Sunday, March 13, 2011

How Harve and Sean Got Their Groove Back

The following is based on actual events that involved a few guys I met and later became friends with. I changed their names and added a few things but the gist of this whole account is true.
Harve and Sean were runners in the Buffalo area who had alot of success at the local road race scene. It was not uncommon for them to win or place in the top 5 of most of the races they entered. Both had graduated from college a little over 3 years prior to my meeting them. A mutual friend had invited them out to Chesnut Ridge Park on a Wednesday evening for one of the Stotan trail runs we did.He did this in part because Sean and Harve had told them how bored they were becoming with the local racing scene.They had both even considered training for a marathon just to sort of create a new challenge or interest. I laugh now when I recall Sean telling me that he was a little concerned about doing the trails because he was running the Subaru 4 miler the following week and didn't want to risk turning an ankle. I told him the only way he was going to get injured was if he allowed himself to be come preoccupied with being injured,and,if he followed to close to the runners ahead of him thus limiting his view of the terrain ahead. Since I knew that even on the trails they were would be running fast and strong, I told them to go out and stay behind Stotans Yac and Jason. I'll always remember passing Sean towards the end of the 45 run,he looked flushed and somewhat drained. However,when we finished and got back to the casino a familiar thing occurred,something that always happened when runners did their first real trail run,they were for lack of a better word,exhilarated by the run. They talked at length about the sections of the course,how they felt going out and coming back.Over a few beers I told them a little about Cerutty,what he taught and advocated. They became totally psyched. I then said if they wanted to they could borrow my copy of Athletics:How To Become A Champion but they absolutely had to get it back to me within a week.Being somewhat paranoid about losing the book I also told them it was out of print and had cost me close to a $100 dollars on Ebay. Well,about four days after lending them the book,Sean came over to my house and handed it back. He told me that they both had read it and had gone to Kinkos' and made a copy. Sean said that when he read the part about the Stotan philosophy that said," The mastery of the true self and the refusal to permit others to dominate us is the ultimate in living,and self-expression in athletics," he knew this was something for him. Then when he read,"My Stotan philosophy is based on communication with nature,this communication takes place when the person sleeps under the stars at night,hears the birds in the morning,feels the sand between his toes,smells the flowers,hears the surf. Nature can bring the mind and body into perfect harmony and balance with the universe. This is one of the factors that allows the athlete to reach new levels of excellence," Sean said he knew he had found what he was looking for. He then described being totally "fried" and sick of twice weekly interval workouts and running the same old routes.He said that if it was possible, Harve was even more into it than he was. I then suggested they go to the Virgil Mountain Madness with us to do a 21 mile race that is run on the Finger Lakes Trails around Dryden,N.Y. Because both had to work he said they couldn't go. I asked when they had a weekend where they could. To make a long story short as they say,I arranged to have them go up to the Virgil race site from Friday evening to Sunday late morning. The plan was to camp in the woods at the Hauck Hill campsite and meet with a runner I knew from the area who would run with them over the trails. This campsite,at the time, was near the start of the trail races held there. To say the site is primitive would be an understatement.
Pt.2, Off to Virgil to be posted later today.

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