Kickin’ It with Katie Mackey

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to spend 3 days with Katie Mackey and 17 other high school girls to learn about nutrition, race mentality, nerves, etc. It was a very enlightening and amazing experience that I will take with me into running for the rest of my life.

Day 1:

On the first day we met at the Brooks Headquarters in Fremont (how do I live in such an amazing city?) for a tour of the campus and offices. We learned about the shoe design process and how much thought goes into your favorite pair of running shoes. My favorite part was when we went up to the lab where they test runners to see how they move and what shoes can do to compensate for bends in the feet and upper body movement. We met with two engineers who ran us through the basics and I was seriously geeking out. Side note: I am obsessed with Physics, so meeting with the scientific geniuses at Brooks was so awesome (future career opportunity?…). Afterwards we met at the top of the building for a picture and the view of Lake Washington was absolutely stunning. It is also interesting to note that the Brooks Headquarters building is the 2nd greenest building in the World. Every part of the building was designed to minimize its environmental footprint.

Image result for brooks headquarters

Photo credit: Seattle Refined

At the end of the tour, Katie took us into the “Beast-ro” to give us a surprise. She told us that we could pick out some Brooks clothing and a pair of shoes downstairs! Let that sink in. Free Brooks clothing and shoes plus an inside tour of the Brooks headquarters. I thought I was dreaming. I honestly had so much fun picking out running gear with the other girls and I picked out the new Brooks Launch shoes (which I will review in the future), the ultra-comfy Dash hoodie, the Streaker long sleeve, and the Chaser reflective short. They arrived yesterday and I am so excited to try them out and I am also very thankful to Katie Mackey for allowing this to happen.

After all the excitement at the headquarters, we shuttled over to the Air Bnb to set up our beds and make dinner. I would say food was one of the best parts of this camp because Jess Tonn (Stanford 7-time All-American, and Brooks Beast) is a great chef and made us super delicious and nutritious meals. On Friday we had veggie chili with cornbread made with coconut oil, plus a huge salad that we prepared as a team. Before bed we played “Fish Bowl” as an icebreaker which was competition between two teams where they act out, describe, and identify phrases. Basically a more complex version of Charades. Oh and I almost forgot, we did some tie-dye to some tank tops and let’s just say I better not quit my day job to become a tie-dye artist.

Day 2

I’m an early riser and I was glad to see that some of the other girls were as well because we had a big group for breakfast. After preparing breakfast and getting ready, Katie surprised us with Believe Journals and sports mentality booklets. I have been using the Believe Journal this past year and I have loved it so I was glad to have another one for next year. We drove over to the Brooks headquarters once again to meet members of the Brooks Beasts Track Club. These were elite professional runners that train as part of the Brooks team. Members include Nick Symmonds and Baylee Mires. We had a Q&A that was very helpful because it was nice to see that whether we are an elite athlete or a high school runner we all go through the same struggles and race-day situations. After that discussion we hit the Burke-Gilman trail for a run with the Beasts. Despite the rain the trail was as beautiful as ever and I highly recommend biking or running it for anyone who visits or lives in Seattle.

My hip was bothering me a little so I was glad that our next activity was a visit to InHealth, a clinic that helps athletes prevent injuries by teaching them little exercises to strengthen and loosen prone areas. Afterward my body felt really nice and I will be sure to do those exercises in the future especially since the Brooks Beasts swear by them.

We headed back to the AirBnb to eat dinner and have a sports mentality clinic. The female Brooks runners sat down and told us stories of when they have had a particularly hard time in their running career, The stories ranged from injuries to missed PRs. To be honest I got a little emotional during this because it really hit close to home due to the disappointing end to my recent Cross Country season. But their words of encouragement and accomplishment made me feel a lot better and it was nice to know that they all had experienced the same thing at one point in their running career. I loved how they compared us to “Warrior Princesses” when discussing approaching goals, it was very empowering. Also for those of you wondering what dinner was, it was veggie taco bowls with brown rice, plus Juanita tortilla chips (for those of you who don’t know, these are the best). We hung out and asked them questions about their college days as triple chocolate brownies baked in the oven. It was Katie’s birthday so we sang and ate lots of dessert!

The camp ended the following morning and there was an optional run, but due to my bothersome hip I didn’t want to risk it. I learned a ton from this camp and I loved meeting all of the different girls from schools around Washington. I think that is one of the best parts about running; meeting all sorts of new people united around the love of one sport. A huge thanks to Katie Mackey and all of the Brooks Runners for organizing this camp and sharing such amazing advice and stories. If you live in Seattle, I highly recommend signing up for this camp next year!

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