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Recap: Fall Great Lakes Bird Camp (AKA the greatest weekend ever)

Man, I’m coming down off of my bird camp high and it’s not pretty. So I stayed up late last night to write this and relive #allthememories. Sorry in advance that this is so long:

Friday

I rushed around all morning finishing up some last minute work, dropping off the little guy at daycare and packing and unpacking and changing my mind on everything I packed. Before I knew it, Amanda texted that she was out front! We headed to the airport to meet up with the other drivers and birds who had flown in from out of town.

Not even an hour into the trip and Courtney found some birds

Not even an hour into the trip and Courtney found some birds

We made a quick stop for lunch and then I had the privilege of getting to know Courtney and Amanda (who are both so lovely and wonderful) better in the car on the way up. After we arrived and checked in, we headed out for a short group run. It felt good to shake out the legs after a few hours in the car.

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The rest of the evening was a lot of fun reconnecting with the other Minnesota birds who I already knew (including my roommates: Megan, Jessy, Ali and Lisa) and making introductions with some new faces at the welcome reception! Next up was dinner and then we gathered for our two sessions that evening.

The first session was super timely since I’ve been really focusing on cleaning up my diet as of late: Rasa Troup, Olympian and Minnesota Vikings nutritionist spoke about fueling for runs (and life).  Next, Oiselle Haute Volee Anna Weber talked about how your dreams don’t need to have prerequisites and/or deadlines. She talked about her story of putting a hold on her “regular life” to train full time to work towards qualifying for the Olympic trials in the marathon. It was cool to hear about her ups and downs, what her training looks like and then spend the rest of the weekend with her, getting to know her better.

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Rasa, talking nutrition

Next it was bonfire time! I stayed awake longer than I thought I’d be able to, chatting with other birds and then headed to bed to rest up for another jam-packed day.

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In case you were wondering, this is how you do a beer fridge

In case you were wondering, this is how you do a beer fridge

Saturday

We got up and headed to breakfast bright and early. Afterwards, the rest of the group headed out for a short run. I wasn’t planning to run (because of my hip), so I grabbed my Kindle, a blanket and a coffee and curled up on a bench outside of my cabin. It was a crisp morning, but sunny, so it was super relaxing to do some reading by the lake.

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Once everyone got back, we reconvened at our meeting place — a blue ox statue near the main resort lodge to walk over to the high ropes course at Clearwater Forest. This was one of the activities I was most excited about. I hadn’t done anything like this since maybe sixth grade (?) and I had no idea if I was going to get up there and freak out, but I was hoping I’d be able to complete the course. I was one of the last to go, and I found myself getting more excited after watching everyone else having so much fun! I was so impressed — even a few birds who were nervous, they still made their way up the course. Once you got up there, the most fun way down was to zipline! It made me want to try it again!

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Once we got back to the resort, we had lunch and then walked over to the leaders’ cabin area for a bootcamp class. Amanda led us through an intense two rounds of lunges, squats, jumping jacks, commandos, sprinting, etc. etc. I was definitely feeling it afterwards.

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Next on the agenda was mini golfing, human foosball and froyo, but first things first, we took a team photo by a leaping deer, because…Deerwood.

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Roommate photo!

Roommate photo!

Traditions Mini Golf is the CUTEST place and they also are one of (I think, four) places in the country with a human foosball arena. AND they have froyo!

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Human foosball. I wasn’t wearing the right shoes to participate 😦

After dinner, we all gathered for a Oiselle trunk show where Heather showed off some current pieces AND some sneak peeks of things coming soon. I swear I could hear my bank account crying while she was showing a gorgeous new vest and winter jacket.

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New lux glovessss

We ended the night with another bonfire party!

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Sunday

I woke up to an amazing sunrise, which made it a bit easier to get my butt out of bed. The long run was taking place at the Cuyuna State Park, which was about 25 minutes away, so we all piled into a few cars to drive over.

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I was only planning to run about five miles, so I ran with Jessy for the first half of her run and then I headed back to the parking lot to take in the views for awhile with Laura and Carrie while waiting for everyone else to finish.

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Once we got back to the resort, I took a quick shower and then we headed to the bonfire area for a group yoga session and it felt SO GOOD. My sore muscles were practically saying “ahhhhhhh” out loud as Rachel guided us through a lovely, restorative 45 minutes in the sunshine, with the lake just a few feet away.

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Next was lunch and then we had some down time. It was a bit chilly and windy, so I opted out of the water recreation activities to take a power nap. Once I woke up, I took a shower and got ready. I went to find caffeine and then sat with some other birds, overlooking the lake.

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At 5 p.m. we gathered at the bonfire area/leaders’ cabin for core work and form drills, led by one of the Haute Volee, the hilarious Becki Spellman.

We also filmed our second #DiscoDanceOff

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Form drills are one of those things I know I should be doing, but I never knew if I was doing them quite right, so this was super helpful! And the core session was awesome because it was interesting to see the kinds of core work an elite does, and it was also informative because Becki really explained HOW to do the exercises to get the most out of them.

After dinner, Jungle Chicken (AKA my friend and former St. Paul neighbor, Erin Ward) gave her talk: I get knocked down…do I get up again? It kicked off with dancing to Chumbawumba. Because, of course it did.

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Somehow, Erin managed to be funny and inspirational and self deprecating all at the same time. I appreciated her openness and honesty — it was the perfect last “talk” of the weekend.

After that heaviness, were all feelin’ the need to dance party and so we did — to JT and 90s hip hop.

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So much fun that this photo turned out blurry

Then, we ordered pizza:

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Monday

Even though breakfast was moved back to 8 a.m., I woke up around 6:15 naturally, but forced myself to go back to sleep until 7. Luckily, when I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I had the foresight to down a bottle of water and take ibuprofen as a precautionary measure. So besides being tired, I woke up feeling fantastic.

After breakfast, we all met at the blue ox for a last group photo and to say some goodbyes (sniff).
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Then, most of the group headed out for a short run, while the rest of us set out to find caffeine. Our plans were thwarted due to the on-site coffee shop’s fall off-season hours, so we drove to Holiday for coffee. While we were there, chocolate donuts were calling our name.

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We enjoyed our donuts and then everyone finished packing up. Before we knew it, it was time to check out and say the rest of our goodbyes.

HUGE THANK YOUS TO:

  • Oiselle – Sally, you and the team have built something incredible. And to Feather, who is the nicest, cutest person and represented HQ well.
  • Leaders: Sheila, Darci, Jana and Tracy – from the first email that went out about camp, I knew this was going to be an amazing experience. It was so well organized and there was a lot of care that went into making sure that every. single. person. had an unforgettable time.
  • Elites: Anna and Becki – Unlike others I’ve met, Becki and Anna were friendly and treated everyone the same, whether they run 7-minute miles or 11-minute miles. Plus, they’re both really funny. And I got some great insight and perspective around my injury issues from Becki during dinner.
  • All of the educational and inspirational speakers!
  • Last, but definitely not least, the amazing women who make up this team. I’m so lucky to call you teammates and friends!

Head up, wings out!

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