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Lake Placid Training Camp begins

LAKE PLACID -- This is the third time I've been to Lake Placid and there really is something special about this place. For some, it's the lure of the Ironman race held here annually in July. For some is the beauty of the land and the quaintness of the town. For others, its the Olympic lore and a place where many Olympic dreams are still nurtured.

For me, it's a mixture of all three. There really is something special about this place, particularly if you're an athlete.

This weekend I'm with my coach and my Train-This! teammates for what we call training camp. We bike the 56-mile Ironman course (some do it twice, I do it once), we run and we swim in Mirror Lake.

It's a chance to train, to practice and to be around other people who share your desire to run, bike and swim.

Yesterday was arrival day but already I completed a bike, run and swim. It started with a 90-minute bike ride which consisted of riding the Ironman course backwards as an out-and-back -- 35 minutes out, turn around and climb back into town. Only the climb back didn't take as long as expected (I learned later at dinner we had wind at our back. Oh, that we have that today!) so I continued on Route 86 North toward Saranac Lake for a bit of extra time.

Off the bike it was a quick change and on to a run -- 30 minutes. I ran with a woman named Kim who is recovering from a hamstring injury. This meant I could keep pace with her as we ran the hill from our hotel into town and back again. My easy runs are still challenging weeks after the marathon but I'm told that's normal -- that it can take some time before I feel I have my "running" legs back.

After that, the group drove down to Mirror Lake and the Ironman swim course. I was to swim for 30 minutes, which meant less than one turn around the 1.2-mile course. But alas, I forgot my watch so I ball-parked the time (and ended up swimming only about 20 minutes). Attempting to break in new goggles, the first part of the swim was a challenge as I would swim 10 strokes, then have to empty out my right lens which filled with water. By the time I decided to cut across and turn around, I got the goggles on my face just race and was able to swim continuously back to shore.

Today brings more of the same only a bit longer -- a full loop of the 56-mile bike course, a 30 minute easy run and later in the afternoon a full loop of the 1.2 mile swim course.

And while I want to have a quality workout, it's important for me to keep in mind that training is all about the experience. It's the journey. It's the climb (literally and figuratively). 

It's about enjoying a moment in a town that loves athletes of all kinds.
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