Triathlon Research Camp- Day 1

day 1 swim start

Holy crap I’m training in Kona.  I mean, that much should be obvious seeing as I signed up for a triathlon camp here, but the reality really hit me on the first day of the camp.  This place is literally legendary, and not only do I get to experience parts of this course, but I get to work with some of the best in the world on getting BETTER at this sport I love here.

Incredible.

Day 1 of the camp was like going to the most amazing tapas restaurant in the world- I got to “sample” a little bit of everything and really whet my appetite for the week to come.

The morning was spent doing time trials on the swim, bike and run to (1) establish our starting points and (2) get some video analysis done to look at our form, technique and areas of improvement.

Since I literally have nowhere to go but up, I was both nervous and excited to get out there and figure out my starting point.

My starting point is slow kittens.  And yet, I actually did right around where I expected for each of the three trials.

We started out with a 3k run time trial (that’s about 2 miles for us normal people in the US- :D).  We rode our bikes up to a large parking lot that bordered the bluest water I’ve ever seen and then ran a 3 loop course on the black top.

I’m not going to lie, I was SO relieved that we got to do the run first.  It is by far the most challenging of the three disciplines for me, and was the bit I was the most nervous about.

Even with the heat and humidity, I finished the time trial in right around 25 minutes (which

for me at a 12:44ish pace is actually pretty damn good), and I was really happy with it.

We then had a chance to have a quick chat with Olympic Gold Medalist coach Chris Pilone about our running trial, and I am SO excited to work with him in a more individual small group setting later this week.  This guy is a coaching genius, and I have a feeling my running will transform based on his guidance.

day 1 chris pilone

Chris Pilone

Let me just say, there are some BEASTS in my group.  We are broken into squads of 8 athletes, which is great because it’s a small group where we can really get to know each other, get a lot of individual attention, and it’s not too cumbersome for the time trial efforts.  These other athletes are beyond inspiring and supportive, and we spent the entire day encouraging each other and witnessing some fast performances!

Vanessa, one of the many amazing people in my group!

Vanessa, one of the many amazing people in my group!

After the run, much to my relief, we hopped on our bikes for a super short spin over to a beautiful outdoor pool for our swim time trials.  It felt great to sink into the cool water and get in a quick warm up before putting down our efforts.

We did two trials.  A 100m all out sprint, and then after about 45 seconds of recovery a 500m effort.

For me, this was my strongest effort of the day.  I felt really smooth and strong in the water, which surprised me given how little swim training I’ve done this season.

I also got the chance to meet Rick Wells, a commonwealth games swim coach who, within about 30 seconds of seeing me in the water gave me two great pointers on my form that already had me swimming stronger.  This dude is probably still one of the fastest swimmers in the world, and with his coaching this week, I bet I see some serious improvements on not only my swim technique, but swim times.

day 1 swim

Next up was the bike video analysis.  We rode a short ways over to one of the most picturesque spots I’ve ever seen where Tri Research had wind trainers set up under banyan trees overlooking the ocean.  We got set up on the trainers to do a bit of pedaling, focusing on a really easy spin effort with some cadence pick ups so that the coaches could really see our form and fit on our bikes.

Here I was introduced to Ivan O’Gorman, a Retul bike fitter, also known as the Irish mad scientist of fit.  (Okay, maybe that’s what I’m calling him in my head, but trust me, it suits him.)  He spent some time watching each of us during the spin, and then came around with some great feedback afterwards on our fit.

For this camp, I actually brought my road bike, as I haven’t had a really great professional fit on it and I know there’s a lot of room for improvement with my positioning.  He had some great tips on how I could tweak my saddle position to get more power out of my legs, and to also get my upper body in a better and more comfortable position.  I’ll actually be working with him Thursday evening one on one to make those changes, and I have a feeling I’m going to feel like I’m riding a whole new bike once he’s done.

day 1 under the trees

Finally, it was time for the bike time trial.  I won’t lie, this is the one I was most looking forward to.  Our coaches drove us out along the legendary Queen K highway to a point about 16 miles out from the hotel.  From there we pushed off for a 15k time trial back towards town.

I literally can’t find the words to describe how beautiful it was.  To the right I had the most blue, beautiful water I’ve ever seen, meeting the perfect blue of the sky.  To the left, the lava fields, which looked sort of like the surface of the moon, only black as pitch and just as foreign.

