Saturday, February 21, 2015

Remember that one time... at BAM CAMP

Last weekend we finally got to do the triathlon training camp with Balanced Art Multisport, down in St. George, Utah. We won entry into the camp back in December through an Instagram giveaway and we have been anxiously waiting to go.
Here is a brief overview of our awesome weekend of training!
Thursday was the first day of camp and it started with an early morning swim at the Washington Community Recreation Center, this was just a 1,000 meter time trial. That was followed by a nice 40 mile bike ride up Snow Canyon. Unfortunately for us we weren't able to get down to the camp until Thursday afternoon and we had to miss the swim and the bike ride. Kassia got sick on Tuesday and it was better for her to rest, get on an antibiotic and not get anybody else sick. It was a great idea for us to wait it out one more day, she got feeling a lot better. Even though she was not 100% she was no longer contagious so we felt alright about being around everyone. 
 When we finally got down to St. George on Thursday we met up with everybody at the camp headquarters for a nice one hour run. As soon as we showed up to the house, we IMMEDIATELY felt overwhelmed. There were some phenomenal looking athletes there, one person said it best when she said "you see all those magazines and see all those fit people and you just think that the picture has been photoshopped, then you come to BAM camp and you see that it isn't photoshopped, these people really are that fit!" My first thought was, "well this was fun, we suck, lets go home" haha seriously though there were some amazing people. We didn't know anybody so we were nervous, we knew our coach Keate and then we got to know his wife and his little baby and talked to them for awhile. We then set out on the run, my favorite thing about running with BAM is Wesley Johnson, the founder of BAM, strongly believes in a walk to run ratio. This run was a five minute run with a one minute walk, of course Kassia and I immediately fell to the back of the group which was ok with us. We ran around Sand Hollow, it was very pretty and the weather was fantastic. I love the walk/run ratio because it really gives your body a break to walk for that minute and for the time of the run you're really able to push yourself, ever since we started incorporating this in to our training my body has felt way better. Anyways we finished the run with some dynamic stretching and that was it for day one. We headed back to the hotel feeling pretty good after our run, got some good food and then relaxed in the hot tub to get ready for day 2.

Friday morning started with an early morning swim at the rec center again. This was probably my favorite thing we did the whole camp, swimming is one of my biggest weaknesses and now we had a chance to really hone in on some drills. There were six different coaches and six lanes, the coaches rotated and worked with each lane. We had the coaches for about 10 minutes and we focused on one specific thing. We worked on keeping our heads down, body rotation, kicking, doggy paddling, fist drills and kayak drills. It helped A TON! It was nice having the coaches work so closely with us and really help us improve. The hardest drill was putting shackles on our ankles and swimming, this completely eliminated kicking, you had to have a high swim stroke and great body rotation to prevent yourself from drowning, it was super hard but it helped a ton.

After the swim it was time for a bike ride. We met at the camp headquarters and just did a nice 20 mile loop around Sand Hollow Lake. Halfway through though we did a time trial with the help of Run Utah. They brought their timing chips and mats to do a for real time trial. We hadn't ever done one before so we didn't know what to expect. But it was just a race for about 5-6 miles, they had everybody start 30 seconds apart, it was tough! It was especially hard for Kassia since she could barely breathe through her nose and had a nagging cough through the entire weekend. We had to go up a hill and right back down sprinting as fast as we could, it was a good experience but needless to say neither of us won.

Once the bike ride was done we met up at T2 of the St. George Ironman for a 90 minute run. We ran on the Ironman course and it was difficult to say the least! There were some nice big hills to run up but overall it was a pretty nice run. Kassia and I were pretty much by ourselves the entire time, we aren't sure how it happened but no matter if we were biking or running we somehow always ended up isolated from everybody else. This was a tough run, it made me glad that we are not doing the Ironman St. George 70.3 this year. We were going to do it but it's right during finals week and I'll just say that may not be the worst thing in the world... maybe next year! Once the run was up it was dinner time! We met up later that night for a big team dinner at Benja Thai and Sushi which was delicious.
After that it was time for some much needed sleep because we had a huge day ahead of us.

Day 3 started with a very early swim at the rec center, today was all about simulating open water. We hardly have any experience with open water swimming so this was a big eye opening experience for us. They took all the lap lanes out so the pool was just wide open, then they put cones on the bottom of the pool and told us to go swim in a big circle around the cones for ten minutes. This wasn't easy, it was weird having to turn your body and also to swim with so many people. I'm not used to swimming for ten minutes straight, usually I do like 100 meters or so take a 10 second break and go again but none of that was happening today. After the 10 minutes we swam some more in a circle and worked on our sighting, this was hard but I felt like I was getting the hang of it by the end. After that we worked on drafting and swimming in groups of 4, which was very hard with all the people in the pool, but really fun. Once that drill was up we did some small group races going around a buoy, it was so hard! You think you are friends with everybody until you start swimming with them, everyone is on top of each other, I had people pulling my legs down and I started sinking, I had my swimsuit ripped off halfway and people kicking our faces and everything! It was a pain in the butt but it was great practice for our races this year.
After the swim it was time for the pinnacle of the camp. A 60 mile ride around Gunlock Loop with a stop in Veyo for some pies halfway through. The longest Kassia and I had ever ridden was 30 miles so this was a big deal for us, we were just hoping to make it. The 20 miler we did the day before really hurt our butts... cough cough and other areas on Kassia..... so we were a little nervous. 
We started the ride and it wasn't too bad, there were some big hills and some gorgeous views. There were two big hills right before we got to Veyo that we had heard so much about and we were dreading them. We finally hit the first one and it was SOOO steep, it was short but steep it took everything in me to get up there. I timed my nutrition poorly, I didn't take enough before or enough with me, I was wasted. I thought I would be fine nutrition wise, I could refuel in Veyo and not have any problems but man was I wrong. That last hill killed me and we still had one more hill left called The Wall. That was pretty intimidating, we saw it from the bottom and knew we were in for a treat. We pushed our way through and spun our way up the hill and we finally made it! It sucked so bad, I don't think anyone will know what it's like until they do it themselves. I was so hungry and luckily one of the vans was there loaded with food, I drank some coke and ate about 7 handfuls of M & M's and I was finally satisfied. We then went about 2 more miles to get our pies and man were they delicious. The rest of the loop back to the car was pretty easy, it was mostly downhill and not too bad. Once we made it back to the car we were exhausted but we were STOKED we had just completed our longest ride! It was a fantastic feeling!

That night we met up and ate dinner and just got to know everybody. It was probably the highlight of the camp, Kassia and I didn't know anybody going into the camp and we left having met some amazing people. We were super intimidated because everybody was so awesome and everyone knew each other and then there was us, just this rookie couple trying to learn all there is to know about triathlons. It was truly amazing how nice and inviting everybody was, this truly lived up to the name  BamFam. We left having made a lot of friends, got a lot of phone numbers to set up some group rides/runs and we were so happy that we came.

We finished the camp off Sunday morning with some much needed yoga and then we headed home. All in all it was a fantastic weekend, we were exhausted, luckily it was President's Day weekend so we slept in on Monday and then took a 2 and a half hour nap to recover. It was so worth it, we learned so much. Wes Johnson is an amazing coach and it was nice being able to soak everything up, he is super nice and patient. Same with all the other coaches, they are so fun to work with and super encouraging. If anyone has a chance to join BAM we 100% recommend it, you will not be disappointed! So all in all we ran 14 miles, biked about 86 and swam for over 2 hours total. Not bad for a weekend! And we can't wait to get back and do it again next year and see how much we improve. Hopefully we won't be the slowest ones there again!

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