Friday, October 12, 2012

Reflecting On Two Seasons Of Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp

Things came at me so quickly in August and September this year: the combination of moving from Juneau back to Boulder for the school year and coming down with health problems at this same time didn't allow me the time to reflect on the second season of Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp. With my life slowly seeming to come back to "normal" I finally feel like I have the space to recap what was another incredible summer of camps.

When I came up with the idea for these camps I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know if this would be something that people would want to do, and if they did choose to do it I had no idea if/what they would get out of the experience. I still feel like there are some things about camp that fall into the "unknown" category, but after having now completed 6 sessions I have been amazed at how satisfying, worthwhile, and valuable these camps have been - both to me and seemingly to everyone who has come to take part.

It's actually hard for me to find the words to describe what the experience of these camps has been. Each camp has been very different from the others, but the one common theme of all the sessions has been that there have always been so many great people with very open minds. Running in Juneau is very different than running almost anywhere else in the world. For virtually every participant the unique aspects about running in Juneau have been challenging. I don't think there has been a participant yet who has ever run somewhere quite like the running we do during camp. This could of course go really badly. People tend to like things that they understand. However though, people tend to learn the most when they step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves. To some degree I think this kind of growth has occurred in everyone who has come to camp. Seeing the smiles on people's faces when they complete a run that they never thought they could do has been one of my favorite things about these camps.

Another thing that has been more enjoyable then I ever expected about these camps has been all of the non-running moments. Getting to know so many new people and spending time at the cabin sharing stories, recounting the days run, playing games, eating and drinking. In short, just getting to know so many unique people has been such a pleasant "side effect" of these camps. I've always been a firm believer that people are inherently interesting, intelligent, and fun to be around - and that when they don't come across in this way it's usually a result of the specific circumstance under which we're interacting. I feel like these camps have done so much to solidify this notion as every person who has been at camp has been interesting, intelligent, and fun to be around.

There are of course aspects of these camps which feel a little bit like work, but for the most part doing these camps feels like being on vacation. It's basically the greatest job in the world and I can't wait to do it again 3 more times in 2013. Check out the camp website if you're interested in joining the fun.

Also, if you are interested in coming to camp in 2013, but are hesitant to sign up now because of the health issues that I've been dealing with, I recommend signing up now to guarantee yourself a spot. I am feeling better and better each day, and am more confident than ever that I will be back and running strong well before next summer. However, should my health necessitate the cancellation of any camps you would receive a 100% refund of all fees paid, including the deposit. In other words, if you want a spot for next summer I suggest signing up soon, as nearly one third of the spaces are already filled up for next summer.


RJDavis09 said...

Hey Geoff, I wish you the best in your health and comfortable recovery. If there is one person out there that can overcome this, it has to be you! Keep treading on man, you got this. Hope to see you out there crushing the trails again soon. -R. Davis

p.s. i'd love to come to your running camp and I'm looking into it.

Martin Criminale said...

"People tend to like things that they understand. However though, people tend to learn the most when they step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves." Nice.

I'm just getting into this activity called ultra running and have found that I do the best when I expect the unexpected. Yes, it's a cliche but to be able to enjoy a sudden weather change or deal with adversity seems key to having a good time.

Thanks for the inspiration and good like with your recovery.

mindful mule said...

Beautiful photos. I'm even attracted to that table of food and folks! Peace&Love&Healing. jonah

Unknown said...

I'm more of a triathlete but reading this really made me go to that dreamy state. *sigh*... Will try it one day I'm sure. Looks like such a beautiful place..