Running camppushes kids

Christy Paul may only be a junior, but she's battle-tested.

The Hood River Valley cross-country star has already earned her stripes among the high school ranks, winning last year's Oregon state championship, but she only wants to get better.

Chalk up another victory.

Paul set a new 5K course record at the Steens Mountain High-Altiÿtude Running Camp in southeast Oregon last week, finishing the all-uphill race in 25 minutes, 7 seconds and leaving many of the state's top high school runners -- including a few college-age counÿselors -- in the dust.

"The camp was really challengÿing," Paul said, "really rugged."

The annual camp is designed for elite cross-country and disÿtance runners, and allows campÿers to enjoy an authentic wilderÿness experience while they run, hike and explore the high altiÿtudes of the Steens Mountain arÿea.

The 5K race was just one event in a series of competitions beÿtween boys and girls tents, each with 18 runners.

"In one race, we had to run 3 miles uphill through sagebrush where there was no marked trail," Paul said. "You couldn't even see the end, and if someone on the team fell, we all had to help them up and finish the race together."

Other HRV girls participating in this year's camp were Caitlin Becker (sophomore) and Emily Meyer (junior). The boys repreÿsentatives were Jon Gehrig (junÿior) and Scott Becker (senior).

Steens Mountain camp offers group and individual instruction in all areas of distance running, with emphasis on performance improvement through motivaÿtional and self-image enhanceÿment strategies. Campers must be willing to adapt to the lack of urban conveniences not found in the outdoors.

"They tried to break them down both mentally and physicalÿly," said HRV cross-country coach Kristen Uhler, who attended the camp along with the runners and assistant coach Rich Hedges.

"The idea is to go beyond what you think you're capable of," she said.

With basecamp residing at a mere 8,600 feet and a 30-mile "orÿientation run" on the second day, this five-day camp no doubt pushed each runner to his or her limit.

Christy Paul included -- alÿthough she admits to having run every day since camp ended. Asked if she would return next year, she said, "It's sort of a one-time experience -- like a small-scale boot camp."

Now that she's gone through boot camp, she's ready for war -- against the Mt. Hood Conference, that is.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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