A lesson in team building: the 20th annual Mammoth cross country camp

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During the week of Aug. 7-14, 33 members of the Crescenta Valley High School cross country team, coaches and more than a dozen parents took part in the annual Mammoth mountain training camp. This was the twentieth annual high altitude running camp.
The first running camp began in 1991 with six boys and one girl. In recent years this outing has grown to include more than 40 runners. The participants camp out at Mammoth Mountain RV Camp. They sleep on the ground in tents but have access to modern restrooms with showers, plus a swimming pool and hot tub. Unlike the CVHS program, almost all of the high school teams that train at Mammoth stay in condos. The CV coaches believe that the runners get a much better experience by camping as a unit rather than being separated in condos. The outdoor meals together, the camp fires and the team hanging out together in this atmosphere form strong bonds.

A group of parents from the Cross Country Boosters Club work with coach Mark Evans in organizing each year’s outing. The parents are a critical part of the program as they provide transportation to and from Mammoth, move the runners throughout the Mammoth area for runs and other outings, and, most importantly, feed them. These parents give up their vacation time to support their runners and many have made the trip for the three or four years.
Each day began with a 6:30 a.m. wake up call. By 7:30 the runners had eaten a light snack, stretched and were ready to head out for the main workout of the day.  Depending on the ability level of each runner, they ran six to 10 miles after warm up drills. Upon returning to camp, the runners had breakfast prepared by the parents. Following breakfast, the runners head over to Cold Creek to soak their weary legs for 10 to 15 minutes.
Three of the traditional, and for many favorite, runs are Mammoth Rock Trail, repeat miles in Shady Rest Park, and Inyo Craters run. This year, these trails were inaccessible because the road was being repaved.
After a shower, the rest of the morning from about 10:00 a.m. till lunch was usually free time in camp. Some mornings the boys and girls teams met with Coach Evans to set personal and team goals.
Following lunch each day the teams headed out for a recreational activity such as a hike around Convict Lake, to Crystal Lake, or up Lambert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows.
The team would gather after the recreational activity to run over to Shady Rest Park for an afternoon work out. This consisted of agility drills, core-strengthening work and included two to four miles of running.

Upon returning to camp, the athletes showered and settled down to enjoy meals prepared by the parent chefs. Following dinner the runners hung out in camp by a campfire or watched running related movies. Some nights they headed into town for shopping, ice cream, or a relaxing time enjoying each other’s company.  This year the runners were taken up near Minaret Vista to see the meteor showers.
As the Crescenta Valley Cross Country team left camp, the participants were tired, their legs weary, but they were ready to face the upcoming season. The camp drew the members closer as a team while the runners made new friends and are ready to focus on their individual and team goals for the 2010 cross country season.