Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LP Camp Review - part 1

I really don't know what the term "feeling content" means. I often wish I could feel content about situations and things, but it's tough for me to do. And because I have a hard time feeling content, I also need to learn that this isn't the same for everyone else, and that as a coach, I need to not impose my perspectives on others. Yet at the same time, I can't think of one time that I have pushed someone too far at a camp, to the point where they didn't benefit physically or mentally from it - more so mentally. Some of those who have attended may argue this, but I stand by this statement. After all, aren't we pursuing this whole triath-o-lon thingy looking for self discovery? If we aren't continually searching for more in ourselves, then why are we doing this? And here I go again forcing my viewpoint. Maybe we can "just" participate because we like being active and enjoy being outside? I have to think that this is just a way of justifying, again, giving my viewpoint, but hey, this is my blog. The bottom line though is that I push everyone hard at camp and I do so because I'd like those who attend to come away maybe learning something new about themselves and because I want them to experience something that they may not necessarily experience had they just decided to do their own personal training camp. I feel I was successful in this with those who attended the LP camp 09'.

I arrived early on Tuesday and already described my Tuesday adventure in a previous post. The camp didn't begin until Wednesday evening, so on Wednesday morning, Jeff and I headed back to the base of Whiteface, this time, taking the trail, determined to run to the top. Well, we made it, but saying we ran would be embellishing a bit. The trail was so steep and technical that running wasn't really an option for 2/3rds of it. Yet our heart rates were still up near threshold the whole time. We made it to the peak in just under 2 hrs for 5.6 miles! And the rangers at the top were blown away by this time, pointing out that it's typically an all day occasion for most "hikers". It was a beautiful day, sunny and in the 70's which is odd for the Seattlesque spring we have had. The views from the top of Whiteface were amazing, and after a few ooohs and ahhs, we hitched a ride back down the mountain. After breakfast, we headed out on our bikes for a 3 hr ride. I wanted to check out some new roads that I'd use with the campers on Friday. Jeff nicknamed this section of road "The Land Of The Lost". Lot's of climbing on this ride and it felt comforting to be back on my bike up in LP. Comforting, yet not content. The campers arrived Wednesday afternoon which meant the pre-camp debriefing, an easy social run and then dinner.

Thursday, we awoke to rain drops, however the forecast looked drier in the morning than in the afternoon so I switched the days agenda and we saddled up and headed out for a loop of the LP course. It sprinkled on us for maybe the first 45 minutes and then it was relatively dry the rest of the time. Oh yeah, I was cramming though for swimming, so Jeff and I headed over to mirror lake to get in a swim before the ride. We stopped along certain points of the bike course so I could break down each section and discuss how to ride and race this course. Doug Bell was concerned for the weather and came out in a full gortex, 1980's Frank Shorter looking running suit. I told him it looked as though he was wearing a has mat suit, yet it did earn him the mvp for the day. Some lunch and then we headed over to Mount Marcy for some trail running. I sent over Angela with a group 20 minutes prior to my group - the idea was to get us all to the amazing lookout on this particular trail around the same time. I warned everyone to take some shoes and clothes they didn't mind getting muddy. As I took my group into the trail, about 10 minutes in, Ange's group was coming back. "it's washed out - the trail is washed out." She said. "Look, were all muddy." Someone else said. They looked pretty clean to me considering the trail I knew ahead and the amount of rain we had this spring. They were heading out to run the dirt road. I told them my group was going onward, not giving my group much of an option. We ran single file and soon encountered the swamp which was certainly wet, yet fun. We were running in knee deep mud, slipping and sliding all over, jumping over and through puddles, losing shoes in the mud, a few face plants,... Basically, acting like kids. And it was a blast! Not only were there no complaints, but my group thrived on it. Once out of the swamp, you begin climbing right away, and climbing, and climbing. I was off the front a bit and heard some rustling in the woods to my left and caught something coming at me out of my peripheral vision. I stopped startled to face head on a hawk. It swooped right past me as I yelled at it, then it landed and was hissing at me. I never took my eyes off it yet began moving up the trail, and it took off.

