Tuesday, April 5, 2011

EC Tucson 2011: The People

I'm finally catching up on things here. March was busy! So here's a "better late than never" post about the Endurance Corner EC Tucson 2011 training camp from last month. Most of the photos here are from Sherry Daerr's collection of camp photos.

First, let me say that the camp was GREAT! No surprise there. You'll know from my previous blog entries that I had a good time in 2009 and 2010. The 2011 edition of EC Tucson was the best yet.

On a bright note, I turned in a more athletic performance this year--on the bike, at the pool, and even on the run (if I exclude the mid-day meltdown in the desert). This was a pleasant surprise given a rather long off-season after the IMWA race in December. I may have been the slowest rider at the camp, but I managed to:

* finish the Madera Canyon ride done 35 minutes faster than last year

* ride the double Gates ride 30+W stronger

* ride 10% stronger up Mt. Lemon

* ride 10% stronger on the Ajo/Sandario/Gates loop ride

* finish 30 minutes faster for the Kitt Peak ride than last year.

At the pool, things were also better than in 2010. It might not have been the best Monday workout, but I had 2 good days at the pool with some faster company. And, like I said, I was running much better than last year, too.

The basic design and schedule for the camp were much the same as in 2010--and I wrote in detail about the daily activities at EC Tucson 2010 last year--so I won't write about this year's camp day-by-day. While I was at the camp, I thought that instead, I'd write about the people this time. It's really the people who make this camp special.

We had dinner at Chili's on the last night of the camp and I was fortunate to grab a seat near JD, Brooke, Gail (Brooke's mom), Sherry, and Marilyn and Chris McDonald. My seat was at the end of the long table for 36, so I had a great view down the table of all of the campers, coaches, and staff. I remember sitting there thinking what a remarkable group of people this was.

Sherry and Gail

Once again, JD invited his Aunt Sherry Daerr and his mother-in-law, Gail Hughes, to help at the camp. As I mentioned above, Sherry was the camp photographer in addition to her duties with shopping, cleaning, tending to the break room, and serving as camp "mom," in a way. Gail handled the camp registration, tended to the EC gear sales, and kept the attendance roster for the group starts each day. Gail joined for a couple of the rides and at least one of the run workouts. I'll particularly remember the spirited chase up Sandario. Great to see both Sherry and Gail again this year.


Sadly, there was no airport greeting at the airport with a Monsy muffin this year, but Gordo and the Sportsmobile figured prominently as usual. I may have missed out on the muffins in Tucson, but Gordo brough a supply to Jackson last week to make up.

I'll cherish the memories of the workout moments with Gordo this year....riding the return from Madera Canyon with Gordo and Todd (repeating a similar experience from 2009)....and swimming with Gordo during the 1st and 3rd swim workouts.

Like usual, we shared some breakfast moments, too. Bacon, Gordo, bacon.

Gordo talked me into doing an after-dinner talk for the campers one night about athletes and heart disease. I'm ordinarily a reluctant speaker, but I had fun talking with the group about some of the heart-related issues that have caught my attention these past couple years. I was probably the biggest introvert at the camp (among a collection of MAJOR extroverts), so I can only chuckle at Gordo and EC having me totally out of my comfort zone--on the road AND back at the hotel.

KP, Jeff, Alan

Three cheers for Alan again this year. He kept me smiling during the dark moments of the double Gates ride and he was great riding company on the return from Kitt Peak. There was no stop (and no Twitter or lottery tickets, either) at the store this year--just nice, steady riding with good company. I still need a lesson from Alan about logging swim training in WKO.

I was glad to see KP again at the camp and happy to serve as navigator for his mini-van. We got to spend a bunch of time riding together and I enjoyed that time immensely. I was sad to hear that he was still bothered by an arrhythmia problem and perhaps we can work to get that fixed up somehow.

I didn't spend much time with Jeff at the camp, I realize now. Too bad. If only I could ride faster.... What I remember most about Jeff this year was his positive perspective on athletes and medical problems. He shared a nice story about sorting out Chris McDonald's issue with light-headedness/dizziness at the end of long (race) rides....and finding that the problem was with vertebral/basilar artery insufficiency. This was obviously great news for Chris, who could work out an easy solution to the nagging problem. I appreciated Jeff's suggestions to the group about the value of having a doctor to look after you. He's right.

Marilyn and Chris McDonald

It was great to have Marilyn and Chris at the camp this year. I had a chance to meet Marilyn and visit with her for a short time one afternoon during the 2009 camp, but I'd never met Chris. My awareness of them both during the past couple years came mainly from Twitter, the EC website, or some other online source. They're great friends of JD, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they're the kindest, most down-to-earth folks you could hope to meet.

