Last week from July 11th-15th I was in the Adirondacks at Dippikill Wilderness Retreat for trail running camp. I had a blast. I worked as a counselor and lead group runs through the woods on beautiful trails. The campers were adults and almost entirely women. It made for a fun and interesting dynamic. I enjoyed seeing there enthusiasm for trail running and willingness to take risks and try something new as many of them were new to the sport. I also got to spend a lot of time running with Tim VanOrden, Josh Merlis, and Ray Webster, and hanging out with the other counsellors. The people I met and got to know better were fantastic and that was the best part of camp. Some other high lights included: Seeing a black bear on a run with the counsellors, seeing and hearing immature barred owls begging for food all night, tubing down the Hudson River, seeing a grey fox, seeing a couple bald eagles, seeing a snowshoe hare, doing karaoke, watching the talent show, and racing in the Froggy 5 miler.
The race was a big deal because all of the counsellors were involved in friendly smack talking and the campers were really excited to see who would get the victory. I became pretty nervous before the race and realized I really wanted to win this thing. I knew Ray and Josh were solid trail runners but I was especially worried about TiVo who's been racing really well and was the course record holder. I took the lead at the gun and was running fast around the first mile loop befote we headed into the woods for the real trail running. Josh, Ray and Tim were right on me. Ray sprinted into the lead as a joke to put on a show for his girlfriend. For a second I thought he was going to hold on. We passed Ray and headed down the dirt road hill at a high speed. We turned into the woods and the climbing and real technical trail running began. I was moving fast and trying to stay relaxed with Josh and Tim right on my tail. We started up the big climb up Dippikill Mtn and I was able to gap those guys by a little bit. On the descent Tim caught back up to me and Josh seemed to have cracked. I tried to run the downhills fast but relaxed to save my legs for the final mile which was all uphill. Tim stayed right on my back. My strategy worked as I was able to pull away on the final climb. I hit the line in 34:22 a new course record by 2 minutes. Tim was 20 seconds back and Josh hung tough just 7 seconds behind him. It felt great to win and I joked that it was the biggest race of my life because of all the pressure I put on myself to win to impress the campers.