Although I am currently training for the Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon, I’m also training for something even more intense than that – the Active X Endurance Camp. Although I don’t broadcast it here, Mike works for The Active Network (if you aren’t familiar, they are one of the leaders in endurance race registration, including Ironman) and one of the many amazing perks that their employee benefit program Active X includes is a chance to take part in a three day swim-bike-run camp in the nearby mountains. Since we are now considered family, I’m allowed to come as his guest (because of the popularity of the program, they no longer allow non-Active employees outside of family).
The camp takes place Thursday, July 11 (evening) through Sunday, July 14. This has been my main impetus in finally dusting my bike and wet suit off. A 400 m swim, 9 mile bike and 3 mile run at Solana Beach isn’t what scares me, its 3 days of intense triathlon (and afternoon yoga!) workouts with a bunch of super fit athletes.
To gear up for the race as well as camp, the Director of the Active X Program, Arch, has set up several group workouts. Although the group has been meeting every other week or so for the last month, as of late the workouts have ramped up and every Wednesday they meet up for a swim and every Saturday there is another group workout. Last Saturday was my first group workout and it was a practice triathlon.
I was told that the practice triathlon would be a 400 m swim, a 15 mile bike and a 3 mile run. While I was nervous about the 15 mile bike since I had just dusted mine off and taken it for a 10 mile ride two days before the practice tri, I wasn’t too worried about the swim. 400 meters is hardly far and I knew that despite 9 months away, I’d survive.
When we arrived in Coronado on Saturday morning, I set up my transition area and we chatted until Arch announced the course. It was pretty much the same route as the practice tris I did two years ago with the San Diego Triathlon Club when I was first starting out. He emphasized that this wasn’t a race at all and that we could cut short any of the distances if we wanted. However, after we swam what everyone thought was the entire swim, Arch called out to us and said “another lap!” and we all stood there gaping at him as he repeated it over and over and we finally jumped back in and swam again. My shoulders were burning and I was out of breathe – I had prepared for one lap, not two! But I did it again and in the end I swam 1,000 yards in the open water without having swum in 9 months. Not too bad!
I rode the entire 15 miles which felt like an eternity and of course couldn’t help but think back to the Ironman which was just about one year prior. How the heck did I ride 112 miles? The first 2 miles of the piddly 15 mile, super flat ride felt incredibly uncomfortable. My bum was still very sore from my 10 mile ride on Thursday, my shoulders, arms and back ached while I was in aero, and my thighs were burning like they do during squats in barre class. What was happening!? Had I completely lost all bike fitness? Luckily about three miles in, things started to settle and by the turnaround point I was flying back with a fairly heavy tailwind. It felt good.
Mike had ran a bit while I was gone and then waited for me and he and I ran the 3 mile out and back together, taking it pretty easy until the final 1/2 mile where I put it into high gear and finished strong. It was definitely NOT a race – everyone was kind of doing their own thing but also they were all cheering each other on. We high fived, cheered and congratulated other people along the way. It was a fun workout!
This Wednesday night we met in Fletcher Cove for a swim workout. I was thinking it’d be a fairly basic swim in the ocean, but instead it was turned into a crazy interval workout! We ran out into the waves, duck diving and swimming when possible then swam to a buoy (a person standing in the water), swam to the next buoy (another person) and then came in. The waves weren’t huge but were big enough to create some obstacles and you definitely had to keep looking over you shoulder to ensure you didn’t get pummeled.
After 5 rounds of running in swimming and running out, I was spent. Yet Arch had more in store for us. We started on the beach and waited for a set to come in then charged the wave, duck dived, swam past the break, then swam back in, ran up the beach and up the super steep hill that is in Fletcher Cove (part of T1 in the triathlon) then back. We repeated that 3 times. My legs were not cooperating with me while running up the ramp (I just did hill repeats the night before!) but I tried my best to not walk.
After a wonderful cool-down in the ocean (it’s so warm right now!), we packed up and headed home. This workout really got me wondering what Arch has in store for us at Endurance Camp! He really doesn’t take mercy on anyone (although clearly you are encouraged to stop if you don’t feel able) and I have a feeling that 3 days of triathlon training in the heat is going to be intense! My pain-loving and “beast” side (as Mike would call it), is pretty excited though!