Sunday, November 30, 2014

Camp, Qatar, and Conniving Commies - Part 1

(Don't you hate when people write race reports that are longer than the actual race itself, giving you every mundane detail of every minute leading up to the race, including every morsel of food they put into their mouths, whether or not they used their lucky purple toothbrush before the race, and what color poop they had?? Yeah, me, too. So instead of doing that, I am giving you this in two parts, to trick you into thinking the whole report is much shorter than it actually is. This part only covers Camp, so the title is misleading, but I am setting the stage for massive suspense! I know you will be dying to get Part 2 (because its not like you already know the results or anything). So you'll probably be checking the blog like 5, 6, maybe even ten times a day and my blog stats will go up and I'll be thinking "Wow, look at me: I am so popular!" You get a reading intermission and I get to feel all warm and fuzzy; Everybody wins! So, yeah...on to Part 1)

Well the soreness of pounding out 62 miles on unforgiving surfaces has faded to almost nothing but the excitement of the trip has not. Mac and I had a crazy nine day itinerary for mid-November that had us jet setting to Frankfurt and Amsterdam en route to and from Doha, Qatar. But not before spending a few days outside of the exotic locale of Rocksprings, TX.

For the third year (and Mac’s second) we went to Texas to be trail mentors at the Team Red White and Blue trail camp. They call us volunteers as we are supposedly giving our time, but that seems a mistake as we get so much in return. This is a group of amazing people with so many Veterans who have sacrificed so much to serve our country and it is an honor to get the chance to run with them. 

Being a third year mentor I was given tremendous responsibility: I was in charge of the beer stop during the two plus hour bus ride from the airport to camp (because no alcohol is sold at camp and what is running camp without beer??). Well, I start chatting it up and before you know it, we are 20 miles past our stop! OMG, I am going to have some angry service men on my hands! Seriously, who put this idiot in charge?? (I DID give the bus driver specific instructions on where to stop before we took off. “That’s my bad” he told me when I asked why we missed it). Dom Grossman saved the day by finding us a very rustic, middle of nowhere country store to stop at. It had great local flair and was 4th generation family owned. They loved the business and we loved their Texas warmth and homemade brisket and beef jerky - what a score! And of course, I totally meant to do that! ;)
Who wouldn't want to stop here?
My first two years I mentored the advanced groups but this year with 100k Worlds just a few short days after Camp, I helped out with the beginner group to save my legs a bit. What this group lacks in running experience, they make up for in energy and enthusiasm! With their attitude they will be kicking ass on the trails in no time! It was nice how eager group A was to learn, so I felt I had a lot to offer this year. The D group is so focused on running they don’t like to stop for discussions! (To be fair, many of the D groupers have enough experience that they could be leading the camp. What am I supposed to say about heat training to a guy who has already finished Badwater??).

Awesome Group A!
Yes, I am wearing a buff! That is the power of camp Eagle!
Mac enjoys the technical trails at Camp Eagle
On the final night, Team RWB honored and thanked Max King, Meghan Arbogast and me for helping at camp when it was so close to Worlds and we were presented with a Team RWB coin. Ok, I tend to be a pretty stoic person, but I was beyond touched by this and had to do a little extra blinking to manage the eye moisture! The director for Team RWB said that the entire organization was behind us, so if we got tired in the race to imagine 56,000 sets of hands pushing us from behind. Max was the top American man (and World Champ) and Meghan and I ended up 1-2 for the American women. Coincidence? I think not!

Mac and I had to leave camp Monday morning a few hours before it was officially over in order to catch our flights, but not too early to get in one last little adventure. Last year Jason Bryant arranged for a small group including my husband to go see the headwaters of the Nueces River. When I heard, I asked if I could tag along, and I was very bluntly told “No”. Let’s not say that there is trespassing involved, but just that the journey requires climbing an 8 foot fence and leaving the Camp Eagle property. For that reason the group was kept small. But Jason felt bad for excluding me last year, so this year I got the first invite and he didn’t have to do much arm twisting.
We ran up and down this. Well, Jason ran it, I tip-toed and scooted!

This little trickle coming out of the rocks becomes the Nueces River

Jason Bryant and me at the headwaters.

 After our chilly jaunt it was off to Qatar. A mere 28 hours later and we were there!


josh z. said...


Carl Siechert said...

Hey, what's wrong with a buff?!