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Triathlete Blog

Happy Camper

By February 6, 2009July 8th, 2015No Comments

Where to begin?

The trip to Florida was relatively uneventful and set against the soundtrack of Jen Harrison chatting about…about…I’m not sure but there was a lot of chatting. There were about a half dozen “Miss Daisy” moments where Jen would be telling a story and then in the middle of it say “I forgot where I was going with it”.

We are in Florida to help Heather Gollnick lead a camp with a bunch of really fast chicks. Some are bloggers, some are not – but all are athletes and together we are all having a good time.

After a delightful car ride with Heather’s father, who in about 60 minutes convinced us to move ourselves and our entire family to Florida (he had me sold), we went to the bike shop hosting the camp. It’s really a cool set up – imagine a bike shop with a comfortable coffee shop attached to it and a giant leather couch. And, a giant leather chair big enough for both Molly and I to sit in at the same time.

Last night we talked about motivation and shared some stories. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me at this camp is that I am not only a coach here but also a camper as I get to learn from 5-time Ironman champion, Heather Gollnick.

You learn a lot when you listen to a champion. What came across to me was Heather’s inuitive sense of herself; a trusting, a knowing. She shared some of her strategies which were simple but I think that is why they work – focus on the task at hand, control what you can control (YOU) and let go of everything else.

This morning started early with bagels and lots of coffee (for me). The group departed for an easy run which was supposed to last 30 minutes. However….Miss Daisy and I got a little turned around, missed a turn and ended up running a little longer and hoping that running towards the highway would get us back where we started. I’ve never been lost on a run and let me tell you – it is not as fun as being lost on a bike.

Afterwards we went to a great running store called Fit 2 Run. I stood on this machine that had sensors where my feet had pressue (or something like that) and saw my feet! Heather led us through a bunch of run drills. I quickly learned that Jen Cunnane can do a mean running man and I cannot hop on one foot.

Next up we got suited up to ride. There are about 15 of us at camp and we broke into little groups for two loops. For the first loop, I rode with Melissa, Rachelle, Molly and Kristen to break them of the Mary Poppins with little dog Toto in the basket type riding. Girls are too nice on their bikes. It’s time to get a little angrier and RIDE! Basically, I told Molly that in a group ride scenario her goal is to make someone her bitch. Use someone’s wheel then surge to the next one. Quit being so nice! I am not sure if they liked it but I had them practice surging to catch someone’s wheel to really tap into their inner animal on the bike. Sometimes people wonder what it takes to get faster or breakthrough to that next level – it takes a willingness to hurt while trusting your legs will be there. Because usually they will. And if they are not, you took a risk and learned your limit. Each time you ride you will take one more risk and make it just a little farther and sooner than you think you’ll be riding (or swimming or running) with the big boys. I made Molly throw down her gears and ride like hell to catch Melissa’s wheel. All the while I am shouting MAKE IT HURT! Molly did and once she caught Melissa’s wheel it was time to recover and catch her breath. Then I told her to pass Melissa and high tail it to Kristen’s wheel! I’m not sure Molly liked that. I did the same to all of the girls and then saw Heather ahead….I told Melissa, listen how often do you get to draft off of Heather Gollnick? I pulled Melissa to Heather’s wheel to her to hang on….hoping she would never forget what it was like to draft off a champion. Melissa hung on for the rest of the loop. She was a champ!

The second loop we were in different groups. I ended up in a group with Jen Cunnane, Cheryl Stine, Amy (I think…from Louisville?), Heather and Monica. We did some pacelining and moved at a nice clip down what was probably the flattest road I have ever ridden on (coming from Illinois that is something to be noted). Everything was under control until Heather said something about sprint to the finish and I said to Jen C. something like “no thanks” but then heard myself say “why not” and then took off at a pace a bit beyond my upper limit right now catch Heather but by some divine miracle of what must have been tailwind and a downhill gradient I pull ahead of her and say “I win” (I mean really how often do you get to say that to Heather) then she pulls out the old “no, it’s to the stoplight” and at that point I think my heart rate was in zone 13989023840923 when I just laughed at myself and again said “no thanks” and this time…listened.

After that I ate a lot of food and then we went to the pool to watch everyone swim. I enjoyed the chance to really watch Molly and Rachelle up close to see some improvements we could make in their swim stroke.

Then I went back to the hotel and enjoyed some hot tubbing with Molly (please, mind out of the gutter thank you).

And then…it began. The Jen Harrison food meltdown. I will spare you the details but after we packed up all our stuff and changed rooms because she heard a door opening all night (elderly are such light sleepers) she then started to have a food meltdown. The next 30 minutes were really quiet until she got food again and came back to life.

Dinner was delightful and afterwards we went back to our new room and Kate brought us cupcakes. I joked that it was like a booty call but better because it was with cupcakes. And the cupcakes were REALLY good.

Now it is bed time. I’m exhausted. If we weren’t moving we were talking. If we weren’t talking we were eating. Very little time for anything else.

Tomorrow – run, swim, bike, food….all the good things.