Lake Placid Training Camp Review
Why you should attend a training camp
I’m not currently training for an Ironman, but last weekend I attended to my coach Stacey’s Sonic Endurance training camp in Lake Placid, NY. Why? Because I thought completing a 100 mile bike ride in the Adirondack Mountains and a two mile open water swim in Mirror Lake sounded like a good time (insert laughing/crying emoji here).
But seriously, I came home from camp with two huge accomplishments, new friends and training partners, and the itch to buy a new bike and sign up for a half Ironman in 2020. Triathlon is expensive, but it’s soooo much fun. And the people? They are the best.
The weekend started out on Thursday with a six-hour trek from home and a car loaded full of training gear and bikes, but also bags full of clothes that we never even touched. Most of the weekend was spent in workout gear and bathing suits, and I was just fine with that. We arrived to a beautiful large house in downtown Lake Placid only a few minutes walk from the lake. There were about 20 of us staying there alongside coaches and camp staff who took AMAZING care of us for the next three days. Training started immediately after dropping bags into rooms with our choice of a quick run or swim in the lake. While everyone else headed out, I helped coaches pack camper goody bags with team gear and training fuel that they provided for the weekend, but also generous donations from the brands that I partner with including: Aftershokz, Armpocket, Balega, KT Tape, Momentum Jewelry, OS1st, and Vital Proteins.
After feasting and a meeting to go over the weekend schedule, it was time to get some sleep in preparation for a long weekend of training ahead. Friday morning started bright and early at 6am for breakfast followed by a swim in Mirror Lake. This was only my second time in a wetsuit, but I think I am hooked on open water swimming. There is something incredibly freeing about it, and the water there is SO incredibly clean. 3,000 yards later and some re-fueling, we headed out on the bike for a 22 mile spin and a lesson on pace lines. This was at first kind of scary riding so closely behind the rider in front of you, but was super helpful the next day on our long and hilly ride. As soon as we arrived back home, we immediately changed into running shoes and headed out for a quick T-run. For me this meant only 12 minutes of running since it was my first time on the road since injury, but it felt so good to be back!
Lunch was create your own tacos or burrito bowls and tasted so good. Camp staff spent hours grilling and prepping meals over the course of the weekend and I thoroughly appreciated it. I consider myself a relatively picky eater and I was thrilled with everything we ate (Thank you Alison and Jim!). After completing three solid workouts, a shower was well deserved before a restorative yoga session. Dinner was on our own in town, so a few of us walked to a local brewpub for a carb load session in preparation for the next day. And of course, a walk to get ice cream. We found a local place that had maple cream soft serve and I was in heaven.
Saturday morning was the big day. Another early wake up call for 6am breakfast and optional swim. Since I was planning (hoping) to complete 100 miles today, I skipped the swim and chose a breakfast of eggs and a bagel. Today’s ride would be a 50 mile loop repeated twice to closely replicate what athletes would see on the full Ironman Course here in a month. Preparation was everything: Sonic Endurance cycling kit, gels/chews/bars in the jersey pockets, double up on Skratch hydration in water bottles, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the pit stop back at the house, and generously apply Chamois Butt’r haha.
I went into this ride hoping I could complete two full loops but also knowing it would be a challenging (read: hilly) course, and I had only a 66 mile ride as my longest a week prior. The hills began immediately, and continued, and continued. But honestly, I don’t mind the climbing. Flying down some of the screaming descents was a little alarming, but the coaches and staff were great. They did head counts at the top and bottom of the largest decline, and they provided a SAG wagon to refuel us with hydration, food and sunscreen multiple times over the day. I felt fully supported and encouraged for the entire six hours on the bike that day. We naturally broke up into groups and I ended up with my coach’s husband Ryan and two other campers (Darla and Bill both training for a full Ironman) for a majority of the ride. It was honestly one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. Finishing the first loop I felt pretty good. A quick 5 min turnaround to eat my PB & J, hit the bathroom, and reapply sunscreen. Ryan made sure we finished a full bottle of Skratch to hydrate every hour, and I felt strong and fueled the entire time. For food, I opted for Skratch chews, fig newtons, and a gel with caffeine.
Finishing that ride was the best feeling all weekend. I went in knowing it would be difficult, but also knowing that I COULD do it as long as I was mentally tough. I kept repeating, “I can do this.” My coach and the rest of the staff’s support was obvious and was also a big reason why all of us campers were able to hit big numbers that weekend. We finished the ride with 100 miles and around 7,000 feet of elevation gain and I was gassed and ecstatic.
After finally un-gluing my butt from the saddle, all I wanted was a smoothie and to soak my legs in the hot tub. Thankfully we were supplied by Fieldwork Nutrition Company and we made some tasty berry smoothies for a recovery shake before dinner. “Club Bubbles” as the hot tub came to be named, did not disappoint.
Dinner was platefuls of salad and homemade meatballs, sausage, sauce and pasta. I watched as the guys loaded multiple plates over the next couple hours to replenish the 6,000 calorie deficit that some of them hit. We had an amazing guest Amy Farrell come and speak to us about mental toughness and training which was awesome. She was hilarious and inspiring and I’m now a loyal follower on Instagram haha! I found myself reaching for snacks again an hour after dinner. The calorie deficit was no joke. We walked to the lake to see the sunset, and of course get more ice cream. I needed to make sure I kept my butt padded for my next long ride.
Sunday morning was a long run for most of the athletes, but I opted for a long lake swim instead. I headed to Mirror Lake with one of the coaches Maribeth, and jammed myself into a wetsuit again in preparation for swimming two loops or about two miles. The water was picture perfect temperature and quiet. There’s a reason they call it Mirror Lake; the water is like glass. We finished in about an hour, completing my longest open water swim ever, and checked off another big accomplishment for the weekend.
I was sad to be leaving, but grateful for the opportunity to train among some great triathletes. I came away with a couple new training partners that live in my area (Hi Darla!), and with a renewed motivation to keep going after my goals. I will do a 70.3 next year, and I can’t wait to come back to camp again. I can only assume that most running or triathlon camps are just as amazing, and if you get the opportunity to go, DO IT. Just be prepared to be hungry. We stopped for food seven times on the six hour drive home.
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