The positive energy was almost tangible on the morning of the first full day at the Round Hearth. As evidence of this the vast majority of the campers willingly showed up for the extremely early optional morning run. Some of the more adventurous runners headed up to Wiessner Woods for a jaunt through muddy and hilly trails, while others stuck to the Bike path. After breakfast, we hopped on a bus to the Stowe Motel fields, to begin correcting form and introducing speed development drills. With the front and side-angled cameras rolling, each camper took a turn striding across the field. This footage was later critiqued by Dan Flynn to help fix egregious form imperfections, such as overstriding, and poor arm carriage. We ended the session with a series of strides, each one focusing on a specific aspect of good running form, such as the fan favorite pounding the ground, jiggle face, and quick turnover.
The afternoon saw a return to Foster’s watering hole, where the campers ran into some early issues when a group of rogue bees began wreaking havoc on the community. Camp director Fran Cusick arrived to a scene of disarray with campers and Stowe residents alike fleeing in terror from the blood thirsty insects. The campers established an uneasy truce with the bees in order to enjoy the serenity of the ice cold water. We were also entertained by our previous furry friend, Oscar the dog, who spent a good 30 minutes hurling himself into the water chasing after a stick, to the delight of all present.
(The bee story has been slightly embellished for comedic effect)
We got back to the Round Hearth and went for our second run of the day to shake the legs out and allow for campers to build up their weekly mileage. Later that night, we had a discussion in anticipation of the next day’s tempo run. A tempo run is a “comfortably hard” effort, usually done at about 80-85% effort, or 15-45 seconds slower than 5k pace. It’s a tricky but highly beneficial component of a successful runner’s training plan. After the speech, the campers worked with their counselors to determine their tempo pace, a somewhat tedious but necessary task. We went to bed dreaming of tempo runs on the dirt Stowe track.