Chanli Mundy – Oregon Distance Camp Blog
Hello everyone! As you know, my name is Chanli Mundy and I’m a senior who runs for Terre Haute North. Some highlights of my season this year would have to be running a PR of 17:57, being sectional, regional, semi-state champion as an individual and my team, and placing 9th at the State Meet during cross country. My track season didn’t go as well as I planned. However, the purpose of this blog is to share a recent experience that I had. I was fortunate enough to attend the Oregon Distance Camp at Oregon University in Eugene a few weeks ago while the Olympic Trials were going on.
After cross country this year, I was very excited to get things going for track and the summer. I ended up just looking on Oregon’s website just to look at their team and the Olympic Trials that were going to be there in the summer. Then, I came across a link that said “Distance Camp”. I started reading about the camp, and it had talked about it being a week long camp that they were only allowing 50 people to attend. Along with the camp, they were going to take us to the last day of the Olympic Trials. I remember having this huge grin/shocked face and thinking that I HAD to go to this camp. So, I showed it to my parents and they thought I was crazy because it was far away, but I bribed them by promising I would pay for the whole camp. Of course, they didn’t believe me since it was a little pricey, and they thought I wouldn’t have the nerve to save all of my money until the summer. Little did they know how bad I wanted to go to the camp…It sounds cliché, but I’ve always dreamed about going out to Oregon and experiencing the atmosphere of Track Town USA and meeting the team and such. Sure enough, I saved much more money than needed, and I even got them to take a vacation out there while I was at the camp.
Since my season didn’t end so well in track, I was kind of down on myself. However, the camp made me look forward to training and keeping positive thoughts toward some summer training. Unfortunately, we had to drive out to Oregon because the cost for plane tickets was too much. We left on the 27th, and we arrived at my parent’s condo in Lincoln City on the 29th. Trust me, 36 hours of driving was pretty long; however, the scenery was absolutely beautiful. If you ever get the chance to go to the West Coast, do it because it is definitely worth the trip.
The camp started on Saturday, June 30th. I remember when we got to Eugene I could just feel the running atmosphere. We stopped at a café before I checked in, and as soon as we walked in, there was a mural of Prefontaine on the wall. Along with this, every single customer in there was a runner wearing a USATF jacket and Nike running shoes. I can’t even count the number of runners/pedestrians/bikers that passed us while we were eating. You typically find that runners don’t fit in well to the high school scene because the bigger sports like basketball, football, and baseball are more popular. However, Eugene is the perfect runner’s home. I felt like I fit in very well within the first five minutes I was there!
So, I got checked into the camp and met my roommate who was from Oregon. Within the first five minutes of getting into my dorm, our floors already had sat down in the hallway and had a meet and greet session. Going into the camp, I thought I would be the furthest camper to come. That definitely was not the case. Anywhere you could think of a runner living, they were there. Some included California, Texas, Wyoming, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Maryland, Connecticut, Tennessee, and even upstate New York (20 minutes from Canada). It was crazy hearing all of these girls’ running stories, PRs, racing experiences, etc. because they were all easily relatable. Once we finished our little meeting, we went down to the commons to officially meet the directors of the camp and have our first run. The directors of the camp were Coach Andy Powell and Mark Rinker. Coach Powell is the distance coach at the university and ran for Stanford. Mark Rinker is part of the administration of the Oregon Track Club Elite. This is where the post-collegiate runners are like Shalane Flanagan and Amy Yoder-Begley.
After introductions, we went on our “shakeout”, 40 minute run. Little did I know a “shakeout” run was going to be 6:50 pace! Although I did have the fastest PR at camp, the girls there were extremely fast. We all ran the same and had the same potential as everyone there. I remember we ran right by Hayward Field, and I could hear the crowd cheering from the streets. It was so surreal to think I would be going there the next day to watch the live action. After we passed Hayward, we ran through Pre’s Trails which was outstanding. The trail was all woodchips with slight rolling hills in the woods. It definitely was a wonderful place to run. Even though the pace was pretty brisk, I was still looking forward to the next day’s run and experiencing more of Oregon itself with a wonderful group of people.
Sunday: Our run consisted of a 2 mile warm-up, 2×1000 repeats, and a 2 mile cool down. Again, we ran on a nice wood chip trail that was exactly 1000 meters. It was a wonderful trail because it was marked every 100 meters, which made it seem much shorter than what it was. On our way back from our workout, we walked to a high school track. We walked past Coach Powell who happened to be coaching/standing with Matt Centrowitz. No big deal or anything, but he would be competing in the 1500 Olympic Trials that evening. And I would be in Hayward Field watching.
After our run, I basically was getting hyper for the Olympic Trials. We walked over to Hayward around 2:30 and just seeing all the fans trying to get in was amazing. I have to say I have never been to a place so spectacular, and I still wasn’t in Hayward yet. We walked around the streets where the festival was for a bit and went to the Nike shop. Let’s just say the festival was crazy with display of running shoes, autographed jerseys, pictures of Olympians, etc. Once we got into Hayward, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thousands of fans in rows upon rows of bleachers, the greenest grass and brightest track you could ever see. It was really the most surreal thing I have ever seen. We had seats at the 300 mark which was perfect to see people kick into the finish. The events that were going on while we were coming in were the long jump and the javelin throw. As soon as we sat down, the whole stadium was starting a slow clap for a long jumper which was pretty cool. It was amazing seeing these athletes get their energy from the crowd going crazy. The 400 meter hurdles and 200 meter finals were going on as well. The crowd’s excitement just made me even more excited for the 1500 finals. Once the women’s 1500 started, I had these butterflies in my stomach and was in awe by what was taking place. I was thinking to myself, “I want to be here someday”. Just seeing the girls gut it out to the finish was amazing. They all had worked so hard for so many years for this moment, and only 3 would advance to London. After the girls’ race was over, the prestigious guys’ race was under its way. I could tell the crowd was really waiting for this race to begin. The three guys that I was cheering for were Matt Centrowitz, Andrew Wheating, and our very own Andy Bayer. It really was anybody’s race until the last 400 meters. The crowd was off of their feet the whole race screaming for these guys. Although Bayer did not advance, I was proud to say I lost my voice for him. He really did an amazing job and couldn’t have represented Indiana better. Good job Andy!
