One of Sara's athletes and a friend of mine Kendall posed this question on facebook a little while ago. As this is my last day in Noosa, I thought today would be a perfect time to reflect on my experiences here...
- First off, a positive attitude is absolutely necessary -- if you are the type of person who is always comparing yourself to other people swimming in your lane or other lanes, or biking/running by you -- and you get down on yourself because of faster people, than this experience would NOT be for you. Because you will be crushed every single time.
- On the other hand, if you thrive on obstacles and can handle admitting you know NOTHING about swimming/biking/and or running and can toss out everything you thought you knew and be willing to relearn things the right way....well then this experience would suit you to a tee! :) :)
- It was wonderful to be with people who are ON TIME for their workout sessions. No faffing around, pissing time away. Sessions were sessions and it was such a treat to be surrounded by people on the same page.
- At the same time, people are people no matter how fit or fast they are. Super duper athletes are prone to the same emotions all of us are.
- It is rare to hear an athlete make an excuse for a session or a workout. It is not that they are HTFU or anything, they just don't blather on about how sick they are, or what hurts, etc. They either do the session or not. Period. And they get on with controlling what they can control. If it hurts, they go to a physio. No talking about, DOING something about it.
- Be prepared to spend the bulk of your time alone. Group rides = me on my own. Which I was totally comfortable with. There was one run session where Clint gave me my very own starting line ahead of the other girls -- trail running there and back took me about 6:00; the other girls started behind me, but they would run off the same 6:00 interval. We did 6 of them that day, but because I was on my own (to be fair, Clint did run back once during the session to offer encouragement and instruction), I had to coach myself to buck up when the repeats got harder and harder. It was a great mental exercise and I learned a lot that day!
- Access to amazing coaching insights -- Athletes receive immediate personal feedback all the time throughout sessions. Whenever an insight occurs to a coach, a coach will tell the athlete. Of course, for these insights to be of any use, it is the athlete's responsibility to listen and implement them.
- Nutrition -- athletes eat well and eat A LOT. A lot of food all the time. We went through tubs of yogourt, cottage cheese, salads, eggs, nuts, pasta, and all kinds of fruit. Long rides were fueled by real food as opposed to gels and the like. Sweet stuff in moderation -- common sense things.
The local swim coach, Max was an amazing coach. There would be three lanes (50m) full of athletes and he literally made you feel as though he was just coaching you. Amazing man, and he helped me HEAPS learning how to swim, dolphin dive, and catching waves in the surf. He would pop up on his surf board and shout things like, "Keep dolphin diving, Julie!" or "Get ready to catch this wave....NOW!" How awesome is that?
Even the last day of swimming he made me stay in the next lane up from the slowest lane. I was dying but he wouldn't put me back in the slow lane...I literally lost count of how many times I was lapped. My foot was killing me, I couldn't put on fins, (everyone was wearing fins for the mains set), and when I said maybe I should go to the slow lane...he replied, "no, they're doing the same thing over there!" LOL!
So, instead of mentally pouting, I decided, "He knows a hell of a lot more than swimming than I do, and if he thinks I need to be doing this, then I will." And I did! :) :)
A big humongous thank you to my coach Sara, to Clint and to Paul. You guys were so kind to include me and I am so grateful to have been able to train with you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! :) :)