a blog about running fast with style
Oiselle hosted their first running camp this past August (yep August… I know, I’m not a good blogger) just outside of Bend Oregon and while it might seem a bit odd (as several of my co-workers pointed out) for one to attend a running camp as an adult it was an easy sell for me.
(Before we get started I should warn you there are a ridiculous amount of pictures in this post so please forgive me ahead of time or skip this little read all together).
Let’s take the shortest of trips down memory lane shall we?
I may or may not have attended several running camps a few decades ago.
This is a view of Wildhorse Lake and the hardest 800m race I’ve ever run in my life. It was the last big run at Steens Mountain Running Camp until we were banned from running it (banned because we were accused of trampling nature by running up the mountain). Before the ban we used to race from the lake up the side of the mountain for half a mile at 7000+ ft and as I type this I realize how nuts that sound but it was a blast.
The first year I went to Steens with two of my high school teammates. Random note about this pic, it was taken a few days post cancerous cyst surgery removal.
You can see my stitches in the pic below. Clearly my ability to make poor life choices when it comes to running started at an early age because who goes to a running camp in the remote Oregon wilderness days after their very first surgery?
While I went to camp with teammates I made friends from all over the state. My camp counselor is on the left (am I 2 feet taller than her?) and one of my Medford besties. I don’t know what we are doing in this pic but I desperately miss that tie dye T.
Needless to say I love me a little running camp so with nostalgic memories of running summers past, I was clearly an easy yes. Besides instead of staying in crappy dorm rooms or army tents we’d be staying at a nice little resort nestled on the outskirts of the Deschutes National Forrest.
Count this kid in.
I managed to grab a ride with one of my local peeps
And we met a Vancouver bird before heading south.
I might have been a bit of hot mess running late to meet everyone for the drive south, forgetting my Super Feet and navigating us to downtown Bend instead of the resort but we eventually made it in one piece and might I add-on time.
The first night was pretty relaxed with check-in, happy hour, diner, guest speakers and some mixers then off to bed with our new bestie roommates.
The second day was full of yoga, drills, PT, nutrition, goal setting and some 5k racing (and I’m sure I’m missing a few things).
My favorite yoga studio made the trek from Seattle (and London) to Bend for camp. Jasyoga works specifically with athletes and for camp they focused on a lot of restorative yoga.
My right glute/hip had been pretty high maintenance all summer so it needed a little work. Activation drills also helped quite a bit. Over the years I have somehow managed to completely ignore any type of warm-up when it comes to running because (1) I’m lazy, (2) I’m usually short on time and (3) everyone and their mom keeps telling me static stretching is bad and weakens your muscles before you run. So what’s a runner to do?
Well these activation drills proved to be helpful and brought back flashbacks from my sprint mechanic drill days during the Oregon years.
If you are lazy, short on time and/or as confused as I am when it comes to the warm-up you can check out the activation drills here.
After the yoga and activation drills we had a guest PT from REP lab in Bend remind us of the importance of good form, strength training and all the little and big things we should be doing while not running.
Somewhere along the way I remembered I’d actually read his book during my last injury and he’s pretty much the reason I regained dorsiflexion in my ankle (stupid old calf injury from being thrown off a pony horse named Bunny).
I walked away from the session realizing 1) I have horrible posture and 2) I should probably add some strength training back in my life.
After our little PT session we had some R & R before the BIG 5k twilight run.
Not gonna like. I was not terribly excited about the race. I’d had a few good workouts this summer but a string of not so amazing interval workouts and a rather ugly Ragnar NWP. I wasn’t sure I was up to the race but ya never know right? It still promised to be a good time so we made our way to the start:
Completed our newly learned activation drills:
And lined-up to race:
(Can’t remember who’s twitter I stole this from… )
My plan was to go out conservatively and then hopefully find a little turnover at the end. I approached the race as more of a workout but still wanted to compete.
The first mile felt like a mountain. I’m sure the lungs were feeling the altitude a little but the hill clearly was no mountain:
I tried to keep contact with some Seattle peeps but was pushing more than I wanted to the first mile so I backed off. I’m not sure I saw the mile marker but my watch chimed with a 6:39 mile and it was at that exact moment I decided to stop looking at my watch and just finish the race.
There was a little downhill after the mile maker and while most people hammered it or at least ran it a little harder I held back trying to get my heart rate to down.
My watch chimed mile 2 and I didn’t look at it, I just tried to focus on the people ahead and make it another half mile. At about 2.5 miles I thought I’d see the finish line not because I don’t know the difference between 2.5 mile and 3.1 but because I was just done running however the race was clearly not over.
After what seemed like days I finally spotted the finish and did my very best to sprint across the finish line just over 20mins. It was my slowest 5k as an adult but I ran the thing as hard as I could have. I know the altitude made the run a bit more challenging so overall I was happy with the result. I was especially happy to look back and to see mile 2s and 3 where both 6:20 so at least I didn’t slow down or positive split the thing.
After the race I found the roomies (and new besties):
We enjoyed some of the race host’s beverages (Deschutes Brewery sponsored their race) ate some dinner, tested out the resorts hot tub (not the best thing to do post race) and called it a night.
We were up bright and sort of early for the second full day. We loaded busses, one of them caught on fire (don’t worry everyone was ok) and made our way to our morning hike/run.
Destination? Smith Rock.
We had the choice to run or hike and since I’m trying to make better life choices so I opted for the hike.
The views did not disappoint:
After grabbing a quick lunch I was talked into an afternoon shake out run by this lady… so much for good life choices:
We did some core work and sprint mechanics and I realized I have no core strength and that all my fast twitch muscles have given-up on life:
Hmm… there was some yoga in there somewhere too… maybe the AM and then PM?
We had dinner, an elite panel and a sneak peek at fall 14.
I was pretty much done by the end of the day so I went to bed.
Long run day! We hit the trails for lots of miles. The trail was a simple out and back… oh simple out and back, never that simple.
We started with a pretty large group most of whom turned around at 5 (for 10 miles).
A few of us decided to go a bit longer. Jess and I decided to turn around at 6 miles (for 12 total) since the 18 miles sounded a bit long. I can confirm that neither Jess nor I have a fantastic sense of direction and probably should not have been left alone in the Oregon wilderness alone. We spent most of the run back asking each other if different parts of the trail looked familiar or reflecting on how we didn’t remember seeing different things on the way out or where did the set of rapids go? Yeah, not a good sign.
We finally met-up with Paulette (a really great sign) and were comforted by the fact that there was at least on other person on the trail with us. We can’t be lost right?
Then we took a wrong turn or missed a turn or who knows what happened. All I know is we ended-up on ridge with water on both sides of us and the condos in the near distance on the other side of the water up an embankment with no idea how to get back. Seriously this is my life. My ability to get lost is unreal. We had phones with us so we tried to pull up a map but not service. Paulette was the one who found the trail but it required us sliding down a dirt hill. Done. And about a half mile later we were back safely at the condos.
After a little brunch and yoga it was off to downtown Bend for some down time and dinner and dancing.
Seriously love these ladies.
Sadly all good things come to an end. We packed things up, said our said goodbyes and went back to the real world. Overall camp did not disappoint and I’m counting the days until round two. Obviously we did some amazing things at but for me the real highlight was the people. It was amazing to meet so many new friends, catch up with peeps I don’t get to see very often, and hangout with some of the Seattle crew away from home; and that alone is enough for me to want to sign-up again.
So a big THANK YOU Oiselle, Sally, Lesko et al. for an amazing trip!
Okay we all know I’m bad at conclusion and this post if full of way too many words and pictures… so here’s hoping I post about Hood to Coast before 2015.