I think all my long flights home last year were marred by a sense of disappointment from a lackluster race performance. On this flight over the Pacific the feeling is quite different! This flight, while I feel a bit like a zombie, I have a sense of satisfaction, motivation, and hope for the future.
TeamBSC Scottsdale camp was this past weekend and all along I was not planning on attending (Krista and Kelly did all the planning/prep for that!) but then last week I was overcome by a burning desire to be there as well... mostly just because the idea of riding my bike around Arizona for 3 days alongside some awesome women sounded like it would be so.much.fun. My FOMO got the best of me and I called Krista last Monday afternoon- and before I even said hello- I announced I was on Hotwire.com. She laughed, but said her couch was open for me, and just like that I booked my flight! Where there is a will, there is a way!
We did not tell anyone I was coming because we thought it would be a fun surprise for my athletes… Only two of the campers were actually athletes I personally coach (Monika and Tracy) and I will say, the look on Tracy's face when she saw me standing in Krista's garage on Friday morning getting ready for the bike ride was almost worth the entire price of the ticket. :) I didn't get to see Monika until we were all at the bottom of Bartlett Lake (long story- blame my lack of bike building skills) and she didn't totally recognize me because she didn't have her glasses on (ha!). It was awesome getting to ride with those gals in person and it goes without saying that they both had stellar weekends! Monika is riding like a BOSS. Damn.
ANYWAY, I am not going to go into detail about every training session as I'm sure somebody else will do that but I will bullet point some of my personal thoughts and highlights:
~Attending a camp like this as a camper vs the coach in charge was awesome. I did not feel the sense of pressure and responsibility that I typically do and that allowed me to just relax and have more fun. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy being the coach at training camps- BUT it is very stressful and when you're in charge you feel this huge sense of responsibility to make sure everyone is ok and on track and happy, etc. It takes a lot of emotional energy to do that and I applaud Krista and Kelly for doing it well! But it was nice to not be in that role for once and I have to say, I'm rather surprised at how easily I was able to 'let it go'. I had a remote fear going into this weekend that I might suffer from some sort of urge to step up and play the alpha role but I did not! Yay! That said, being more on the 'outside' gave me better insight into what it feels like to be the camper so I think I learned some things that I/we can do to further improve the whole training camp experience going forward. TeamBSC camps are awesome and they will just continue to get better!
~I love training with other strong women. On Friday we did a lake swim at Bartlett and I found myself swimming in a pack with Erica, Jen, and Robin and it occurred to me WE ARE ALL W40-44 (masters women, represent!) and here we are together ripping through this swim in the middle of a 5 hour bike ride… The best part is that Erica and Robin and I used to train together when I lived in AZ like 10-15 years ago so it was like some sort of reunion (remember when we were in our 20's and just learning how to do all this and now we are in our 40's and still at it?? Badass, I say!) Then at one point the next day, toward the end of the Saturday ride, I sort of went to the back of the pack and just watched the group ahead of me riding and I felt a major sense of pride at how awesome the group was. Like these are my people and I could not assemble a better group anywhere- which of course isn't even true as there are awesome groups of women training together in every state- but somehow this felt special to me. They weren't just strong athletes, they were awesome people.
~After spending 12+ hours sitting on my Argon up and down mountains over the past 3 days (~14K of climbing!), I can now confidently say that I LOVE that bike. It took me a while to get the fit dialed in the way I want it, but now that it is, I am super happy with it. Plus, now that I've broken it down and built it up to fly with it, I feel less afraid of it, which I think is a good thing. You definitely can't be afraid of your bike if you want to ride it well. This weekend was also a nice opportunity for me to put the Osmo Nutrition line to the test. I've been using it in training quite a bit and feeling good, but my training has not been especially big or hard recently so it's hard to tell if that hydration/fueling strategy is really helping or if I have just been feeling good because I have not been smashed tired. But 3x5 hour training days in a row is a legit test and it was well beyond my current fitness level to actually pull that off! I used the whole Osmo Hydration line all weekend: Pre-load every morning, bottles of Active while riding, and the Recovery afterward. Mostly I ate Bonk Breakers bars but that was not my only source of calories as I also ate pretty much whatever sounded good all weekend (um, hello Cookie Cabin!). In the end, while I was not quite as peppy on day 3 as I was on the first 2 days, I'm happy with how I held up over the weekend as a whole and I'll give Osmo due credit for that!
~We had an opportunity to listen to a motivational speaker via Skype one evening and that was really great. I don't have my notes here in front of me right now but I remember the gist of what she spoke about when it came to motivation. The basic idea of it was that motivation isn't something we just magically have or don't have. It is something we GET when we ACT in a manner that is helping us achieve our goals. What I took from that was that when we feel a sense of possibility- like success is within reach if we just keep doing X, Y, Z- then we are more motivated to make good choices (i.e. skip the ice cream sundae and stretch our hip flexors and go to bed early, etc). Then it becomes a spiral in a nice positive direction because when we are doing the little things that set us up for success> we experience bits of success> we feel highly motivated to keep making the right choices. Contrast that with when we think our goals are out of reach> screw it might as well just eat the ice cream sundae b/c what does it matter we're not going to reach our goals anyway… That is a negative spiral that can be tough to break out of. But all of it stems from our actions and choices and we are in control of those. Good stuff.
~Speaking of hope and motivation, I had the most awesome opportunity to meet my new coach Marilyn yesterday! Since we were in Tucson climbing Mt Lemmon, I managed to arrange to have lunch with her afterward. That face time with your coach is so beneficial to both coach and athlete… I feel like after our time together yesterday that I understand her (and her methods) better- which will allow me to execute the plan she writes more as it is intended vs simply as my own interpretation of it. Additionally, I'm sure she now understands me better as a person and as an athlete which makes it infinitely easier for her to come up with a plan that is going to best meet my needs both physically and mentally/emotionally. An opportunity like that is such a win/win… It makes me want to save all my pennies so I can attend an Endurance Corner Camp next year… we will see. Anyway, I left our meeting with a sense of optimism and hope that I have not felt in quite some time and that makes me feel motivated to make good choices that will set me up for future success! Hope! Optimism! Motivation! Puppies! Rainbows! These are the things that you get from camp. :)
~Anyway, major congrats to Krista and Kelly for pulling off their first training camp in such a successful organized way. I knew they would, of course, but it was fun and satisfying to watch them deliver from the sidelines.