This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of helping coach at Team RWB's Mountain Goat Running Camp on the banks of the Nueces River at Camp Eagle. Team RWB is all about the old adage of "give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime." There are already organizations, charities, and the VA that provide monetary support (i.e. free fish) for veterans. Team RWB re-integrates our veterans into society through communal athletic challenge (i.e teaching how to fish). Many veterans that get into trouble miss the structure, community, and athletic lifestyle that they thrived on in the military, and that’s why Team RWB is so special: it unlocks the talent, skill, and heart in our veterans that helps them be active members of society.
Veterans and civilians sign up on Team RWB's website and chapters are set up in different areas of the country. A chapter leader organizes the group and sets up events. Team RWB is challenge based through various physical events and camps to test and encourage veterans to stay active and step outside their comfort zone. I've personally found a lot of community, challenge, and accomplishment in ultra running and it's no surprise that the organization is so encouraging of participation in the sport.
Though one might think that volunteering with an organization like this is selfless, it really isn’t. Selfless would imply that one is doing something without receiving anything in return. The fact is that I received a ton of inspiration in the 3 days I was there from the multitude of stories of adversity and persistence. Our troops represent the amazing potential in America, and every moment I spent with them, I found more reasons to believe that we are advancing despite all the bad news televised daily.
Eric lost his leg in Iraq. He’s running on a prosthetic and eager to try a 50k next year. Another woman had a concussion and was in a coma for 3 months in which she woke up 100lbs heavier with diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. She’s started running and losing a lot of the weight she gained. If anyone deserves a chance to run, these veterans do. The camp staff that I was with had a wealth of experience and knowledge, and we passed on hundreds of tips and tools to enable the campers’ training. The 100+ attendees went home motivated with ample nutrition, training, and technique information. I went home learning a bit more myself, and feel enthused with pride from the experience.
When you see a veteran at a race, don’t just thank them for their service, encourage them and run with them. Talk to them a bit and you’ll probably get inspired.
Oct 22-28: 81 miles, 16,800 ft.
-7 day total from Oct 23-29 was 92 miles, 19,000ft. Spent some time on the AC course, but fell a bit short on my CR ambitions for Wrightwood-Islip in 4:35. Ultimately the past 3 weeks of strong tempo/long runs wore out my fast twitch muscles.
Oct 28-Nov 4: 50 miles, 7,500ft.
-I needed the rest, and I took it in conjunction with Katie’s race at Ozark 100. She won, Panda FTW!
Nov 5-11: 65 miles, 11,200ft.
-I had some pretty good tempo runs during the week. I didn’t know what the weekend would be like, so I front loaded a bit on the week. Turned out that our workouts at the camp were mostly intervals and I ended up doing a lot more speedwork demonstrating/coaching technical, downhill, uphill, and speedwork.
Escort remix of RAC's "Hollywood" is awesome running music. I don't drink Mountain Dew in liquid form, but I do enjoy the audio form: this song is a FREE download on Green Label Records.