3/22/17

2017 Trimarni Clermont camp recap



Checking out of life in order to eat, sleep and train......could life get any more fun??

For many triathletes, the idea of attending a training camp is extremely exciting. But for others, the idea of stepping outside your comfort zone, in an unfamiliar training environment, with new athletes is scary and uncomfortable.

At a Trimarni training camp, we cater each camp to specific fitness levels so that no athlete feel excluded. Our camps offer a judgement and ego-free zone, where everyone supports, motivates and encourages one another. Karel and I work together to make sure that every camper receives the best experience possible and leaves camp with improved knowledge and skills, in order to train and race better in his/her familiar training environment.

With this being our 4th consecutive training camp in Clermont, FL, I'd say that this was one of the best ones yet. We had an amazing group of triathletes, from all over the US, of all fitness levels. There was no weak link and everyone worked so great together. Despite the chilly weather when we arrived to Clermont, all of our campers stayed safe throughout camp and comfort zones were stretched and new skills/habits were achieved.

Here's the breakdown of our Clermont camp......


Swag, swag and more swag!! This is one of my favorite parts about camp! I just love filling the goodie bags with Trimarni sponsor swag. 


A huge thank you to our 2017 Trimarni sponsors

-New Wave Swim Buoy
-Mg12
-Clif
-Infinit
-Levelen
-Hot Shot
-Boco Gear
-Canari
-Run In
-Xterra
-Alto cycling
-Swamp Rabbit Inn and Lodge
-Salem Anesthesia

After Karel did two bike fits on Wednesday afternoon, we had an optional workout on Wednesday evening (bike or mobility) which was a nice way for the campers to get to know one another and to ease into their new training environment. In Clermont, all campers stay at a Duplex, which works perfect for our large group.

Karel and I had a team meeting with the group at 6:30pm, which included athlete introductions. Of course, no group meeting would be complete with an ice breaker, which included "what would be your superhero power if you could make one up?"

We had some great responses by our athletes. Karel selected a superhero power of being able to change the wind while he was riding his bike in a race so that only he would get tailwind and everyone else would get headwind. My superhero power would be to talk to animals.

Around 7:30pm, we left our campers so that we could get a good night of sleep before the first day of camp. 


Day 1 - Swim, bike and run



Our morning swim was pushed back by 90 minutes due to the cold temps so we met at the NTC at 8:30am for a 9am workout. We first explained the strength endurance + speed swim set to our campers and then moved our way outside (in 40 degrees) for dynamic stretching. 

The nice thing about cold weather and an outdoor pool is easy to get in, hard to get out. For the coaches on deck, however.....Brrrrrr. 



We split our campers into three lanes based on swimming ability and offered skill feedback to our campers as they were swimming. This set was endurance focused but we added a bit of intensity with short rest to provide a bit of cardio stress. 



After the 90 minute long course swim, our campers sprinted to the locker room for a warm shower. Thankfully, the water was warm in the pool so when Karel and I were done coaching, it was our turn to do the workout. Oddly enough, we were so looking forward to jumping in the pool in order to warm up!



After a 2.5 hour break, we met up with our campers at 1:30pm for a 3 hour ride. This ride was very specific on variable cadence work. This was our first opportunity to see our campers in action and for several, there first time outside on the bike since last fall due to frigid temps.


We first rode out to our first interval section, which was on a 2 mile windy stretch of flat road. We had our campers do 6 x 5 minute intervals of varying cadence (choice, heavy, higher than normal) all at a Z3 effort. Because of the out and back stretch of road, Karel and I were able to ride one on one with our campers and provide feedback. The hands on work is so valuable for us coaches, especially on the bike.
                             

Did we mention how much we love our new Canari kits???


After the first main set, it was time to head over to the back side of Sugarloaf mountain for some hilly intervals. We had our campers perform heavy gear work for 2.8 miles, which included a few steady climbs. After one interval, we had them ride easy back down and perform another round of heavy gear work to the top.

After main set number two was complete, it was time for the fun part of the workout....a TT up Sugarloaf mountain!!

This 3/4th mile climb is steep and we had our campers give a best effort to the top. Every one of our campers made it to the top and we were so proud of everyone for not complaining and for giving a solid effort after two tough main sets. We then all rode back home to complete a little over 3 hours of riding. 


