Sonoran Distance Project Flagstaff Running Camp

It has been a roller coaster few months. I have started seeing a new physical therapist and things are finally clicking (and healing). I prefer to focus on the positive and looking forward rather than back over the last several months of dealing with hamstring/glute injury. I felt as if I was living in the space between doctor visits, mri, x-ray, treatment, etc. and now the grey clouds have lifted. I have been able to run every other day 5-7 miles with no pain for a few weeks now. I was so blessed that Coach John arranged a running camp up at his cabin in Flagstaff for the Sonoran Distance Project Team this summer.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining my Sonoran Distance Project teammates (most of them) at running camp in Flagstaff. He owns a rustic cabin up in the cool pines of Flagstaff at 7000 ft elevation and much cooler temps than Phoenix in the summer. Susan “The Legend” Loken and I drove up together. We arrived just in time for Tanaya’s awesome yoga class. Great way to stretch out after the drive. After yoga we headed out for a quick 4 miler. Meals had been divided up and I have to say we had some awesome food the entire weekend! The cabin has no electricity (gas-powered stove and frig) so we hit the beds pretty early since it was dark before 8.

New meaning to downward dog

New meaning to downward dog



Hops helping Susan relax and breath.

Hops helping Susan relax and breath





Saturday we headed out from the cabin for a variety of distances. This would be my first time running 2 days in a row in months. I was excited and nervous. My teammates graciously turned around at 3.5 mile so I could run 7 and hopefully add 1 more around the meadow if I was feeling good. The cool weather was fantastic. There were rolling hills and I could definitely feel the elevation. We were excited to have Janet , 10,000 meter 2012 Olympic team member. She shared her story of coming from Kenya to run in college and her transition into a professional runner. She is an amazing runner and fantastic story-teller. I loved hearing the story of the Vidalia Onion race where she set the course record, won a bag of onions and cleaned out the race organizers collecting the prize money she won. I look forward to watching her progression.

SDP girls with Janet.

SDP girls with Janet.

Janet sharing her story.

Janet sharing her story.

Following Janet’s talk and lunch we had an opportunity to work with the different committees we have set up for Sonoran Distance Project. We are really trying to promote our group and obtain sponsorship as well as give back to our communities. We had some amazing ideas and I look forward to seeing the growth of our team. Our team is very dynamic in many ways: age ranging between 25-51, some former collegiate runners, med students, stay at home parents (that’s me), health coach, nurse, professional runner, and the list goes on. We all have the same collective goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. The school teacher Arianna came out as she whipped out her large poster sheets and smelly markers! All the more fun to create with.

Natalie and I were proud of our poster for the marketing committee.

Natalie and I were proud of our poster for the marketing committee.

Saturday afternoon we had games of skill (or chance). Pull-ups at the horse corral, archery, egg toss. The past year and a half I have battled tendonitis in each elbow and really have not done much upper body strength training. I was shocked to see I could barely muscle up a pull-up. Time to hit the gym! Our pull-up team champion was Natalie (former gymnast of course) and Coach John beat us all. The archery was pretty interesting since most of us have not used a bow and arrow before. I was happy no one shot a person or dog. Autumn shocked us all with her archery skills. Playing the egg toss in the meadow meant we did not have to clean up the mess!! We had a fantastic taco dinner that night. This was  followed by some celebration cupcakes in honor of the newlyweds Amy and Jesse. The evening was capped off with a game of “Would you rather?” we decided we need to make a runner’s version for next summer.

Natalie cranking out the pull-ups!

Autumn looking like a pro.

Autumn looking like a pro.

struggling with my pull-ups.

struggling with my pull-ups.


Sunday morning John arranged for us to meet with a group of runners that train in Flagstaff. There are many elite runners training/living in Flagstaff with 7000 ft elevation and good weather much of the year it is ideal. We had an amazing group, wish I had a chance to meet everyone but did talk to a few girls. I was hoping my 3rd day of running in a row would be ok. I was so excited to have a pain-free 6 mile run!!

Flagstaff long run. The best of AZ runners!

Flagstaff long run. The best of AZ runners!

Overall it was a fantastic camp giving us a chance to bond and run together. Did I mention it was about 40 degrees cooler than Phoenix? yeah that was nice too!

Next up: Oiselle Running Camp in Bend, OR August 13. Very excited!!! Running is going well and I can’t wait to visit with all the Oiselle girls!


Need a tax donation for this year?? Want to support up and coming elite runners?? Our team has our 5013C status. Click here to make a donation

Check out our facebook page and our twitter


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelly LeCours
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 10:50:14

    Love reading about your experience! Happy to hear things are moving in the right direction for you. I look forward to seeing you, Susan, and Carrie (as well as the rest of the ladies) qualify for the trials!! BTB!!


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