This past week PIC Michelle Ford and I headed back to Tucson to get pummeled by coach fantastico Chuckie V and his much more attractive sidekick Angela Mighty Mouse Naeth (who are in a bit of a Twitter war to get more followers than each other, I linked their accounts above). The first time PIC and I went to Tucson we were so excited. This time we knew better, we were excited, but it was mixed with a sort of fear. Last camp was hard, fun but hard. We knew better than to think we were headed to Disneyland. Camp did not start with swimming! What? Wow! We got to sleep in (which we didn't) and build up our bikes during the first morning. We were off to Mt Lemmon, but this time Chuckie said "no cookie". It was a chilly day and we enjoyed the views together up to mile 15 and then hit it hard for several repeats up the lower miles.

A run off the bike with some "whew" efforts in there, a trip to Trader Joes and we were ready to sleep like logs. We bought way too many groceries at Trader Joe's, we weren't even sure how we were going to get it all home. It's getting a bit frightening how well Michelle and I sleep together. So many years, so many trips, so many races, we sleep better together than we do with our hubbies.

We knew it wouldn't last for long, the next morning we were up and at 'em and in the pool. We have the coolest pool to swim in, it doesn't have any lane lines, just lines on the bottom. It's great for drafting practice. Saturday morning we swam the hardest swim workout of my entire life. On paper it seemed pretty straight forward, but during it there were a few near drowning moments. I survived, but the next day I was quite sore from it.

Saturday we also headed to the track for some work there including a MAF test. We do these quite often, as do all my athletes. If you haven't read Phil Maffetones new Book The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing you need to. It will rock your world. Maffetone lives in the Tucson area. He's made people fast for years.

We had the best easy spin that evening that turned into a 2.5 hour "tour de Tucson". It was warm out, and sunny and we got to tour all around the university and downtown, and the bike paths. We had so much fun chatting about life, and sport, and being happy. Whatever it Takes!

Sunday we were back in the pool, duh. We made Chuckie a scrambled egg breakfast and he went easier on us. Then it was off to MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AWESOMENESS for the day. Oh my, this was one of my favorite training days ever. We rode and rode and rode, out past the town of Oracle and into lands of beautiful smooth road with fun whoop-dee-doos and twists and turns. There were Saguaros with 20 arms (really old) by the hundreds. We rode in the middle of the road, we didn't see anyone. It was AWESOME.

We had a couple hill repeats to get in and these were so fun. We had 30 minutes of hill that was relentless and we got to go for it. It was a particularly cool day for PIC as she made a bit of a breakthrough that made me smile inside. Training with Chuckie is so interesting because we both know that he is giving us the work that is best for each of us. Sometimes I progress, sometimes she progresses, and overall we both have made lots of progress. The nice thing is that we can celebrate each others ahh-hah moments, and we support each other through the lulls. Seeing PIC fight tooth and nail to hurt herself out there was awesome. Angela was with us for one of the repeats and she didn't break a sweat, but was always there to offer a smile, a nudge, or a wheel to pull you back to where you needed to be. It all just flowed.

After our killer repeats we headed out for a little run. It just so happens that our route intersected the Arizona trail. It's 800 miles of trail across Arizona. We have to watch out around things like this. Chuckie has hiked the PCT not once, but TWICE and when he sees trails like this we have to chain him to the bumper for fear of loosing our coach back to the wilderness! He starts getting all excited and we have to bait him back with the promise of ice cream and that we will be good athletes.


This was a tough run to turn around on. I wanted to run for miles and miles and miles, and had I been alone, I would have. The scenery was insane, just beautiful with tons of cacti and perfect dirt single track trails. There was nobody out there and the stillness and peacefulness are something I will remember for a long time. It always amazes me just how quickly you can get away from it all, even when you live or are near major cities. These trails are barely used, yet quiet peace is so close to the city, just a short drive away.

I love the "pedestrian crossing" sign. Since the Arizona trail crosses the road, they put a pedestrian sign. Seems a little out of place, eh? Of course Michelle and I are maximizing our nerdliness in this photo. I can't even tell you what we were doing, it's top secret.

You just have to be a little careful out there not to step on these guys. They will get ya if you run a little wonky or don't watch where you are going.

Monday we were back in the pool for another pummeling. This one was particularly fun because we did 5 bajillion sets of 12x25 and we got to draft PIC Michelle on every one of them. She had me on her right side and Angela on her left. We were scratching her, grabbing her, trying to hang on for dear life. But it upped our game. She swam for her life to get away from us an we swam for our lives to hang on.

Sometime during camp we were renamed from the "PIC chicks" to the "Housewives". I don't know quite how that happened but it was a title we both immediately embraced. Oh look, you just got passed by a pair of housewives. Hold one, let me take off my apron before I school you in the pool. It just stuck. Housewives...I still laugh just thinking about it.

My favorite line from PIC

"Would you like a martini with that unexpectedly hard swim??"

After the unexpectedly hard swim we were off for a trail run while Angela Mighty Mouse Naeth got her bike on. Madera Canyon was our destination. This place is truly a gem in the Tucson area. It's a must see. I was totally ready to move in here.

We got in a great trail run where I made it up to 8,780 feet of elevation, so close to the summit of Mt.Wrightson. Sometimes you gotta save something for the next trip. Chuckie got a chuckle out of all the responces and comments from the hikers comming down the mountain.
"Did you see those two girls running?"
"They were German."
"No, they were European."
"The first one wasn't very nice, she didn't even say anything."
What a hoot. Barreling down miles of technical single track fulfilled this deep love I have for trail running. I am most calm out there on the trails and hard charging technical downhill makes me feel so alive. Of course two days latter my quads don't feel so "alive".
The drive home Chuckie wore his helmet the entire time. Yes, this is my coach, he always keeps us laughing.
The following day it was time for PIC and I to depart. But FIRST...we were blessed with another sweet swim workout brought to us by Chuckie V! Onto the plane, we had to kiss Chuck and Ang goodbye. It was all bitter with no sweet. We wanted to stay, we had so much fun with them. I think what was so motivating was to see the care that Chuck and Ang take with each other. She is this hard core athlete with so much talent, and he has been there, has the war stories and the knowledge, and is trying to make her great. They are a great duo and I'll never forget the many lessons I have learned from both of them. Thanks Chuckie and Angela for all you do for me, it's such a gift to have you both in my life.
Really Coach, it's Tomato Juice!!!!