Day 2: Mazama Mountain Running Camp

Early to Rise

Scott and I woke up at 4:45 a.m. Since we were the only people in our room, and we had carpet, I decided to do Les Mills BodyFlow on demand to help stretch out my sore quads and hips from the downhill run on day 1. This was a most wonderful way to start the day and I felt much better afterwards. After yoga I joined Scott for an iced coffee and some time reading. We had an hour before our dawn patrol run. Soon fellow campers started to join us in the common space.

7 am rolled around and we met on the porch to split into two groups for a morning run. Our coaches joked that we’d have a “fast” group and a “medium group.” Scott opted for the fast group and I selected the medium group. It was an out and back run in the forest. I settled in pretty quickly behind a couple of ladies and we flip flopped back and forth a few times. I never felt like I couldn’t keep up, and this entire run felt fun! We walked some of the time, ran most of the time and ended up with a run that was just shy of 5 miles.

We arrived back to a huge breakfast of eggs, French toast, bacon, oatmeal, fruit, and potatoes. Scott and I chatted with a group of fellow runners. After breakfast we split into two groups. One group would have an hour mountain safety class and the other group would have boot camp! Scott and I were placed in the mountain safety group, along with 7 other members of our 18 person camp.

Mountain Safety

This was a time for discussing the things you should have with you on any run or hike in the mountains. Instructors Amy and Jason reminded us that a 5 mile run could turn into a multi-day event if something happened! Some things to remember;

  • If you have your phone conserve power so you have it if you need it.
  • Bring layers.
  • Always have a compass/map and know how to use them.
  • Have extra food and water (and or way to filter water).
  • A whistle or beacon is helpful.

And now is a GREAT time to mention one of the camp sponsors! Patagonia gave each mountain running camp participant a Houdini jacket. I am familiar with this jacket because Sarah gave one to Elizabeth for her birthday. I borrow it ALL the time!! It is a super light windbreaker that packs into its own pocket. It is great for running and cycling and of course hiking. I was really excited to have my own!!

Boot Camp


Right after the mountain safety discussion our groups switched locations and we went to Boot Camp. This was good because I was starting to get tired from sitting and chatting!! Joelle and Yassine had a bunch of things for us to do. We started with dynamic warm-ups, then moved to agility ladder work, ball work and stations. They integrated opportunities for us to continue to remember each other’s names, and by breaking us into smaller groups we got to know each other a bit more easily. After this session a bunch of us started searching for all the things they were using! Scott and I have made agility ladders from sidewalk chalk in the past, but we went ahead and bought one when we got home.

After Boot Camp, we had some time before lunch so they set up a volleyball net. It has been a long while since I played and it was SO much fun!! Though terrible elsewhere on the court, I have a pretty solid underhand serve. I enjoyed the opportunity to serve several times in a row so that was super fun! We enjoyed hitting the ball around for awhile and then gathered for a fantastic lunch.

Lunch

In the camp information, they said we’d have healthy, fresh food and they were right. Our lunch was a salad, all the things to make a most excellent sandwich, fruit, and cookies. I made myself a sandwich filled with avocado, tomato, lettuce, swiss cheese, turkey – yumm! After lunch we had some siesta time and I actually fell asleep! I wanted to be ready to have some energy for the hill clinic later.

Hill clinic

Yassine came back to Ithaca a couple of years ago and held a Hill Clinic with Krissy Moehl. Scott and I attended that clinic at Buttermilk. I expected it to be very similar, and certain parts were, but there were also a lot of differences.

I admit that I don’t care for hills. Along with roots, they are a big factor for making road running my running of choice. But, I do want to get better at tackling the hills, both with my brain and my body, so I was excited about the clinic time. Yassine talked about how our attitude could affect our progress and I appreciated his reminder to keep things optimistic and positive.

The clinic started with us breaking into smaller groups and my group got to try out our other sponsor gift. Leki gave each participant an amazing set of Tourstick Vario Carbon V poles. I have used poles in the past for both running and hiking, but these poles took everything to a new level. They are very lightweight, collapse easily, and have little glove attachment so that you are always connected to your pole.

Amy showed us different techniques for running and hiking with poles including using pole plants for every step, double pole technique as well as a more natural “every so often” pole plant. We practiced on the small hill below the lodge.

After the pole time, we practiced running up and down the hill just above the lodge. Yassine and Joelle gave us many tips for handling the hill and we did several hill repeats.

When we all joined back together it was time to do some more targeted practice on a slightly larger hill. We had to run to get there so we took off as a big group. On the way we passed by a campsite that had a giant ax and a bottle of rum. Of course we HAD to stop for pictures!

The campsite pictures

For the second half of the training we discussed specific techniques for uphill versus downhill and split into groups to practice two repeats for an uphill and two for a downhill. It was hot and I had chosen NOT to carry water (most of the campers had put on their hydration packs but I figured I’d bum water off of Scott). My plan wasn’t the best, as Scott hadn’t packed much water and got a little bit annoyed when I kept coming over for sips. I wish I had thrown my pack on!!

I found the hill repeats to be humbling but helpful. This time reminded me that you really do need to practice things you would like to get better at!!

Trillium lake

As soon as we finished our hill clinic we hopped into the vans and went to Trillium lake. We’d get to cool off in the lake and then talk about training techniques. As we headed there from the parking lot I told Yassine I’d never been to this lake. Whenever we visit Sarah we are always looking for challenging hikes and climbs, not relaxing lake time!! The group quickly set up and popped into the lake to cool off. I went over to a bridge and sat in the sun taking in the gorgeous view of Mt. Hood. I’m not a huge fan of swimming, wading etc – I am a baby about the bottom of lakes. Next time I’ll throw in water shoes!

After the relaxing time we gathered to talk about training. All 4 of our instructors shared their philosophies about training and answered our questions.

Food

We arrived “home” to great fresh rolls with curry dipping sauce as an appetizer. Yum!! Then, the dinner bell rang and we enjoyed tofu stir fry and chicken stir fry with veggies, salad and fortune cookies. We talked about the day with other campers and started to think about our 14 mile run the next day. We had a bit of time to clean up before it was time for movie night.

Movies and rolling

My quads were still suffering from the downhill run the day prior! I felt like I needed to limp to get around, so I was coveting the rollers that other campers had brought. As we settled down to an evening for short running films, I was self-massaging my quads. We watched some really inspiring movies! Definitely check them out if you have time.

Before the last movie I worked up the courage to ask another camper if I could borrow her roller and rolled my quads and calves out. I felt SO much better after doing this!!

As soon as movie night ended, Scott and I bounded upstairs and went to bed! We missed the singing time and hanging out, but after waking up at 4:45 we were both barely able to keep our eyes open.