After spending much of the day working out, it was time for the last workout of the day, which was a 15-20 minute easy brick run, followed by a 6 x 10 sec hill strides.
What a great way to end day 1 of camp!
Our campers were ready for some food after workout #3 so we didn't have a team meeting that evening but instead, scheduled a team talk for before the Friday bike workout. 


Day 2 - Run, Bike, Open water swim
Now that our campers were comfortable with each other, after giving them a good dose of training on day 1 of camp, we headed to the Clay Trail for the first workout on day 2 of camp. We met at the trail at 7:30am for a dynamic warm-up, followed by a run workout and then main set. 

All of our campers were required to wear hydration belts to stay fueled and hydrated. Even though it was cool outside (low 40's), the overall quality of workouts, throughout the entire camp, depends on proper fueling/hydration for every workout.

The nice thing about day 2 of camp is that the campers begin to form friendships with one another and you can see more teamwork and support for each other.
We gave our campers a specific interval workout to work on pacing on the gently rolling hills on the Clay Trail. The set included 4 rounds of 14 minute intervals of 8 min smooth endurance effort, 4 min moderate strong, 2 min strong and then 1 minute rest. This was a 1 hour main set for a total of 90 minutes of running. 


Since we asked our campers to run out and back sections in order to cover different stretches of the Clay road for different intensities, Karel and I were able to run with our campers and give feedback (or to give them a little push). 


I have to be honest and say that the Clay Trail is one of my favorite running routes. I just love the soft surface and the sunrise is picture perfect. 


After the run, we instructed our campers to drink their Cheribundi tart cherry juice to help reduce inflammation and to help with recovery and to follow up with a protein drink (Clif hydration). We just love tart cherry juice and we have been drinking it more regularly after our intense/long workouts to offer a natural way to reduce inflammation. I am a big proponent of juice post workout as it is easy to digest and it is refreshing and rehydrating. 


What a great workout to start day 2 of camp! 


We gave our campers about 2 hours of recovery before we headed over to the team house/Duplex for a talk on bike execution, managing terrain and changing gears. It was a very beneficial talk as Karel did an exceptional job explaining the most efficient ways to ride on hills and in wind. 


After the 1 hour talk, we all headed out on our bikes to recon the Olympic distance course. We gave our athletes a few intervals to do but nothing too intense. This was another opportunity for us coaches to ride side by side with our campers and help with changing gears, when to sit up and when to get out of the saddle. Assistant coach Joe also helped us out on the course - he was a great help at camp. 



After the almost 1:45 hr bike ride, our campers gathered their swim gear and we all walked down to Waterfront park for an open water swim. This was a great opportunity for our campers to get comfortable in open water, test out their wetsuits (which have been sitting in the closest for several months) and work on sighting and building efforts in the open water. A big thanks to New Wave Swim Buoys for providing buoys to all our campers. Not only does this make it easy for us to see our campers but the buoys act as a way to rest, in the case of an emergency like shortness of breath or a cramp. 


After the open water swim, our campers returned back to the team house to clean up and Karel and I went back to our rental house, before heading out to Lil Anthony's to pick up the pizza. At every camp, Karel and I treat our campers to a team dinner, which typically is a pizza dinner. We ordered 6 XL pizzas (3 vegetarian and 3 for the meat lovers) and 1 small gluten free pizza (for our athlete/camper with Celiac). It was a yummy way to end the evening.


Day 3: Ride, run


With only one day left until race day, our campers were carrying around a bit of fatigue. We know that day 3 is always the tough day as the body is sore, the mind is tired and well, some campers are just moving slow. But, in a group environment, others can bring out the best in you.

With chilly temps at 7:30am, we rolled out and headed toward Buckhill for 4 loops on rolling terrain. We finished our last bike workout of camp with 3 hours of riding and our campers did amazing. We had our campers team up with athletes of similar abilities to ride loops on the hills and to ride at a steady/strong effort. Karel and I would ride with the groups for a little while and then branch off and join another group. We had a SAG vehicle available in case anyone needed anything. We could not have been more proud of our campers as everyone rode strong and applied all the tips that we discussed during camp. 

After the ride, it was time for one last brick run (before the race), which was a short 15-20 minute shake out run.

As for the rest of the day, the campers had an optional open water swim (on their own) as well as picking up their race packets at the race venue. 


