With just over a month to go until Ironman Boulder, I had the opportunity last weekend to attend a training camp in Steamboat Springs. The camp provided an opportunity to do some focused and intense workouts and definitely allowed me to push thresholds a bit. There was also a great deal of information provided that will help with race execution on August 2nd.
I met my older brother at his home on Thursday and we made the 3 hour drive up to Steamboat. I've been to Steamboat a number of times, but my last visit was probably about 7 or 8 years ago. If you've never been to Steamboat Springs, I highly recommend it. It's a very active mountain town, but lacks the pretentiousness of many Colorado Resorts. There are numerous activities ranging from hiking to tubing, to cycling of course. And there is also a great variety of dining and craft beer options. In short, everything an athletic family would want.
We arrived at our condominium that first evening and met up with a couple of the event organizers. Justin, is my brother's coach and he was joined by Larry, another athlete and coach from the Denver area. This was the first year that they'd done the camp so it really wound up being just my brother and I. It was a great opportunity to pilot some things, which was great for us. A lot of personalized attention and support throughout the camp.
On Friday morning, we awoke early and headed down to the Old Town Hot Springs. I had actually been to this pool before but it had been over thirty years earlier (a lot more water sliding back then!). On this morning, we were meeting up with one of the local triathlon clubs to do a swim workout. The purpose of the workout was to get some practice in around open water swimming. The lane lines were removed and three buoys were placed in the water in a triangular pattern. Over the next hour we worked on a variety of drills including sighting, short sprints, buoy turns, etc. I was having quite a bit of trouble with my goggles unfortunately and they kept leaking. Nevertheless, I got a lot out of the workout in terms of practicing some open water swimming skills. We wrapped up after an hour and headed for a quick breakfast. I'm always amazed how the absence of lane lines can so easily derail one's rhythm and comfort in the water.
A few hours after our swim, we were standing at the base of the mountain at Steamboat, preparing for our run up to the gondola station on Steamboat's main ski mountain. This run would include a mix of interval work that would really push our VO2 max. After a short 15 minute warm-up, we did our first set of intervals which consisted of two minutes of running followed by a minute of recovery walking. We repeated this again a few times. After a short break, the second set of intervals was a bit more challenging. The interval time grew to four minutes followed by two minutes of recovery.
Twisted Trails Running Store downtown. While there, I picked up a couple of Picky Bars (delicious) and some GU gels. At the store, I had a chance to say hello to Heather Gollnick. She is a recently retired professional triathlete that lives in Steamboat and she was working on packet distribution for a series of Triathlons that were taking place over the weekend in Steamboat.
|What goes up . . . must come down (Elevation Map of the Gondola Run)|
|Don't want to hit one of these while riding!|
Immediately after the ride, we did a quick transition and started our interval run. With the midday heat, and the previous workouts, this was very challenging. The first portion had us run off the bike at 105% effort for the first five minutes. It took everything I had to run hard and I was very thankful when those five minutes were up. After another five of recovery, we did a set of 3 minute efforts with 2 minute recoveries. Each one of these became increasingly more difficult to maintain, and my heart rate soared. Still, I managed to hang in there, and the thirty minute run felt mercifully short. Once done, we wandered gingerly down to the river, and spent a few minutes soaking our tired legs in the water.
Essentially, that was the last workout of the camp. After lunch, my brother and I found our way to the Butcher Knife Brewing Company where we enjoyed a sampling of their beers. While I generally tend toward the IPA styles, their Buzzcock Mild Ale was a pleasant surprise. Definitely worth a trip if you are in the neighborhood.
That evening, we had a briefing on Ironman Boulder. It was an extensive presentation that included everything from what to do during race week, all the way up to strategies to apply during the ride. I appreciated the detail and it made me feel well prepared for the upcoming race next month.
This camp was a great experience. I learned a lot about the race as well as some new things about training and nutrition. It was really good to be able to speak with some experts about what to expect and to get their insight into the experience. The camp also wrapped up the month of training. With a month to go, I feel like the training is really starting to come together. I put in over 500 miles on the bike this past month and I'm feeling really comfortable with the longer rides. In fact, I've put so many miles on in the last 3 months (around 1200 or so) that I decided it was time to get some new tires on the bike. Here's how the rig is looking these days:
Thanks or Reading!