Monday, March 16, 2009

Training Camp Tucson!

It's been an amazing few days here and the training has been very good.I arrived in Tucson Saturday after a long but hassle free flight. Good news was that my bike showed up still in my box even though all the locks had been broken and was half open...bad news was that I found out my derailleur had broken when putting my bike together....therefore I rushed to the closest bike shop which happened to be a bike shop that a New Jersey guy had opened here a few years ago called Miles Ahead Cyclery. Just the day before I left NJ we were all sitting in Miles Ahead, my local running store talking about this store and here it was a quarter of a mile from where we are staying. I stopped over to see if they could fix it before they closed for the weekend. The guys there were amazing and really went out of their way to help me. By 5 pm my bike had a new derailleur and a new cable put in and I was so thankful to be ready for the long 5 hour ride that I knew I had coming the following day! It was so good to be welcomed to Tuscon by such a great group of friendly guys that were so willing to spend the extra time and go out of there way to make sure everything on my bike was in good shape. It gave me the confidence to hammer down Mt Lemmon today with peace of mind!

This is an important week for me as it is my last hard week of training before I head out to Ironman South Africa and I am so happy to spend it here training in Tucson with some great athletes. The usual posse is here: Will,Danny,Marky V,Paulo of course and new member of the team John. Lauren will be joining us tomorrow. It will be great to have another girl here to train hard with. It's always great to see these guys and I appreacite all of them.

Well it seems like I have been here days already...but with three workouts a day it all starts to run into each other. Eat,swim,eat,bike,eat,rest,eat,run,eat,eat,sleep,wake up and do it all again. We are definitely conserving energy in between workouts and the food priority is very high!

First official day here for me started at 7am Sunday with a 5 hour ride. It was a brisk 43 degree's but warmed up very quickly. I rode an hour by myself out towards Mt Lemmon and then headed back to the condo to pick the rest of the group up so we could do 4 hours together. It is great riding here with big bike lanes, plenty of cyclists everywhere and lots of wide open roads that go for miles with no stops...I love it!

Just like the Las Cruces training camps I always loved the backdrop of those magnificant mountains no matter where you are.

The ride went down very well and I was pleased with how I felt although there were some definite tough moments where my legs were hurting from the big gear work that Paulo had me doing and the hills we were climbing. Riding real hills is always a bit of a shock after training in the flat New Jersey shore area!
The hours ticked by and it was nice to have Paulo there at the half way point to hand us our bottles and to ensure that we were not taking it easy.

It was great to have good company to ride with and the boys really helped me mentally throughout the ride. By the end of the ride I was definitely feeling heavy in the legs and was happy to get back to the condo. Paulo made sure I did not hang around too long before heading out for a half hour run in the park cross the street. Everyone was already feasting and it was hard to leave but I knew I had no choice but to get the work done as Paulo was pushing me out the door! The run actually felt good but the swim an hour later would not work out so well! After a little dehydration from the long travel day, some cramping while sleeping the night before, 6 hours of training in the heat and then a realy warm pool my body officially said no more. My muscles decided to take turns cramping and at one point with my arch,inner quad,hip flexor all cramping at the same time my day of training was done!

After a great nights sleep and alot of hydrating I was feeling a lot better despite some concerns that I might cramp again!

We started our day with some great tempo work on the soccer fields across the road. This workout was very different from my normal routine and alot of fun...although very hard. My legs were definitely feeling the long ride but it was great to open up the stride and reminded me of the good old days when I used to do grass workouts and fartlek with my high track coach. After a little down time we hit the pool and swam a good 4800 yard workout. It was definitely feel good swimming for me and despite a single episode where I thought I may cramp I held it together and finished the workout. It was great to have John in the lane with me and Danny,Will and Mark next to me. Its comforting to know that we are all working hard and are all tired and feeling the workload! I am loving swimming outdoors again and really enjoyed the swim.
Food was top priority after the workout and Chipolte was the place of choice!. I love this place! Huge portions of guacamole,rice,chiken and bean filled burrito's! Delicious! I keep joking that I am going to leave this camp putting on weight as food is such a big priority in this group....back home a bar or a quick smoothie would be sufficient!

Later was a 2 hour ride with a nice climb to around the 5000 foot mark on Mt Lemmon. This is a spectacular climb. The mountains are amazing and the route a fun and not to steep climb. This climb goes up to 9000 feet, 27 miles up and can see weather changes from sun at the bottom to blizzard conditions way up. Mark actually told me there is a ski resort up there. This I have to see! This is truly one climb that you have to do in your lifetime....we are anxiously waiting for our day when we are allowed to ride all the way up!

For todays 3 hour ride we got to do our intervals up Lemmon. This meant hard effort for 40 minutes...and it kicked our butts! The first 20 go quick and then you start watching the minutes. Everybody regrouped at around the 10 mile mark and it was great to beable to descend and recover on the way down. The ride down is so much fun and very fast!
The rest of the day was a 4600+ yard swim workout followed by a 50 minute run....then eat and sleep!

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