Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's it like....

To train with such high caliber athletes?

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.
That's about all I can think of! The training environment has been amazing -- the athletes have all been awesome -- kind, generous, friendly, and everyone has a great sense of humour. I am so thankful for my time here and the MANY lessons I've learned....

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! :) :)

15 comments:

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Nice topic and great points, thanks for sharing

Cath said...

Cool beans! You've had a great time, I know - though I have to say I think you do know a LITTLE about swimming, biking and running too :)

Just had a funny thought - you say if you're the kind of person who's always comparing yourself next to the other swimmer/ biker or runner, well as there's never anyone else around that's a bit difficult - apart from when you swim with me, I guess - hahahaha!

xxx

Jenna said...

Julie - great post. I need to comment on what Cath said - I have seen you focus on your goals since the day I met you. I have never heard you say you want to beat this person or do better than that one - you just don't do it - you are above that petty stuff. You are focused, determined, positive athlete who digs deep when needed for no one other than yourself because when YOU go home at the end of a race day it is YOU who knows you left it all out there and knowing that it was keeps you focused to push hard, get faster and leave it all all there again the net day. Sure, you might reel in a guy in lime green shoes, you might use the person ahead of you to dig deeper but whether you train alone or in a group -it matters not - the conversations in your head would be the same - you challenge yourself enough that you do not have to worry about anyone else out there!!! I am glad you have had the chance to take part in things like this that feed your spirit :)

Runner Leana said...

It sounded like such an amazing experience Julie. So glad you were able to get out there, enjoy it, and tell us all what it was like. Safe travels home!

Cath said...

Sorry Jenna - I meant I never have anyone around me rather than anyone around Julie - didn't mean to confuse or for it come across any other way :)

Cath said...

Oh, and of course I totally agree - Julie is a very driven individual who seeks to improve for herself....as I say, it wasn't directed at julie or meant in that way at all - Julie, you know you're an inspiration to all ....

Jenna said...

Cath :) - and having just read my post again - I CAN spell I just can't type!!

Jenna said...

and for those that always train alone - that's another bag of beans as well. Being alone in one's mind can be scary .....

Thanks for the clarification Cath :)

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Hi Julie

Good to hear you had a great time! Hope you had a great trip home, and don't worry about the lack of warmth, July will be here before you know it!

Keith said...

Being alone in your head might might be scary, but I like it. Think of how scary it would be if you *weren't* alone in your mind! How does that song go "There's someone in my head, but it's not me".

My take is that Julie only compares herself to the Julie in her head. Not to anyone else.

JackTheLad said...

Hey Jules - nice blog!
The thing I think your readers should know and understand is that while you felt you were lucky that we "let" you train with the gang - I KNOW I speak for the gang when I say they felt lucky to be training with you. You're spirit was infectious - and your work ethic was unmatched. Everyone loved having you there!

Susi said...

FANTASTIC!!! I'm so glad you got to experience everything you did. I can just imagine all that you have learned. Your insight on all that you experienced just shows what an incredible athlete you are, and person!!! xoxo

Beth said...

Ouch! The foot still looks sore!

How great you don't have asthma. I hope the breathing techniques really help.

Amy said...

LOVED THIS POST. Sounds like a great trip!