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I spent this past weekend in the Adirondacks of NY as a coach/counselor at Trail Running Camp.  The camp was held at Dippikill Wilderness Retreat in Warrensburg, NY.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I had a pretty good feeling it would be fun.  This was the 4th year of the camp which is organized by The Albany Running Exchange (ARE), a running club of Albany NY…more specifically the Albany Running Exchange Event Productions (AREEP) which is a race logistics branch of the ARE.

The AREEP is a company that…well in their words is [copy,paste] “a vertically-integated company that specializes in race timing and event technology. Utilizing our own propetiary software, including a fully dynamic race timing and online registration system, text messaging, mapping tools, and more, let us combine today’s top timing methods with our professional team to provide your event a seamless experience.”

The Lodge

Day 1

The campers arrived later in the day on Thursday and got to know each other during the first easy trail run, dinner and post dinner gathering.  Everyone got familiar with the layout of the camp and headed off to bed.

Day 2

Depending on a person’s perception, campers either enjoyed or were subjected to a full day of events on the first full day of camp.  A pre-breakfast run of varying terrain and distances started at 7:30.  After breakfast, I gave my injury prevention talk which was followed by an hour break before a yoga and core strength session.

Balance Drills

Lunch seemed to come quickly that day.  By the way, all meals were prepared by Andy and John.  Andy is a culinary student at Johnson & Wales University and John seems to be capable of anything.  They worked very hard during the camp and never failed to impress people with what they created in the small camp kitchen.

After lunch, the amazing weather called most people to the lake, while others heard a more prominent call from their bed in the cabin.  Either way, a few well earned hours of relaxing were in order.

The afternoon run session focused on safely negotiating hills, up and down.  If that wasn’t enough, and it was for some, following the hill run was an agility drill class by Dick Vincent.  Dick is a trail running icon of the East and is the person responsible for organizing the Escarpment Trail Race every year.  Since trail running requires fast (and sometimes fancy) footwork, these drills were designed to help people develop the strength and fast reaction time to help tame the trails.  As the video at the end of this post shows, add a little music to an agility drill session and you’ve got yourself a party!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Dick Vincent

Dick put away his various balance enhancing devices and took out his guitar after dinner to entertain the campers.  When Dick stepped away for a brief intermission, leaving the microphone unsupervised, the variety show ensued.  *Note: it was not called a “talent” show – see video below.

Day 3

This day started with an early breakfast.  Then we loaded everyone up in the vans and went tubing!  But not without first running 5 miles to get to the tubes!  The tubing company happily dropped us off a few miles from the real drop off point.  Running first made the relaxing river trip even more enjoyable.  John and Andy enjoyed a break from the kitchen because lunch was a cookout hosted by the tubing company.

After the tubing trip, I gave my Barefoot Running presentation which was followed by either yoga, a trip back to the lakefront or a nap.  A couple inspired folks even went barefoot running for the first time!!

After dinner, the night entertainment was the talent show.  Campers and counselors demonstrated their ukulele, guitar, singing, magic and acting skills for the group.  With the impending end-of-camp-race the next morning, people made their way back to their cabins…if they were lucky.

Finish line cheering section!

Day 4

Trail running camp ended with an event that allowed the campers to use all the skills they’ve acquired over the last few days, a 5 mile trail race.  The “Froggy 5 Miler” covered the familiar trails of the Camp Dippikill property and included wide gravel roads, narrow single track, scenic vistas, treacherous downhill and a segment along the shore of the camp lake.  As with many ARE races, a pot luck style cookout followed as people shared stories of wrong turns, falling and friendly rivalries.

By noon, campers began departing with smiles on their faces, already talking about “next year.”  If success was measured by great weather, laughter and fun, this year’s ARE Trail Running Camp was a HUGE success!  I’m already planning on being a part of it next year!

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