2018 Dare2Tri Elite Camp (2/23-25/18)

The Dare2Tri Elite Camp is the ‘unofficial’ start of each season. Living in the Chicago area, it’s far too cold for the season to officially start until at least late April. As with last year, camp was held at Fitness Formula Club (FFC) Union Station. Not only do they do a great job with hosting us, but it’s an amazing facility. If you work in the city, I would suggest checking it out as a new or replacement club for yourself!

Prior to every camp and every race, I have anxiety about packing. Simply because I always forget something. Unsually it’s something minor that I can go without, borrow or buy if I really need it. However, this time, it was a biggie. I thought I had packed my Tri kit; I realized at the train station that I didn’t have it. So while I could have borrowed a suit, I went back for it. Simply because I knew it would be bugging me all weekend if I didn’t. I was glad I did it, but this [expensive] mistake also meant I missed out on the video swim analysis prior to camp.

Day 1 of camp consisted of swim drills (a lot of skulling to work on stroke) and run drills. Part of the treadmill run set was a hill repeat set. 4% incline (1 min) -> 5% incline (45sec) -> 6% incline (30 sec) -> 5% incline (45 sec) -> 4% incline (1 min) -> 2% incline (2 min). When the run starts to tax me in general, there are a few songs that I start singing in my head to distract me from thinking about the run. After the hill piece of the set, my mind was so mush that I couldn’t remember the words to songs that I’ve continually sung for the last 15 years. Even with all of that ‘unfun’, the big plus out of the run was that I didn’t notice the numbness in the bottom of my feet until about 45 min in. I should be off the 5K course before then, so the new shoes were worth the investment!

Day 2 of camp was much longer – swim, bike, strength, run, yoga (in that order for Ambulatory). There were some interesting Open Water drills as part of the swim, including trying to draft in diamond formation. During the bike session, the normal triangle issues came back. I know there’s probably a good way to stand up in clips on a CompuTrainer while it’s in motion. I’m just not confident enough to try it. I think I pulled something in one of my quads during strength, so the run was a bit of a challenge. And since I am a man, not a pretzel, you can all imagine how yoga went…

After this very long day, we headed over to the Edge Athlete Lounge for recovery/dinner. They have a 50 degree / 100 degree tub set that you’re in for 8/8/4 minutes (cold/hot/cold) for recovery. While it was fun to do, the first two minutes were brutal. Once your body goes numb, it’s not as bad… Time in the NormaTec boots afterwards completed my recovery cycle. These are a very cool piece of equipment that work quite well – they should though for the $1200+ price tag…

Day 3 was the FFC Indoor Tri. While things weren’t exactly where I wanted them to end up (shooting for 400/11.5-12/1.67), they were encouraging, expecially the bike. Also, in comparison to last year’s race, swim was about the same, bike was +1.8mi and run was -.02.

I noticed that this year’s camp drained me more than last year’s did. I think a part of that was the nutrition pieces I’ve been working on since the start of the year meant I had more to give and thus pushed harder and was spent. In fact, so much so, the beer that I brought down wnet untouched. I was just too tired

I was doing the math throughout the weekend and since. I truly believe that I have a shot to qualify for Nationals at my next race because of where things are at. What it’s really going to come down to is whether or not I can push a couple of 22-23mph miles on the bike to ensure I’ve got enough time for the run. The bar is at 1:25:21 for Male VI.

Inner Strength – 4/16/16

D2T High Res 2

In early March, one of my friends that used to play for the Chicago Chaos (semi-pro), and who is now a coach, invited me to their charity game against the Chicago Fire Department’s team. That immediately went on my calendar. And when a couple of other options came up that could have worked around it, I declined them to ensure that I could be there for it.

Because of my vision, traveling during the day is sometimes a challenge. Not so much because of not being able to read signs (I always figure a way to amek that work), but moreso that I’m dependent on someone else driving. To keep things within budget, I figured out a triant to train to cab route that was about $25 there and back. I even left early in case things didn’t work out exactly as planned.

When I made it to the city, I ran into the first bump with Metra having eliminated the a time for the 2nd train I needed. But because I had left early, I was still somewhat on track. As I wandered Union Station and got lunch, I saw two peacocks fighting (visually – not literally — essentially an man and woman were about to come to blows over one of them bumping the other and then both bringing out their feathers). Knowing I was cutting it close, I even took time to put Uber on my phone so I had a back up if needed.

When I got off the 2nd train, I only had 10 minutes to find a cab and get the 2 miles to the event. When I couldn’t find any or get one to come by 2:15, I went the Uber route. I really should have just figured out how to walk it and done that. I would have been better off, as I waited almost 90 minutes for the Uber to show. By the time he did, I wasn’t in any state to go for the last few minutes (if it was even still going on), so I went back to Union Station and went home.

While I was waiting to get picked up and the cabs / Ubers weren’t showing up, I was getting more and more frustrated. Not just in that moment, but also about when the vision gets worse and I have even more issues with getting around. I happened to be waiting in front of a liquor store, and I had serious thoughts of going inside to get a bottle of something strong to pound when I got back home. I knew it would sidetrack training and all productive things for a few days, but that really wasn’t my concern in those moments.

What stopped me every time I got to the point where I was ready to walk inside were thoughts related to Dare2Tri. Not just having met a long list of extraordinary athletes that do so much with less than me, but also the fact that they had selected me for the Development Team. They’ve put their resources and belief behind me, even with the limitations I have. Those were the strings of thoughts that kept me from going inside.

While it was a hard day, and not something that I necessarily wanted to write about, I did it for this simple reason. There are ALWAYS going to be hard days – in training, in races and in life. When those come, find a way to push the dark clouds away and bring the sun back into full focus.