I put down a decent effort given the gently rolling terrain (not used to that being from Florida where it is FLAT) and the crazy wind conditions (I swear I had a headwind, wicked cross wind and a tail wind at different points, all while riding a straight line in the same direction!).  I averaged around 15.8 for the effort, which was exactly where I expected to be.

day 1 time trial

Following the morning of intense activity, we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and much deserved lunch.

Not like I need to tell ya’ll this, but I totally ate ALL OF THE FOODS… and then some.  The amount of deliciously prepared fresh fish and veggies available on this island makes me swoon, and was exactly what I wanted and needed after a great morning.

The afternoon was just as spectacular, but in a totally different way.

After lunch we enjoyed presentations from key members of the Sansego Coaching team to give us a basis for the breakout sessions we would be attending during the week.

We kicked off with a great lecture to get us pumped up about Goal Setting and Season Planning.  Following that, one of my favorite coaches for the week, Frank “The Great Dane” Frank Jakobsen discussed periodization.  We then hopped into Principles of Fitness and Running form with Olympic Gold Medalist coach Chris Pilone,  and followed that up with a both hilarious and informative lecture of Workout Planning and Time Management by Matt Koorey.

The day wrapped up with Craig lighting a fire under each of us with a great session on Motivation and Mindset.

These talks not only gave me numerous “take away” points in each, but really set the tone for the level of excellence, competence, and just overall fantastic coaching we would receive for the week to come.

Want to know what happens next?  Be sure to check out the Day 2 recap!

Questions- What is your favorite place to swim, bike or run and why?  Have you ever been to Kona?  What athlete do you most admire?  

Triathlon Research Camp- Check In Day

I don’t think I’ve ever been wide awake at 4 a.m. local time and not been drunk.  Then again, even if I’ve been awake and drunk, chances are good that I wasn’t exactly all that “with it…” but I digress.

I’m in Hawaii, and it’s amazing.  Not only am I bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4 a.m. local time (6 hours behind my actual time zone of 10 a.m.), but I’m getting ready for day one of Triathlon Research’s Summer Training Camp with Craig Alexander.

Yes kittens, CRAIG FREAKING ALEXANDER.  He and his coaching group, Sansego, are here for 5 days to help whip me into shape to go from just “doing” triathlons to actually racing them.

Nervous in an understatement.

So is excited.

I’ll be chronicling all the details here, because I’m certain I’ll want to remember every minute.

Check In Day:

The camp will officially kick off today, on the 22nd of September, which meant yesterday my mission in life was to get my butt to KONA.

As I live in Florida, that’s a long trip.  A REALLY long trip kittens.  Reported in to the airport bright and early at 6 a.m. local time, and landed 12 hours by the clock, but 18 ACTUAL hours later in Hawaii.

As proof: I give you airport sunrise from Florida

airport sunrise

And airplane sunset from right over Kona:

airport sunset

Strangely, took off and it was 85 and humid.  Landed and it was 85 and humid.  Something tells me I’m going to feel right at home.

It was dark by the time I was on the ground in Kona, but I wish it hadn’t been.  This was easily the best airport I’ve ever been in from a pure uniqueness factor.  It was completely outdoors, open air, and had these sort of hut like shelters throughout in case of bad weather.  I had a moment of wondering if they just dropped us off in the middle of some rainforest community before I saw the signs for baggage claim and a few Triathlon Research shirts and knew I was in the right place.

Headed to the hotel for a flawless check in, minus the fact that when I stumbled into the lobby, jet lagged, sweating, and juggling suitcases, Craig was standing there and after hugging a few people I’m pretty sure I just stopped, stared with my jaw open, mumbled something about being star struck, and then walked away.

Brilliant.

But on the upside, I got some SWEET swag to go along with my room key at the absolutely beautiful King Kam Marriott, and amazing smelling Hawaiian Lei.

Camp swag Kona

As much as I wanted to enjoy the spectacular pool and party the night away, by the time I got my bike put back together and had a chance to meet a bunch of the Tri Research peeps that I’ve been working with for months, I was so exhausted I couldn’t hold my head up.

I figured that just this once, sleep is more important that wine.

Today we start off with a “bang;” time trials in all three disciplines to get some great baseline measurements of fitness, as well as all the other neato things we can track and measure.

Then, this afternoon we get to meet the amazing coaches at Sansego and start on this sweet 5 day journey.

Stay tuned for updates kittens, I promise there will be many, and they will be hilarious and informative as always.

Questions- Have you ever heard of the Triathlon Research camps?  Who is your favorite pro triathlete?  Can you hear my stomach growling for breakfast from where you live?