Coming back to work after a fun-filled extended weekend in Blowing Rock, North Carolina with fellow Oiselle Volee birds from all over the country was really, really tough. It’s funny how the sentiment coming home on Sunday was completely different from the nervous anxiety I felt when making the drive up to Oiselle Southern Bird Camp at Zap Fitness just days before.
As a child, my parents never sent me to camp so I never experienced what it feels like to be at a camp. All I knew about summer camps came from movies (like Meatballs....). Ha! Anyways, it’s midnight and here I am standing at the foot of my bed, cramming way too much stuff into a large rolling suitcase and next to it, a plastic grocery bag with my road trip essentials to help me stay awake on my first ever 5 ½ hour road trip (by myself) - beef jerky, Twizzlers, a pack of gum, potato chips, and a Diet Coke, ready to go to my first adult camp - a running camp!
I was both excited (because I had heard so many good things about the Zap Fitness camp) and terribly anxious. I was headed to a camp where I knew going in that I wouldn’t know a soul. Would I feel welcomed? Would we all hit it off? Was I going to have fun? Would I like my roommate? Would I be able to handle “my business” comfortably? I mean, I hate sharing bathrooms so the thought of sharing one was already making me cringe (by the way, it wasn’t bad at all!) As I backed out of my driveway, I already had my Spotify Showtunes radio blaring (since I was driving alone and not having to fight over the music with my husband and 2 kids) and cruised the highway to Blowing Rock.
The scenery upon entering Blowing Rock was just gorgeous! The leaves were already changing colors and I loved seeing the mountains come into view. It was around 2:00 pm once I pulled into the driveway at Zap Fitness, I sat in my car for a few minutes to take a few deep breaths. Is this what it feels like going into a blind date? Once I felt ready, I went to go check in. Everyone who was already there - Oiselle Volee and Zap Fitness staff and athletes - were sitting outside on the patio waiting to check registrants in. I immediately felt a weight lifted off my shoulders because everyone seemed so relaxed and cool. I grabbed my luggage and went to my room to get dressed for a 3:30 run and slowly started meeting all the Volee as they began trickling in. There were girls from Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and even all the way from Seattle. We were all here for the love of running, as well as wanting to build upon the sisterhood of Oiselle.
Our first day at camp was full of introductions and what was to be expected at the Zap Fitness camp. We had an itinerary of workouts, discussions/programs, Pilates workout, and most importantly - when breakfast, lunch, and dinner took place. They even had a resident fine dining chef - Chef Mike - my goodness, this man made some delicious meals for us. He spoiled the shit out of us. Talk about food withdrawals when I got home and had to cook for myself! After check-in, we also did a quick shake-out run at Moses Cone Park. Running uphill on shaded trails and the higher elevation took a toll on me, but I enjoyed every minute. The weather was such a nice change from this hellacious heat and humidity of Savannah.
Throughout the weekend, we discussed training plans for 5Ks up to marathons, nutrition, proper running form, gait analysis, mental preparations, and exercises to help strengthen muscles needed for running. Our instructors and coaches were very knowledgeable and wonderful to work with. We met the resident athletes who so graciously kept us company for trips into Blowing Rock. We hiked up a gorgeous mountain with breathtaking views.
What was a special treat was having an inspirational talk from our 2 guest Haute Volees - Andie Cozzarelli and Marie Elena Calle where they talked about their trials and tribulations and how they each achieved success through being persistent, not quitting, believing in themselves, and finding the joy in their running. They shared a special quote that was near and dear to them - “Keep your heart open to dreams - for as long as there is a dream, there is hope. And as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.” We shared laughter, tears, and vulnerabilities as we shared our stories with one another. It was beautiful to hear, see, and feel this kindred spirit amongst all of us. Our stories were intertwined and it was amazing to see the connections we all made.
Building upon this, we had a Skype session the next day with Sarah Lesko to chat and ask questions. She shared upcoming top-secret news that made us all excited to see what was next in store with Oiselle! She’s so laid back. It felt like talking to someone who you’ve known for years! I was falling more and more in love with this brand and the power amongst all us women. The rest of the weekend continued with more bonding. We all were having such a great time!
I was sad for the weekend to come to a close. I wanted it to go for just a few more days!! We were having so much fun telling stories and snapping boomerang videos and photos! But I guess all good things have to come to an end, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes? Our last morning was our final workout. We all had to shed our Garmin GPS watches and predict our easy running pace for 3.2 miles. I was very close and came in 5th place to guessing my time. It was so much fun running around the Zap Fitness property. Once our workout was done, we all showered up and prepared to say our goodbyes. We were so bummed to leave after getting to know one another and having so much fun. Before the drive home, a few of us decided to hit up Camp Coffee, a local coffee shop (that must be super popular because there was a line out the door when we got there), for our last hoo-rah. We were all excited to see the results of the Chicago Marathon while sipping on our coffee. And then it was time to hit the road.
My drive home had me in smiles remembering the good times and laughter. My first experience with camp was a success! I felt like it boosted my confidence and I truly feel like I’ve developed some lifelong friendships. If anything's a testament, I’ve already signed up for April’s Tenacious 10 in Seattle and will be staying with one of the Volee Birds I met at camp! I’m looking forward to hearing more information about next year’s Big Bird Camp on the east coast. MUST SAVE MONEY NOW!
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!