Monday, October 10, 2011
Raw Dogs,Living the Stotan Life,pt.2
The following is part two of a previous article entitled,"Raw Dogs,Living the Stotan Life." Part one was posted last month on September 19,2011. As I mentioned in the previous article a member of the Raw Dogs had called me recently and we talked for quite a while about what has been going on in our respective lives. What he revealed was fascinating,as well as encouraging. Frankie,as he likes to be called,said that in 1999,he and six other members,as well as one wife and two girlfriends,left Dryden and moved out to Boulder,Colorado.Working from notes I took at the time,Frankie recalls: "we figured that was the place to be, it was supposed to be the Mecca for distance athletes. We hooked up a place to stay with the idea that we would get something more permanent after we got more familiar with the area. I'll never forget the first time all of us walked into a section of Boulder a day after we arrived. It was like realizing you had just made the worst mistake of your life. Looking back on it I can laugh but it was anything but funny at the time. For those who haven't been there, Boulder represents the worst aspects of what happened to the hippie movement. There is this pervading preoccupation with the self accompanied by crass commercialism under the guise of being hip or should I say being a hippie?You know what I mean, things like girls in organic cotton peasant dresses that cost at least $15o+, guys wearing $130+ Birkenstocks,16oz coffees going for close to four bills. There was every kind of weird ass religion,guru and philosophy you could imagine,they had as many yoga places as they had bars in Buffalo and you know how many bars there are in Buffalo. The worst part though was that we weren't getting a very friendly vibe from the locals,especially some of the runners. When we went into a couple of the running shops to get ideas on places to run I got the distinct impression that many of these people thought we were just a bunch of rubes (translation by me: hick,bumpkin). Domenic went off on one guy at a shop when the guy suggested that he probably wasn't ready for the kind of terrain he and his buddies ran on. You remember how Dom is,we had to walk him out of the place he was so pissed.There was a fairly brief period where we were all very discouraged. But, what did Cerutty say? These obstacles are part of the process and can be overcome, inevitably making us better people and athletes. So from the first week there we decided to make the most of it while looking for a place that was more suitable for the Stotan life.We soon found the trails and did some great training runs,we got temps jobs, "the professor" hooked up a per diem gig that really helped us get through it all. Two of the girls did the waitress thing,we were in pretty good shape financially. After six months we found a place not too far from Boulder in a town called Pinecliffe. It's about 8 or 9 thousand feet above sea level, we are on three acres of land with a huge house that, to put it kindly, needed repairs. When we first got there the bathroom was a shack in the backyard,how do you think that went over with the girls? But we had the option to buy and buy it we did as soon as we could,once again,thanks in large part to the professor. This area is heaven, we've got access to trails and the Golden Gate State Park and all that surrounds it. We are redoing the house bit by bit because the focus continues to be running and living the Stotan Way.We've developed a garden that goes a long way towards taking care of our food needs,we've even been able to sell some of it. It's all organic,uncertified of course. The beauty is that we pool our money to meet various needs,if someone doesn't make enough cash then there are things in the house and garden to do which cover their lack of funds.There is minimal bitching because we are all working towards the same thing and the option is always there that you can leave. The beauty is that we don't view things the way "the world" does,we are not hung up on having lots of stuff. Among other things, we want to achieve physical excellence in the way Cerutty taught,some of the guys have done Pikes Peak,others have run Western States as well as various mountain and trails races.We all have specific running goals and we are all working together to achieve them. Two more of the old gang want to move out here but we have to put up some kind of additional housing,temporary or permanent, or we'll all be living like rats in a box. Of course we continue to work on the The Stotan Manual: A Guide To Stotan Training and Living. It's now at 500 pages but almost done except for revisions on certain sections.Think about it,we've been working on it for 8 years,8 years! The professor is contacting various publishers with little success so far. A rejection notice feels like we've accomplished something,at least they've gotten back to us. The question I keep asking the professor is, do you really think that publishers like Human Kinetics or Rodale Books are going to publish such a book? We keep telling him to contact the smaller indie publishers but..... As far as the name Raw Dogs,we've dropped that and gone back to calling ourselves what we are,The Stotans." In closing I asked Frankie what the families of the members thought of what they have done and the way they are living, he said: "some thought we had lost our minds but a few of them didn't think that way after they came out for a visit. I mean think about it,what are the alternatives? Become a breadhead,buy lots of things like cars and toys,live in a house you can't honestly afford while telling yourself over multiple alcoholic beverages that this is the life? All this while watching your body deteriorate because you made the wrong choices your priorities? I don't think so! That's a lot of what we get into in The Stotan Manual. People have to realize that there is a better way and Percy Cerutty revealed the way a long,long time ago. Because of the way the world is today,his message is more relevant in these times than it was back then." You've got that right Frankie.