Hey guys! I’m back in DC after a really fun weekend in New Mexico with Brooks Running and my fellow blog ambassadors!
This is my 5th year working with Brooks as one of their Run Happy blogger ambassadors, and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be part of the team. It’s such an awesome group of ladies, and I always really look forward to our annual trip! They mix up the trip location/focus every year so it’s always fun to try to guess what we’re going to do. Previous trip recaps:
2013: 32 Hours in NYC
For this year’s trip, we got to experience what it’s like to train like the pros! We traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico to spend the weekend at the altitude training camp for Brooks elite athletes, the Brooks Beasts, who are a group of Seattle-based professional middle-distance track athletes. SO cool.
Unlike previous years, this year on the trip we were joined by some additional Brooks influencers/social media ambassadors, so we had a bigger group than usual. It was fun to see a couple other friends and to meet some new ones, too! You can see some of the others who were there by checking #CampBrooks hashtag on Instagram – lots of cool new inspiring runners to follow! :)
We packed a ton into a quick weekend, so I’m going to break this up into two posts. Stay tuned for a recap from the awesome post-event hike I did yesterday with a few of the other ambassadors! And for now, here are the biggest highlights from the Brooks portion of the trip. As always, a huge thank you to Brooks for covering our travel and hotel for this adventure!
1) Running the New Mexico trails!
Probably my favorite part of the trip was on Saturday morning, when all of the ambassadors, influencers, Brooks staff, and elite athletes met up for a trail run! The weather was phenomenal – in the high 40’s/low 50’s with the sun just rising when we arrived. Absolute perfection.
We hit up the Michael M. Emery Bear Canyon trail and split up into varying pace and distance groups. Since we were at over 6,000 feet of elevation, I kept things low key and ran with some of my buddies, chatting the whole time and stopping often with photos. We covered about 3 or so miles, and it was so awesome – no better way to start a day. I wanted to stay out there forever!
Brooks gifted everyone with some super cute “Run Happy” t-shirts, Greenlight running capris (OBSESSED with these and planning to buy them in every color because they are such a perfect fit!), and their brand new Caldera trail running shoes for the occasion!
We all really loved the trail shoes – comfortable and lightweight, but durable and stable, too. I’m going to get a LOT of use out of these – they would be great for hiking, too! They even have a tab in the back to hold down gaiters for those of you that do snowy hikes/mountaineering! :)
2) A track workout with the Brooks Beasts!
When we arrived on Friday our first order of business was a track workout, elite-athlete style! Even cooler was that the pro athletes were our coaches for the workout, leading us in warm up drills and cheering us on. I was so impressed by how friendly and down to earth the Brooks Beasts were – they have lifetime fans in all of us now. :) (That’s Baylee Mires in the green puffy suit below!)
Here’s the warm up that the Beasts led us through – it’s a typical one that they do (this is a screenshot from their phone).
And here’s the track workout we did! Repeat 3 times:
- 3 minutes @ 5k pace
- 2 minutes recovery slow jog/walk
- 200 @ 1 mile pace
- 4 minutes recovery slow jog/walk
It was hard (hot out there since it was about 4 p.m., plus we were at over 5,000 feet altitude) but fun! Did you know that training at altitude increases red blood cells, thereby giving you an oxygen advantage if you compete at a lower altitude? Apparently the optimal amount of time to spend at altitude is 3 weeks, and then it’s best to race 10 to 17 days after you get back down to sea level. We obviously weren’t there very long, but maybe it will still give me an edge at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 2 weeks. ;)
Anyway! For the track workout, Brooks outfitted us in an “altitude camp” branded version of their Pick Up Tank and my absolute favorite 5” Chaser Shorts in a fun new print. I wore these shorts all last summer for Marine Corps Marathon training – they are the best!
We also had the opportunity to try on racing spikes – they felt so weird but cool!
3) Cookout at the Beasts’ house!
On our final night, Saturday, we all headed to the Beasts’ place (nestled in the mountains at even higher altitude) for a fun cookout. It was cool to get to chat more with them – everyone was so friendly! They will be here for nearly 2 months – pretty sweet digs!
On the menu: Mexican-themed burgers (toppings included green chilies and guac)!
We also did a fun energy bar/ball creation competition in teams, judged/taste tested by the pros! My team came in 3rd place, so we were excited to get on the podium. ;) Our balls were 1 cup almond butter + 2 cups oats + 1/2 cup honey + 1/4 cup sliced almonds + 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon salt. They came out delicious!
The rest of the night was relaxing and socializing! Fun to see Brian from Pavement Runner again – it had been years! Also, his selfie skills were on point. Tip: stand a foot or so in front of the others if you’re the one taking the selfie – way easier to get everyone in the frame with no selfie stick required! Genius!
I also had fun chatting with Brooks Beast Katie Mackey – she was so nice! She even let us try out her awesome compression recovery boots – how cool are these?! They felt like a blood pressure cuff!
Finale = enjoying the sunset from the patio.
Great end to a fun night!
I will leave you with one of the things that I loved that we did on the trip. After our trail run everyone wrote down how running (either running in general or that particular trail run) makes them feel, and we posted all the notes on a board back at the hotel. It was cool to see what everyone wrote. Here’s mine! :)
So tell me – why do you run? How does running make you feel?
Stay tuned for my second recap, coming at ya tomorrow!
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