Karel worked on our bikes in the afternoon to get them race ready and while he was working on our bikes, I laid out all my swim/bike/run gear to get it all ready for race day. 

Karel and I headed down to the race venue to get our packets in the mid afternoon and then Karel went for an open water swim (he swam the race course) as I watched him and chatted with my friend Elyse.

Around 4:30pm, Karel and I had our last chat with our campers to discuss race strategy for Sunday's event and a Q&A where our campers could ask us anything. Karel did a little bike mechanic work on a few bikes and then it was time for our campers to eat their pre-race meal before getting everything ready for the race on Sunday. 

While laying in bed around 8pm, I found myself with some pre-race nerves on Saturday evening. Although this was just a fun race and a great way to end camp with our campers, no training session can replicate what you feel on the night before a race or on race day morning. I talked to Karel about my race strategy for Sunday and he gave me reassurance that I could bike hard (like really, really hard). In other words, this race was all about taking risks, trying new things and being willing to fail. 

                                                              ---------------------------

                           

With so many distractions, responsibilities and stressors in life, a training camp offers a safe, fun and interruption free environment in order to learn, stretch your comfort zone and to train with others. If you are considering attending a training camp in the near future, don't be afraid of what you can't do but instead, get excited about what you will be able to do with your amazing body.








3/20/17

Great Clermont Olympic Triathlon - race recap


With a job title of "triathlon coach", Karel and I have the big responsibility of help our team of athletes, physically prepare for races while keeping them in good health. 
Coaching is much more than writing workouts as it requires understanding the athlete as an individual and stepping inside the athlete's life to provide the most appropriate training plan for consistent athletic development. 

Karel and I take our coaching job very seriously and part of our job is putting on training camps. We absolutely love the camp experience as a way to interact with athletes in a group training environment. 
Seeing that Karel and I are not only coaches but we are also athletes, it's important to stress that we understand exactly what our athletes feel and experience with training and we are very aware of the fact that training for triathlons, in a busy life, is not easy.

But, on race day, we are reminded of the why in our triathlon hobby. Race day is what we all live for as we can put all that hard work to good use and share the suffering with teammates. The energy, nerves and excitement is alive on race day and only on race day do you truly feel like a real athlete. 

I can't fully express it in words but I can tell you that racing with our athletes is one of the coolest and most rewarding parts of our job as coaches. Being on the same course as our athletes, experiencing the same conditions and going through the same highs and lows, nerves and uncertainties is what racing is all about. 

The Great Clermont Olympic triathlon holds a special place in my heart as it was the very first triathlon venue that Karel watched me race in, back in 2006 after a few months of dating. Now, 11 years later, after racing this event at least a half dozen times, I did something that I never thought I would do with my body - win the race as overall female. 

This race win is dedicated to all my Trimarni athletes and campers as they are the reason why I love this sport so much and why I continue to push my body in training and on race day. For Karel, the sport of triathlon has given him a new outlet to be competitive and to explore his physical limits and we both love sharing our race experiences with our athletes.



For your reading entertainment, here's the recap of the race.  


RACE DETAILS: 
Marni: 
Swim: 23:34
T1: 2:11
Bike: 1:07.48 (21.9 mph)
T2: 1:28
Run: 46:38
Total: 2:21.37
First overall female

Karel: 
Swim: 23:11 (Karel finally beat me in the swim!)
T1: 1:53
Bike: 1:03.15
T2: 1:29 (I beat Karel in T2!)
Run: 38:30
Total: 2:08.16


PRE RACE:
Nutrition: 
1/2 cup oatmeal + syrup + peanut butter + dates 
Hardboiled egg
8 ounce coffee w/ milk
8 ounce water
Transition area: 8 ounce water with Clif hydration (1 scoop)

Karel and I woke up at 4:45am and after eating our pre-race meals (Karel had a croissant w/ jam and INFINIT Mud in his second cup of coffee), we headed down to the transition area (via bike) which just a few minutes down the road. I left before Karel at 6am to set up my transition area.

After body marking and setting up my transition, I saw all my Trimarni campers start to roll in. They all looked SO good in their new kits. Karel and I sported our new kits as well, but Karel surprised me with our own brightly colored custom Canari kits (Pink and Green).

