Ironman Training Camp from the Athletes Perspective

Jan 15 2016

Riebeeck Kasteel Ironman Training Camp, by Port Elizabeth MTD athlete, Peter Myburg.

Why do we tri?

During the 4 days of camp we learnt so much about triathlon and the limits which our bodies can be pushed to. (We also learnt that Richard can race on “no carbohydrates”). There is so much information and stories I’d like to share but I will just briefly mention the stories you all need to hear...

Being a beginner triathlete, my heart was sitting in my throat on our way to the training camp! Even though it was located in the beautiful highlands of the Western Cape, the scenery did not help to calm my nerves. For many others this was merely just a boost in training, but for me it was so much more.

We started day 1 at around 11:30am with an easy 2hour ride and we were greeted by many unfamiliar faces. We all bunched up ready for action and Claire signaled that it is time to ride. Off we went. Boot camp had begun.

On the ride I quickly made friends with another Peter. He gave me a quick lesson on the triathlon 'do’s and dont’s'. We were no longer individuals from different cities. We were family from the MTD squad. When we returned lunch was ready. I knew after our first meal that breakfast, lunch and dinner would be the highlights of my day. The food was always well prepared and delicious. I think if Claire and Kent knew that there were going to be so many "Banting maniacs/athletes" they would have told the chef to leave the bread and double the protein. I don't “bant” because food is my calling.

After eating there was free time to do with as you pleased. While some would nap, others were getting massages and bike setups done. It wasn’t long until we all huddled for a core session. Core was challenging but enjoyable. After giving our stomach a bit of a workout it was time for our "easy” run (or at least that's what it said on the program.) It was a beautiful scenic run through the vineyards but nobody mentioned the 90 degree monstrous climbs we would be tackling. "What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger" went through my optimistic mind. After conquering the mini Mount Everest in the vineyards it was time for dinner and bedtime.

I only got two hours sleep that night. It wasn’t because it was too hot to sleep and I wasn't sick either. I was terrified. My mind could not rest because I had my first brick session in the morning... and this was not just any brick session... It consisted of a 1 hour bike and 30min run- repeated 3 times! It is really not for the faint hearted. While the big guns were grinding at the brick sessions,I was proud just to make it back after every cycle. Throwing water, bananas and gels down my throat as if I would never have the opportunity to eat or drink again.

After that session I did not hesitate to book a massage. Nicole and Mandy we true heroes, massaging the broken even though they had just gone through the same session.

During camp I learnt many new triathlon terms: normalised power, surging, blowing, TSS and the list could go on. I had to quickly catch the lingo otherwise I would stand out like a giraffe in a pack of zebras! Swimming was hard, interesting and fun at the same time. Claire and Kent drilled us. We had swim coaches on the side of the pool guiding us as we swam.

I am proud to mention that Zee, Ron and I were the only ones to attempt the optional run that evening. Everyone was man down from the killer workout that took place earlier that day. I think I only ran for 7mins, when I gladly turned around, and was happy with my performance.

We all went to bed mentally preparing for the four hour cycle that awaited early the next morning. Everyone had an early breakfast and then we were ready. The group quickly split up into Pros, amateur and beginners. I must make a special mention of Brett (AKA “the bike guy”) that pushed Nicole up +-2km hill that I could hardly do on my own. That is something I have never seen before. It was an amazing ride and we made a pit stop half way to have some Coca Cola.

Every night held an exciting lesson to be learnt from our coaches. Richard spoke about banting. Claire briefed on race day nutrition and Kent educated us more about training peaks. (Dylan pointed out that Kent's graph was all over the place, but he quickly made up an excuse blaming the baby. We forgive you Kent.)

The memorable camp came to an end with a long run. With battered bodies, this was the final test. On the final turnaround back my legs were really burning but I was calmed with 3 feelings: thankfulness for the ability to run, satisfaction for completing all the sessions and inspiration to grow as an athlete…a My Training Day athlete.

Why do we tri? We all have our own reasons. The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself.

I recommend this camp to anyone and everyone. See you in 2016!

Always believe in yourself and GO FOR GOLD!!! Good-luck for 2016!!!

Humbled, grateful and inspired,

Peter Myburg



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