There are countless aspects of the camping trip that bring back fond memories, and I’ll touch on some of the main ones that have really stuck. First off, the overall natural atmosphere of the park is incredible. The campsite is nestled within a luscious forest, and is only a short stroll from the immensely beautiful Lake Bemidji. The collection of trees and various other plant life also makes the place smell great. There had never been many other campers present, and it always felt like the Central cross-country team owned the place. As a matter of fact, it sort of felt like I’d temporarily joined a commune of friendly runners out in the beautiful wilderness somewhere, something I may one day pursue again.
This camp worked wonders with the social ties of the team. Spending the week with my teammates in such close proximity allowed me to learn about people I likely would have naturally failed to associate with. It was incredible to watch as previous conceptions of teammates I’d had throughout the summer shattered as I found out about their true nature. This process of social bonding was prompted by activities such as campfire discussions and competitions, but the overwhelming factor came from the simple fact that I was working my ass off with these kids for an entire week, and nothing seems to pull people together quite like a wonderful massive shared effort.
While the training during this trip was tough, I can honestly say that I have only fond memories of the workouts, side cramps and dehydration included. Something about the before mentioned natural atmosphere of the location just makes you want to connect to the natural surroundings, and what better way to do that than running through the woods like a wild animal twice a day? Also, my relationship with my teammates around this time of the summer always began to pick up a slight competitive edge, as we were just getting far enough into training to start to size up each other as to who would be earning the larger portion of the team's glory during the coming season. This emerging competitiveness always resulted in teammates pushing each other, and we would soon find ourselves voluntarily putting in more mileage and striving to maximize our speed workouts. I believe that this spark of energy that emerges during camp each year is an incredibly significant factor of the Knights historically finding success in distance running.
I could go on this beat all day with reasons as to why the camping trip has been enjoyable for me, like how food will never taste as good as it did during two-a-day training, or the excitement of crushing Coach’s team in the frisbee finals (ok actually we only won by 1), but I’ll just go ahead and try to wrap this thing up by saying that these camping trips were massively fun, and managed to slip in some valuable life lessons and best friends along the way.
GFC Cross Country and Track & Field
GFC 800m Record Holder