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QT2 Camp Days 1 & 2

February 11, 2012

We are here in gorgeous Clermont florida (just 30 minutes from Orlando) at the National Training Center for our second annual QT2 Winter Camp. Last year we came down here in April, and this year we are obviously here in Feb. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to be spending four days in sunshine with 30 really awesome people. But let’s begin at the beginning. You know I must be exhausted and busy if I haven’t posted a real recap!

Thursday

We are all staying here at the Hampton Inn, which is where we have some of our deliciously catered meals and our daily meetings and clinics. for some reason, the beds in this hotel are to DIE for (plus we are exhausted which makes them even more comfortable). I am rooming with my fellow QT2 Coaches Molly Zahr and Tara Rasch. I feel like I am in college again. Our room is an absolute disaster, we’ve got a pile for each of us. Instead of makeup and hair supplies we’ve got training gear all over the place. The three of us have become really good friends throughout the past year. Just being around these gals solidifies my happiness in my decision to come to Qt2 as an athlete and coach. It’s one thing to talk training, but to be able to talk coaching with them is priceless.

After the campers gathered for breakfast and our camp orientation, we headed over to the NTC…. where my lifelong dream was finally realized. If you are an interior designer you go to Frank Loyd Wright houses. If you are a swimmer, and a swim coach at heart you dream of coaching on deck, outdoors at a facility like this. As a triathlon coach you don’t get this kind of chance often. To stand on deck and work with swimmers hands on at one of the best facilities on earth……  I died and went to heaven. My group was motivated and eager to have their strokes looked at and worked with. It was absolutely awesome.

Swimming is my thing and I have fallen in love with stroke mechanics. Win win situation.

Afterwards we hopped on our bikes and rode a nice easy 2 hour loop. I rode with another one of my good friends and QT2 colleague Jaime Windrow. Jaime also helps run our Core Diet program. As we rode and talked again, I was grateful. This group of coaches is very unique. We are close even though we live in different parts of the country. We are friends and colleagues. I feel like I have become part of this….. family. We utilize each other for coaching expertise, we are friends and there is a lot of heckling that happens amongst us. It’s awesome.

After our bike ride we headed over to the NTC track for our camp 5K. The point of a 5K this late in the day on the track at this point of the season was not for time. It actually was not about time at all. It was about putting our athletes in a situation that is stressful and makes them nervous and recreates an environment we might see on race day.  This time of the year as Jesse reminded us, we will be about 1 minute off our best 5K performance from last season. So if you came into camp running a 21 minute 5K in 2010 we’d expect you to be running somewhere around a 22 +/-. If we are hitting a PR now we are in a bit of trouble.

So again, time was really the least important part of the event. The mental fitness…… was critical. I have some great pictures and a terrific video of it that I will post tomorrow. Everyone absolutely rocked it.

That evening we listened to a wonderful presentation by one of our main sponsors, Kestrel (and got some schwag). I got to take a look at my new bike for 2012, and I am happy to say it’s on the way thanks to a wonderful new partnership I have to tell you  about. But that’s next week.

Thursday evening ended with a Q&A session and me absolutely collapsing into bed. Day one, in the books.

Friday

By 6am Wheeler, Spinney adn I were on deck at the NTC …. and it was long course meters. Outdoor long course meters with two colleagues / good friends. In the lanes next to us were the age group swimmers swimming a 7K recovery swim before school. you know I was pacing off them. Nothing like trying to pull ahead of a 12 year old age group swimmer from Florida!!!! Glory Days!

Then Spinney said the magic words to me… “Mar can I sit in your draft?”  I smiled. Wheeler added in “Yeah, me too.”

Can you boys please repeat that? In fact can you repeat that so I can record it? Of course you can sit in my draft. Wheeler fell off the back. (something about 800 miles on the bike this week, 50 miles on his run legs and 20K in the pool. His back must also hurt from carrying the cross. In all fairness though, the ony person who looks more beat than me right now is Wheeler).

So I pulled those two for 1K. See the things I have to do?

Next up was our long ride. I love this ride, this is where the magic at camp happens. I got to ride with a fabulous group of guys. We rode out to the trail. always forget what this trail is called but everyone here knows what it is and that it’s the mac daddy to ride on. We got in 6 hours and over 100 miles. The sun was shining and we were outside. We have 30 athletes of 30 different abilities and for some this was their longest trek yet. To share that experience with them was an honor.

We transitioned to a nice hot run and jumped in the hotel pool for a good ice bath.

Then it was time for dinner. This si the night we kick back and relax and have some good solid food….. it’d been hours since we’d eaten something real!

The evening finished with a fabulous workshop given by Jaime ….. on the Core Diet. Every time I listen to her talk I swear I am going to go ahead and give up the sauce (coffee). This time I just might. I know the benefits and I want the benefits. But that’s another story for another day.

Each night I swear Molly, Tara and I talk two hours more than we need to. But I don’t get to experience this on this level too often so I will sacrifice some sleep for quality time with the girls. These are so my people. This whole team is my people. I am at home with this crew.

Last year I came to this camp as an athlete and this year I am here as a coach. I have the freedom to bring what I love to bring to camp. I get to coach on deck and I get to connect with some really fabulous people.

I always get asked about Cait Snow. Yep she’s here. I get to interact with her frequently as I work for her, and she always impresses me. Here is why.

I really study the professional athletes and how they conduct themselves. The women who have impressed me over the years have been Lisa Bentley, of course Chrissie, and hands down Cait Snow. If Cait was having a bad workout you will never hear her complain. If she’s overconfident she will never say. Her time in the 5K….. I don’t even know what it was…. but I watched as she smiled and put her head down and executed. Like every other athlete on that track it likley was not a PR for her. Probably a minute or so off like everyone else. You’d never know with how she carries herself. She rides one of the most even keels I have ever seen and that is why she is as successful as she is. She makes no excuses. For our athletes and our coaches she’s the definition of role model. She trusts the system and works it. She’s only 30 and I feel proud of someone so young possessing such a degree of professionalism.

It truly sets her apart from many.

Today….. Saturday is another big day. Breakfast, ride, run, run analysis and then…… the big swim. I will be on deck at 2pm for our long course metered workout. I am dreaming….. yes, dreaming of having a land next to the wall with my group so I can walk up and down the  lane and make those corrections as they swim. We’ve got relays to execute as a team, and then………………………….. what we have all been waiting for.

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