After the culmination of our first triathlon camp, one of the campers posted the sentiment that not only underlies camp, but also permeates everything we do at NYX Endurance: this is a team sport. Sure, we each put on our own bib number at a race, but if you’ve never been to a team event, you may not know the extent to which coming together propels us towards feats we may never have known ourselves to be capable of. Below, the campers bring our mission statement to life: “… by braving the process together, we find the shared humanity that drives us farther than we could have endured on our own.”
What did you get out of camp that you were or were not expecting?
Michelle: I got a lot of really good/strong workouts I wouldn’t have done on my own. I was definitely pushed to a new limit, especially in doing multiple hard workouts on a daily basis for 3-4 days.
Robin: Camaraderie, being taken out of my comfort zone, learning new things
Rami: I wasn’t expecting to have as much focus on my mental toughness. Crashing on day 2 forced me to deal with some realizations about not training, missing my race, missing out on camp (as I envisioned it) and dealing with the awkwardness of being the injured one at camp. My crash was my “fault” and it was the first time I have gone down on my bike. I was embarrassed a little and also had some confusion about how I fit in for the rest of the weekend. I know you weren’t concerned… but I did feel bad about potentially detracting from the event. I really wanted this to be a positive experience for you and everyone. It was a quick shift to being a supporter and observer but that mental component was something I will take from camp I wasn’t expecting.
Alex: Besides physical and mental strength, I really enjoyed meeting so many of the NYX athletes. And how we motivate and encourage each other regardless of abilities and experience.
Sarah: Camps are always an adventure that reignite those feelings of why I do this (for the adventure). Biking new routes, getting some swim critique from coaches, creating memories together – this is the good stuff in life.
Meg: I expected to be amazed and inspired by my NYX teammates and coaches. I did not expect to be amazed and inspired by myself.
Did you have an experience where you were able to find another gear/level in yourself? Describe how that came about.
Robin: On the run on the last day I wasn’t feeling it until about halfway through. Had my fastest pace for the second half.
Alex: Going up Palomar… I was concerned about it, mostly as it was the third day of riding and I definitely pushed myself during the first big ride. But I just kept on going and at some point I actually started to enjoy it. I hit a 14 minute PR for the Palomar climb, which on tired legs, I didn’t think I had in me.
Sarah: In my opinion, a camp experience should make you work hard, like a race without the competition or a medal. On the last long run Sunday morning I did the best I could to push hard in the last hour to make sure I had left everything I had out there. I think you (Laura) said “if your legs aren’t trashed the day after the camp you’re not doing it right” I agree.
Turning Fear Into Belief:
Meg: Going into camp, I have been in the midst of a VERY big training block, which gave me some belief that I could cover the distances and challenges at hand. What I expected though was to be the back of the pack for everything, struggling to keep up and cursing and feeling a little sorry for myself. I thought I would be tired going in (Spoiler: I WAS TIRED) and I thought that would impede my performance. I did not expect to be surprised that I am right where I am supposed to be, and yes, having another gear. It may have been the fear of letting Julie down, it may have been the surprise of not being as far behind as I thought I would be, it may have been Coach Laura saying “it was so hard to catch up with you!” mid Palomar climb, but really, it was ALL of those things that kept me pushing. It was great to have SAG and coaches check in on me, but I knew I would not need or want to be rescued. Embracing the darkness does not include quitting when things get hard. It means looking the hard in the face and knowing you will be even stronger on the other side!
Casey: I had such an incredible experience climbing Palomar Mountain as a team. Laura asked myself and a couple of athletes to time trial to the top. My legs were already pretty tired from the week and I had fear initially that my exhaustion was going to impact my performance. That morning, we met up as a team to start the ride. Everyone was excited and ready to crush it. I looked around and realized that it actually wasn’t just about me and my performance. It was about conquering something hard as a team together. I was able to change my perspective, especially seeing athletes with a wide range of abilities give it their all up the same mountain. Knowing this made me work that much harder and put the team focus ahead of everything else!
How did training/being in the camp environment impact your perspective of your ability and/or focus for the upcoming season?
Trusting The Process:
Robin: Reenforced for me that it’s all about improving myself and not so much about what others’ abilities are. Simultaneously, being around faster triathletes left me in awe, but also made me better as a result.
Meg: NYX Coaches know what they are doing, and are pushing me beyond the boundaries of what I thought I had in me. The plan is working, and I am growing all the time. Camp was a really focused high intensity dose of that, but it’s part of an overall plan and methodology that is WORKING. I have a very aggressive race calendar this year, and I know I will be more ready than I have ever been.
