When my much-more-adventurous-than-I-am hubby and I got married, he introduced me to two things I never imagined I would love: tent camping and road racing (which, let’s be honest, is really “road slow jogging” for this out-of-shape girl).
Although we only started tent camping (I’m sorry, RV people, but I now have to use “tent” as an adjective to qualify the kind of camping I mean because you people in the site next door with your air conditioners and flat screen televisions keep saying you are “camping” — from your places on your Sleep Number mattresses) and running races as a family three or four years ago, both of these activities have quickly stolen my heart — along with the four boys I fall more and more in love with every time we camp and run together.
This holiday weekend, there is NO SHORTAGE of road races or tent camping opportunities. And if you’ve never spent a holiday weekend pushing a stroller three miles with an annoying paper race number pinned to your chest (this lazy girl now makes Superhero 1 push Superhero 3 all three to six miles of every race) or curling up in sleeping bags next to superheroes who will inevitably wake up at dawn with the sun, this weekend is a fabulous time to grab your bug spray and your sense of adventure and GO.
This is why I now can’t stay away.
5 Reasons Tent Camping Rocks My Socks Off (Sometimes Quite Literally)
1. Campgrounds are a fabulous (and super inexpensive) launching pad for local races. At $5-$20/night and the same amount of money in food that we would have spent at home for a weekend, camping’s major cost is just the gas to get there and back, which makes exploring the state (and running a new race in each city) an affordable option. They’re also a great place to recover at after you run a 10K-turned-12K together because you got your son lost on his first six-mile trail race. (Don’t worry, Supersoldier, we’re not sure how you passed land nav, either. Thankfully, Superhero 1, who barely trained for six miles, not to mention 7.6, is easily consoled by large pots of campfire food. We’ll just teach him to numb his pain with campfire fajitas now instead of waiting until college finals week. He’ll be ahead of the game. :))
2. We get a weekend respite from asking the superheroes to use their walking feet and inside voices and frankly, to please not act like animals. In campgrounds, they, without judgment, get to run, climb, yell and play, and live among and mimic the raccoons and nighttime creatures that pop our chip bags with their teeth and ravage the food supplies we forget to lock up at 3 a.m.
3. When we retreat to the mountains (or what people on this side of the country call “mountains”) in nothing but a tent, Supersoldier actually cuddles all 38-degree-warm night long without pulling the midnight ease-the-arm-out-from-under-wife-and-roll-over trick. (Mental note: Continue “forgetting” Supersoldier’s fleece for all future camping trips. Check.)
4. In the woods, we get a beautiful view into the personalities of each superhero. So we can better appreciate Superhero 1’s need to attempt and conquer the task of fishing with perfection while Superhero 3 recklessly frolics and splashes through freezing river water without care and Superhero 2 observes both of his brothers from the banks … as he holds, plays with, baby talks to and then pardons all the worms before Superhero 1 can turn them into bait.
5. We get to unplug. Half the campgrounds where we’ve settled for the weekend didn’t have cell phone service; in the other half, we just pretended like they didn’t and left the phones locked in the car for the weekend. It’s such a gift to turn off the responsibility and NOISE of internet and emails and digital calendars and social media for an entire weekend and keep our eyes fixed not on our phones, but on our FAMILY. It’s the kind of digital detox and mind reset I need in my life regularly. In a tent under a pile of stinky, unshowered superheroes is where I find I can do it best. :)