Flashback to... Under Armour Run Camp
Back in October, three members of the HR Family - Alison, Jesse, and Terria - were chosen to take part in Under Armour's Run Camp 2016. 35 runners were selected to spend time in Death Valley, which is located in Eastern California and is known as one of the hottest locations in the world... Let's just say it is a long way from Harlem. You can read about Alison's experience here... And what was it like for Jesse and Terria? Read their recaps below!
As I prepared for my first experience at Run Camp, I had no idea what to expect. I honestly thought it'd be competitive amongst the runners and that I would be writing a check I couldn't cash lol. The first day was tough, as expected, but very scenic and beautiful. All I could think during the first run was how crazy it was that I was actually in Death Valley!
At the end of the first day, I was taken by surprise when I found out that I'd be camping out for the night in Death Valley. I felt like a fish out of water and thought about how much of a liability I'd be to my group, since this experience was new to me. However, that's when the bonding happened and I got to know these fellow runners who later would become my family throughout this experience. Some had camping experience and made the transition easy for this city boy lol. We had a very knowledgeable survivalist, Kellie Nightlinger, who taught us all we needed to know about how to survive in the desert. Having her around was very cool and made us feel at ease.
The second day started off with morning yoga while watching the sun rise, which was so beautiful. We then went back to camp to prepare for the final run, which we all knew would be the biggest challenge to come. It was hot and I think we all immediately felt like we'd be in for a rough one. We took a final group stretch and then we were off. The first few miles were manageable but when I got to the second half I was feeling the dry heat and tried looking for anything that would indicate how close I was to the finish line.
It seemed like the road was never ending and every time I ran up on an incline I hoped to see something up at the top but I just saw more roadway, which felt like a spirit-breaker. Doubt began to enter my mind on whether or not I was worthy to do this challenge... but I just kept running. I would have to find an inner strength that I haven't tapped into in a long time to finish this run. And even though it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, I did it.
After we all finished the run it was so cool to have so many runners from different parts of the world and walks of life come together. Looking back on Run Camp, we all bonded and created memories, all surrounding our sport: running. I was inspired and motivated by everyone's story and what led them to come to run camp. Throughout that weekend I found new strength in myself and a new love for running. I learned that progress isn't achieved without breaking limits and I think we all became encouraged to go to places you don't normally go, because that's how you expand your horizon. Never settle for anything and always choose the path less taken because the reward is much greater.
Under Armour Run Camp was one of the most inspiring experiences I've been a part of. Surreal, amazing, incredible..I honestly can't think of a better way to have challenged myself.
I went into Run Camp focused on physically making it through. I wanted to survive the weekend and do my best to excel in whatever physical challenges run camp would throw my way. It certainly did challenge us all, what with 4AM day starts, the unknown element of each day's events, dangerous wildlife, runs of unknown distances, and literally no clue as to when you'd next have a chance to use an actual bathroom. We pushed through all of that though and it honestly made me realize what I am capable of successfully adapting to when the situation calls for it.
For me, the greatest moment of that weekend came after all the physical challenges when I spent time talking with the other runners. Finding out the individual, incredible stories of everything they've done, and being hit with the realization that I'm here too. I am one of these incredible athletes.
I made it through the weekend adapting to things I never envisioned I would need to. A weekend of challenging firsts accomplished. Was it difficult? Absolutely. Did I get through it all? Yes. I did. Without a doubt, I left Run Camp realizing that I'm more capable than I give myself credit for and the only thing holding me back is whatever limit I set for myself.