Thursday, August 24, 2006

2006 Teton Ultrarunning Training Camp BEGINS!

Guest Blogger: Colleen Woods

A friend who attended last year's camp had told me that there's nothing like the Teton Training Camp experience. Whether listening to the advice and amazing adventure stories of Lisa and Marshall Ulrich, testing boundaries in a setting both beautiful and challenging (Grand Targhee's base elevation is 8,000 feet), or reveling in the stunning views from the Teton mountain tops, he assured me my experience would be both beautiful and memorable. How could I go wrong?

So last night I joined campers hailing from across the country for the official start of the 2006 Teton Ultrarunning Training Camp, hosted at the Grand Targhee Resort. Lisa and her dear friend Marshall welcomed us campers with a great reception dinner. Dinner highlights included the opportunity for campers to introduce themselves (imagine my surprise when I actually recognized one of the campers from my Team in Training days back in NY - small world!) and the distribution of the much coveted goodie bags. Some campers chose to go to the campfire put on by the resort's Naturalist after dinner; others opted to hit their beds early in anticipation of the first full day of camp.

Today (Thursday) proved to be quite a full day for us campers. Lisa even admitted that some of it was challenging for her, too. Of course, unlike Lisa, none of us have the excuse of having run 310 miles less than a month ago!

The day began with a videotaping session. Marshall used his new camera to film each campers' stride. And tomorrow, we'll review the footage and get feedback from Lisa and Marshall on our gaits. I have promised the campers that I will not get the gait analysis video footage and post it to the Blog - some things are sacred!

After the videotaping session, we all headed up a steady climb to the summit of Grand Targhee Resort, also known as Fred's Mountain. The campers, who have arrived with varied running experience, all did great. I can tell you this with confidence as I was at the back of the pack and had a great view of everyone. Lisa and Marshall used the time to talk about the importance of form when it comes to power walking, as well as emphasizing the importance of technique when it comes to improving downhill running. A perfect example of a form that will get you down in no time was ably provided by Lisa's husband, Jay, who zipped up the mountain to meet us at the summit and then raced back down looking effortless and light on his feet. All this activity aside, campers took time to reflect and look at things like the wild flowers, which are in full bloom right now (or maybe that was my excuse to catch my breath!).

After lunch, we were treated to a cross training session led by Lisa. Its one of those things you have to experience to appreciate, but she had us all dancing up a hill and doing things like frog squats. One of these days, we'll capture the exercise on film. For now, you'll have to use your imagination. Giggling aside, campers were soon proclaiming that their muscles were singing and that they were using parts of their bodies that they rarely engaged in their running lives.

Then it was time to head to the classroom. Marshall and Lisa led discussions on three topics:

  • Nutrition, Hydration, and Electrolyte Balance
  • Race Strategy and Training
  • Mental Aspects of Racing and Training

Fascinating information and so interesting to be offered by people with race credentials like Lisa and Marshall. They jokingly assured us that they have made all the mistakes and would hope that if we could avoid just a few based on their experience, their job with us was done! The session ended with us viewing a video clip taken at the end of Marshall's Badwater Quad. Amazing stuff! Having witnessed Lisa's finish of the Badwater Double, I was struck by how the video revealed a very similar scene. Lisa and Marshall were both surrounded by a lot of love on their journeys.

Some campers headed down into Driggs for the Thursday night outdoor concert, others (like me, I'm getting old!) chose to retire early.

Good night!


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