Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Camp Eagle

One of the benefits of blogs is the availability of personal insight with a rapid turnaround. But the window of opportunity of a salient blog post closes as time passes, kind of like if CNN were to report on the election news now. I have been wanting to write something about my Veteran's Day weekend at Camp Eagle with Team Red, White and Blue, but my life doesn’t always lend itself to timely reporting. I was on call the week after getting back (about 12 extra hours of work for me) and needed to get in some make-up quality time with the kids. Plus, I got to spend some of my free time getting my hand x-rayed. So 10 days later, I am getting around to this post. 

Team Red, White and Blue is an organization that strives to integrate returning combat soldiers into the community. They emphasize physical fitness as a way for vets to improve their life. This weekend was the largest event the organization has hosted, with the focus on trail running. I haven’t had the opportunity to work with Team RWB before this, but I got contacted because they needed more female group leaders. Lucky for me! When Liza Howard sent out a massive outline about all the things we were supposed to teach, I originally panicked, “Oh my god, I don’t know how to teach people to run on trails!” But as I thought about it I realized I did have a lot of tips to share and hopefully I gave Group C some good pointers. But information flows both ways, and at many times I played the role of the student. Here are some of the things I learned at Camp:

Nothing broken!
1) I need a new head light. The first night out we went for a night run. I have a fairly standard headlight that seemed comparable to those around me, until all of the sudden the trail became bright as day and there behind me was a human spotlight. It was made for adventure racing. Now that I have seen the light (ha,ha), I am not satisfied with my lights. Just as I was about to hear some adventure racing stories, I learned another lesson: Running should not be a contact sport! A dramatic collision ended my run early (but no broken bones!).

2) I need more carbs and more calories in the morning. Yeah, I love to hear I get to eat more. I was so fortunate to have Sunny Blende as my roommate. Not only does she have a disposition to match her name, but she is a wealth of sports nutrition information. It was better than having my own sports nutrition consultation. While I learned a lot about metabolic efficiency and new hydration guidelines over the weekend, what really hit home was the need to eat more immediately before and after a workout.

Me and My Awesome roomie, Sunny Blende
3) Liza Howard is on speed. Ok, I made that up.  But Liza is always on the go with lots of animation and gesticulations to compliment all of her positive energy. The first night she was so involved with all the camp business that she didn’t sleep at all, but the next morning she was still the perkiest and most upbeat person there.  There’s a reason she is one of the fastest 100 milers in the country: she’s organized, has a great attitude, and has an unending supply of energy. She used all of her talents to create an amazing weekend with the help of Joe and Joyce Prusaitis and Jason and Alison Bryant. Nevertheless, if I ever race her again, I am going to insist on drug testing. That level of perkiness is usually only obtained with a strong dose of uppers!

4) My Ab routine is for sissies. On Saturday evening Alison and Jason Bryant led a core workout that makes Abs of Steel look like a joke.  More like Abs of Titanium at their workout! It was not only a great challenge for my core but fun to learn exercises I had never seen before.

Jason and Alison show us how to be "hard-core" 

5) Porcupines are funny looking. We were doing some downhill drills on Saturday when a porcupine lumbered across the trail and up a tree. So cool! I don’ t think I’d ever seen a real live one before.

6) I need to sign up for an obstacle run. Sunday evening the "campers" ran a 5k obstacle course that just looked like so much fun. We didn't get to run the course, but we had a great time playing around and a lot of fun watching everyone else do it. I think it'd be a hoot to climb ladders, run through mud, swing on rings, and crawl though tunnels all in the middle of a run.

"The Old Mine"(it was fake) - part of the obstacle course

7) Last, and most importantly, I learned just how amazing our Veterans and active duty military personnel are. On a basic level I already knew this, but interacting on a personal level with so many of them really bolstered my appreciation. The stories were jaw dropping: a dad missing the birth of his child, a woman being hit on the head with a hatch and being in a coma for three months, a man who lost his leg in an explosion, a woman in my group who had schrapnel removed from her leg, a guy with a "ticking" chest after major heart surgery from being attacked. The stories made it "real" how much of a sacrifice these men and women gave to defend our country and the bravery they exhibited. And seeing them now out running trails was so inspirational, knowing how strong they had to be in both mind and body. It was truly an honor to be out there running with theses heroes. A huge Thank You to all of our service men and women!
Leading the group (and showing my authority by giving my best super hero pose)

Group C!

1 comment:

Rob said...

It was awesome of you to give your time to all of us in Texas, Pam! I am enjoying the stories in your blog and hope to run in to you at some future race. Best Regards, Rob McKenna - Minnesota