Camp Keena in St. George

Yesterday, the MLK holiday, I returned home from a 4-day training camp held in St. George by Coach Keena.  It was a great preview of the Ironman St. George course and we had several days of unbelievable weather, great training, and some good coaching and insights into how to be better triathletes.

Friday consisted of of travel to St. George and a 9 mi. run along one of the toughest hill sections of the marathon course.  We started in downtown St. George, headed North and West until reaching Bluff St.  North along Bluff until Red Cliffs Drive.  This is where the good climb started.  South up Red Cliffs and along that road until we each did about 45 minutes.  The idea was to do a good 90 minute run along the course.  Coming back down we really picked up the pace and ran hard the entire way back.  It was a tough run but it felt so great to be outside and have weather warm enough to wear shorts and a light sweatshirt.

After heading back to the condo Friday night I inspected my bike — hadn’t ridden it since my crash in early December!  Days earlier everything looked ok when I did a visual inspection.  However, when I actually ran through the gears I found the rear derailleur was bent and interfered with the rear wheel spokes.  I panicked, what was I going to do for the big ride the next day?  Luckily I found some simple tools and with pliers, a hammer, and some pounding I was able to straighten the bent piece.  However, now the shift alignment was the same as it had been and the gears were ghost shifting, etc.  Quick use of the trusty iPhone and YouTube and I was messing around with high/low limiters and trying to get the shifting dialed-in.  I’m no expert, never adjusted shifters before, but I have to say I’m pleased… the bike is shifting better than it EVER has after having it “tuned up” at the local bike shop!  Sorta makes me wonder what I’ve been paying for!!

Saturday consisted of a good swim workout at the local pool which started at 6:30 a.m.  I didn’t sleep well Friday night (probably got a total of 3 hrs. sleep) and finally just got up at 5 a.m., made some breakfast and headed to the pool early.  I was the first car in the parking lot so I relaxed in the warm car for about 15 minutes until the remainder of the group arrived.  Great workout with lots of pointers and tips from Coach Keena.

Ready to head out on the 46-mi Veyo loop

Saturday we had a group dinner at the Pizza Factory — we refueled with pasta, salad, chicken, and vegetables. It was a tasty meal followed by some nutrition training specifically for race-day and planning the right amount of calories during the right times. It doesn’t matter how hard you train if you run out of calories. Can you say “BONK“? Poor nutrition planning and you’ll be out of the race.

After swimming we had about an hour to change and get ready for the bike ride.  We did a 46 mile loop from St. George out to Gunlock Reservoir, up several “wall” hill climbs to Veyo and then back to the starting point.  Strong headwinds near Gunlock made it a slow, painful grind to the top of the loop. A few of the climbs were about 18% grade; yes, that’s pretty steep!  Boy, was I glad when that ride was over.  Roads weren’t very smooth so LOTS of vibrations; that made for some saddle soreness — youch!  Probably one of the toughest rides I’ve been on.  Still need to download my Garmin and look at the elevation details, etc.

Top of Snow Canyon

Top of Snow Canyon, finally a descent!

Sunday – day off and definitely needed.  Took a LONG nap.  Had some great sushi, salmon, and noodles at Samurai 21 that evening for dinner.

After 22 mi ride from Sand Hollow, now ready to RUN!

Monday – met at 8:15 a.m. to caravan to Sand Hollow reservoir for our bike ride.  It was a great 22 mile ride although it was pretty painful to get back in the saddle!  The ride has lots of up-n-down hills but none of them are real killers (those are saved for the Veyo loop!) and ended at Chuckwalla trail head where we transitioned to a 6 mi run.  We decided to trail run as traffic on the IMSG course was heavy and the soft trail would be a nice relieve on joints, etc.  The run was just incredible — sunny skies and about 60 degrees plus lots of beautiful red rock scenery!  It was a great end to the amazing training camp… now I sort-of wish I was committed to doing Ironman St. George!!

Overlook from Gila trail at about mile 3

One Response to “Camp Keena in St. George”

  1. Hey Paul!
    Great blog and recap! What a nice weekend, huh! Can’t wait for next month and even better weather!
    Pics are terrific! Can you believe how lucky we are to get to live in such a beautiful place with so many great places to train?
    Great having you at camp!

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