“If a trail runner falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” – The Fabulous Meghann of Life and Fork
So, last year I found out about something amazing – a trail running camp at Camp Eagle that was lead by Team RWB and featured ultra runner amazingness such as Liza Howard. After being overcome by an excitement akin to a 12-year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert, I took a hard blow in realizing that I was already booked to be out of town to return home to run the Pensacola half marathon with a friend on the very same weekend the camp was being held. I am not embarrassed to admit that I experienced an intense depression as a result of this, kind of like post-race depression without the actual race. I ran my first trail race last year (so I’m still a newb I suppose) but have been insanely passionate about this sport I instantly fell in love with ever since. Road runners probably find this obnoxious, but I can’t say it enough times – road running is so boring compared to trail running, and the community is worlds away from the welcoming family-type atmosphere of the trail community. Not to say that road running doesn’t have its uses – I like to check in and see how fast my 5k time is every now and again, not to mention road races are plentiful if you need something to do on a boring weekend. My disclaimer to road runners is that if you love it, ROCK IT – but I’m also going to say you should try a trail run, because it’s amazeballs.
So this year I was determined to get into this camp. The camp had slots open for veterans, active duty, and civilians alike – keeping with Team RWB’s goal of integrating veterans into their communities, which cannot be done without civilians. I may be getting ahead of myself a little bit here, but I was absolutely floored by the amount of civilians who professed at the leadership clinics that they were passionate about RWB because it gave them a chance to serve their country by serving its veterans. Team RWB isn’t about writing the check and then moving on, it’s about the personal connections veterans and civilians make to change the way that America treats veterans after they’ve returned home/retired from the service.
(I keep getting off track. Even though the camp is over I’m so excited about every aspect…so sorry if this is a bit of a fangirl mess.)
The months crept up and eventually the RWB San Antonio captain, after finding out about my ridiculous excitement to get into this camp, hooked me up with a sponsorship to get into the camp for free. I can’t even begin to describe how crazy I went at this moment. Incredibly grateful and humbled to be chosen for such an awesome opportunity to go to this camp and represent San Antonio.
I’ll spare you all of the boring build-up details. I got off work Friday morning (I work 2230-0630) and dutifully packed and headed to my friend and fellow RWB’er Scott’s to carpool. The drive out to Camp Eagle in the hill country is always amazing no matter how many times I make it. I saw a plethora of goats. (I love goats, you guys.) We arrived at Camp Eagle at about 1530, got our room assignments and swag bags and began to unpack. The rooms were a dorm-type assignment, with two large rooms with three bunk beds each joined by a short hallway (it can barely even be called that) and a shared bathroom and shower. It was a cool opportunity to get to know the people attending the camp with us.
In the true spirit of someone who would like to renounce her attachment to physical things but can’t quite manage it, the first thing I did when returning to my room was dump my swag bag on the bed and examine the contents. I was pretty excited to give the Ultimate Direction handheld bottle a try, since I’d read all kinds of great things about Ultimate Direction in general, but had never tried any of their products. I also received a sample of Tailwind from my awesome bunk-mate that I intended to try at some point during the camp as well. (I’ll probably include my experience with these products separate from the camp recap.)
After unpacking and socializing, we were off to our first task of the camp – the first of three leadership seminars for the Team RWB camp participants. Most people probably aren’t too excited about this part of my experience, but I’d like to briefly touch on it because something Andrew Hutchinson asked us to think about:
“How will the lives of the people I lead be affected as a result of my leadership?”
Sometimes you hear things that may not be earth shatteringly profound for most, but they affect you in a way you can’t really describe. This was one of those things. Being in the military, one of the things I’ve struggled with a little bit is leadership – I’m naturally introverted by nature, not incredibly big on telling people what to do, and am sometimes a bit lacking in the confidence department. Chris (the presenter) himself expressed his belief that he also possessed some similar introvert characteristics, but definitely throughout his presentations conveyed the idea that someone doesn’t have to be an extreme extrovert to be a leader. Which gives me confidence moving forward that I don’t have to change my personality to finally get that 5.0 on the leadership block on my eval…
By this point, I was exceeding 24 hours since the last time I slept, so after the leadership seminar I was kind of in braindead mode. We went to dinner and were greeted by Liza Howard, who explained the gist of how things were to work for the rest of the night and the following day. I remember at this point in the night professing to Scott (27 hours into my lack-of-sleepathon) that “Thinking is becoming quite difficult.” I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I went back to the room straight after dinner and passed out cold after telling Scott “I’m just going to lay down for a moment.” He later recounted how he tried to wake me up and I just rambled to him in a foreign language that he was pretty sure was made up. (I have no recollection of this…) So the first run of the camp (the run accompanying the instruction on headlamps) I actually slept straight through. And I did not wake up until 0500. Not once, for no man or super star ultrarunner (sorry Liza and company…)
So that’s day one. I promise that day two was infinitely more exciting.