Allison: I’m not as bad at biking as I thought I was. Hooray! Hahaha. Kidding…ish. In all seriousness though, as Coach Alison can attest, I was extremely nervous and intimidated by the biking coming into camp. It certainly did not help my nerves that my first day at camp started off on an inauspicious note. I surprised myself though, and had more fun on the bike than I ever have before. I have been reluctant to join people for rides because I never want to be the one to hold anyone back. I felt so welcomed and supported by my teammates regardless of pace or ride distance though. Everyone is on their own journey. Meg and I had a blast riding with each other on the back half of the Great Western Loop. And my Palomar group waited for me on the way up the mountain when the week started catching up with my legs because we were going to conquer it together. I left camp feeling confident and competent enough to ride outside with other people, which is incredibly exciting!
Alex: Really to push my limits. I’m stronger than I think I am, so I really want to not let my doubts control how far I can go.
Michelle: I love the camaraderie of this team – everyone, no matter their speed/level in racing – is so supportive of everyone else. I loved doing the open water swim together, getting to hang out with everyone before and after the swim, as well as the out-and-back run on Sunday morning. Even though we’re all different paces, there is usually someone to run with and that just helps make the run go faster.
Describe a specific or general experience of how you were inspired by a teammate or by the team as a whole.
Inspired by a teammate:
Casey: I was most inspired by my teammate, Rami. He took a hard fall and broke his collarbone on the first day of camp. Instead of throwing in the towel and leaving, he stayed the rest of camp to cheer us on. If I am being honest with myself, I would have been so heartbroken that I would have had a hard time staying. Seeing Rami put the team ahead of his disappointment was truly inspiring. He stayed positive the entire time and transitioned from camper to cheerleader. He is a great role model for moving forward in the face of injury.
Rami: Mark and his return after a stroke: It blew me away when he said it had only been 2 months. I have a new appreciation for what a stroke can do after seeing my Mom go through that just a couple months before her death. I almost started crying immediately when I heard that and realized what he was putting his body through during camp. I was impressed by the mental strength that it takes and it reminded me how amazing our bodies are. We are strong creatures but health is fragile and it can be taken from any of us without notice. It was another strong message to appreciate what my body can do today and not take that for granted.
I was also impressed by Autumn’s openness and response to her struggle in the open water swim. She is a badass so I suspect it messed with her head when she had her panic in the water, yet she was quick to embrace it and own that response while still being willing to push ahead.
Sarah: Honestly I was most inspired by the people who weren’t entirely sure they would make it up to the top of Palomar, and fucking persevered. That is THE SHIT. I knew I would make it to the top and it wouldn’t be pretty but whatever – the people for whom that was a legit “can I do it?” and did it – I’m here for that shit all day long.
Also for real, Rami – he could have sat in the house and read a book and napped with his collar bone literally snapped in half but no, that dude sat in a car for like 6 fucking hours living that experience with us on Saturday. Who does that? Rami does. He’s the opposite of a selfish triathlete and he makes NYX Endurance better for it.
Inspired By The Team:
Robin: Getting passed like I was standing still going up Palomar was humbling but so inspiring. It made me push that last 1/4 mile to the top.
Michelle: The group strength training in the park was a great group bonding experience, as well as reminding me of how fun strength training can be. It was quite amusing to see how competitive we all were in the bear crawl relays! I’m looking forward to getting into a new strength program this summer.
Rami: The team as a whole inspired me (and this I really credit to you three coaches) in the consistent positive energy that I felt. I knew a few athletes prior to camp but I haven’t spent that much time with the collective group and was wondering how that would go. The overall feel after 4 full days together was that this group has some core values that are aligned and spread throughout every interaction. That is about you (Laura), Alison and Julie establishing what those values are and then creating a fun cool place for that to grow. That is something you three should be really proud of. And definitely, I was blown away when the car pulled up at the ER to get me. (I am crying as I type this because that is what I do now.) I was thrilled that you were coming to pick me up and I knew I needed that but also felt awkward about you having to leave camp to come get me. I don’t like feeling that I need to be taken care of. Then the car pulled up and it wasn’t even just you but Casey, Autumn and Derek too. I knew without hearing a single word that these are definitely MY PEOPLE and where I belong. That is why this feels like a team to me. I could keep going on moments of inspiration because they were everywhere for me and I am so glad I didn’t leave camp early.
Meg: The team as a whole is so damn incredible, but I would say it was more every single incredible athlete. Coach Laura asked everyone to bring what makes them unique and them to camp, and I think everyone did. Whether it was being super strong, coming back from life threatening illness, enjoying big gains from hard work in the pre-season, bringing uber fitness and enthusiasm but lack of sport specific knowledge, being prepared to be last but never giving up, everyone brought their own individual A-game and it helped each of us find those pieces of us inside us!