Posted by: runsinthefamily | August 13, 2010

Home again…

Back from cross-country camp!  We had a great time – and brought back lots of sweat-soaked clothes.  August in southern Ohio is hot hot hot!  And incredibly humid – for someone who sweats a lot anyway, my clothes were completely soaked!  Might as well have jumped in the pool.

We arrived at Camp Kern at around dinner time on Sunday – many of us had done a long run before leaving Sunday morning, so we didn’t have practice that night, just lots of unpacking and looking around camp.  Coach E had heard another xc team was supposed to be there at the same time as us, the team from Sandy Valley.  We usually have a t-shirt exchange at camp, and he had contacted them to see if they wanted to join us.  65 or so kids,  and coaches made for a huge exchange!  We do it sort of like a white elephant exchange – we draw numbers, and starting with the highest number, the person takes the t-shirt they brought, ( we sit in a big circle with them all out on the floor in front of us) and “exchanges” it for one that they like.  The trick is that if you have a lower number, you have a better chance of actually getting the t-shirt you want – because you can “steal” a shirt from someone who already exchanged theirs for another.  Get it?  It’s always a lot of fun to see which shirts are the popular ones, the ones that are exchanged over and over.  This year a Pre shirt had the honors – followed closely by a Speedy Gonzales shirt.  The boys team likes to wear the shirts they get one of the next days, and it’s always fun to see the big, tall boys try to wear a tiny pink  girls shirt they were stuck with!

Monday morning we woke up bright and early for our speed workout.  Us coaches were all worried about the weather for the week –  high 90’s, lots of humidity.  We kept warning the kids to keep their water bottles filled, keep rehydrating throughout the day.  Our cabins are air conditioned, which helped so very much.  It’s hard to describe the relief we felt when coming in from the bright sun, dripping with sweat and sheer exhaustion – to be able to cool off so quickly in the cool cabin.

Anyway, back to the workout!  Coach E always plans 800 repeats for the first day of camp.  We have a loop we re-wheel every year to mark the course every 200 meters – we went through a couple of cans of spray paint at camp this year marking the courses, roots, holes, whatever.  Since this year we had 3 Shaker teams there, the girls team, the boys team, and the middle school girls, we tried to group the kids according to their paces, although it’s always hit or miss depending on weather, how they have matured, or how much summer running they have done!  Since I wasn’t sure about my foot, I ran the warmup and cooldown mile with them, then timed and/or wrote down times for the 800s.  With many different groups going off at different times, we made sure the kids had watches, and had them time themselves.  They would finish, tell me their time, then get some water or Gatorade and jog around a nearby field.  Depending on skill levels we assigned a different number of 800 reps, the most anyone did was 7, with most of the girls doing 5.  It wasn’t as hot as it could have been, and we got through the workout just fine.

After lunch we ( the high school girls team) headed to the low ropes course.  Low ropes doesn’t really mean ropes, it is different team building activities.  It was fun to watch the team figure the different games out together, and we learned a lot about the new girls on the team!  We walked back to the cabin, met the other groups, and headed off to the pool for our ab/core/push up routine followed by a water workout, which felt amazing after the hard morning and hot afternoon temps.  The water workout is designed for strength and flexibility, we do strides in the water, high knees, skipping, kicking only, underwater swimming, holding breath, and deep water running.  Off to dinner, and then just a relaxing evening with team meetings.

The next day we went down the 500 steps ( down a steep hill) to the Little Miami river for a long run on the bike path.  The Sandy Valley team joined us, so we had lots of coaches keeping an eye on everyone.  Most of the faster girls had run long on Sunday morning before camp, so we kept them shorter, and I decided to run with a couple of girls who were attempting 65 minutes for the first time.  The pace was slower, which was fine with me, between my foot and just feeling rather creaky that morning!  Towards the end my foot was bothering me, I could feel it start to cramp up, so I walked the last bit, and finished with 62 minutes – more than I have run in quite a while.  The walk back up to camp was slow and painful, but once back in the cabin I was able to massage it back into shape, just in time for the walk to Tango Tower,  where the girls climbed the Indiana Jones challenge.  Another pool workout followed, and after dinner we headed back to the pool for a boys vs. girls water polo game!  (unfortunately the girls lost this year~ we’ll get you guys next year!).

The one thing we noticed this year, was that we weren’t getting to bed as early as we have other years at camp.  It seemed the activities went a little later, and everyone had a hard time settling down once back at the cabin.  Playing Ninja was very popular this year – a few kids would start it in the main dining room, ”ohhhh…. Ninja!” and the others would all come running from all parts of the cabin.  It was hysterical to watch – they would all stand in a circle in various Ninja poses ( right out of cartoons – seriously) and would go around the circle trying to “chop” the person next to them, who would have to have quick reflexes to avoid being hit, then try to get the next person.  This went on and on, until only one person was left.  The kids found any spare moment to play – easily a hundred times over the 4 days we were there.

Wednesday morning was recovery run day.   We were supposed to go on a canoe trip that afternoon, but a thunder-storm came and cancelled not only our canoe trip, but the water workout that day as well.  The weather cleared enough after dinner for the annual Adventure race, a sort of amazing race around the camp, with different points awarded for different activities.  There were 6 different teams of kids, and after marking the next days mile repeats we headed over to try to catch some of the action.  The race ended with a canoe race on the lake, with the high school girls team successfully defending their title.  A quick change, and then we headed off to the camp fire circle for a bonfire, s’mores, and ghost stories.

I was really happy with how well my foot was holding up – I knew we would be walking a lot at camp, besides running, and had been really worried I would not be able to keep up.  It kept feeling a little better every day, so when it was time for the Thursday morning mile repeats, on a nice dirt and grass path, I decided to go ahead and try it.  Wow, I’m out of shape!  I know grass is slower than a track, but I only managed 7:45,  7:53, and 8:02, and the course was short.  Still, I was happy, and had a great time pacing (aka trying to keep up with) some of the girls.  Back to the cabin for breakfast and showers, and then it was time to clean up – the bus arrived shortly to take us back home.



  1. What a neat, neat experience! I remember doing camps like that when I was in college. It was always sooooo much fun, but also great training. It looks like you guys are set up for a great season. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: