Why Three Tri Camps in a Row?

I really want to blog about the past three weekends, they were all great camps and while all were tough they were all a little different.

but before I talk about each camp it only seems right to explain why, after years of NEVER going to weekend away tri camps, I chose to do three in a row. I mean, seriously, who spends three weekends in a row away from their kids and husband?

I guess me!

I didn't originally plan to do this, the three weekends in a row thing, but that's when the camps were planned for and I wanted to do all of them...

The first one on the books was actually the latest - Camp #3 - IM Lou course preview. to me this was the most important, and as it turned out the trickiest to plan. I had heard from many many people that in order to have a good race in Louisville, you have to ride the bike course SMART. I figured the first step in that process then, would be to get my butt up there and ride the course. A chance to go with the Dynamo crew was even better (3+ Kona Qualifiers in the group many of them qualified at IMLou). I knew it would be a good camp with a high emphasis on riding smart. It was this trickiest to plan because Alex was going to be in Portland for Rev3 tri the same weekend. We finally asked Alex's best friend if he could stay with the kids for the weekend about 3 weeks before the camp. Whew! Thanks Uncle Ray!

The second one on the books fit right in the middle, Gaps Camp with the dynamo crew. Just a great group of people and a weekend in the Gaps makes anyone a stronger rider. It fell at the beginning of fourth of July weekend, so my parents volunteered to watch the boys and I would come down after the camp to spend the fourth with all of them! Perfect! Alex was spending the weekend taking the all3sports expo stuff up to the folks at Rev3 to truck across the US for the Portland Rev3Tri expo!!!

The first camp, was actually that last one that I planned. My coach was holding a camp up in the gaps and asked me to come. I thought it would be fun to invite some of my girl friends and I was excited when Kristin agreed to come! Then I looked at the dates and realized that not only had I booked three camps in a row, but I'd picked another weekend that Alex would be unavailable to watch the boys because of work. My parents originally offered to watch the boys that weekend too, but my grandma became sick and was hospitalized a couple of days before camp. Grandma is fine now, but obviously my mom rushed to be with her and couldn't watch the boys. Enter the big save, a family friend came to watch the boys on friday while alex was working and Uncle Ray stepped in for a few hours while Alex worked on saturday!

My point in putting all of this in the blog... i guess I just want to highlight that Ironman training when you are a mother really takes a village! I don't know WHAT I would do without our friends and family that step up when I ask them!

And that touches on the other point of this post...

WHY did I have to go to camp?

Almost every person I know who is training for Ironman, worries about the time that they have to take away from their family and friends. There is a lot of guilt involved and you definitely feel pretty selfish. Really, nobody's life depends on finishing an Ironman. So you start making bargains with your training plan, so you can spend more time with your family. Things that you know are important to making you a better triathlete can stop seeming important when you family needs you. Then you realize that training has become an after thought, something that you squeeze in when you can.

...and that worked for me last year, because there was no expectation. I had no idea how I would do at the ultra distance triathlon and when I started I just wanted to finish strong. I eventually made time goals based on what I'd done in training and racing, but it wasn't the focus for the year of training.

...this year I was trying to take it up a notch. Daring to dream of Kona Qualification and I knew it would take a lot of hard work. What I didn't realize when I made that decision is that it wasn't just a lot of hard work, it would require a lot more FOCUS, mental focus, on my training. Just getting my workouts done wouldn't be enough. Also, the workouts would be tougher and more intense, requiring a stronger focus on recovery and proper refueling.

and that focus was completely lacking in my early season training. I wasn't sleeping enough, I wasn't doing much to recovery properly, I brought in a lot of other distracting things into my life and we also had some things come up that were equally distracting.

So my early season races did not go as planned, I wasn't as fit as I was hoping and I was also nursing some muscular issues brought on I'm sure from lack of recovery and core strengthening.
After Rev3 Quassy I was done. Pretty much had given up on any dreams on Kona Qualification at Ironman Louisville.
I spoke with my coach and she insisted that I come to Gaps camp, She realized what I did not at the time... I had lost my focus and that if I could take some time away from the distractions, there might just be some hope for me yet.

So I went to Camp :D

I left my kids in the care of people I love and trust completely and while I missed them while I was away, I knew they were having fun and getting to do things they don't usually do with me! (going to the movies, horseback riding, fishing, boating, sidewalk chalk drawing, etc.)

And I camp I worked HARD and I Recovered HARDER. I met great new friends and made existing friendships stronger. I learned a LOT from people who have a ton of experience in this sport. I appreciate every piece of advice that people took the time to give me over the three weekends. It wasn't perfect, because during the weeks in between all the distractions were there again, but with each camp I got hungrier to reach my goal.

after riding in Louisville this past weekend, and feeling STRONG despite the three big weekends in my legs, I'm starting to believe in myself again.

people who's opinion I trust and value are telling me that I have this potential in me, the potential to qualify, but I realize that if I don't believe in myself and my ability that's all it is, POTENTIAL.

So now it's time for the leap of faith... faith that making sacrifice of time with my children, making the sacrifice of putting the other goals I have on hold for the time being, and let's face it the sacrifice of eating whatever I want in favor of eating to be properly recovered and fueled, will be worth it, because I CAN do this.

I still don't fully believe it, that I can reach this goal... but that's just another thing I need to TRAIN for over the next 6 weeks.

Train the Body AND the Mind

starting with a leap of faith and remembering that

"There is no quit in the body, there is not quit in the mind"

Now is my opportunity to live those words and make them reality.

As I finished writing this post my friend Kristin just PR'd at the 70/3 distance at Rev3Tri Portland by 31 min!!! You are a rockstar my friend! Way to make the dream a reality!!!!


  1. Jill that was too sweet of you to mention me in your post. Despite being pulled in many directions and sometimes feel guilty and selfish, but you are one of the most selfless people I know. You are an amazing friend, mom, wife, and athlete. I can't wait to follow you and watch you during your dream catching!! what is the other saying "that which doesn't kill us only makes us stronger"! You killed it the past three weekends and glad you got your mojo back:-)

  2. There will never be any quit in you. If you dream it, you WILL make it a reality. NO doubt about that.

  3. This is a great post Jill - but you need not explain why you would take three weekends away for camps. You have dreams and goals and I love that you will still pursue them while being a mom. :) So many people wouldn't be strong enough to say " I can do this". You can... and you will!

    Go get 'em girl! :)

  4. I'm looking forward to watching you achieve your goals firsthand. See you in Louisville.

  5. Three Tri Camps? Now that shows dedication, that could even be an understatement. For all the effort you put in it, I hope you reach your goals; nope, I'm expecting you to be successful.


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"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift"
- Steve Prefontaine
"Shut Up Legs"
- Jens Voigt
"No quit in this body. No quit in this Mind"
- Jill Poon (inspired by Jason Overbaugh)