After 3 days and 8 workouts at camp, they were all excited to race but a bit nervous as to how the morning would turn out. We assured them that this race was all about dusting off the rust as the first race of the season and taking smart risks and applying the information learned at camp.

I spent a good 20 minutes getting myself warmed up on dry land before putting on my wetsuit. Karel spent at least 30 minutes jogging around to get his blood flowing.

After putting on our wetsuits, we made our way down to the water to get into the chilly lake for a warm-up (it was around 68 degrees). After warming up, adjusting the wetsuit and goggles and getting myself comfortable in the open water, I exited the water to line up with the first wave of women to start at 7:30am.

Not knowing what to expect as this was my first triathlon race since August, my focus was to just stay present and to go through the motions of racing so that I could shake out my nerves and get myself more comfortable in the race environment for my upcoming more important races. 

I have to say that it was a great feeling to be surrounded by so many of my athletes/campers and also to see so many familiar faces out on the course. My most favorite part about racing is being around the other athletes as I have made so many friendships thanks to the sport of triathlon. 


Swim: 
Goggles: TYR Pink 2.0 special ops 
Wetsuit: Xterra Vengeance
Gadget - Garmin 920

The water was dark and a little choppy. The course was a large counter clockwise rectangle and with the sun slowly rising, we didn't have to worry about swimming into the sun. There were plenty of buoys to keep us on course but I found myself zig zagging a few times due to the chop. My athlete Stephanie is an excellent swimmer so we both found ourselves swimming next to each other (and sometimes hitting each other - let's say love taps) for almost all of the swim. There was one lady swimming right in front of us for the entire swim and I couldn't get myself to catch her or stay on her feet. To be honest, I didn't feel too good in the water. I didn't feel speedy or slow, just so-so. I guess I needed this swim to just go through the motions. Regardless of how I felt, Karel beat me out of the water! He has been working really hard with his swimming and we swim a lot together so I am glad to see that he is feeling more confident and comfortable in the open water. I guess I need to really step up my swimming game!

I exited the water in 2nd (women were first wave at 7:30am) and just in front of Stephanie. I had the wetsuit stripper help me take off my wetsuit and I ran into the transition area. 



I did a quick transition and ran with my bike to the mount line and then started up the hill to star the bike portion. I was actually most excited for the bike portion of the race as 1) I have improved my power and skills a lot on the bike 2) My bike is much more "aero" thanks to Kare, so I wanted to test it out for the first time 3) I love riding my bike. 


Bike: 

Bike: Trek Speed Concept 7 series custom (pink rocket) w/ Shimano ultegra Di2 shifting 
Wheels: Alto cycling. Front: cc56. Rear: cc86 
Helmet: Lazer Wasp Air w/ shield
Fuel: Infinit Trimarni base blend (220 calories) 
Socks: Swiftwick 
Shoes: Bontager XKL hilo

As I started the bike, I yelled behind to Stephanie "Great swim!" and I was off. It was only about a mile down the road that I caught the first place female and I found myself riding behind the police car, who was leading the race. I received no draft from the police car as he was way in front of me but it was a really neat feeling to have that escort for the entire bike.

Since I know this course really well, I had a lot of confidence on the course. I knew every turn, hill and descend, which made it much easier to execute on this course. My race strategy was to go hard on the bike and see what happens to my legs on the run. Karel wanted me to ride hard and he believed that I could still run well off the bike, even after a very hard effort for 40K.

For the entire bike, I pushed hard. My quads were burning and my glutes were working but I felt strong. Since Greenville gives us such challenging riding, Clermont is such a different riding terrain for me and I really wanted to take advantage of the gentle rollers and smooth pavement.

The highlight of the bike course was seeing Karel after I made the first turn around. Whereas I usually get a smile out of Karel, he actually lifted his head up and gave me a loud yell. I am not sure what he said but I could tell that he was so proud of me to be in the lead, behind the police car. Let's just say that marrying a cat 1 cyclist meant that one day I would be a strong cyclist. Well, that day has finally come and I owe it all to Karel. 

I saw my competition, which included my friend and superstar athlete Elyse, as well as several of my Trimarni athletes/campers, which gave me a lot of energy.

I gave myself one littler breather to loosen up my legs after the 2nd turn around but besides that, I pushed hard for the entire ride and wowzer, did it hurt!

