Tales from Camp… Dirt in Your Skirt Training Camp


DSC_0058 (2)Camper Notebook:  Dirt In Your Skirt Camp

Melanie Blenis

“I had the privilege of attending the inaugural year of Dirt In Your Skirt camp hosted by Margaret Schlachter.


At camp, I was off grid, for sure.  I had no idea that places in the U.S. still existed that are so backwoods!  It was so crazy for all of us campers to not be able to check in with our families and or jobs.  Some of us had spotty coverage but that was just frustrating.  So…we all just put the phones and Ipads away.  Funny, by the end of the week, nobody cared anymore.  In the evenings, we actually sat and talked to each other, made eye contact and listened to each other’s voices.  I think this has contributed to why we all feel such a strong bond.  Amazing lesson in that.

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The Adirondacks are majestic.  The lake we were on on is called Forked Lake but referred to by Margaret as ‘the healing woods’.  The only sound at night: loons.  Yes, they sound crazy – like a wailing child.  The weather was cold or cool and clouds, rain and sun came and went in nifty 20 minute transitions.  We took layers off and put them back on all day.  We swam.  The water was 65 degrees…COLD.    Fifteen very different women from all over the country with varying life circumstances.  The youngest of us, 26.  I was the oldest at 45.  About a third were over 40.  Though different, we are all the same.  No drama.  No judgement.  Just support and encouragement.  And…no one thinking our running or our fitness plans are crazy, over the top or that we are pushing too hard.  Imagine.  The power of like minded souls cannot be over stated.


Our week included fantastic food. No small feat as our fearless leader, Margaret, was charged with accommodating so many palates and diets (paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, soy free and food allergies).  But, alas, all were happy.  Homemade bread, everyday, was the star!

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Our activities included obstacle course training and techniques, circuit training, running, agility, balance and more.  We had impromptu discussions on all things racing, nutrition, and fitness.  And, we swam.  Several girls had anxiety with open water swimming.  Part of the program was talking through those feelings and easing into the transition from fear.  Though, I am happy in water, that discussion was a lesson of compassion and led to great support from the group for those that needed it. Beautiful.


DSC_0025 (1)The ‘cabin’ is homey and inviting.  Playing music on a phonograph was a new experience for some!  It was fun to flip through the hundreds of albums at night as someone built a huge, crackling fire.  The  house smelled of warm bread and fire.  Ahh.


We also got a massage!  Such a treat for my weary and tired body.  With the door to the lake open, the breeze added to the experience.  I only wish the massage had been longer.  Always.


Our week culminated with a real obstacle race.  We ran through the woods, over rocks and logs, up and down hills and swam.  There was a log carry, cinder block carry, spear throw, rope climb, over-under-through, log hop, and more.  It was sheer delight.  Nothing makes me feel like a kid as much as running through the woods and playing. I highly recommend it.


Each lady camper added to the experience.  I left with 15 new friends.  It is hard to explain the bond I feel toward my fellow campers.  I truly look forward to seeing them at events and races.  I also am excited to watch them as they continue on their individual paths.  Amazing.”

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Dirt in Your Skirt 2013 Camp with special guest Chris Davis


Want to join us for the 2014 camp? Check out our website for more information on the 2014 camp dates, and pricing.

2014 Dirt in Your Skirt Training Camps



Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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