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Why Attend Rugged Running - The Camp?

So summer is rapidly approaching, and I’m sure many of you are finalizing race/vacation plans. I’m here to make a plug for what is the highlight of my summer: Rugged Running – The Camp!

I’ve attended The Camp for three years, and I’ll be headed back for my fourth camp this August, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. And I’m here to tell you why YOU should join us in Gunnison National Forest this year!

If you’ve not heard about The Camp, it’s four days of trail running, learning, laughing, and soaking up the beautiful Colorado scenery. Everything you need is provided – tents, cots, sleeping bags, pillows, nutritious meals and running fuel. All you need to bring is yourself, your running gear, lots of layers (the weather changes quickly and frequently), and be ready to learn! You’ll get to spend lots of time getting to know and learn from Michele, and experience what Rugged Running is all about.

For me, it’s all that and a much-needed way to disconnect from the outside world for a few days, as there’s no cell service at The Camp. Don’t worry, though – Michele has a satellite phone just in case of emergencies.

Michele uses The Camp as an opportunity to share her wealth of trail running experience. The agenda includes 1-on-1 analysis of your gait cycle, which is always particularly helpful for me, as it gives Michele an idea of how we need to tweak my strength work to address imbalances. She’ll demonstrate and we’ll practice different ways to warm up before and stretch after a run. She’ll cover agility for quick and nimble feet on technical terrain, uphill and downhill technique for efficient running, and strength and mobility exercises tailored to your unique issues. And of course, beautiful trail runs each day to practice all those skills.

Not only will you learn how to be a stronger, more efficient runner, Michele will share lots of great tips for racing – how to fuel, what to pack in your drop bag, race strategy and how to deal with the inevitable issues that crop up during a trail race. Want to know how to address nausea (or worse!) during a 100-miler? She’ll cover that. Traveling to a race and not sure what your food options will be? Michele will talk about how to work around that. Basically, whatever you want to know about running and racing, she’ll cover it.

During each Camp, runners will have several opportunities for 1-on-1 coaching and consultation with Michele. And if you’re coached by Michele, it’s an opportunity to get some in-person conversation and feedback on your training. I’ve talked with her about upcoming races, life challenges during my training, goal setting and beyond. That time with her alone is worth the trip!

Perhaps one of the best parts of attending The Camp is the other runners you’ll meet! I’ve been inspired by them, laughed with them until my abs hurt, celebrated their successes, received encouragement from them and made friendships that continue to this day.

And we can’t forget the Camp Nicknames… Based on hilarious or inspiring moments, each Camper gets a nickname. Mine include being dubbed “Calves” in 2016, and “Sexy Marmot” in 2018! If you’re lucky, I’ll even bestow the nickname upon you with Wyatt’s hatchet!

Speaking of Wyatt, we must not leave him out! He’s our Chef Extraordinaire for the week, sets up camp showers and toilets, tents, cots, chops wood, serves as the Caboose on group runs, and ensures we all have what we need to have a great time. Also, if you get to run with him, he can point out game trails and has lots of great stories about hunting, the Colorado 200, and all kinds of fun stuff!

Finally, the “mountain top” moment of The Camp is our hike up to the top of Mt. Tilton. It’s a pretty steep slog up 3 miles and 2,000+ feet, but the view is WORTH IT. Trust me, this flatlander can haul herself up to the top summer after summer, and the view (and altitude!) takes my breath away each time. It’s the highlight of my summer, along with the campfire time at night and making s’mores – did you know that the gelatin in marshmallows helps build cartilage? True story. Coach said so…

I would share more, but what happens at Camp kinda needs to stay at Camp… so come find out for yourself!

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