Monday: The morning run consisted of a 7 mile run, which was sub 7 minute pace per mile, and the evening run was a 20 minute shakeout run. In the morning, we ran on the Amazon Trail which is a paved trail by a lake. Although the run was pretty tough, I got to have a great conversation with one of the counselors that ran at the university. She gave me some great advice about training, college, racing, and basically anything about running. After the run, it was nice to be able to do some yoga/core workout with another counselor before our next run in the evening. The shakeout run in the evening was just a nice easy run through the streets of Eugene and on another trail. It was nice being able to run on all of these different trails in the community to see everything that the city had to offer. Perhaps the funniest thing at camp happened at our dinner that night. The girl who placed 2nd in the 400 meter hurdles in the trials happened to stop by our dining hall. One of our counselors asked her for her number, got denied, and presumed to ask if she was American. Remember, she did just compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Yes, I felt embarrassed for him.
Tuesday: This workout was probably the hardest I have ever done to be honest. We did 6 hill repeats up this mountain. The whole loop was about 800 meters, but the hill was a straight shot up 400 meters. We ran these continuously which was tough as well because you barely had time to catch your breath. Gasping for air, I finished strongly. The last 3 repeats were very, very painful but the after feeling was amazing. After our morning workout, we lounged around a bit before our evening run. We met in the courtyard before our next run and the director said, “Okay, let’s go to Hayward”. For him, it sounded normal, but for me, my mouth dropped. I was informed now we would be meeting at Hayward for all of our workouts. No big deal. Just walking on the track towards the bleachers was awesome. The track had this spring to it when you walked on it and you just knew it was special. Before we ran, we had a guest speaker who was Pat Tyson. Pat Tyson was Prefontaine’s roommate at the University of Oregon and he now coaches at Gonzaga.It was really cool listening to his stories about Pre and how just one person has influenced his life forever. He described Pre as not being as arrogant as people made him out to be, but rather, he was inspirational to everyone and he always looked out for others before himself. He also advised us not to be caught up into the movies. Basically, those are 80% not true. Although if you are going to watch one, watch “Fire on the Track”. Little does anyone know, Pat Tyson is still a stud himself. At his age now, he still wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and runs for 90 minutes no matter the circumstances. It may not be very fast, but he still does it which counts in my book.
Wednesday: This day was kind of a down day for we did a 30 minute recovery run in the morning and plyometric drills/stretching in the evening. Nothing too special happened on our run besides running on Pre’s trails in Eugene which was still awesome itself. Since this was the fourth of July, we went to the indoor football stadium to play some ultimate Frisbee and watched fireworks. People were slightly fascinated by my ultimate Frisbee skills, but our team unfortunately didn’t win. Watching the fireworks was really nice because it was a special bonding time with the people there, and it is definitely a holiday I won’t forget.
Thursday: This run was my favorite out of the whole week. We did a 2 mile tempo run on the trail we ran our 1000 meter repeats a few days prior (it had an extra loop for the mile). One of the other campers and I had planned to run a 6:50 for the first mile, then 6:40 for the second mile. We ended up going 6:15 for the first mile and 6:00 for the second mile. You can imagine how much of a confidence booster that was for both of us. After that workout, we ran back to Hayward to run 3×200 meter stride outs. Those stride outs will be ones I will remember for the rest of my life. Just running on Hayward was just something I can’t describe. The atmosphere was perfect, and I can’t imagine how it feels racing there with thousands of fans. I remember I was basically smiling while I was running which was priceless. As amazing as this sounds, our evening run was with Pat Tyson up to Pre’s rock. Pre’s rock is a memorial the community paid for to have where his crash site was. Pat took us on a little tour to show us different historical areas that Pre was known for and such. He took us to the house Pre dropped Frank Shorter off at right before he had crashed. If you have seen the movie “Without Limits”, the pull-up bar that Pre uses in the movie was there. Once we got to Pre’s rock, it was slightly emotional. Just seeing the actual spot where a legend that has inspired all runners was surreal. I will never forget the feeling of touching the rock he had crashed in to and just feeling his presence. Pre still lives within all of us today.
That was my last night in Eugene sadly. Leaving that place was very sad for me because I easily had the best week of my life there. Learning new things every day, meeting new people, running on Hayward Field, meeting Matt Centrowitz and Pat Tyson, running to Pre’s rock…it all added to the wonderful experience I had. The camp has opened my eyes to runners around the country rather than just in Indiana. Also, it allowed me to look forward to my upcoming season and my future seasons to come positively. I will always remember what one of the counselors told me: “follow your dreams. Anything is possible if you work for it. And if you want it bad enough, go for it.” Yes, it sounds cliché. But it is true. If it’s your dream, go for it because there are no limits to your potential. That message, along with the experience I had, is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
I want to thank you all for allowing me to share my wonderful experience with you. The words can describe what I experienced, but actually being there was just surreal. I’m truly blessed to have been able to witness it all. I hope you all enjoyed reading! I would also like to invite everyone to my website www.stopchan.wordpress.com . I write blogs on there about running so you should check it out! I wish the best of luck to all runners gearing up towards this season, and I hope you all have great summer training.