The five-days of awesomeness that was Bird Camp is going to be difficult to recap. Mainly because every moment was so much fun and I could really go on and on about how great it was - running, running drills, running workshops, meeting all the running friends - it was every run nerd's dream come true.
For those of you not familiar with Bird Camp, it was a 5-day running camp in Bend, OR hosted by Oiselle for its Haute Volee and Volee team members.
The adventure began in the middle of the night in MKE. My alarm went off at 2:30am to get ready and finish packing and Sheila picked me up at 4:15am to head to the airport.
Photo by Sheila
Although we planned on sleeping on the plane, we chatted the entire flight to Denver. At the Denver airport, we found a fellow bird, Lisa from Early Morning Run. From there, we flew to Portland!
A few months before the trip, Sheila and I connected with Becky and Ayesha from Musing Footfalls to road trip from Portland to Bend. This was such a good idea. It took us about 4 hours to get from Portland to Bend - we took a few stops along the way - and got to know each other during the ride. It was pretty much an instant connection and I ended up spending a lot of time with these girls throughout camp.
Coffee stop in Portland - Photo by Ayesha
We arrived at the Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend, just in time for dinner. Now, one thing we had discussed in length during the car ride was the food. I think we were all a little nervous about what we were going to be fed during the next few days. Would it be all health food? Would we be put on a diet? Well, it turns out we had nothing to worry about. The first night's dinner included caprese salad, pasta with shrimp, baked chicken, salad, dinner rolls, etc. plus tiramisu for dessert!
After a welcome from Sally (Oiselle founder and CEO), we broke into small groups for an icebreaker activity. And then, it was off to our condos to meet our roommates for the next few days. I really lucked out with my roommates. The condo we got was pretty big and had three bathrooms (very important for a group of runners!). I had already met Cindi at a Oiselle Ladies Night event at Performance Running Outfitters. My other roommates were Nicole from Fitness Fatale and Amy from Hank Orange. These ladies were so sweet and I knew instantly we were going to get along fine.
Pre-run roommate selfie! Photo by Amy
As tired as I was after traveling all day, I had a very hard time falling asleep. Too much excitement about finally being at camp and wondering what the next few days would bring ...
The day started with breakfast in our condo followed by a quick group meditation and activation drills led by Lauren Fleshman and the Little Wing training group. I am not always the best about doing these types of exercises before a workout or race so it was a nice reminder that I need to be better about incorporating these types of exercises into my training. After the little workout, a few people went for a short run but I opted to skip it since we had a race that evening!
The rest of the morning featured running-related workshops: physical therapy/movement with Jay Dicharry and running nutrition with Western States winner Stephanie Howe. Being the run nerd that I am, I was totally geeking out over these discussions. Lots of great info from both Jay and Stephanie. I especially liked Stephanie's talk and her emphasis on being healthy and balancing your food intake with energy needs. And she made it seem really simple - load up your plate with veggies, topped with healthy grains, lean protein and a bit of healthy fat. She also mentioned that it is okay to eat processed foods at times. For example, cereal or bread. Sometimes these items are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
After lunch we had a bit of free time, so Sheila, Ayesha and I took a little hike around the river trails surrounding the resort. It's such a pretty area! It was a good opportunity to check out the area since the Saturday morning run route was on the same trail. Since I have zero experience with trail running - and am also one of the most uncoordinated runners around - Coach Matt had suggested I stick to the roads during the trip to avoid any injuries. After seeing the river trail, I knew I would most likely have to do a road run.
Soon enough, it was time for the race! Everyone wore the new singlets Oiselle gave us in our welcome packets and it was so cool seeing the sea of blue around the start area as everyone warmed up then lined up.
My goal for this race was to have fun without any time goals. The start was pretty crowded so my first mile was pretty slow as I kept getting stuck behind people and did a lot of weaving. After that things opened up a bit and I just ran and enjoyed the scenery the best I could. Until about halfway through the race when a wasp landed on my hand and stung me multiple times. Ouch!! I've never had that happen during a race and was kind of in shock for a bit. It hurt like crazy but motivated me to pick up the pace a bit to get to the finish line (read: beer) a bit faster.
Photo by Kelly Burns Gallagher
After the race, we had dinner at a place called Cafe Yumm. I loved trying this place since Becky had told me such wonderful things about the food during a Twitter convo awhile back. The dinner consisted of different layered rice and bean type casseroles, all topped with Yumm sauce. The funny thing about it was the fro-yo sized cups they set out for us to fill with food. Sheila and I took one look at them and decided we were probably going to eat seconds that night!
Everyone was pretty beat after the race. The next morning was an early one with the first of the two longer morning runs on the schedule. I knew I would end up skipping the group run the next day since I'd heard it was a super hilly, technical trail but was excited to hit the roads and do some exploring on my own ...
Tell me: Do you trail run? If so, do you have any tips for a trail running newbie?
More of the Bird Camp recap to come!