(all pics courtesy of Molly, who was the camp photographer....since no one else had a camera. :)
For us west-coasters, camp started early Friday morning. I met Molly at the airport, where we were on the same early morning flight to Chicago. The flight went well, and went by quickly enough. The drive out of Chicago to the hotel....not so much. Lots of traffic, but probably to be expected for a holiday weekend Friday afternoon. We just had time to check in, dump our luggage, and head over to Jen's house for dinner. Jen and Liz were the co-coaches for the camp and hosted all of the campers for dinner at Jen's to get acquainted and go over the weekend schedule. The weekend would be packed for sure. Soon enough we headed back to the hotel, where we still had to gather stuff for the next day and put our bikes back together from travel. My only downer for the weekend was when I found that my bike had been dinged during the trip. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to ride, as I'd heard that carbon can be quite fragile once damaged. I figured I could have Liz and/or Jen take a look in the morning and we were off to bed. At about 8:00 "my" time. Not too much sleep going on there. Especially until the party in the pool (which was directly below our room) ended.
Saturday morning came *way* too soon, but I was excited to get moving. First on tap was an open water swim and clinic. Jen lead half the group on a swim around a lovely lake, which was almost too warm for my full wet suit. I started wishing I'd brought my sleeveless one instead.
Lake in the Hills
Liz explaining open waters starts, techniques, strategies
Jen explaining the swim plan
Me and Molly
The swim was great, and it was good to practice some beach starts, deep water starts and drafting. Soon enough it was time for breakfast and then a long ride. In fact, it was going to be my longest ride since Iron training last year.
Breakfast...much needed fuel for the upcoming ride
After breakfast, everyone got their bikes and themselves ready to head out. I had Jen take a look at my bike, and although she confessed it wasn't her area of expertise, "we" determined that I'd probably be okay to ride, but could call Liz to SAG me if anything felt off. Yeah, being 8 months pregnant, Liz was on SAG duty.
Liz at 8 months...still weighs less than me *sigh* :)
It was warming up nicely by the time we were ready to roll. We broke up into three groups, and I was in the middle group. It was a great ride heading out, with farm land making up the scenery. Not too many cars, and just a few rollers on a mostly flat route.
Evidently feeling good on the ride
It was great to just ride along, drafting some, being drafted off some, and chatting away with the other ladies. And before I knew it we hit the water stop where Liz had parked with snacks, water, gatorade, etc. Some of the group didn't want to cover quite as much ground as others, and so Liz sent Molly and I off to get "at least 60 miles in". Yikes....definitely my longest ride to date. We hit 30 miles and I was still feeling good....until we flipped around. Funny...I didn't notice that we had *that* much of a tailwind heading out. Yep, back home all the way into the wind. I'm not gonna' lie...it was a slog and I wasn't smiling as much nor was I nearly so chatty. And I *may* have been swearing under my breath. Especially when we got to the point where we were about 10 miles out, I was feeling lightheaded, dehydrated, and in general just fried. And it wasn't a whole lot of fun realizing that we were the last ones out there either. I definitely wasn't feeling up to a 30 minute run off the bike. Which is what I told Liz once we finally rolled in. To which she promptly responded, "Just run 10 minutes, 5 out, 5 back." Grrrr...fine. Oh, and I was to stay on the flat road since I'd been having hip issues. I have to say, that 10 minutes seemed so long. And it was more of a shuffle than a run. I was covered with salt, dehydrated, and tired. When it was done I dunked myself back into the water to cool off. Ahhhhhh. And believe it or not, we weren't done yet. There was a yoga session yet to go.
Post yoga and looking forward to dinner
After the yoga, scurry back to the hotel, shower up and head to dinner. Food. Yes, I needed food. I think the waiters were astonished at how quickly the food disappeared in front of a group of lovely ladies. More fun times chatting with the other ladies and devouring salads, bruschetta, salmon, chicken, pasta, and dessert. Mmmmm.
