This past weekend I had the honor and privilege to attend a training camp in San Diego with 40 other amazing women from Team Betty. This was not a camp that was put on specifically by Betty merely a group of women who decided they wanted to get together for some training, fun, love, laughter, and togetherness.
We spent the weekend exploring San Diego on our bikes, on the road, and in the pool all while throwing in some hot tube time and a lot of laughing. After what has been a bit of a long winter here in the Pacific Northwest I was very much looking forward to spending some time in the sunshine, and San Diego did not disappoint with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s with tons of sunshine. It is amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for your energy, attitude, and overall well being. The second I stepped off the plane and felt the warmth of the sunshine it instantly lifted my soul.
Before I go into all the awesomeness that we did while in San Diego I want to share a little something, a little insight so to speak to me. Going to this was a massive step outside of my comfort zone, being in large groups is very overwhelming for me, and while I was very excited to go it took a lot of self talk, prep from family, and reminding myself that I can do this. My husband often jokes that I am a 1-8 kind of person, and I have been a homebody for as long as I can remember - not even being able to stay the night at friends houses until I was about 16-17 as I missed my mom and dad. I get better as I learn about people and become acquainted but that first time is really hard for me. I am a fairly extreme introvert and have always been the person who likes to sit back and observe rather than talk and when I do talk it can be fairly quiet and short. I have improved a lot over the years but was reminded very much this past weekend that I am still working on it.
Not going to lie I really struggled mentally at camp. It had nothing to do with the amazing women who were there it was merely the extreme focus it took for me to stay comfortable outside my comfort zone; there I was 27 years old and straight up missing my mom and dad (thank goodness for technology allowing me to call them). It seems a bit silly to even sit here and write down that I was homesick, and I pray that my fellow Betty's didn't take me personally. My quiet merely came from the struggle to stay comfortable outside my introverted shell. It is why I often had to go do a few things on my own as I needed that decompress time to struggle through my emotions, feelings, and in turn talk myself back into not being shy.
As I sit here almost a week later I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this as it did exactly what it was supposed to, force me out of my comfort zone and get the chance to really see me. I have to say a huge thank you to my dear friend Anna as she kept me from stepping back into my shell completely. She allowed me to complain, be sad, gave me a hug when I needed it, and most importantly she didn't judge me for my feelings but allowed them to be what they were and helped to keep me upright.
The beautiful thing is that BettyEpicCamp became more than just a time to train in the sunshine it very quickly became an emotional and mental strength builder for me. It forced me massively outside my comfort zone and reminded me of a couple of things that sometimes you take for granted:
- Friends are amazing, they can get you through anything.
- Being outside of your comfort zone is a good thing, it helps you grow personally.
- You are always stronger than you think you are.
- There is an extreme joy in being surrounded by love, support, friendship, and motivation.
- Life is a crazy beautiful journey that sometimes can be bumpy but always turns out amazing.
- There is something amazingly special about this group of women and I was beyond blessed to have a chance to share a weekend with them.
I think my list could go on and on, but I won't bore you with my emotional and mental struggles any more. I appreciate you all allowing me to share this with you, and now back to the awesomeness that was Betty Epic Camp.
We arrived Friday night to pick up our rental bikes from Nytro Multisports, they were amazing. Very helpful and patient with all of us as we all came in basically at once and all needed something a little bit different. After picking up our rental bikes we headed over to the Betty house to get settled in and go for a light evening jog... well Anna and I ended up just going for an evening walk which turned out to be beautiful.
Saturday morning we got up, yes I had to get up and moving to ride much earlier than normal - for those that know me know that I don't usually get my workouts started on the weekends until about 11am or so, and got ourselves ready to head out for our first ride of the weekend. Oh my gosh it was a beautiful morning and I was super excited to ride outside for the first time since Ironman Arizona. There was a running joke around a lot of the Pacific North westerners that the last time we did anything outside we got a medal.....
It took a bit to get used to riding with that much traffic. While they had amazing bike lanes you were right next to all the cars and all I could hear in my head was the epic crunch of metal on Kayla that happened back in July. We did some serious climbing during this ride, I think we calculated about 4,200 vertical in about 50 some miles. This was awesome for me as hills have become a strong suit for me but oh man oh man could I tell we did some hills afterwards.
After our ride we headed straight to the pool to spend an hour swimming, in an outdoor pool!!! While most of us got at least a 30 minute swim in it also turned into a really fun photo shoot, cause hey you have to document it!!
That evening we all met up at the second Betty house for dinner and some talks, including hearing Julie Moss's story. She is amazing, her story gave me goosebumps and just made me want to go out and go for a run. With Kona coming up this October for me her story really struck a cord with me.
By the time 8:30 pm rolled around I literally could not keep my eyes open, our room became known for the girls that would sneak off and head to bed. In fact Anna and I tied for the ones who slept the most this weekend. Hey, a girl needs her beauty sleep!
We woke up on Sunday with some fog that had rolled in off the ocean, it was beautifully eerie. Due to the time change we pushed our ride out an hour. Today we headed out towards the ocean and road out on the ocean side. A group of us broke off and headed out to Camp Pendleton, this ride was a riot! With a group of about 8 of us we went out there and just hammered away, fast and furious for a seriously amazing 60 mile ride. It was as though we were each feeding off each other.
As mentioned above there were a couple of times that I needed to go off on my own and just be me for a little bit. So after our amazing ride I went out for a bit of a run in the sun. I turned my music up and just soaked up the pounding of the pavement, sweat pouring down my skin, and the sunshine seeping into my soul. It was very much needed.
That evening was filled with so much love and laughter words don't give it justice. We spent the evening talking, learning, and just enjoying being around like minded motivated people.
Monday was a bit of a crazy day as we had to get ourselves packed up, house cleaned up, and headed over to go to the Betty photo shoot. By the time Monday rolled around I hadn't had coffee since Thursday and was in desperate need of some, so instead of running I went out in search of Starbucks.
After getting everything packed up we headed over to the Betty photo shoot all dressed in our badass epic gear. When you put us all into a room and lined up for the photo the power of it was unbelievable. Here were somewhere around 40 women who all love, support, believe not only in each other but have learned to do so about themselves as well. The strength that pours from these pictures, and from each other is undeniable and honestly unstoppable. I am so blessed and honored to have the privilege to join side by side with these women.
Betty Epic Camp you were exactly as your name describes, EPIC. Epic, for me, in more than chance to grow just a little bit more and gain a little bit more strength but for the chance to meet my idols each and everyone of you.