Every year since my first year of university I have been coming down to Tucson for a high performance training camp. It runs from April 29th until May 8th and each day usually has two to three workouts in it. We drove down Thursday early in the afternoon and got in around 3:00. In the past I had stayed in the camp hotel, but this year we decided to rent a house instead. It ended up being the same price as staying at the hotel, except now we have a kitchen so we can save some money and cook for ourselves. Once we finally got in and settled we headed to the track for a nice light warm up to get the drive out of our legs. When we got to the track there were some University of Arizona athletes training, as well as some of the other members of the camp. Walking into the track facility brought back many memories of the past camps. The camp is pretty intense and some days I feel like dying from the workouts. It was a bit cooler then expected it to be and I actually wore sweats for my whole warm up.
Friday morning the camp got into full swing. It was an early rise with a 6am morning run. My run was 30 minutes, and the guys was only 20, so we woke up at the same time, but immediately parted ways. The run started off really crappy because it was still pretty cool out in the morning. I ran on campus which was really nice, and by the second half of my run, I had finally warmed up. I was pretty pooped by the time I got back home, so went back to bed for an hour then got ready for the second workout of the day. We met at the track at 9 and got a chance to meet the rest of the people attending the camp this year. There are 12 athletes this year and four coaches. The weather was still surprisingly cool so the majority of my warm up was done in sweats again. It felt really strange to be in Arizona and in sweats. The whole time I was in Scottsdale the weather was really nice, and the last couple days were blazing! We worked on some technical parts of running as a group with one of the coaches. We worked on quickening our contact on the ground, which meant a lot of ankle exercises. The drills seemed to take a lot of ‘not thinking’ which I had a pretty hard time doing. I ended up over thinking a lot of them, then just messing everything up! I’ll continue to work on them though, because I think they will be really helpful. We finished up just before 12 then headed home for lunch. After a little time in the hot tub, I squeezed in a nap before our afternoon session came around. It was back to the track at 4 for workout number three of the day. After warming up as a group, everyone slit off into their events. It was just me and one other girl with the sprints coach. My blocks still have some way to go, and that’s all the evening practice worked on. With some help and encouragement from the coach, my starts were beginning to look a lot better. We finished off the workout with some longer speed, 3 x 150 full out with a 5 minute break. Some of the other athletes joined us for this part of the workout, so six of us ran them together. It has been a while since I’ve really trained with anyone, so having five other girls doing these with me was really nice. The first two felt amazing, and I was able to finish them with out a problem and I wasn’t even tired. After the second rep though I started to feel a bit of tightness in my hamstring. I tried to shake it off and not think about it, I had one more left and I’d be done. The sprints coach told us to just try and run the most technically sounds 150 we could. He said not to worry about what the time was, and just keep everything together. Coming off the corner I felt a little bit off, and something just didn’t feel right. I tried to be tall down the home stretch and I pumped my arms fast and relaxed. With 50 meters left something was feeling really wrong in my right leg. It wasn’t a pull, but I could definitely feel my hamstring knotting up. I eased up and just coasted through the line. I know my time and my form weren’t the greatest for the last one, but something was feeling very wrong. After cooling down a bit I could still feel a little something in my hamstring so when I got home I jumped right into the hot tub and put the jets on my hamstring to help work the knot out. I did a bit more self recovery exercises before I went to bed and hoped it would feel better in the morning.
For Saturday morning we didn’t have a morning run, which I was very happy about. When I woke up I could still feel a little something in my leg, but it was definitely better than the night before. I started off practice with some weights and then moved into the running portion. I didn’t feel too much while lifted weights, so I thought maybe my hamstring would be alright. Some light split jerks, squats, squat jumps and finished off with incline press. I hadn’t lifted since last week and it felt good to push a little weight again. We headed out to the grass to do the running and I felt ready to go. They were just easy runs, so I thought this would be a good time to test out the leg. I didn’t go out too hard, but strong enough to see how things felt. After the first four reps I was feeling ok, but I knew something was still a little off. I did eight more, and I could feel the tightness building. It wasn’t painful but I knew it wasn’t right. I finished the last four reps a little slower and eased off a bit. It was so early into the camp, and it seemed like I was injured already. We got the afternoon off because there was a meet in the evening at the track. I had originally planed to go watch, but given how bad my hamstring was feeling, I had an appointment with physio instead.
I spent about an hour with physio and so far its been the worst hour of this camp. I’ve never been good with needles, so when acupuncture was recommended I immediately started to panic. As I was prepped for the needles I could feel my heart start to race and my palms start to sweat. My coach came with me to help comfort me, and I will admit it did help a bit. With each prick of the needle though I began to sweat more and all I could think was ‘when is this going to end!’ I maybe got a total of eight needles, but to me if felt like a million. This was only the second time I had gotten acupuncture and I just hoped it would work.
I woke up with a bit of soreness from the acupuncture, but my hammy definitely felt a bit better. Today I took it easy and just tested out how it feels. I’m really hoping the tightness lets up and I’m able to do some quality training while at this camp. I hate sitting on the sideline being quasi injured. Even though the needles really sucked, if its going to help me out I’m willing to do it again. I’ll just remember to bring an extra t-shirt next time!