I made sure to stay fueled and hydrated since I was going into this race after 4 days of leading our training camp (8 workouts) so I sipped on my 220 calorie bottle of INFINIT throughout the race - always making sure to take several gulps when I drank. I now have my bottle cage between my aero bars as Karel recently moved it from my frame (to be more "aero") and I have to say, I really like it as I find myself drinking more often and it's very easy to grab.

I stayed in the lead of the race until about 1/2 mile before T2, when I was passed by the first place male.

Throughout the entire bike, I found myself thinking "I won't be able to run after this.....stay present, don't think about the run!" I was thinking this over and over and I tried to stay as present as possible on the bike. When the time came to get off the bike, my legs didn't feel too wobbly, which was surprising! 


Run: 

Shoes: New Balance Zante
Hat: Boco gear performance trucker
Sunglasses: Oakley women radar lock with vents
Hydration belt: Nathan mercury 2
Fuel: water and Clif hydration cran razz  

I tried to get as much of a lead on the bike as I could, along with any extra "free speed" in transition, as I worried about any fast runners behind me. While I would love to call myself a fast runner, I feel my strength is in endurance racing and as a resilient athlete, I feel I am great at not slowing down.
I put on my running shoes and fuel belt and jogged out of transition while putting on my race belt. I had my sunglasses sitting on my trucker hat so I was able to grab the hat (with sunglasses on it) and put on my hat and then sunglasses as I began to run.

The first mile of the run felt ok but certainly not great. The best part was having an amazing female lead escort on the bike, leading me on the course. Not only was she super supportive to me, cheering me on but she was encouraging everyone around to give me a cheer. She really made the run a lot more exciting for me. It felt a big windy in my face heading out to the first turn around, around 1.5 miles on the trail. Around mile 1, I hit a very low spot and I felt extremely uncomfortable running. I was having trouble breathing with a pain in my ribs, my heart rate monitor was uncomfortable and I just felt blah. I kept trying to focus on good form and to help me out, I would count "1, 2, 3, 4" with every foot strike to find a good rhythm. Oddly enough, all my pains went away when I hit the turn around and I suddenly felt good again! I saw Elyse and she gave me a huge smile and I cheered her on. The first place male was way ahead and when I saw Karel, as the 2nd male, he gave me a cheer and told me to stay steady as I had a big lead.
To be honest, it sure didn't feel like a big lead as I felt like Elyse was coming for me so for the next few miles, I didn't look back as I just stayed focused on what I needed to do to keep my lead for however long that I could. 

It was so great to get back to the crowds at the race venue and to see my athletes on the course. With another 3.5 miles to go, I started to find my rhythm. Like I said earlier, I didn't feel fast and didn't expect this to be a "fast" run but I really wanted to see how my legs would perform after such a hard bike. Although I wore my Garmin throughout the race, I never once looked at it on the run. I had it autolap each mile so that I could review it after the race (I used multisport function for the race).

Although I never felt tired during the run, I experienced a few moments where I felt like I was running low on energy. Thank goodness that I had my fuel belt as I needed that extra energy between the aid stations. I didn't grab anything from the aid stations but instead, grabbed my sport drink flask or water flask as needed throughout the race. I also used my water to cool myself as I found myself getting a little warm near the middle of the run.

After the final turn around, which seemed to take forever to get to after seeing mile 4, I saw Karel and he said "damage control." Not sure what he meant by that at the time but when he passed me again, he just told me to enjoy the rest of the race. Karel passed me around mile 5 and he was quickly out of my sight. It was great to see him so much on the course and to have him pass me, which never happens.

The last mile was pretty special as my bike escort was cheering me on and I was getting some high fives from the spectators. With so many familiar faces on and off the course, this really felt like a home town race for me. It was really special to cross the line as the first overall female and to make the moment even more special, I was the next finisher behind Karel. 

My run splits were super consistent and once I found my rhythm around mile 4, I felt like I could have kept going - not any faster but certainly further. I went 100% by feel. A big confident boost for Haines City 70.3 in a few weeks. 
Karel, on the other hand, didn't even wear a watch on the run as he always goes by feel and decided to just forgo the watch in this race. 

My run splits:
7:29
7:35
7:34
7:34
7:37
7:21
7:02 (for the last .2)

After Karel and I chatted about the race and I did an interview with a camera guy, we headed back out on the course to cheer for the rest of our Trimarni athletes. 
It was really great to see our athletes finish and then immediately head back out to cheer for their teammates. 


