount Lemmon Climb. 60 miles round trip with over 6k ft of climbing. A couple of the local athletes helped transport people and bikes which was a HUGE help, and Shane played SAG extraordinaire again going up and down the mountain making sure we were all ok and taking photos. We had water, extra food, and layers available (such a bonus I've never experienced during this climb). I got a little emotional at the end of the descent. This is such a BIG day and in the end EVERY single athlete from camp made it up the climb as well as DOWN. Many first timers, including my athlete Jen (aka Sippy) who rode on a poorly fitted bike, was less than comfortable, had been out at a wedding late the night before and made a wrong turn and almost headed up to the summit. Her face when walking into the cookie cabin was priceless and all I could do was laugh and smile with excitement for her. She is going to have an amazing day at IMCDA this year!!!
It was a late night for Kelly and I. As soon as we got home from Tucson, we headed out to mark the run course. I chose a pretty complicated course and for anyone not local, it would be confusing, yet totally worth it because of the beautiful homes and mountain views. We finally got home and made dinner around 8:30 pm and after finalizing logistics weren't in bed until after 11pm.
Day 4 - Monday Long run and flush swim. We had several different running abilities, paces and preferred distances, but in the end it all worked out. I was the only one that needed to do a 20 miler (hello Boston Marathon!), so I actually did 7 miles from my house and met up with the group in Paradise Valley. Again, super impressed with everyone today. Several people did their longest run of the season at just over 15 miles including some climbing. This is not an easy task after the huge days we had prior and everyone just killed it. We had Shane on his mountain bike and a good local friend out there making sure we were all safe and on course. It was awesome!
Camp officially ended after a flush swim at one of our public pools. The out of town folks had travel to get back home, but a few of us locals were able to get together for some much deserved cocktails and delicious food.
Again, HUGE thanks to our sponsors Recovery E21, Planet Sun Hawaii, all campers, Michelle's surprise visit, my amazing sherpa husband and friends June and Theresa for all the help and last but certainly not least, Coach Kelly! The only thing that would have made this camp better would have been not putting you on a plane to go home today!