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QT2 Camp Day Three

February 12, 2012

We are at the point at camp… when things are getting a little bit giddy.

Charlie and I discussed giving up the sauce (coffee) at about 5:30 am. We came up with a few plans…. switching to Blonde Roast, cutting down to 2 cups a day….. but we are so close to being gold members at Starbucks….. but we really should drop the habit…….. and we made a pact to begin tomorrow. No sooner did that conversation end, Wheeler walked around the corner with plans to head to Starbucks. Hell yeah.

Later that evening I was sitting on the couch in the lobby in the hotel with Cait Snow. We were watching the Whitney Huston News and I was having a Klondike Bar. (G*A*S*P….. I treat myself every now and then, it’s camp!!!!!!). I looked over at Cait and said, “I don’t want this to end.”

“I KNOW!” She cried out. “I eat my ice cream with a really small spoon because I want it to last forever!!!!!” I paused, and smiled.

“I meant camp.” I clarified. And then a boatload of laughter followed. For the record, she was not having a Klondike Bar.

Saturday at camp meant it was a big swim day and the day of the much-anticipated 50 kick off between Wheeler and I. Between the training and the lack of sleep I have allowed myself to get I had a small amount of worry throughout the day. We had decided that we’d kick off in the presence of everyone else at camp, at the end of a near 6K swim. Since I was on deck coaching the swim I was at the NTC a bit earlier to get 4K in myself.

Either way fatigue was going to be a huge issue in this event.

The morning began with a nice easy 100 watt ride (that’s where we aim to ride our recovery rides…. one of the biggest secrets of QT2 to be honest) and I got to run with one of the guys off the bike. I don’t get to run too often with people so I grabbed that chance pretty quick. Then it was off to the NTC for me while Jesse captured video for our running analysis. Here is the 50 meter outdoor pool (you can’t take pictures IN the NTC.)

After my swim I camped myself on the deck for a good 30 min. I had been so tired I was concerned Molly was going to ground me from any further activity until I got some rest. So I got some rest. I have good friends and I listen to them when they tell me to sleep. Plus the 50 Kick was coming up and I needed to be on my game.

I got to coach another round on the deck at the NTC. Two legendary coaches were on deck, and I felt like I belonged. My group of swimmers did awesome, you could see fatigue from the camp setting in but the changes we had made to strokes was holding. Again it’s such a rare opportunity to be on deck with triathletes and coach them through a set. You get the chance to correct mechanics on the spot. You get to see progress right in front of your eyes.

If you are former collegiate swimmer you kind of fall in love with swimming all over again.

It’s funny because when I began working with Jesse as my coach I had rules about swimming. I swam masters only. Don’t look at my stroke because it’s not going to change. Don’t tell me to bilateral breathe because I don’t. To be honest he never, ever challenged my swim rules (he probably laughed instead). At first he let it be. By the end of my first season with  QT2 I had the idea that I would work his swim program for one season and I would allow my stroke mechanics to be looked at. My Masters teammates were floored, and trust me so was I. I still had rules though. I won’t ever swim over an hour. When I swam my 57 Ironman swim I did it on 6K per week. Swimmers know how to swim .

We looked at my stroke mechanics and I couldnt’ believe I had any flaws. I had many. So I took my time and in a year corrected them. Now I have pretty darn good mechanics, yet there is always room for improvement. I am in the pool alone for over 4,000 yards because I want to be. So in a very strange way he has brought me past many swim blocks that was the result of swim burnout. Happens when you spend a good majority of your life staring at the black line. I didn’t know I could ever come out of it.

When it came time for the 50 kick off I felt a strange sense of ready and weak. My legs felt horrible but I knew Wheeler’s felt worse. We were both smoked in general so the playing field was even. But my swimmer Ego was on the line. If there is one place my mental fitness is untouchable it’s in the water. Put me in a  race situation in a pool with someone who does not come from a swim background and I have the advantage. I can work walls like it’s no one’s business.

Too bad we were in a  50 meter pool.

To be fair Wheeler made two strategical errors. If you are racing me in the pool….. never give me control of the clock. You give me control of the clock, you give me control of the whole situation. The pace clock had a green arrow and I announced “Green arrow on the top” which gave us thirty seconds till we began.

“Which clock?” He asked frantically. There were about 7 clocks at the pool. Clocks are synched at a pool like this, so it didnt’ really matter, but it panicked him so I pointed to the one on the wall. I got in position and he made his second error. “I am having foot cramps already.” I smiled. This was mine. Never…. ever…… EVER put forth an excuse in the pool when you are racing me before we begin. Now his excuse was valid, he was having foot cramping issues….. but never admit it. Instead what he should have done was confidently said “Let’s go on the next top.”

Our teammates were at the end of the pool and I had that feeling of sheer terror. you know the kind…. the kind that makes you feel weak yet if you know how to use it you take a deep breath and prepare to ride that feeling instead of allowing it to destroy you; Use it to your advantage.

Go time. We were off and kicking. Now let’s be honest. We are bad kickers. In the world of swimming watching this race was a lot like watching two turtles race from point A to point B. But it was game on nonetheless. I had six inches on him and he was working it. I reminded myself that this was my element and that I was a swimmer. And I took it.

I am the 50 kick CHAMP!

I got him by about 2 inches. Charlie got video and I will have that shortly. But I am the champ.

Good lord that hurt, but it was fun and fun is really what it is all about.

After a good nap we hit the conference room for some catered dinner and run analysis. I loved listening to run mechanics, and I love watching all the different videos and how we address certain things. I love seeing different athletes and learning how to address this, leave that alone, work on this other thing.

I don’t want camp to be over. I am having too much fun. I love this group of people. I love these athletes.

It’s actually cold here in Florida this morning so our final day we will do a different sort of thing. Wheeler and I and a few others will hit the NTC and long run on the treadmill. I dont’ necessarily want to run on a treadmill but I don’t get to long run next to Wheeler that often. When I asked him if he had an iPod and he said no….. I smiled. “Good, we can chat then!!!!”.

I have never in my life seen someone’s eyes roll quite that far back into their head.

I will scooch my treadmill forward about 6 inches ahead of his and then I can say I ran in front of Wheeler. He’s so lucky to have a buddy like me.

Until then, here is a video of day one at camp. This is our elite squad, including Wheeler, Jesse, Cait, Jennie (and more) and a future track rock star. I was sure to sign her afterwards.

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