Not your Mommas summer camp. Penticton Ironman Camp July 2010

As told by Allison Bernat This past week was definitely the most challenging but also most amazing training week I have ever had!  The week started off on Sunday night at Earls and as I was sitting at dinner with two experienced Ironman/woman and very strong triathletes (Rick and Amanda), I realised exactly how challenging this week was going to be for me!

Monday brought about my first challenge …an ‘easy’ spin.  Well maybe easy for my fellow training partners (aka experienced Ironmen) but cruising down Channel Parkway at 34km/h + is no easy feat for me!  Nonetheless, I held on and did my best to stay with them.  After a gruelling ride up Green Mountain Road I really started to wonder what I had gotten myself into.  Fortunately, Monday was a relatively easy workout day and by afternoon I was relaxing on the beach working on my tan  ;-). I had survived day 1.

The next few days brought on many more hours of training in the gorgeous sunshine, and as the days went on I realised, that yes, I think that I too can do this Ironman thing!  Wednesday’s ride brought on an interesting challenge for Amanda and me.  Here we were making our way up to Yellow Lake (well actually me hanging onto her wheel for dear life!) when ahead we could see a very dark cloud.  Suddenly the winds picked up, and pushed me sideways into Amanda’s back wheel (yes, we managed to stay on the bike).  Then the skies opened up and down came the rain ….. it felt like buckets of water were being dumped down on us, but we kept plugging along. As if things couldn’t get any worse the rain turned into hail!  Finally we reached the top and it was sunny again.  Now you are probably wondering where Rick was in all this, well, he (being faster than us) had to do the out and back section of the course and therefore managed to miss the storm entirely! That is except for the wind that was throwing tumble weeds at him.

By Thursday evening Rick, Amanda and I were joined by Tania, George, Dave and Sarah for Friday’s Ironman course ride.  I was already feeling exhausted and was wondering how I was going to manage, but I have to say 180km through the Okanagan valley is really not so bad!  There were many other people on the course and so it felt a little like race day.  Overall it was a great ride thanks to Andrew’s support and the swig of Coke he had waiting for us at the top of Yellow Lake.

Other than a whole lot of training we did have time for other things, like hanging out at Naramata, chillin’ at the lake and the infamous ice baths!  At first, I was a bit sceptical, but these ice bath things are amazing. We did attract lots of funny looks from people passing by.  Just imagine two big garbage cans sitting on the lawn with people sitting inside eating Subway sandwiches!   In addition to the funny looks from passersby, Andrew and Rick did attract quite the crowd of spectators who somehow turned up each day at ice bath time!  All ice baths jokes aside, they were definitely amazing because somehow I woke up Sunday morning NOT feeling the three hour run from the day before.

Overall it was an amazing week. I feel so much more confident about IMC thanks to all the advice I got from my training partners and for the experiences I had.  As Andrew said, I made hills my b*&^ch; Richter and Yellow lake no longer intimidate me.  Outside the realm of training, this week allowed me to make some amazing friendships and I know that for those of us that were there we will always have a bond through the camp.  Needless to say, we owe this all to Andrew who made it happen!  Through his excellent coaching, organization and support we all survived and are ready to put together a kick ass Ironman!  I am already missing the camp and wish I had their company for yesterday’s 3.5 hour ride. So, if you ever have the chance to go to one of these training camps, I highly recommend it. It will challenge you in ways you never thought possible, make you stronger mentally and physically and make lasting friendships with your fellow inspiring triathletes!