Training Camps have opened all across the country for the players of the National Football League. For me, this past weekend was a training camp as well but this was a triathlon training camp. I made the decision about a month ago to invite myself down to the Houston area to spend the weekend chasing The Carrot (Jeff Irvin) all around his neighborhood. The timing worked out perfectly as Jeff was going to be doing his final big block of training in advance of Ironman Mont-Tremblant and I am in the throes of training for Rev3 OOB Maine and Ironman Arizona.
Our plan was for me to head out from Dallas on Friday afternoon to get to Jeff and Annie’s by dinner time. We would eat, load up water bottles and be asleep early so that we could catch up with a group ride that started at 630a on Saturday. We would ride for 4 hours then follow that up with a 30 minute run. After that we had no plans but to make sure to get to bed early again so that we could be on the road running for 1.5 hours by 530am and then hit the pool for a good swim and then I would be back on the road to Dallas by lunch time. All sounded great and you know what…..we nailed it.
Friday around 1pm I got on the road after packing as if I were moving in with the Irvin’s and not just staying for a weekend. This sport of triathlon that I love involves a lot of shit. Let’s see what I brought: 1 cooler with Herbalife products, rice cakes, powdered peanut butter, honey, plates and knives and forks. 1 triathlon bag with cycling shoes, helmet, water bottles, running shoes, swim cap, goggles, pull buoy, towels and running sneakers. 1 bag with clothes for wearing and clothes for training. 1 bag with laptop, ipad, cords and magazines. Oh, and don’t forget the bike and the pump in the car plus the small cooler that had fruit and 3 water bottles for the 4 hour drive. As I had planned on taking it slow I didn’t mind stopping nearly every hour to have to use the restroom. Pulled up to the Irvin’s house around 5pm and unloaded all that garbage. As soon as Annie got home it was off to dinner.
Now here is a funny story about dinner. We go to an Italian restaurant and I order a veggie pizza with no cheese. After Annie and I split a hummus plate I can see the waiter walk up to the table with the pizza and then turn around to head back to the kitchen. Annie says that there was cheese on the pizza and so they had to take it back to make a new one. After the food comes and we are chowing down and laughing and having a good time the waiter comes by with a complimentary dessert. Guess what he brings? He brings a cheesecake? Really? I just ordered pizza with NO CHEESE and you bring a cheesecake to make up for bringing the first pizza over with cheese? Annie, Jeff and I just laughed at the irony of it all. Off to the house we watch some Olympics and then early to bed.
When the alarm went off in the morning I hit snooze about 100x as I was just not ready to hit the road but it was time to go. Jeff and I load up the Team Baha vehicle and head out to the Lifetime Fitness gym. From there we would ride two miles to the launch site of the group ride. When we got to the launch site I had to buy some HoneyStinger waffles. I got two vanilla and 1 chocolate. I had never tried the chocolate and it was good. Not as good as the Vanilla and Honey but better than Strawberry. 7am comes and the ride starts. After about 30 minutes we are stopped by a train crossing and as we are standing there I say to the group: Nobody told me we were going swimming in the ocean first. I was covered in sweat and could feel the wet blanket of humidity covering me. It was unreal how covered in sweat I was.
Jeff and I split off from the group and ride at our own pace and move around the area at a very nice clip. The one thing I noticed about this ride is that it is FLAT. I mean completely flat. I downloaded my Garmin data and the total elevation gain over 70 miles was 217 feet. The ride in and of itself was great as it was a different route, obviously, than I had been riding but the company was awesome. Jeff and I talked the whole time and laughed a lot throughout the ride. One thing that was key was that we stopped a few time and I had to pee which meant that I was hydrating properly.
At one point Jeff and I were going about 20 mph and enjoying ourselves when this terrier comes tearing out of his yard and chasing us. We picked up the pace to the tune of 28 mph and the little dude was not just hanging with us but he got right in between us which means he was going faster than 28mph. It was hilarious and I could not stop laughing at this dog. Thanks pup for giving us our interval work for that hour.
When we were done we put in a solid 30 minute run and the legs were starting to feel it by the end of the run. There was this feeling of a huge gorilla sitting on my chest. The air is thick and damp and it is a much different climate to work in than the weather in Dallas. Once we were done with the run we decided to have lunch and as we were getting ready to go grab food we made the best decision ever which was to go and shower first. Now here is where I feel for Annie. In to the house come these two smelly and sweaty guys that had just finished working out for nearly 5 hours. It was a horrendous smell that came into the house. Shower off to lunch then onto the couch for some Olympics. Now when they invent the ability to watch TV through your eyelids Jeff and I will be ready. As you can see from the pic we both passed out.
On Sunday morning we were going to put in 90 minutes (sounds much longer than 1.5 hours doesn’t it?) and then hit the pool. As soon as we walked outside I knew that the run was going to be a slugfest. Jeff and I had planned on running 10 miles in the 90 minutes for a 9 minute pace. We decided to incorporate a 10 second walk break at each mile to simulate the aid stations at the Ironman races. Once we started that gorilla on my chest had been joined by an elephant. Seriously difficult to breathe with the humidity. After about 2-3 miles I finally felt in a groove. After 45 minutes we stopped at the car to top off liquids and off we went. It was at this time that the sun was coming up and the weather felt great. That lasted about 20 minutes and then the heat began to creep in. When the 10 miles was up (after 95 minutes) and we were walking toward Starbuck’s I could feel the bucket of sweat just dripping down over me. I changed shirts in the parking lot and could actually ring out my clothes they were that bad.
At the pool after the run and the 70* water felt cold. Once I started my swim I thought: Holy crap this is long. Did the heat and humidity sap every ounce of strength from me? That is when I realized that this was a 25 meter pool and not the 25 yard pool I was used to swimming in. Every set felt longer than the next and it actually was. I put in 2500 meters of swimming and it felt good on my legs. The hot tub felt even better.
Back at the house and Annie had made us waffles……yaa-hoo! Oh these waffles were the best thing I had ever eaten. I jumped in the car for an eat and run incident but I knew that if I did not start driving I would never make it home as the exhaustion would take over soon enough. I managed to get home in about 4 hours and when I walked through the door the only thing I could think about was food. I was starving and wolfed down dinner then watched Running the Sahara with Karen and started to doze off around 8pm.
An awesome triathlon training camp weekend with Jeff was done and it was time to get ready to get back into my routine. I cannot wait to have another triathlon training camp and right now we are looking at February in Austin where we can get some climbing in. Thank you Jeff and Annie for hosting me.
What did you do this weekend? How was your training?