Sunday, June 28, 2009

Brooks ID Camp in Seattle!

I was super excited when I was offered the opportunity to attend the Brooks ID Camp at Crystal Mountain, Washington this summer! I jumped at the chance to spend a weekend running in the mountains with a bunch of people who are even crazier about running than I am! All I had to do was buy a plane ticket and the rest was covered! For those of you who don't know, the Brooks ID Program is a grassroots sponsorship program of runners who help to promote the Brooks brand (oh and we get free gear and awesome opportunities like this camp as well!).

I headed to Seattle on Thursday and was met at the airport by some of the Brooks staff and about 65 other IDers. The group was very diverse. I was one of the youngest and I think the oldest person was 62! I was in awe of all the accomplishments these runners had - running in the Olympic Trials, completing marathons in all the 50 states, college cross country champs, coaches, and more! It made me wonder how I managed to get accepted into the program!

Of course, as soon as we got off the bus at the Brooks Headquarters in Bothell (near Seattle), we laced up our Brooks (of course!) running shoes and headed out for a group run. Seriously, we're talking about people who plan their lives around fitting their next run in - what did you expect?

Next up was a tour of the Brooks office. We learned about all the design and testing that goes into producing Brooks apparel. They even had a sci-fi like laser machine that creates tangible prototypes of Brooks shoes that are beamed from the factories in China, instead of sending people back and forth to check things out. This is just one way that Brooks strives to be green and cut down on their environmental impact.

There was so much planned for the four day camp that I can't possibly write about all of it. We had apparel and shoe preview sessions where we got to hear all about plans for the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 collections, product testing and feedback sessions, team competitions, nutrition sessions, massages (yes!), and even yoga for runners.

Of course there was also plenty of running. I ran possibly the most beautiful trail I've even been on - through the woods along a river. Fallen logs covered with moss, wooden bridges across waterfalls, the total package! It was like something straight out of Runner's World. It's actually the same trail used for the USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships. Of course, such an experience wouldn't be complete without a great running partner. I had some quality time with Laura, who has her own (much more famous) blog, Frayed Laces. To read her account of camp, click here. Also, I can credit her with many of the photos on this post as she was much more diligent about keeping her camera with her at all times!

Can you spot me rocking the purple and teal?

The last night concluded with a fabulous dinner at the top of the mountain at Summit House, Washington's Highest Restaurant. It was only accessible via chairlift - and it was freezing at the top!

It was all over before I knew it! I wasn't ready to stay goodbye and I'm already concocting a master plan to make sure I get to go again next year! Thanks so so so much to everyone at Brooks for making the 1st annual camp such a blast! Also, hugs to all my fellow campers. I definitely caught the eat-sleep-breathe running bug. You heard it here first - I'm planning on making my marathon debut at Chicago 2010!!