The Road (Trip) to St. Andrew’s

This past weekend was my first triathlon training camp. I recruited two friends to accompany me and we piled into the “mom van” bright and early on Saturday morning and took off to St. Andrew’s by the Sea, New Brunswick.

photo 1

3 bags for 1 night seems about right

I felt that experience the race route before the actual race day would help me feel more comfortable in the weeks leading up to the event, and this would also be a great way to devote a good part of the weekend to training. Alternatively, testing the route out could also scare the crap out of me. Risky business, I know.

The training camp was scheduled for a full day on Sunday, so when I arrived on Saturday I had the afternoon to focus on my favourite part of training; fuelling up and napping.

St. Andrew's

A bird’s eye view of St. Andrews by the Sea (it looks flat from up here…right?)

Shannon and I quickly got out butt’s in great and headed toward the swim course. It was a dark, overcast day and we had to sneak through a fence to reach the water. We noticed 2 people swimming in the distance, and took that as a sign that the water was safe.

swimSM

Are you sure we’re getting in there?

The air was chilly, and despite our wetsuits the water was even chillier and somewhat cloudy. We couldn’t see the bottom, or 5 feet in front of us for that matter. I was 300M into my swim when I felt my hand brush by something mushy. I pushed the thought from my mind and swam on. 100M later, more mushy.

IT’SNOTADEADBODY. IT’SNOTADEADBODY. IT’SNOTADEADBODY. IT’SNOTADEADBODY. IT’SNOTADEADBODY. IT’SNOTADEADBODY.

We quickly realized that it was jellyfish. And as the water cleared they were everywhere. I’ve been stung before, it’s not a big deal but something about the situation caused me to panic. I quickly made my way to shore and exited the water at once, telling myself that was the last time I was getting in the water before the race directors pushed me in on July 6th.  But then I pulled it together. I don’t have the power to change anything about those little guys, and did they even have stingers on them anyways?

After the swim Shannon and I took off for a run. Good for training purposes, good for raising our core temperatures too. My run is improving. I finished the 5K feeling strong, happy and like I could run further. My GI system did not.

The rest of the evening the three of us explored the sweet town of St. Andrews that I fell in loved with over a decade ago. We found a nice meal (and wine!) at The Gables on the water and speculated about our training day. I knew tomorrow wasn’t a race, but I still was feeling anxious.

photo 2

From the patio of The Gables, NB

galbes

View from the Gables

Sunday.

6:20AM

Anxiety. I still haven’t gotten in the long rides that I was hoping to for my training, I still have a bit of time, but truthfully, I’m not where I wanted to be on the bike.

90K. All at once. Phew.

It turns out however that we are only doing 60K, which was still a challenging ride, but not nearly as scary as I had psyched myself up for. I was at the back of the pack, but did my best NOT to focus on my position.

Training camp kicked my butt. But isn’t that what it’s all about?

On the way back in, I felt stronger especially after some tips from more experienced riders (ironman!) and my confidence grew (ever so slightly!). I’m not saying the course is easy – it’s not. There are hills and there was wind on this day. I knew that we may be dealing with warmer temperatures than I’m use to on race day, but wind and rain may also be a factor to contend with.

After biking, we swam. Yes I got back in the water but with 20 people so it didn’t seem that bad. We had a great 1K swim with my “mushy friends” and I only got stung once, answering my earlier question about the stingers.

I completed my second outdoor swim of the year in my brand new wetsuit that I was delighted to discover I can actually move in. This would be my 5th attempt as a wetsuit…and finally success.

Our training day continued with the biggest chicken sandwich of my life and a few talks from the race organizers.

And then for our final activity of the weekend, the 10K run. This would be my first 10K in over ten weeks. My knee was feeling fine form yesterday’s run and I was ready to get out there. Karen, Shannon and I started with the group. I should first mention that Karen did more training than the weekend entailed, including a half marathon and some serious hours on the bike above and beyond what was prescribed for the weekend. It was OK when she stopped at 4K. I didn’t feel OK about stopping though, but that sandwich was coming back to haunt me. I was just too full even hours after eating it. I threw in the towel and walked through St. Andrews back to the hotel. I didn’t beat myself up too badly. A 60K bike, 1K swim and 4K run coupled with some great advice (and great company!) was a pretty successful day in my books.

I was so glad to have made the 5.5 hr hike up for the weekend. It was time and money well spent for me. I had some great learning’s:

  • More biking….and running….and open water swims
  • Need to load up on calories on the bike
  • Transition 1 will be a nightmare. ~500M. Up a hill.
  • I need to really figure out what I’m wearing.
  • I need to practise fixing my flat.
  • I know where I’m going (more or less) on race day: WIN
  • Practice getting in aero position for minutes at a time…bit by bit I will be more comfortable here. I go 2-3-4K/hr faster down there
  • I’m dedicated to the final kick at the training plan.
  • Perhaps I will look at full coaching in future events
  • I’m hoping to incorporate the lactate/ HR monitoring more so for my next race.

I’m feeling good about completing the race. My (ever-fluctuating) time goal is less important to me now, but finishing the race is key. I will do my best leading up to and on race day. I’m even hoping to have a little fun!

photo 4

Practising my aero position & having some fun at the Algonquin Resort, NB

I don’t often visualize myself racing and I’ve never think about crossing the finish line of any of my races past or future, but this weekend as our group finished up the run portion they ran through our future finish line and we cheered each other on as if it was race day. Talk about fun!

I’m ready for race day….just about 🙂

hotel

St. Andrew’s By the Sea, NB

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