2014 Slowtwitch Womens training camp: part 1

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As longtime readers of this blog know, I have been going to a women’s triathlon training camp for quite some time now. (Off and on since 2007!) This year marked my sixth visit, and the itinerary tends to follow a familiar pattern. So, rather than doing posts for each day, I’m going to try to split everything into two posts with photos and highlights.

2014camp-XantusiaEntranceView from the gate. Photo by Gail

2014camp-CompoundView of the house, from the upper deck.

Day one: This year everyone was arriving on the first day, so I opted to head up to camp directly. I missed getting to spend time with Heidi & the girls, but vacation time was tight this year after the Hawaii trip. My flight was late and clouds were looming, so I hustled to the beautiful Santa Clarita pool to get a swim in before camp. My workout had me doing 30 laps of 50 yards and every time I headed out, I could see a big gray cloud looming on my breathing side. Talk about motivation to hurry! But I made it through my workout before the rain started. Then a quick stop at In&Out and it was off to camp. Got to camp in time to pick my room and join 3/5 of the Chicago contingent for bike assembly.

By the time we finished, most of the other ladies had arrived and we went out for a short easy run from the house. We had a group of ten this year, six returning/four new. Cathy couldn’t make it this year, so yours truly was the grizzled old veteran. 😉 Per usual, there was good food, lots of wine and conversation.

Day two: Swimming was definitely on the agenda today, but that wasn’t until noon. Most of the ladies wanted to ride in the morning, but a small group of us opted for a run/hike beforehand. (I was trying to get more running in this time and the likelihood of skipping an afternoon run was very high.) Monty told us about a new (to us) trail that he and Dan had been doing lately, so we decided to check it out. We’d been planning to run/walk, but the trail we chose started with steep switchbacks, so it became more of a hike. With the altitude and dry desert air, my breathing and heart rate certainly felt like I was running!

The view was definitely different from my typical environment:

2014camp-ThursHikeViewNaturally, I had to take some photos for the social media. Here are my trail buddies Christina (in green) and Myriam:

2014camp-ThursHikeWe saw some cool rock formations while we were out. I love the terrain around here. So beautiful.

2014camp-ThursHike2After we got back, we ate second breakfast and gathered everything for a swim at the glorious Palmdale pool. Once again, Gail was our unofficial camp photographer and had us take a group shot. A few of us coached the others on the best way to model swimwear. Suck it in, ladies!

2014camp-BathingBeautiesHere’s me adjusting my goggles for the 100-millionth time:

2014camp-GogglesIt’s such a treat to swim outdoors in the sunshine. I would be such a great swimmer if I lived near this pool, it’s fantastic.

Afterwards, there was the usual post-swim errands (coffee, drug store, etc.) It took a little while to get back to the house, but a core group of us had committed to an afternoon ride, so off we went:

2014camp-RideGroupWhew! After all of that, it was time for wine and FOOD. So. Much. Food. And of course, lots more lively conversation.

Day three: The agenda was pretty much the same as yesterday. Trail run/hike => Swim => Ride. We made a trek out to Punchbowl for a longer jaunt. The trail starts with 3/4 of a mile of uphill, so we tend to walk it.

Gail got some great pictures of us starting the run portion. How badass is that?!

2014camp-TrailRunStartThe trail looks like this, so I tend to do a mixture of running with walk breaks when my fitness level or klutziness dictate.

2014camp-PunchbowlTrail Gail caught me in a moment of running. I’m still getting used to the hand held bottle.2014camp-MePunchbowlI caught up to the group ahead of me and couldn’t resist photographing the photographers. So meta!

2014camp-PunchbowlPhotoAfterward, Gail had us do a post-run group picture. We had her put her camera on a timer so she could be in the shot as well. I was very impressed by how well it came out:

2014camp-PunchbowlGroupShotThen once again, it was off to the pool for half of us. (The Chicago Five opted for lunch and some chilling out.) As tempting as that was, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to swim in that beautiful pool again. Gail and Suzanne were kind enough to give me some swim tips, which I’m very excited to work on. Then it was back to the house for food and bike ride.

The wind was pretty intense, so the “recovery loop” was not really living up to it’s name. When we left, I wasn’t sure I’d even make it fifteen minutes, Kristi was of the same mindset, so she and I stuck together. Monty had given us a different set of directions than the loop that we typically did, so there was some confusion over which was “the first right-hand turn.” Kristi and I took what we thought it was, but the rest of the group had passed it. We meandered along into the wind, spinning in our easy gears and trying not to worry about the big hill climb ahead.

It felt like the road back had tripled in length and somehow increased the amount of uphill. I had figured the other girls were ahead of us, but when we stopped to stretch before tackling the big hill home, I heard a couple of them coming up the road. We waited in the sunshine for the everyone to regroup and I was gratified to see that all of us were struggling with the wind. (Misery loves company!)

After dinner, Monty’s wife Ashley had put together a trivia game for us about Monty and the ranch. It was fun and we learned some interesting tidbits.

2014camp-GroupTrivia2 2014camp-GroupTriviaI think this makes a good place to end part 1. Stay tuned for tales of our epic biking adventure and many more photos.

 

 

 

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