I love taking first timers to the lookout on this particular trail. It's simply stunning, looking over the high peak mountains. You can even see the town of Lake Placid off in the distance and the omnipresent ski jumps popping up out of the woods. We hung out for a bit before the slippery, quick descent. From the trails we headed straight to mirror lake to get in a swim - my second of the day (did you hear that Gus?).

Dinner at Nicolas was a fun time to retell the days stories, laugh a lot, and have a few Lake Placid Brewery beers. A salad and the #5 pizza is tough to beat here. Then our nightly visit to Ben and Jerry's (I highly recommend the triple caramel chunk), and you'd call that a great day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

brief update on LP camp 09'

Sorry I haven't posted each day here at camp. I guess I should be apologizing to myself since I try to write this blog as though I'm keeping a journal for me.

It's been an amazing camp - especially the Friday ride which I found this year, which is top secret, and which all the campers here who have attended some of my other camps claimed as one of, if not, the best ride route they have done.

For all the nasty weather forecasts and predictions, we escaped relatively dry every day! In fact, yesterday (Saturday) was probably the best conditions I've ever witnessed here; overcast and high 60's with no wind. It would have been a record setting day had the race been yesterday.

I will do a more detailed write up, later today or this coming week, on each day and the campers who were once again a lot of fun.

As it turns out, I am dealing with a head cold/virus. It seems that the allergies, combined with my own ignorance of ignoring the need for sleep due to lifes demands has weakened my immunity. It's forced some interesting decisions, at least to me, with my race schedule. Right now, I need to rest up and heal and let my immune system regain it's strength.

More later...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Was taking pictures on the way up here today to do a "guess where i am" but the camera died. I'm back in Lake Placid - I don't need to once again describe how great it is up here and to be back up here. Let's just say that if you aren't here, well, that's a shame.

Jeff met me up here today, a day before camp starts. Our plan was to run up Whiteface. We have ridden up it a few times, and were anxious to tackle the 8+ mile climb by foot. We started the run in sunny 70's weather around 2pm. You start right at it on this sucker, just climbing right from the get go. The pace was comfortable and we were clicking away the miles, solving the worlds problems. Around the 3 mile mark, you encounter the toll booth. There is only one road that climbs up Whiteface and between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30, while cars are allowed up, cyclists and runners aren't allowed on the road. The toll booth kid seemed a bit stoned so Jeff and I persuaded him to let us keep going. About 4.5 miles up the climb, a pick-up pulls over right in front of us and two bearded, wild eyed guys jumped out. One had a shot gun and the other a billy club (why is it called a billy club???). As the guy with the shotgun held me at gun point, the other overall wearing, billy club wielding redneck threw Molson into the back of the pick-up. I heard a lot of squealing and couldn't spot the billy club for a bit... OK, truth be told, (because I know that if there are a few of you out there reading this, you were buying it) The guys did hop out and yelled at us like we were high school kids telling us that we were breaking the law and ordered us to get into the pick-up, where they drove us back down to the toll booth and let us out to run back down the mountain. We did however find a trail that goes to the top of Whiteface and tomorrow morning, we will be there, reaching the peak by foot.

We drove back to LP and stopped at Mirror Lake for a swim. I actually swam! The water was beautiful, and warm, easily in the upper 60's which with a full wetsuit made it more than comfortable. I swam a loop of the IM course and felt pretty good. Maybe all that Vasa trainer training actually worked?. I swam with the new MyAthlete waterproof "Shadow" gps tracking device. I'll post a link tomorrow since I'll be training with the shadow all week at camp. It tracked me swimming in mirror lake with no issues!

The last two weeks have been stressful and tiresome weeks for me. My training hasn't been great at all during these two weeks and I even had some freak virus over the weekend, so to say that it feels great to be here is a serious understatement.



Sunday, June 07, 2009

Rev 3

Earlier this year I thought about racing the Rev 3, however, the timeliness of it with my work schedule and the race I want to key in on didn't fit. Then, Cannondale, and Matt Cappiello in particular, asked if I'd be interested in doing the race as a team. Matt would do the swim, Curt Davis, an ex-pro cyclist, engineer for Cannondale, and all around nice guy, would do the ride. I'd be the runner. "Why not?" I told Cappy, and we were signed up. I never really took the race seriously. I've never done a team tri before, and to be honest, I kind of snoottily thought of the team race as a cop out to doing the whole thing. I get the fact that some can't swim, or can't ride, or can't run, but for those that could, why not do all three? However, I knew the full race would leave me flat for my key race and thought this would be a fun way to get in a hard 1/2 marathon run.

