Home > Uncategorized > 30/30 – Day 6 – Texas Triple Threat, Swim Clinic, Training Camp

30/30 – Day 6 – Texas Triple Threat, Swim Clinic, Training Camp

That’s a lot of alliteration.  Back at the end of January I joined a triathlon team.  I am training for my Ironman 70.3 (Lonestar) with Team in Training, but wanted something that would continue after I was finished with my TNT time (mostly because they don’t have any Ironman races on their calendar).  After doing the requisite research, I decided to join Texas Triple Threat.  The two big reasons were that they planned swims on Mondays and Wednesdays in Dallas (which turned into Tuesday/Thursday) and because they, as a team, were preparing for IM L’Ville.  Additionally, the annual membership fee wasn’t unreasonable so I signed up.

I went to a few of the swims, including the Sunday swim/bike workout and really enjoyed the coaching and the team atmosphere (there were 30 people in the pool my first swim).  The team also does regular clinics and was planning a training weekend for the end of March, neither of which I thought I would be able to attend.

A turning point for me came right before the swim clinic, which was held the second week of March.  I had been working hard on my swim and thought I was making progess, but after a Sunday swim with TNT, I was told I still looked “uncomfortable” and that I needed to work on it.  I was frustrated because I didn’t feel uncomfortable (didn’t feel fast either, but I felt like it was a good swim) and was not given any clear direction about how I was to become “comfortable” other than to get in the pool more.  I decided after that to sign up for the clinic in hopes that I could get some clear direction and coaching to help me improve my swim.

The clinic included a filming session so you could see the flaws in your form.  After that we spent two hours in the pool working on various drills to improve stroke, breathing, kick, and body position.  I can’t even begin to describe how helpful the clinic was.  Kristen (one of the founders and the primary swim coach) was on deck and with Tommy and Brandon were amazingly helpful in critiquing and correcting form.  While I didn’t come out swimming like a fish, I had some modicum of confidence after the clinic that I could get better in the water.  Watching the film after was a great help to me as I learn visually and it helps me to see what I’m not doing and couple that with what I’ve been shown to do.

Two weeks later found me in Arkadelphia, AR, at the Lake DeGray Training Camp.  Friday morning started with a speed workout in the pool for an hour followed by an interval bike and run around the lake.  The weather was gorgeous and the lake was pristine.  My favorite part of the bike was seeing my Garmin register 38 mph on the bike.  We did about 15 miles on the bike followed by a 45 minute run.  The run was challenging, as there was a hill that was between a 10-15% gradient.  It was a good run and the pasta we ate as a team after was better for having worked.

Saturday started with a swim again.  This workout was an endurance set with build ups.  This was more of a challenge for me than the sprints, as I am still working on my endurance.  I could feel my form getting worse as the sets progressed, and had to fight to keep my body in position.  After the swim, we went back to the lake for our long ride.  The plan was 60 miles, but it got shortened by about a mile when we moved the start because of a fishing tournament.  There was a bit of a wind, gusting to about 20 mph, but it was only going out and we were able to use it on the way back.

It was the longest I’ve biked in my life and there was another crazy hill (one of the coaches estimated it at 16-17% grade).  It was the only part of the ride that beat me.  I had to stop about ¾ of the way up the hill, but got back on and finished.  I was pretty pissed that I didn’t make it all the way up without stopping, but that just fueled the rest of my ride.  I finished the ride in 3:35 and was sore after, but it was a fun ride.

Sunday we had an open water swim, my first.  The water was COLD, 53 degrees.  It was cold to the point that I was fighting just to breathe during the swim.  We only did one lap (and I wasn’t sure I was going to make that) and got out.  I tried so hard to keep my head down, but it was like sticking my head in ice and I couldn’t get my breathing rhythm down.  I finished though and didn’t have to signal the kayaks, so I count it a victory 🙂  After warming up and changing, we had out long run, 13.5 miles.  It was over the same course we ran on Friday, including the hill.  If I remember correctly, the course included a 1225’ cumulative climb, much more than I’ve ever climbed in my life.

I had a great run.  My legs felt good, if a little cold.  It was colder out (only 50 degrees), cloudy, and windy, but we avoided the wind mostly by being in the trees.  At the 10k point, I noticed that my time was such that I thought I could PR, but wasn’t too concerned with that, just with running well.  I hit the hill at mile 9 and forced myself to keep running.  I kept yelling at myself, “come on! COME ON!” and gave a barbaric yawp and kept running.  As I approached mile 12, I knew that I could PR so I grabbed a quick drink and an orange slice from the aid station and resolved to do it.  I pushed my tired legs for that last mile and ended with a 1:58:30.  It might not seem like much, but it was 5 minutes faster than Cowtown and on a much hillier course.  I can’t wait for Galveston to see how I do (1) after swimming and biking, but (2) on a flat course.

In addition to the physical training (there was also a strength training workout), we had presentations from the different coaches on nutrition, training, race psychology, and transitions.  These were great.  Having played sports for most of my life, I’d heard a lot of it, but they were well done and good tools to use while training and racing.

On the whole, it was a fantastic weekend.  The coaches were great.  Todd, Kristen, Tommy, Brett, Brandon, and Sean made the weekend worth every penny.  They helped correct bad habits and gave us the tools to form new ones.  They encouraged and challenged us.  They coached, which is all you can ask for.  I have been on teams with good coaches and with bad coaches, and these are good coaches.  The past month was the best of my young triathlon career, due almost exclusively to Texas Triple Threat.

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