This week I am at camp and not just any camp, the type of camp that leaves you sore and blistered daily- whilst at the same time craving more challenges and laughs along the way!
This picture is of my team on a run at Guion Farms, Brevard, NC on Monday- even though we looked exhausted, the run had been a self esteem booster as we were the first girls back, all while staying together as a team! It gave us confidence for the jam packed week ahead.
Tuesday was mildly easier as we ran to the lake and went swimming (we had something to look forward too 😉). All of us girls were able to pack together, finish, and splash together which is so important for a team!
Today however was the ultimate test of our team bond and our individual strength, as we prepared to run the hardest and most anticipated course of our weeks camp. We were up before the sun to get the bus to Art Loeb.
Individually I had attempted the course last year and did not make the half way cut off time – so you know, I was fired up with determination this year.
Art Loeb is one of the most difficult trails in NC and part of it consists of a 4 mile up hill and a ~3.7 steep downhill trail run – it has a total elevation of 6,000ft. The course itself is daunting and many people are not able to make the difficult course all the way up.
Starting as a pack my team was ready to ‘kill the hill(s)’ and was able to get out fast. Along the way one of our runners dropped off and one continued a few seconds ahead, my group of 3 stayed together. Closer to the half way point we were breathing hard and crying out from the pain in our legs and the voice inside our heads telling us to quit. For me it was like my muscles were screaming for me to stop and walk. As we quickly neared the cut off time we sprinted to the area and heard a voice with the words “congrats guys you made it”. It was an achievement all by itself and we were now able to shake off the time pressure on the trail. We still had one more uphill and then it was a fast downhill. Nearing to the end: 7.7 miles, we stayed together and caught up to the other teammate who was a few seconds ahead. She cried out when she saw us knowing that we too had made it.
In reflection, the mental state is as important (if not more) than the physical state of the body. To be able to push oneself when the rest of your body is telling you NO is the definition of strength.
It was a run I’ll never forget even when the blisters heal- I would not have done it without my team of strong girls!