Sedona is a beautiful city and a great place for a training camp. You can’t bike more then a kilometre without climbing a hill and there are lots of trails for running. It’s also extremely hot.
We had three different altitudes that we trained at: Camp Verde (low altitude of 2500 ft.), Sedona (medium altitude of 4500 ft.) and Flagstaff (high altitude of 7000ft.). We did all of our hard interval runs at low altitude, all ofour swimming and most medium effort workouts at medium altitude, and easy workouts at high altitude. Our altitude training protocol was to train two days in Sedona/Camp Verde and then go up to Flagstaff for a workout on the third day. We repeated this three day cycle forthe entire camp.
I had a shaky start to the camp. All of our bikes were long and hilly and, because of the weather in Saskatoon, I had been unable to do any biking outside (except for in Mexico) before coming to the camp. My biking was not as strong as I wanted it to be near the beginning of the camp but, the more I biked, the better I got so that by the end of the three weeks I was biking very strong and could power my way up any hill.
My running during the camp wentthe complete opposite way as my bike. I started out the camp runningwell but, as the camp progressed, my legs got more and more fatiguedso that the last couple of run workouts were a real struggle. I didn’t let these workouts faze me, however. I knew that my run fitness was just as good as ever. It was simply all the hard workouts of the three weeks piled up on top of each other that was causing my legs to feel like I’d just run a marathon.
My swimming was awesome the entire camp! I started out swimming fast and ended the camp just as fast if not faster. Long, hard bikes don’t really affect swimming ability.
The one challenge that I faced the entire camp was my asthma. Sedona’s dry season started earlier then usual this year and, because of this lack of moisture, there had beena number of major fires in the Sedona area. These fires caused the air to be very smokey. So smokey, in fact, that you could see the smoke in the air. Smoke is a major trigger for my asthma. It was also blooming season for the cacti so there was pollen in the air, another asthma trigger. I was able to keep my asthma pretty well under control despite the conditions. I ran at the track instead of the road when I could so that I would be more sheltered from the pollen in the air. I also got a magnesium iv that helped relax my lungs. There were only a few workouts that my asthma really affected me.
I had a super good time in Arizona and put in some solid training. I was feeling very confident headinginto Dallas and was ready to redeem myself from my race in Mexico.
After Sedona, I took the days leading up to Dallas very easy, just getting to know the course and doing some activation workouts. These days allowed me to recover from Sedona’s intense training. By the time I was standing on the start line, I knew I was ready to go.
The swim start was very unusual. Instead of a beach or pontoon start, we started treading water. I didn’t do very well on this start. I got pushed around and was fighting with the people around me for the first 100m or so. I could tell that I was not where I needed to be at around the half way point of the swim. Despite this prediciment, I stayed calm and just focused on my technique. I was able to gain some ground on the leaders in the second half of the swim but coming out of the water I was still 20 seconds back. I had a great T1 and came out of transition just 10 seconds back of the front pack of four. I was able to bridge the gap and within the first 1.5 km of the bike, I was in the front pack.
I got our pack organized into an efficient pace line taking 20 second pulls and, with two laps to go, we had a sizable lead of two minutes on the second pack. We had a fast bike split with an average speed of 36 km/hr. I led into T2 and came out right behind the leader.
I didn’t feel that great at the beginning of the run but, by focusing on keeping my knees high and having a fast turn over, my legs gradually started to feel better. From the very start of the run Jenny Shaughnessy and I started to put time between us and the rest of the field. We alternated leads for the first lap but on the second lap she took control of the pace. It was really tough to stay with her… especially at 1km to go when she really picked it up. I just kept telling myself that I had to stay with her until the kick, just until the kick. I knew that if it came down to it, I had a good chance of out sprinting her thanks to my years of track running. I managed to stay with her until the kick and, after 100m or so of flat out sprinting, I broke the finishing tape in 1st place.
I’m very happy that I finally had a good race and that I was able to breath properly for the whole thing. I hope to carry the momentum that I’ve gained from this race into the Western Canadian Junior Championships in three weeks that will take place right here in Saskatchewan.
The results from the race can be found here.