Pictured: The start of the famed tempo run at Stowe on the Quiet Path.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Tempo Tuesday. Taco Tuesday. Try to eat as much Ben and Jerry’s as you can Tuesday. Tuesday at Stowe Running Camp contains as many activities as there are alliterations involving the word Tuesday.
The day began with a brief breakfast. For some campers, a small bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch greatly benefits their tempo run times, for others a banana does the trick. Whatever the preference, campers boarded the bus ready to fulfill the Tempo ritual part of Tuesday. As much as the routine at Stowe has changed over the years, the one thing that has remained constant has been our Tuesday tempo runs. This versatile, quintessential cross country workout is as much a part of the Stowe Running Camp experience as the Round Hearth itself and though it has taken place on many different surfaces throughout the years — the hilly fields around Stowe High School, the bikepath, even Stowe’s dirt track— the workout itself has remained largely unchanged.
Instead of quieting as the bus neared the Stowe Quiet Paths where campers were to complete their run, the energy levels rose. Counselor Emily Sessa led the group in a rendition of the new SRC anthem– one side of the bus would say HEY then the other would say HOO before everyone joined together to say STOWE ON THE GO.
The effort exhibited during the tempo runs was extraordinary. Campers worked together to reach their target pace, encouraging each other on every step of the way. The reward of a cool ice bath in the nearby river helped everyone recover and cool down after a hot morning on the paths. Waiting for them back at the round hearth was a hearty lunch complete with all food groups. Many campers ate out on the lawn which by this point was sunny and warm.
The hard work continued in the afternoon with an activity new to Stowe Running Camp called strength assessment. In the past campers had the opportunity to learn many new strength and core activities however, this year campers received more individually focused instruction. During the afternoon campers went around to a variety of different stations doing everything from squats to pushups to vertical jumps. There was a counselor at each station who took notes on the camper’s form and watched for certain skills. Counselors then compiled this data and made note of several activities that each individual camper could benefit from doing. This information was sent to campers in the week after the camp.
Upon the conclusion of the strength assessment, many campers made their way down to another nearby stream for their second dip of the day in the chilly Vermont water. Others chose to get in extra mileage on the bike path.
After such a full day of work and excitement one might wonder what was left for the campers to do. However, the most exciting part was yet to come. After campers wolfed down their tacos and got dressed in their Tuesday best, they embarked on a journey to the ice cream capital of Vermont, the legendary Ben and Jerry’s factory. If you are reading this and don’t know what Ben and Jerry’s is, I instruct you to immediately dash to the nearest supermarket to find yourself a pint of the magical goodness called Ben and Jerry’s. Only after you have tasted the best ice cream in the world can you relate to the feelings of joy and happiness that campers experienced Tuesday night. One young camper even went so far as to get 4 scoops, one beyond a large. Although the cone and ice cream combined was taller than his face, he didn’t regret a single lick. Students arrived back at the Round Hearth that night with full stomachs, happy hearts, and of course the traditional picture in the cut out faces of Ben and Jerry.
The night’s festivities continued with the finale of Family Feud. Team Hannah Montana ousted the Kardashians, only to get beaten by the counselors in the next round in an impressive display of useless knowledge. The campers then went their separate ways, some exhaustedly marching to bed while others stayed downstairs to get in a couple rounds of Scattegories or one last conversation recapping the day.