This weekend I got to coach at our QT2 Systems camp in Lake Placid. Actually, this time I wouldn’t say I was coaching, I would say supporting. Which was honestly the perfect role for me this time around. Jesse, Pat and Tim do the actual coaching at these camps. In my life I am in charge of so many things that NOT coaching was actually welcome for once.
On Wednesday my husband got called out of town for a few days which meant my son would be accompanying me to Lake Placid. I knew this would require some creativity on my part for supporting camp and getting some training in. A few texts to Wheeler and my roomie Kara (one of our fabulous massage therapists, I brought her from Midtown!) and a plan was devised.
It’s been a few years since Luc has been to Lake Placid, I became real eager to show him around and see what he has remembered. I did my first Ironman here in 2002 when he was just 18 months old. He’s been carried across this finish line four times.
We arrived Thursday night to an already-in-session camp just as they were finishing up the Q&A night. I snuck in at the end to meet everyone and clean up the conference room. I immediately loved the group. There were a lot of moms which is different. But I felt in really good company.
My training at camp was creative but I got it all in. It meant I had to hit the roads to ride the course by 5am, but that’s what I normally do. I am useless beginning a ride at 9am! You want clear roads and a course to yourself void of all traffic? Ride at 5am. It was wonderful! I also rode the course in reverse. I don’t know what possessed me to do that but I had my eye on climbing up the 10K descent.
Here is what Wilmington looks like at 5am. Hello sunrise.
A year ago… due to what I had been going through…. I don’t think I had the strength to ride up Papa Bear. In the middle of the 35 minute ascent up the descent I realized that and all I could do was smile. I have strength again! Both physical and mental. As I reached the halfway point a group of guys came screaming down the hill in the other direction. One of them screamed out “No F****** way! YOU’RE GOING UP!”
“HELL YEAH” I screamed back with a hand in the air. I felt so victorious. I felt so bad ass. I felt like I had come full circle. Last year training up here was not a positive experience due to what I was going through. That’s the thing about Lake Placid. It holds many many memories for me. Good bad, ugly and amazing. It felt good to realize that I can be strong again. I can stretch myself again.
I loved climbing that beast.
I returned to camp just in time for breakfast each morning. I got to mingle with the athletes and learn how their days were going. By the end of the first night I knew everyone’s name and key race. A few of the athletes even asked how my training was going. No one ever asks that. They were all so incredibly kind in so many ways. They were especially kind to my son. I knew it was weird having a kid at camp, and the campers just treated him so kindly.
The first day Luc asked me how long it was around the lake. After learning it was 2.8 miles…. he begged me to let him run with me. I wasn’t sure, I don’t want to be THAT mom. You know the one… the one who puts her race wheels on her kids bikes at kids triathlons. Who makes their 9 year old run 6:30 repeats on a treadmill. Luc is athletic, he runs a mile loop at home a few times a week. But I want him to be fit because it feels good and it’s the way to be… not because he’s pressured.
So we ran around the lake. At a pace that I could count as my own training. I was so proud of him. He did it twice at camp actually!
And he also learned how to kayak.
It all worked out perfect. The group went out and did their training during the day, which I had done by 8am. I am an early person anyway, I don’t like to begin training so late! I made sure the conference room remained clean and everything was organized. I got to spend time with our athletes off the swim bike and run path. I got my runs in mid-afternoon and got to spend time cruising Lake Placid with Luc. It was honestly my favorite camp yet. I also got to have my annual run with Courtney Wheeler! BIG TIME BONUS!
It felt good to be up there. It felt good to be able to balance working, training and family with a little help from my friends (thank you Kara). I never feel good when life is too one sided. My family is part of everything I do… and I have always always needed to have the grounding force of my son around me to always remind me what’s important.
As I rode so early and as I rode in the midst of the mountains and the rivers it reminded me… as it always does… of my place in this world. It reminds me how small I am in the big picture and it reminds me that swim bike and run is a privilege. In this sport I see so many people make it everything and I have been proud that has not been my path. It’s the cherry on top of the cake. It’s what we get to do because we are healthy.
It’s an amazing way to see the world and to meet new people. It’s a beautiful way to learn about yourself.
I will return to Lake Placid in 3 weeks to coach two of my athletes through the race and support the rest of our QT2 Team here. I am really excited…. hopefully not too early excited…. because I might have some really awesome company on a double reverse loop. Two people I really admire and who I hope hope hope that I can hang onto!
So this camp was a success. As I observed the lectures and goings-on some ideas came over me, inspiration for a new project I developed in my head on the way home. Stay tuned.
Big thanks to Pat Wheeler as always, for being awesome. Especially for his and his wife’s graciousness to Luc!