Not to be confused with actual birds.
Oiselle is a women’s running and apparel company, owned by women, made for women, sponsoring elite female athletes. The name is a play on words of oiseau (French for bird) and elle (French female pronoun), so there’s a lot of bird-related jokes and branding.
So, Bird Camp, where all the lady runners come to play.
August 11-14 was Great Lakes Bird Camp, hosted at the Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, MI (the most beautiful place in America!) by 44th Parallel Running Company. 44th Parallel is owned by an awesome couple, Jen and Ray (their Instagram is runnerswholovetowine 😀 ) and they lead high school and adult running camps in Glen Arbor throughout the summer. Thankfully, even though this is a running camp, there were lots of non-running activities, so I didn’t feel too out of place. I signed up for this in December, one of many things I signed up for during the winter, thinking I would be healed and ready to go by summer. Ha, wrong.
I arrived a little later on Thursday evening than everyone else, mostly on purpose so I would miss the afternoon run, and also because I needed to get as much of a full day in at my internship as I could before heading out. I think I was the closest to the camp except for one runner, Courtney, who lives in Muskegon, so a 3-hour drive was not a big deal compared to the flights from North Dakota and Minnesota that others had!
Each (early) morning was a group run led by Jen and Ray, at the dunes or in other generally beautiful places around the area. I went on a couple of walks during this time with some other runners who weren’t up to a high mileage or dune-climbing that day. Mid-day activities included beach time, trips to wineries, or visiting Glen Arbor. I think we went to 3 wineries on Friday, including Black Star Farms, where I had been in May with Eben. Evenings were special activities planned by Oiselle or more outings (often to bars to watch the Olympics!).
Saturday morning the whole group of 35 runners participated in the Crystal Lake Team Marathon in Beulah. 5 runners per team, 5ish miles for each except for the anchor leg being a full 10k. I hopped in the giant Suburban loaned to us by one of the camp sponsorship companies, a dealership in Detroit, and acted as navigator, people-watcher-outer-for, and cheer squad for my team.
My favorite part was all the “extra” activities that were planned for us by Oiselle and Andrea and Beth, the leaders. We had one session of body awareness and injury prevention from one of the campers (takeaway: side planks and glute activation are the most important); an info session from elite marathoners Caitlin Comfort and Heidi Greenwood; a gear swap and trunk show of Oiselle’s fall line; and watching the women’s Olympic marathon Sunday morning before hitting the road.
The last night we closed down one of Glen Arbor’s bars (it closes at 9:30pm 😉 ) and when some of the group decided to go back for some much-needed sleep, I went with the rest of the group to another (much better) bar, where we stayed and created a ruckus for a few more hours. I DDed my group back to camp in the giant Suburban, which is seriously twice as big as Fiona the Focus.
I didn’t take too many of my own pictures over the weekend, but there was lots of social media sharing, and one of our runners put together a video, so enjoy!
Coming soon… myocarditis and doctor update!