WARR10R Running Camp When I first got to Warrior Running Camp in Babson Park, Florida, I was extremely nervous. I had never been to sleep away camp before, and neither had my two best friends, Rachel and Lauren. At least we were together and all got to share a dorm room at Webber International University where the camp was held. Plus, my mom got to go and she was across the hall which made things a little easier for me (and as an added bonus, she could drive us to Subway when we got tired of the college cafeteria food!!) We were able to go to running camp because we all got scholarships from Palm Beach Roadrunners. There was an individual camp in June that we couldn’t attend and a team camp that kids go to with their coaches the first week in August. Most of the kids were on high school teams from the west coast of Florida, but there were some middle schoolers as well. My friends and I all go to different middle schools and none of them have a cross country team, so we didn’t have a coach. Therefore, my mom volunteered to be our “coach,” and I think she was more excited about going to camp than anyone! We got to camp on a Sunday after lunch and had our first run later that afternoon. It was just a short run of about 2 ½ miles to get us warmed up for the week. Before we left for our run, we had a camp meeting. There were about 70 kids at camp, and we found out that we would be put into six teams – each team had to come up with a team name and team chant. We had team competitions throughout the week – normal activities such as volleyball, kickball, dodgeball, swim races and bellyflop contests. My team won the Volleyball competition the first day, beating out all the other teams, until we played the counselors (Team Staff Infection). They creamed us with the help of Luke, a funny English guy, who is 6’ 10”! We also found out that the camp leaders have a thing for pool noodles and we played Water Noodle War (where you whack each other with pool noodles – it sounds a lot worse than it feels!), Water Noodle Field Hockey and had chicken fights with pool noodles! They were so much fun! This series of competitions led up to the infamous “Great Race” on the last full day of camp! Not only were we a bit nervous because we had never been away to camp before, but we were nervous because none of us had done much running over the summer. We found out that was OK. One of the things I liked best about Warrior Running Camp was that it didn’t matter if you had never run before, were a casual runner, had run in some 5ks like my friends and I have done over the years or were the star of your cross country team! No one really knew or cared what your running history was – we were all there just to run and have fun! Coach Moody who runs the camp said that Warrior Running Camp was like an old-fashioned summer camp with some running in the morning. He was right. Once we got the run out of the way, we had lots of free time to go to the lake, swim at the pool, play ping pong and card games at the Student Union, work out at the gym, etc. We even got to go to the water park at Cypress Gardens one morning. Every day, we also had two team competitions and each afternoon, we had another scheduled workout – we could do a short run, learn some great core exercises at the gym or learn pool plyometrics. It was great getting to learn some new non-running workouts that I can incorporate into my training and improve my overall running. The hardest part was getting up every day at 6:00 a.m., but once we were up and the music “I’ve Got a Feelin’” by the Black Eyed Peas was blaring in the parking lot, we were ready to go! Every day, we had a choice of a short run (about 4 miles), a medium run (about 6 miles) and a long run (about 8-9 miles). It didn’t matter which one you did or how long it took. Everything was at your own pace which was really nice. This camp is great for a runner of any ability. One thing I didn’t expect was hills (who knew there were some giant hills in Florida??!!) and red clay trails. Now I know why they said to bring two pairs of running shoes – mine were trashed by the end of the week! Another great thing was we never repeated a course – every day was a different route and they were all really beautiful! I am never up early enough to see the sun rise and it was well worth our 6:00 a.m. wake up call to see it coming up as we were running along some neat paths. On the last day, we had the “Great Race!” One of the counselors told us that this would be the best hour of our summers. He was right. Plus, I think the best part of the counselors’ summer is brainstorming and coming up with crazy ideas for the events! The race began with everyone holding a pool noodle (they got their money’s worth out of those noodles) above their heads while running around the football field. If any team member let the noodle go below their shoulders, the whole team had to start over again. This was a lot harder than it sounds! After the lap was completed, the piggy back relay began! Dish soap was put all over the backs of one of the members which made it very slippery for the other member to hold on! Next, I sprinted to a baby pool filled with ravioli. Using no hands, 5 other kids and I had to fish out some ravioli, put them on a plate and eat five of them before passing the baton to the next team member. (Needless to say, I am never eating ravioli again!) Next, two kids from each team had to put pantyhose on their heads (one in one leg and the other one in the other leg) and sprint to the next event which was diving for objects in the deep end of the pool (forks, billiard balls, etc.) One girl even managed to get out a plastic baby pool off the bottom! My next event consisted of four boys lifting me upside down, dipping my hair in paint and using me as a human paintbrush to paint WRC (Warrior Running Camp) on a canvas. After being hosed off, I found out that my team was in the lead, thanks to my teammate who quickly ate a plate full of gummy worms while others were still gagging! Other events included making a human s’more (one guy had marshmallow fluff on his chest and his teammate had hershey’s syrup on his and they had to run smooshed together!), putting your head on a pool noodle, spinning around and then sprinting and finally some wacky eating contests! Warrior Running Camp was the best thing about my summer vacation. I made tons of new friends and my running really improved. I also got some great training tips! I am really glad I went and definitely want to go back next summer. They have camps in North Georgia and Pennsylvania as well, so I may try the Georgia one next time. I would definitely recommend going and Lauren, Rachel and I are very thankful to the Palm Beach Roadrunners for sending us! Molly Triggs, Age 13 **Coach Rick Moody is a former high school and college coach. He now runs the Warrior camps and trains runners of all abilities. He is even training one of his former students for the Olympic Trials for the Marathon. He has a great philosophy which focuses on fun, sportsmanship, team building, skill development, proper progression, nutrition, injury prevention and increased self-esteem. He has expanded his camps to now include baseball, soccer, softball and volleyball. Check out his website at http://www.warr10r.com.
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