There was no taper. In fact, I was on my bike at 4:30am on Saturday morning getting in a hard brick. Again, this was because I was downplaying the whole team thing. Well, I show up at the race this morning and see that there are quite a few teams and quite a few teams taking this very seriously. I thought "Oh shit, maybe I should have taken this a bit more seriously!" Yes, that's exactly what I thought.

The organization of the race was great. They did put on a top notch race. My concern for the race is that first, there were only 700 athletes signed up (including pros) and this was a very expensive race to put on, and second, there weren't many spectators there considering the hype behind the race. The gps tracking company that is a direct competitor with MyAthlete and that hyped the shit out of live tracking for every athlete at this race was basically non-existent. There were a few athletes wearing their clunky devices and they didn't even work. They are brilliant with their marketing though.

The thing about doing the run in a relay is that there is a lot of waiting. I sat around in the sun and actually met a lot of nice people. Quite a few who actually read this blog?! (And I though that Baker and Big Rocks were the only two who read this crap) I was anxious to get running, and knew that I'd have to run hard if I wanted to win the relay division. Greg Pelican had a stellar team including a fast swimmer and a 2:30 marathoner. There was another team who had a female swimmer that came out well under 25 minutes and their cyclist was a pro as well. This team put over 15 minutes into us by the end of the ride, and Cappy and Curt did great, which is a testament to how fast they were moving. Curt built a four minute lead on Greg by the end of the ride, so I left in second place, chasing a ghost and running scared.

My goal was to knock off six minute pace, and the first two miles were downhill so I clicked off 5:45's. You start the run of the relay after sitting around waiting and there is no one around you and you have to start out at an aggressive pace. I significantly underestimated the intensity of this and was awakening to this in the first few miles. I'm having my worst allergy season to date and following the thursday friday rain, my allergies were kicking in strong, and my breathing was compromised. I'm not making excuses here, but rather just stating the facts. At the four mile mark, you begin climbing for the next two miles and half way through, I had a full blown asthma attack. I was gasping for breath and forced to walk for a bit until my breathing settled down, my lungs relaxed, and I gained control. I haven't had too many of these and I have to say that it's a scary and uncontrollable feeling. I began running again at a more relaxed and controlled effort but it still didn't feel great. I plugged along and finally around the seven mile mark, I felt like I could run. In fact, the last five miles were my best. It felt good to finish strong, however, I was bummed about the early miles, especially since I've been training well and running well. I held off Greg's runner and after finishing, realized that the lead relay finished less than a minute in front of me! The course is tough and windy so you can't see who is in front of you. Of course I'm kicking myself with the "if only's" now. The lesson today that being part of a relay can be a serious bitch, with the waiting around and starting with no-one in sight. Honestly, I would have rather raced the whole thing. I don't think my time would have been much different. In know way am I trying to say that the relay is harder than doing the whole thing. Racing the whole race is definitely harder. However, I think my underestimation combined with allergies made today a more challenging endeavor than I would have imagined.

Some side notes - the course is a son of a bitch and is great! This is one tough course. I spoke quite a bit with Luke Bell who dnf'd after snapping his front derailleur five miles into the ride. He's one hell of a nice guy and very down to earth. Matt Reed and Miranda Carfee are studs.

I had quite a few athletes who raced today and raced really well. I think Straz took second in his age group, Gus placed third in his age group and had a great day. Annmarie placed fourth and had an equally great day. These two are keying in on IMLP and I hardly tapered them for this race! Megan, Mandy, Jeff B., Greg P., Jim H., and Tim S. all did really well. They all finished strongly. Chris T. who I've been running with a bunch (or who's been kicking my ass) raced like a pro today. He won the overall amateur race and was only a few minutes off the top pro run splits. Congrats to them and all who finished, and thanks to my team mates for actually a fun day!