Maryland Training Camp – Part 2

Continued from Maryland Training Camp – Part 1

Long Bike Day:

On Day 2 for the athletes (Day 3 for the coaches) we opened the camp house up at 5 a.m. and had a firm wheels down time of 6 a.m. The athletes were all invited to come to the house and get breakfast as well as grab any necessary nutrition or Zealios sunscreen or chamois cream.

Coach Stacey was taking the lead on the bike with athlete Karen who was planning to cruise through 112 miles. Sonic athlete Janelle was assisting with riding with the remainder of the athletes who were going for the long distance at a moderate speed. Coach Maribeth and Sonic athlete Amy were riding with the 56 milers. Coach Mike took a couple of the newer athletes on a shorter ride. That just leaves me. 5 foot 0 inch me driving Stacey’s honking big Chevy Suburban playing sag.

To say driving sag was stressful is an understatement. It was HOT. Fueling was incredible important, and even more so to stay hydrated with the intense heat and humidity.

Hot and humid with a view.

When I first spotted our athletes on the bike course I thought “Thank god!!!” At least I know I am on course. From there on out it was a constant ping pong back and forth to make sure all the groups had their needs met.

Once the ride began, there were 4 sets of groups that were wheels down. It was so awesome to be able to see our athletes in action. Such big smiles every time they went by or stopped.

About halfway through the ride for out long distance athletes, we began running low on waters. Along the way I picked up one of the athletes, Candy, and she was my partner in crime for the remainder of sag. We drove around and found bottles of water even selling out one of the stores we stopped at.

As the day progressed, it only got more hot and humid…cue the ice!!! It was a lifesaver for some of the athletes adding wind back into their sails. Coach Maribeth and Sonic athlete Amy had finished their ride and came out with a second support sag vehicle.

All of the athletes made it back to the camp house safe and sound. Many of which had just completed their longest rides ever. Super proud of everyone’s efforts. Now time for some much needed showers so everyone returned to their respective houses and then were to meet back at camp house for our second night presentation and another feast from Coach Mike.

Feeding goats — best recovery activity ever.

Fuel and Recovery:

While Coach Mike prepared food, the athletes and coaches hung out and took full advantage of the recovery tools that we provided. There were a variety of different types of foam rollers, 3 pairs of compression boots, a stretch out strap, 2 Theraguns, a Theracane and more.  The vibe was so relaxed and it was really cool to see all the athletes interaction and thoughtful conversations happening. While many of the athletes had known each other previously, there were just as many who hadn’t. However, looking at the bunch you’d have no idea these people hadn’t know each other for a lifetime.

Smelling the dinner Coach Mike was creating was difficult. I immediately wanted to go into the kitchen and sample everything. I think a fan favorite amongst the bunch was grilled romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing. Seriously GRILLED LETTUCE! So much flavor and crunch. I have since tried to replicate and failed.

With full bellies and relaxed bodies, our guest speaker Lauren who is a sports psychologist began speaking with the athletes on common racing or training fears or concerns and tactics on how to work toward overcoming. She opened the floor up and fielded a really great question and answer portion. She was down to earth and I think it made it easier for everyone to open up.

After Lauren’s presentation. Coach Stacey once again gave a recap of what the next day would look like. It was long run day!! Again the camp house would open up at 5 a.m. for anyone who wanted to come and grab nutrition or necessities.

Long Run Day:

I woke up both exhausted and sad. Last day of camp.  It was so much work and I loved every second of it. We had athletes come and start their long runs at 6 a.m., and others who came for 7 a.m. The camaraderie and support amongst each other had not faded from the previous day. Everyone pushing themselves and each other to the top of their game.

Who can forget the sharp and misty mornings?

I was a saddened a bit at this point because my time to leave was coming. I live in Connecticut and had a 6 hour drive ahead of me and a puppy I needed to pick up from overnight camp.

I was able to say my goodbyes to athletes as they ran by and hug the ones who finished while I was still there.

Ready to run long.

My takeaways from camp:

1. We had some of the most down to earth and friendly athletes ever at camp;

2. All the athletes really pushed themselves beyond their limits and did so without complaining and big smiles;

3. Our Coaches go way above and beyond in the best interest for everyone;

4. Grilled lettuce is delicious; and

5. I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL OUR NEXT CAMP!!!

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