A bustling group of 15 women gather together in Clermont, Florida for a fun-filled holiday weekend. Where is their final destination? It isn’t one of the popular local wineries or vineyards. Known as the “Choice of Champions,” Clermont is home to the National Training Center. On this weekend in January, Clermont is also home to the first annual camp for the all-female endurance team IRACELIKEAGIRL.
Over the next few days, these women will swim, bike, and run under the watchful eye of professional triathlete Angela Naeth as well as participate in daily yoga and meditation sessions, weight-room sessions, and nutritional seminars. There is so much more that goes into the sport of triathlon than just swim, bike and run. “We are all connected by a sport that brings so much joy and fills out hearts. I haven't been surrounded with this energy in a really long time,” says IRLAG member and camp attendee Jensine Fraser.
At the 2018 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Angela finished strong in 8th place with a time of 8:57:35, but a few years ago she found herself in a very different place. Going through a divorce and suffering from an injury, Angela found that she had lost her love of the sport. It was her love of the triathlon community and being a part of something bigger than herself that had initially led her to compete.
“How can I create a community where I can bring a lot of women together and help support them?” Naeth asked herself. Right there in that moment, the seeds of IRLAG were planted. What began as an online community of 50 women has grown over the last few years into a world-wide team of over 200 athletes. While the online bonds are strong and the private Facebook group is (very!) active, growing numbers allow for more offline connections and opportunities to sport the neon-bright team kits as a group.
During camp, Nutrition Seminars were helpful for all and downright surprising for others. “I found out that my go-to pre-race breakfast was listed as ‘do not eat this’ – oops!” say one athlete, who plans to make some adjustments going forward. As the official nutrition partner for IRACELIKEAGIRL, Bonk Breaker provided an ample supply of bars, chews, and hydration for the campers, making sure to prevent anyone from “bonking” over this 4 day experience.
Bonk Breaker’s Energy Chews proved to be a smashing success among the athletes – they “were an amazing addition to my runs. I wouldn't have tried these out on my own, but they became an integral part of my camp fueling, and I look forward to adding them to my normal training nutrition plan,” says Kim Teter. This triathlon camp was the first time that Melaney Bouthillette had ever tried Bonk Breaker products, and she found the Premium Performance bars to be just what she needed, aka “compact with a good amount of calories, easy to carry while training/racing.”
When campers shared their final dinner together on Sunday night, there were less “Goodbyes” and more “I’ll see you soons!” Emmeline Watson found the innaugural camp to be “a surreal experience. [and is] still in shock how much [she] learned in just a few days.” Athletes described these 4 days in Florida as an ideal way to kick-off the training season.
What does IRACELIKEAGIRL have coming next? In just a couple months, IRACELIKEAGIRL will host it’s annual 5k in Davie, FL with remote options for those wanting in on the action from afar. Not to mention that Angela has already set her sights on another IRLAG Training Camp this summer in Colorado...