Pictured: University of New Hamsphire runner Elle Purrier addresses the camp.
On Thursday the campers awoke ready to tackle one of the bigger challenges of the week: the long run. Long runs are a staple workout of most distance runners for a variety of reasons: they increase leg strength, improve the ability of your heart to pump blood, and provide a psychological boost as running for significantly farther than the distance you are racing brings confidence. Though most of our runs at Stowe are on hilly trails, for the long run we stick to the Stowe Rec Path, which works well because it is shady, simple, and most importantly flat. Most of the runners chose distances in the 6-10 mile range, though a few of the more experienced runners opted for a 12 or 13 mile jaunt.
As the campers hopped on the bus to make the quick journey to the start of the rec path, there was a palpable sense of both excitement and nervousness, but the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the counselors was able to reframe the tension into a positive, can-do attitude. Campers were overheard singing together on the trail, cracking jokes, and laughing, no matter what mile they were on. Overall, the long run was a big success and the campers got to enjoy some chocolate milk and snacks at the finish followed by a refreshing dip in a nearby icy cold stream.
After this, everyone headed back to the Round Hearth for lunch and then got to participate in a new edition to Stowe: Stowe’s very own version of Chopped. The day was still young when Stowe Down teams were each given a tray with a variety of ingredients they must use to create a scrumptious and creative dish. The potential was high and as soon as the competition started campers got busy cutting, mixing, furnishing, and taste testing. The different ingredients consisted of jam, red pepper hummus, ritz crackers, carrots, thyme, and gum drops.
The Chopped Competition was won by the Dora the Explorer Squad, who had both an interesting combination of foods and a fascinatingly detailed backstory tracing the origins of the dish to the Roman Empire. This monologue was highlighted by Nick L.’s Italian (accent) and definitely stole the show.
Following the Chopped competition, Harvard University XC and Track Coach Jason Saretsky spoke for the seventh straight year. The topic of Coach Saretsky’s speech was “How to Navigate a Cross Country Season” and he spoke about many of the intricacies of cross country that are often lost when you are in the middle of a busy season. For example, the importance of creating a race day ritual and practicing that ritual even on workout days is something that many high schoolers do not master and it creates a much higher level of anxiety and nervousness on race day. Coach Saretsky also discussed the importance of both creating and sharing training goals with your coaches so that both parties can work together to achieve them.
After Coach Saretsky’s speech, the campers were treated to an excellent cookout dinner featuring cheeseburgers, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, french fries, and a host of other excellent summer foods. This was topped off with some scrumptious ice cream before meeting our second guest speaker of the day, Vermont legend and current University of New Hampshire standout Elle Purrier. Elle was a multiple time state champion in Vermont and holds the 7th fastest mile time in the history of the NCAA indoors (4:29). This was her first year at Stowe and she both inspired and entertained the campers by relaying the story of her meteoric rise to being one of the best athletes in the country. Elle discussed the importance of building a relationship with your coach and how important nutrition is to development as an athlete. She also shared some amusing stories about her times growing up on a farm in small-town Vermont.
After Elle’s speech and a brief break, it was time for the lip sync competition. As always, there was a high level of passion and enthusiasm on display, with the male counselors kicking things off with a rousing version off Year 3000 by the Jonas Brothers. The CIT’s stole the show with an elaborately staged rendition of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” but all of the participants should be commended for, essentially, being willing to get in front of a group of people and risk looking silly for 2-3 minutes. The lip sync was followed by a fun dance and good times were had by all.