My friend Margaret returns as a guest blogger to share a new twist on reaching the “runner’s high” feeling. What’s her secret? Adult summer camp! Read below to learn about her magical adventure and how you can get involved too!
Guest Blogger: Margaret Chapman
Do you remember running through the trees, feeling the complete joy and freedom of summer camp knowing that you had zero responsibilities and your only task was to stay awake long enough to make s’mores at the campfire? As adults, we don’t get that opportunity very often. For me, I feel it some with running. When I’m out on the trails for 1-3 hours, it’s like a little vacation from reality. It’s my meditation and I definitely feel like a kid sometimes – picture the Friends episode where Phoebe is running in Central Park with her arms and legs flailing. I do that, sometimes, just for fun.
What if you could get that childlike feeling again (but with the benefit of no real rules and curfews)? Guess what? You can! I have! This year was my third time attending adult summer camp. And not just any “adult retreat” where there are no under-18s around. This one takes your phone, your Fitbit, your name and your title. You pick a new name (I’m Polly Wanna Cracker). You don’t worry about time or status or making work connections. CEOs sit next to recent grads and they both learn the careful art of friendship bracelet making. The most important part of your day? Deciding whether to spend your morning participating in water sports or making sun carvings. Do I take a nap or go join that Frisbee game that just got started? It’s one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve ever had.
I know Sallyann’s blog is focused on running – and you can do that there, too. There are trails and fields, plus a bunch of other sporty activities to choose from. But for me, this seemed relevant because it’s one of the few times where I have found the thing that normally only running endurance events gives me – a true high on life. You know that feeling when you hit something around mile 4-5 of a half marathon? It’s the time where I’m over the “why did I decide to do this again” mindset and entering the “omg this is incredible, I feel invincible” one. Imagine having that for three days! I’ll admit – the first little bit of camp for me still falls into that “why did I decide to do this again” place. I’m not a fan of dirt; I don’t like sharing showers and bathrooms. But then, by the first night I’m at mile 5 again and I’m singing along to campfire songs while toasting marshmallows. This year, in a true moment of “vulnerageousness” (a camp term for being vulnerable and courageous), I participated in the camp play. We literally wrote it one afternoon and performed (mostly as improv) later that night. The amazing part of that whole experience was the feeling of unconditional support from all my fellow campers. So what I forgot a line or made up some stupid accent? They loved that we did it and put ourselves out there and were ready to give us a standing ovation no matter what.
I know it sounds crazy – and maybe we all are for going back year after year. But, I had to share this experience with everyone I could. It’s meant so much to me to learn, grow, and push myself way outside my comfort zone. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend trying an adult summer camp. You’ll make friends for life, learn things you never knew you wanted to know, and understand yourself a little better.
Want to join me next time? There’s another one coming up in August just a few hours from DC in Massachusetts. Three suns, two moons and countless stars await you at Camp Wonderful. Come run through the fields and jump on the trampoline with me!
Join me at: www.campwonderful.com.