Marilyn would get to be the coach/leader for several of my group's rides during the camp. That was a treat. It's not often that I get to ride with a professional cyclist or Ironman champion. How cool is that? I'll remember a couple funny moments on the road....a spirited stretch to catch up with the group after Giancarlo flatted on Ajo....the time when Marilyn let somebody else lead on the way to Kitt Peak (and I groaned!)....and Marilyn watching me try SIX times to get started from a standing stop on the climb up the backside of Gates Pass. She'd later admit that she considered riding down to help! Pretty funny. One of the embarrassing moments.

I wish I'd spent more time with Chris during the camp. Like some of the other speedy folks at the camp, though, he was simply in another zip code during the daytime. Our paths did cross on the ascent to Kitt Peak and I appreciated his encouragement at about the 8-mile marker. Chris gave the first after-dinner talk at the camp, talking about being a bigger athlete in search of Ironman succes. It was an interesting talk and discussion to follow. You can tell that he truly enjoys talking about triathlon. He was also a great host for trivia night, passing out lots of good stuff from First Endurance.

The Mechanics

Once againi this year, the mechanics were awesome. Jake was the new addition, helping with bike shipping/assembly as well as the daily activities. And nothing better than a shove up the hill on Kitt Peak day!

Chuckie V

I was excited to learn that Chuckie V would be the on-deck coach for the swim workouts this year. Of course, I'd never met (or even seen) Chuckie V before, but my pre-conceived visual notion was based entirely on the picture above. Sadly, a much tamer haircut showed up at the pool--or the knit cap kept things well-concealed! But Chuckie V was every bit as hysterical in person as he seems from his writing. The 3 swim workouts were a lot of fun. One night after dinner at the camp, JD gave Chuckie V some credit for helping with our (JD and me) overall approach to swim training last year--3 workouts per week, with 1 focusing on strength, 1 focusing on threshold pace swimming, and 1 focusing on fast swimming. That was also the design for the week's swim workouts at the Tucson camp. These workouts could have been a page out of JD's playbook for me last year:

Workout #1--Threshold

400 choice w/u

1000 (400 free/300 non-free/200 pull/100 kick)

16 x 50 @ 1:00, desc. 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16

10 x 300 @4:20

4 x 25 @1:00

100 c/d

Workout #2--Strength

500 w/u

4 x (

25 fast/25 EZ

50 fast/25 EZ

75 fast/25 EZ

100 fast/25 EZ)

250 paddles (100-75-50-25)

500 pull/paddles (200-150-100-50)

1000 pull/paddles/band (400-300-200-100)

500 buoy/band (200-150-100-50)

250 buoy (100-75-50-25)

4 x 25 band only

16 x 25 @0:35

100 c/d

Workout #3--Speed

900 w/u

12 x 25 IMO for photos

8 x (

75 @1:00

50 hard @1:00

25 fly @1:00)

100 EZ

20 x 25 @0:30, every 5th fly @0:40

50 EZ

16 x 25 @0:30, every 4th fly @0:40

50 EZ

12 x 25 @0:30, every 3rd fly @0:40

50 EZ

4 x 25 fly @0:45

100 c/d

Chuckie V was a smart addition to the camp. Having the on-deck coach kept the workout in order (for a large group of swimmers) and enabled the rest of the coaches to swim the workout with the campers. He also brought along Angela Naeth and it was fun to say hello to her. She's had a great start to her 2011 season. You have to think that big things lie ahead for Angela.

The Campers

I started at the top of the post talking about the campers gathered around the table at Chili's. Of course, the next day most would return to their hometowns and resume their "regular" lives. You just had to have the sense that these are successful people in many ways--not only sport, but also family, business, etc. It's fun to spend time with people like that.

The campers really made the camp: Tony, Nina, Mimi, Heath, Todd, Jeff, Kyle, Ron, Harold, Jen, Sharon, Simon, Brett, Max, Slater, Giancarlo, John, Dietrich, Mark, Kevin (the fighter pilot), Paul, Brian, Wyman, Craig. Hopefully I didn't leave anybody out!

This was a mix of alumni and newcomers, from all over the country. All were able triathletes, for sure. I did well-wishing on Twitter for the Tucson campers and EC folks who raced last weekend at the California 70.3. A terrific day for the EC Tucson 2011 alumni!


And lastly, JD. I can't say enough about how well-organized this year's camp was. Most people won't stop to think about the many (MANY!) pieces that go into a camp this complex. And that's what's so nice about being a camper with EC! But the reality is that JD made it happen. Unlike the previous Tucson editions, JD was busy this year with a very early start to his own training season....with many weeks away from home leading up to this camp. So, for JD....a BIG job well-done!

EC Tucson 2012

I won't be back for EC Tucson 2012, but I know that it will be successful nonetheless. I'll be there in spirit. Instead, I've registered for IM New Zealand which is being held on Saturday, March 3, 2012. For me, this will be a repeat visit to Taupo, where I did my first Ironman race in 2007. It's been an unbelievable five years. I can't wait.

1 comment:

Whittington said...

Great....thanks for the update....maybe someday.....