On the first day of camp, at our evening meeting, Karel talked to the campers about the purpose of camp. Our campers knew they were training with an intentional overload of stress and that they would be "racing" an Olympic distance triathlon on the last day of camp. But we emphasized that the race is not why they are at camp. We could not have them worried or overly focused about the race and we certainly did not want them to save their energy for Sunday.
With every camp workout having a specific purpose and placement, we knew with the right mindset, our campers would be impressive on race day - even after 3 days and over 12 hours of training.
At our team meeting on Saturday we all had a good laugh that on Sunday, we would have our shortest workout which was the Olympic distance race. With this, we also told our athletes to make sure they thank their body for being strong enough to tolerate so much training volume and intensity in 4 days.
Of course, we told them they had the excuse of "I just did a training camp" but we knew our campers would not use it. Even though our campers did not taper for the race, we still took the race seriously - we asked every camper to "race it" but with the understanding that they are going into the race tired.
Karel and I woke up at 5am to leave at 6am for the race (just a block away). Karel made his coffee from his french press and we also had a coffee pot ready for the other Trimarni athletes staying in our townhome. After a pre-race meal and water, it was time to head to the race.
While riding our bikes to the race, I could feel a little drizzle - I had checked the forecast and the rain wasn't suppose to start until 9am.
I had made the decision to keep my run shoes covered in a bag (learned my lesson from Challenge Knoxville last year) but other than that, my transition area was laid out as normal and I stayed dry with our team under our team tent.
We love our Xterra Wetsuits!
I absolutely love the fit and feel of my new Vengeance fullsuit. It was extremely comfortable, especially around the arms.
After a few team pictures, we instructed our athletes to get in a good warm-up due to the previous three days of training so several of them got in the water whereas others stayed on dry land with old running shoes (we asked them to bring two pairs) and performed a serious of dynamic warm-ups and some jogging w/ pick ups.
The race started at 7:30am with the collegiate waves and I was up next (with several other Trimarni teammates) at 7:45am.
It's always a different feeling being in open water (versus the pool), especially at the first race of the season. I swam aggressively to the first buoy to try to position myself near the front before settling into a good rhythm.
The sky was dark and the water was dark but there were plenty of buoys on the course to keep us going in the right direction.
Another great benefit of this race was dusting off some rust and practicing transitions. I rehearsed what I was going to do in T1 in my head as I was exiting the water (after getting my wetsuit stripped off by the volunteers) and I jogged to my bike, powered on my Garmin and then put on my socks (calf sleeves were on under my wetsuit), cycling shoes, helmet and sunglasses (well, I put on my Oakley's but then realized I didn't need them so I hung them on my tri suit top for a mile and then put them on).
Seeing that we had spent two workouts on the race course, I knew our athletes would feel really confident on the course, even with the rain (which had stopped by the time we got on the bike). We had a lot of discussions with our athletes on smart execution on hilly courses and with a few hills on this Olympic course, we knew our athletes would ride confidently.
With no expectations, I just rode strong. I had no power, speed or time goals but instead, I just focused on riding hard.
My legs felt strong, not fast, but strong and I had a lot of fun on the course. One of my favorite things about this race is seeing all of our campers and teammates out on the course. With 18 Trimarni athletes racing, we couldn't ask for a better environment to push hard and to support one another.
It's rare for me to finish the bike ahead of Karel so I welcomed the opportunity to be the first Sumbal out on the race course.
I saw Karel twice and gave him a smile. He is always in race mode but he gave me a nod back. As for the other Trimarni athletes, there was a lot of cheering for one another which was awesome.
Once again, with no expectations, I just ran. I was so excited to wear my new Brooks Pure Flow 5 in a race and wow, they felt amazing. I felt like I was running on my treadmill (which I love) as each step was light and springy.
I knew my legs wouldn't have much in a kick in them for two reasons - 1) no speed work in training yet this season due to building strength over the past 5 months 2) 3 days of leading a training camp takes a toll on the body.
I suppose that the word to describe my run was resilience. I didn't feel fast but I felt strong and steady. I know my body wished this was a half IM as I was just starting to feel like I was getting into a good rhythm by mile 5 but then again, I know my body was struggling to find that extra gear in this short distance race.
Mile 1: 7:10
Mile 2: 7:12
Mile 3: 7:15 (10 sec walk break to reset form)
Mile 4: 7:12
Mile 5: 7:17 (10 sec walk break to reset form)
Mile 6: 7:16
Mile .2: 7:07
I carried a hydration flask with 80 calories (1 scoop) Clif Hydration mixed with 8 ounce water and finished the flask by the end of the race. I had a sip every mile for a nice boost of sugar with sodium. I didn't grab any water at the aid stations.
It was fun to see all the other Trimarni athletes out on the course and Karel and I could not have been more proud of our campers/athletes. Everyone was in race mode and no one was using their "I just did a training camp" excuse card.
After I crossed the finish line, I went back out to cheer for Karel who was nearing the finish line. Once again, it was a nice change to be on the sidelines cheering for Karel as he is always finished way before me.
After Karel and I finished, we went out and cheered until every Trimarni athlete crossed the finish line. I will be sharing some race pictures of our campers in my next blog (Thank you Taylor for the great pics!).
I absolutely love my bike - the fit, my new saddle, my super stiff and fast Alto Cycling Wheels. I'm so excited to race the Rev3 half Ironman in Knoxville in 7 weeks!
A big congrats to Karel for winning the Male Master's division.
(Karel is coming to terms with getting older but he is still getting faster. This is his first race in his new 40-44 age group - he will turn 40 in September).
We are so proud of our athletes/campers!
3-day training camp - check!
Olympic distance race - check!
Great attitudes - check!
Motivation to last the rest of the season - check!