Lessons learned from a week at High School Cross Country camp
Morning fog burning off over the Green Mountains in northern Vermont.
Running on Kingdom Trail system in Lyndonville, FL. These trails are amazing for running and cycling in the summer/fall/spring and cross-country skiing in the fall. (https://www.kingdomtrails.org/)
Greetings from Massachusetts! I spent the last week in northern Vermont (almost to Canada) running with, learning from, and coaching a couple hundred high school cross-country runners at Northeast Kingdom Running Camp (https://www.nkrc.camp/).
I had such a blast.
Not only was the weather amazing (low 50s for our morning runs and mid-70s for the afternoon), the kids were so excited to be at camp after a year away (COVID-19 caused the camp to hold a free virtual camp last summer), but the coaches were so thrilled to be back doing what we love: running and working with motivated young athletes.
I have a history with this camp going waaaay back to 1996 when I was a camper (the camp has since changed names and under different leadership). Although I am biased, this is an incredible camp and if you have a middle or high school aged runner in your life, I highly recommend checking this camp out!
Here are my top takeaways after spending a week up in the mountains with teenagers with LOTS of ENERGY!
Teachers and coaches and school nurses were unbelievable heroes of this pandemic. Everyone on staff worked so hard to make this camp experience fun and safe for everyone involved.
You tend to run MUCH faster, stronger, and have more fun when you run in a group. Especially if this group is comprised of teenage boys with lots of vim and vigor!
Great gear makes a HUGE difference. We ran every morning through dewy fields and during downpours. I was so thankful for my waterproof Cloud shoes and moisture wicking socks. No one likes wet feet.
Rest and recovery is essential. Especially when training hard and keeping track of teenagers (they were honestly all good kids - which brings me to my final thought that:)
The kids are all right. A few of the campers opened up to me and we discussed the stress and particular hardships from the last year and a half. Some kids really struggled with mental health issues and fears for their families and friends. Despite this, however, every kid was happy to be with other kids training for an upcoming cross-country season that none of them will take for granted.
It was really an inspiring week, folks.
Here are some photos of the week from camp photographer, Deste Roosa (@desteroosa/ @runnkrc). Enjoy and hope you all are staying well!