Camp Catapult – 10/3-6/19

“Enjoy every sandwich.” – Warren Zevon

The simple truth is that not every sandwich is going to be great. Some will be burned, some will be missing ingredients, and some will simply be shit sandwiches. But if you’re picky and only enjoy the perfect ones, you’ll miss out on so much of life. When you learn to enjoy every sandwich, you get so much more out of life — especially when things don’t go right.

After landing in Houston and spending time with Uriah, we eventually met up with the rest of the camp group for food. After dinner, we boarded a very nice bus (part of Woodlands Transit’s fleet) and made our way to Camp Olympia in Trinity.

I think that the best way to describe the camp is to start by thinking of whatever summer camp you went to growing up. Then add a lot of facilities and ammentities to ensure campers get the most out of the outdoors WITHOUT making it a hotel/resort. The bottom line is that it’s an amazing facility. If you’re in the Houston area, I strongly recommend looking into it as a camp option for your group!

Remember how I said sometimes you get a shit sandwich? That happened Friday morning… As we went to take the bike out of the case, it was discovered that the lower rear triangle had been crushed during transit. It was frustrating, but after taking the time to start the claim with the airline, I focused on moving forward. Justin was able to find a tandem that fit Eric and me, so we were covered for the weekend. I am still working with that airline and hope to be able to send the frame to CoMotion shortly for repairs.

Before realizing the bike issue, I also found out about one other packing issue. The running game before every event is ‘guess what James forgot to pack’. Usually it’s something simple, and I realize it in enough time to pick it up at a Walmart/Target. However, this time I didn’t realize that I had left my towel on the bed at home until I was grabbing my swim stuff. Thankfully New Wave Swim Buoy’s generosity had me covered! I also received an inflatable swim buoy, goggles and swim caps from them.

Our morning consisted of a strength session and then open water skills (OWS) in the pool. Since there weren’t lane lines, those swim buoys were used as our sighting points. As we finished the swim session, I noticed the deep water and people jumping from a platform. When I asked how tall it was, I was told 12 feet. So my thinking was 12 feet high into 14 feet of water, no sweat (I later learned it was 25 feet). While the first jump was a bit nerve wracking, it was OK since I could see the water down below. I got a second ‘tandem’ jump in with a friend before we had to get ready for lunch and the afternoon sessions.

One thing that I quickly learned during the first afternoon is that it can go from 75 to 90 in a heartbeat. And doing running drills in 90 degree heat is no fun. Especially when I was doing laps at probably a 9:30 pace. That was just how the drill was laid out (slow/moderate/slow/fast/slow/faster/slow/fastest).

While the run wasn’t a lot of fun, getting out on the bike was. After a couple of minor hiccups, things went well with starts/stops. As we became more comfortable, both with the borrowed equipment and with our communication, we were able to pick up speed and have fun on the loops. We finished the day with the ‘oh-so’fun’ Yoga. And yes, I like Yoga as much as I like Poi and Wheatgrass…. 😛

Friday evening was a pool party event. Knowing that I couldn’t reasonably jump in the dark, I snuck a couple more platform jumps in before eating dinner. After dinner, people started going off the platform and slide in the dark. While I wanted to go back up and jump again, I didn’t think it would work. It was one thing to jump in the daylight when I could see the water, but completely blind platform jumping? As I stood near the diving board, I was coaxed into doing it. I don’t remember who talked me into the initial jump, but I’m glad they did.

That first blind platform jump was one of the scariest things that I’ve done in a long time. Especially when at about 5 seconds in flight my mind started asking ‘WTF is the water?’ But it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve done — and I’m glad I did it. After that initial jump, I spent about another hour jumping off and going down the slide. A big thank you to a specific Doctor that was my eyes during this crazy fun. 🙂

Day 2 consisted of a XC type session for our run drills, U-turns and other bike drills and OWS in the lake.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so spent during a run session as I was during Saturday’s. Apparently, Burpess aren’t in violation of the Geneva Convention… I guess I was misinformed on that. LOL. Communication was key as we did the different U-turns and other turn drills, and we finished up the bike with several fast loops. I really appreciate them moving the afternoon OWS from the pool to the lake, where we had a chance to do a swim course preview multiple times.

As we were leaving the lake, someone pointed out the zipline into the lake. But since the ladder wasn’t there, it couldn’t be used. Maybe in 2020?

On Sunday, we did a min-triathlon. You had the option for distances (between 400 and 550 for swim, 5mi and 9mi for bike and 1.1mi or 2.5mi for run). We did 400/9/2.25 for our race (more on the difference below).

As with a few other lake swims this season, it seemed like we still had distance to go when Eric signaled me we were done. While I still need to increase my speed, all of that is a good sign. I’d rather be thinking I’ve got distance to go and being done than the reverse. After a solid T1, we headed out for a bike ride full of hills. Being one of the first ones on the bike, it didn’t seem they were ready for us and we missed the inital turn. But after fixing that hiccup, it was a fast, solid bike. After a decent T2, we headed out on the run.

The 2.5 mile run was the bike loop we’d done on Friday/Saturday followed by an out-and-back. The first 1.5 was OK, but hills and lack of hydration made the last mile a bear. To the point that my right thigh was cramping on the way back. When we got to the 2.25mi mark, I was in enough discomfort that I decided to bring it in rather than risking injuring something.

For me, one of the coolest parts of the race was the human finish chute we created for the final participant. Definitely a memory that will stick with me, and I’m sure it will stick with them.

All in all, it was an amazing and memorable weekend. I am extremely grateful to Catapult for a weekend of learning and opportunities to push my own boundaries. Thank you to Eric for guiding for me, and to all the sponsors (including New Wave Swim Buoy and Hammer Nutrition) for their generous support of Camp Catapult! I hope to be back again in 2020!

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