Sunday didn't require *quite* as early a start, which was good news to me. I didn't sleep as well as I thought I might, given the plethora of activities covered over the day, so the alarm still came a little too early. Up and at it again tho. We were heading to the pool for a swim workout and stroke analysis. This would be followed by run hills and drills. Followed by strength work, followed by an optional ride. Want to guess how many people opted in to the ride? :)
Liz giving stroke analysis and instruction
Me and Kristin in the toasty pool
I volunteered to be first for stroke analysis and Liz had me do some warm up laps, then started the camera rolling. In a sad, but reassuring way, the same issues she pointed out were what the instructor from my swim lesson a few weeks ago had identified. Sad, because I obviously haven't fixed anything, but reassuring in the fact that I don't have any additional problems to work on just yet. :) After the analysis it was time to jump into the workout that Jen was leading. It didn't take too long before I realized my biggest mistake. By volunteering to be first, I only missed the warm up, while other ladies were pulled out of the workout for their analysis. So I had the pleasure of doing Jen's *entire* workout. Ouch. And the pool was toasty....indoors, of course.....but I don't think they cooled the room either. It was stifling. I think we were all glad to head out and breathe some non-chlorinated air. I wasn't glad for long though as I quickly realized there was only a smidge of shade, the day was going to be seriously warm, and we were heading out to run in it.
Waiting to head out on the run
Group pre-run sweatfest
We warmed up on a path and then hit an overpass for hill repeats. The funniest part was that Jen kept saying how the hill wouldn't really be a hill to "the California girls". It may not have been much of a hill, but the heat and humidity had me (and not just me) hiding in the shade whenever possible.
Running hills...which I surprised myself by being decent at :)
Sharing the only speck of shade around
After Jen gave us some instruction on how to attack the hills, both up and down, we did repeats and then headed back along the trail to do drills. Again, I surprised myself by tackling the drills quite well. Probably because Liz has made me do them before, so I knew what to expect. Finally it was time for lunch. Yes, the theme was workout, workout, workout, eat, eat, eat, workout some more. After lunch we drove to a park for strength workouts. Split into two groups, one group worked with Kate on TRX and one group worked with Liz on bosu/stability ball/medicine ball strength work. A lot of core here!
Showing off my one legged squats on the bosu....hats of to Elena, my strength trainer
TRX workout with Kate, getting the scoop before the torture
And finally it was time to wrap up the day. The offer was made for a nice, easy recovery ride, but I think most people were pretty wiped by this point. Liz offered to have her athletes come over for dinner and an easy ride. Sounded good to us, so we headed back to the hotel (getting waylaid by a parade on the way), packed up some clean clothes for after the ride and headed to Liz's. She lives very close to a beautiful arboretum, almost 2000 acres I think she said, with a nice paved path that winds through. It was a very easy, very pretty ride with coach! Probably the only time I could hang with Liz on a ride, I took advantage to chat with her a bit. After the ride, back to Liz's house for showers and a fabulous dinner that her husband, Chris, had whipped up. Steak (yum, oh yum!), veggies, bread and cheese, and of course dessert...cupcakes, cookies, and brownies, oh my!
All cleaned up and ready to eat....again
The last day of camp, Monday, was the running of the Elgin Fox Trot 5k (although some brave campers did the 10 miler). I started off thinking I might 'race' this, but within the first half mile or so, my legs basically just said "no thanks." So it was a nice moderately paced recovery run. Molly and I raced back to the hotel to get cleaned up and made it back to the race site just in time for camp wrap up. Which wrapped up just in time, as a thunderstorm rolled in. We *just* made it to the car when the rain started coming down.
So all in all, camp was a blast. It was great getting some feedback, having some hard workouts, and basically just hanging out with a great group of ladies. I'd definitely do it again! (But let's leave out the bike damage next time, shall we?!? More on this in another post....this one is long enough already!)