When I went to my first “birdcamp” (adult running camp for women on the Oiselle running team), it seemed new and novel and I didn’t know if many other camps for adult runners. Now, a couple years later it seems that in addition to camps that been around for years, like Zap down in NC, there are retreats and camps for adults (particularly adult women) that run everywhere. I think the variety of options for adult running camp is amazing and I still feel lucky every time I attend birdcamp. This year, I was part of the DMV (DC / Maryland and Virginia) team that planned the first birdcamp in the DC Metro area. I thought I’d share a bit about both the process and the actual weekend.
I worked with three other local Oiselle teammates and leaders to plan camp. The planning involved a LOT of logistics and a lot of research. I’ll spare you all the details, but I can confirm that planning an all-inclusive (lodging, food, activities) weekend (3 nights) for 90+ women at a cost of 400 each is not easy. It is particularly not easy to do this within an hours drive of Washington DC – one of the most expensive areas of the country. But we worked it all out and were able to locate a venue and come up with an agenda for a fun, engaging weekend.
So what did we actually do during camp? There was lots of fun, lots of running and an activity that I think was new for most of us. Here is what we did!
Friday was check-in and it was pouring rain! We managed to get all the swag, snacks, and camp related items loaded and then we got ready to greet our campers. Friday consisted of check-in, a happy hour, dinner and then our first talk.
Becki Spellman started us off with an awesome talk about the mental side of training and racing. Becki is incredible and we were so happy to have her at camp with us! Not only has Becki run in the Olympic Marathon trials, she balances being a professional runner with having two adorable kids (twins!) and coaches runners (including a number of gals on the team). Becki is also a personal friend, so I was extra excited she came to camp!
We had planned to have a campfire but the rain made that a no go unfortunately. Luckily, the weather was really stellar following the rain and we had incredible weather the remainder of the weekend. It was such a gift because July in DC is normally…unpleasant. 🙂
Saturday was long run day – campers had the option to head to the W&OD Trail or to drive into DC for the run. I went for my first of 3 runs on the W&OD, which is a paved rails to trail that stretches from right outside of DC 45 miles west to Purceville, VA. The run was awesome – even though the trail is all uphill on the Western bound section (the same portion of trail that I ran the Leesburg 20k on!). After the long run, we had some free time to head to nearby wineries, nap or just enjoy the lovely surroundings. Becki lead us in a core workout and then we headed off to Twilight Polo! What is Twilight Polo? It is a nighttime polo match that happens each Saturday night out in horse country, VA! This was the first polo match for most of us (maybe all of us) and it was really interesting! We watched a couple of matches and the main match got pretty intense (for Real Housewives fans, the main match also had Tareq Salahi playing – we were not impressed by him). It was really fun and a very Virginia thing to do!
Sunday started with time for runs (I went back to the W&OD Trail), breakfast and a shoe lab. We had representatives from a few different shoe brands come and share about their brand and let campers try out different shoes. It was awesome! We rounded out the morning with a talk and warm up / body activation session led by Erika Pierce. Erika had just come back from USA Nationals and was able to share some of her awesome stories about being #fasterasamaster and also just a general badass.
We had free time in the afternoon and were finally able to head to the pool (it was a bit chilly and overcast on Saturday)! We also had our final Haute Volee talk from Anna Grenier. Anna talked to us about her career and her life and she is so dang down to earth that it’s easy to forget she is an Olympian!
We also had a REALLY awesome preview of new Oiselle gear – brought to us by Meg and Steph. Because the gear had not launched yet at the time of camp, I didn’t take many pictures but we got a sneak peek on all the new Oiselle pieces that have come out over the past few weeks. Including my personal favorite the Friday pants (which I put on immediately upon arriving home now). We of course had a gear swap opportunity for people to pick up gently used (or in some cases, new) gear. That is always fun and people love swapping!
Monday was sadly our last morning at camp. We held a prediction run – where we asked campers to estimate how long it would take them to run a 3 mile loop around camp. They were not allowed to use their watches and the winners were the folks that ran closest to their predicted time. It is a lot of fun and a great way to end camp.
Finally, I have to give a huge shout out to my girls. Colleen, Jackie and Caitlin – my fellow camp planners and DMV Team Leaders. These women…there are no words. It was so fun to bring camp to life with them and honestly, they are all so incredible, I would be confident just letting them run my whole life. So much love and respect for each of them.
And that’s a wrap!
If you ever have a chance to attend camp as an adult – I highly recommend it! Who else has attended a camp as an adult??