After all of our athletes finished, we took a team picture with all of our campers/athletes and then it was time for awards. All of our athletes stayed for awards to cheer on everyone. 



Not only did we have several of our campers on the podium, but Trimarni placed first in the division 1 USAT Florida Region North Club Championship! We had 21 athletes race and all of our campers started and finished the race! What a great group of inspiring athletes who did something amazingly incredible with the human body! 


What a GREAT group of athletes!
Thanks for reading! 
We hope that our campers inspired you to not be afraid to stretch your comfort zone. You never know what you are capable of doing, unless you try. 

Thank you to our 2017 Trimarni sponsors!
New Wave Swim Buoy
Mg12
Xterra Wetsuits
Canari
Run In
Veronica's Health Crunch
Salem Anesthesia
Boco Gear
Cheri Bundi
Team Hot Shot
Clif Bar
Levelen
Infinit Nutrition 

3/15/17

Hello from Clermont, Florida!



Before starting our long trip down to Clermont, Florida, Karel and I got in a 3700 swim workout at Furman University to start our Monday morning. To be honest, we both had a lot on our mind so it was a little difficult to stay present but we got it done and both felt good with moving blood and getting our heart pumping before sitting in the car for the rest of the day.

After our swim, we went home to eat breakfast and then it was time to pack up the car. Since I had dropped off the cats at my mom's on Sunday evening, it was time to say 'see ya later' to my little golden nugget.

I dropped off Campy at his grandma's (1 mile away) while Karel was loading up my car and then we were off to Jacksonville, FL around 11:15am. While it's always hard to say good bye to furry child Campy, he is in great hands with my mom who loves him (almost) as much as I do and takes such great care of him. Plus, Campy has a bunch of furry friends in her neighborhood so he doesn't mind his home away from home as he can play with his furry buddies. 



Our first stop was Jacksonville, FL. We arrived around 5:30pm. Although it was a chilly gloomy day, with on and off light rain for our entire drive, we were entertained with triathlon podcasts for our entire drive and we switched off driving half way so that neither of us got too tight while sitting in the car.
We also made frequent stops to stretch our legs.

We stayed overnight with our athlete Joe and his wife Erica and baby son Weston (and doggy Reagan) which was nice to relax before making our way to Clermont on Tuesday.

Erica made us dinner, which was delicious! We had brown rice, curry lentils, roasted veggies and Naan (chicken for the meat eaters). It was so good to have a nice homecooked meal after our travels.
With Karel and I in the car all day, we had to get to some work emails in the evening but by 9:00pm, I was ready for bed.  Karel stayed up a little later to work on some stuff on the computer. 



Before getting too far out of Jax, we stopped at the AMAR European store to stock up on some European eats and treats. Since we spent 6 years living in Jacksonville before moving to Greenville, we are very familiar with the area (although it is expanding/changing every year). The European store is well worth visiting if you well, love European food. Karel found himself yumming over all the food so we stocked up on mineral water, chocolates, breads and so much more. 



When we arrived to Clermont, we checked into our Airbnb, which is located just a few blocks from Waterfront park and less than 1/2 mile from where our campers are staying in a Duplex (team house). It's rare for Karel and I to stay in a hotel when we travel and with so much stuff for camp, we need space and a kitchen. 

Karel and I needed to stretch our legs so we went for a (windy) ride around 3:30pm after we unloaded our car and got situated. 



It was nice to be back in Clermont and to ride on some familiar roads. We also used this ride as an opportunity to scope out the route for our Thursday bike workout for our campers on day 1 of camp. 

After our ride, we quickly cleaned up and headed out to the NTC to pick up our custom Canari Trimarni kits, which had just arrived to the Gear for Multisport store (we had them shipped there - thank you Kim and Kevin!).

After the NTC, we made a stop at Publix for groceries and by 6:30pm, we were back at our rental house, ready to eat dinner.
As for the rest of the evening.....from 7pm until 11pm, we were busy! 


Our kits look AMAZING!! 

Karel did inventory on our kit items and I packed sponsor swag bags. It's a lot of work to put together a camp but it's all worth it when we see our campers in action. 


So much stuff!!