Stowe Running Camp 2019: Day 4

The campers woke up a bit tired and sore from our Tuesday tempo run; however, there was no loss of enthusiasm as we headed to the Trapp Family Lodge for our first activity of the day. The campers got back into their running groups and hit the trails of the “Trapp House.” Despite the considerably hilly nature of this route, good times were had by all and everyone emerged healthy and happy to head back to the Round Hearth for breakfast.

Post-breakfast featured some down time followed by more of our tournaments, including Spikeball, Cornhole, and Kan Jam. Spikeball emerged as a camp and fan favorite, as it’s fast paced play and teamwork are entertaining to watch. Get this game on ESPN! Camp director Fran Cusick gave a brief speech about tomorrow’s long run, explaining to the campers about why this particular run is such an important staple of a distance runner’s arsenal. 

After this, we had a lighter lunch in preparation of our afternoon pool workout. Before this, though, the camp was delighted to welcome back frequent Stowe guest and 2012 Olympian Ruben Sanca. Ruben has been speaking at Stowe Running Camp since 2012 and talked to the campers about the importance of hard work and goal setting. He also answered some questions and told some humorous stories, including his infamous workout in the snow which left him unable to walk after 20 plus grueling miles.

 

After Ruben’s speech, the campers headed to The Swimming Hole for two sessions: one group would participate in aqua-jogging in the pool, another group would tackle yoga on the lawn outside the pool. Both groups took to their respective tasks with aplomb and despite the challenges that each endeavor presented, approached it with an impressive level of enthusiasm. It was especially impressive on the yoga front, as several campers claimed to have “achieved a Zen-like state.” Whether they truly reached this mythical state of being or were simply asleep is a matter of debate; however, it can’t be argued that both groups had a great time and learned some important tools to help supplement their running. Kudos to the second group (the young-guns) for continuing with their yoga despite the rain. 

Once back at the Round Hearth, our primary activity of the day was the Mr. and Mrs. Stowe pageant. This is always an entertaining spectacle and this year did not disappoint as we saw and listened to some uniquely talented individuals. Tyler S. stole the show by drawing a map of the United States from hand, prompting one camper to exclaim “wow, he knows every line.” On the girls end, Sierra F. took home the crown while displaying some impressive hula-hoop/macarena skills. 

All in all, it was a fun albeit busy day and the campers hit the hay tired but excited to attack the long run the next morning. 

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Stowe Running Camp 2019: Day 3

What is tired, sore, but smiling with flushed faces?

That would be SRC 2019 campers after their tempo Tuesday workout!

Tuesday at camp is tempo day. Campers travel to the nearby “quiet” path to run 2-3 miles at tempo pace. The quiet path is a grass loop approximately a half mile in length that winds around cornfields. Campers took this opportunity to dress in their very best with several American flag shorts and Hawaiian shirts blessing the trails. Feeling accomplished from a hard effort run, campers ice bathed in the local creek to help their legs recover.

Following a hearty refueling lunch at the Round Hearth, campers boarded the bus to travel to a swimming spot new to Stowe Running Camp— Bingham Falls. This local gem has many spots for ice bathing, jumping in, and swimming along the river. The water was a bit chilly, but no doubt refreshing after a tiring morning!

The afternoon centered around many Stowe Games competitions including Bonk, a classic Stowe game where you try to move a wooden ball in the middle by rolling marbles down a ramp set in the corner of the board.

The tempo challenge of the day may have been over, but another ambitious challenge still awaited many campers— the infamous Vermonster challenge. While many campers look forward to the Ben and Jerry’s trip to get a nice milkshake or try out a new flavor (any Pucker Up sorbet takers?), others prepare for 20 scoops of ice cream, four toppings, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. This absurd mixture, so large it is served in a bucket, is called a Vermonster. Shoutout to the Littleton + Kate team that conquered that mountain this year. Campers savored their ice cream, spending time looking around at the factory’s fun facts and attractions as well. Unfortunately the rain prevented the annual flavor graveyard viewing this year, but it could not hamper the good cheer and ice cream joy!

P.S. Check us out on Instagram @stowe.running.camp to catch a few pictures from this week of fun!

Stowe Running Camp 2019: Day 2

After the early morning wake up call, campers woke up for their first early morning run at Stowe. Each running group decided whether to go up to the Weisner woods or the popular bike path. Camp director Cusick took a group up to the woods, getting them lost along the way, but luckily later finding their way back. Everyone came back from their run feeling strong and hungry! The Round Hearth greeted us with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, fruit, tater tots, and eggs, quickly devoured by the campers.

After some free time, Rebecca Schubert, an experienced long distance hiker and nutritionist came to speak to the campers about what diets can entail peak performances and the importance of a healthy sleep and hydration routine. The campers found it beneficial and asked many intriguing questions.

Director Cusick gave a knowledgeable talk about how to correctly run a tempo run, which helped inform campers on how to pick a tempo time with the help of their counselors.

Then, the greatly anticipated game of Capture the Flag finally came around. The camp got split into age groups, the older kids went to work on strides first while the younglings played the game. At the stride area, counselors helped identify form weaknesses in the runners, giving them helpful advice on how to improve. They worked on form, stride cadence, knee driving, and relaxing the body. Did you know its easier to run if you smile? The groups later swapped activities to enjoy both stations.

The rest of the night was filled with free time. Most of the campers could be found outside practicing for their Stowe games competition including games like spike-ball, can jam, corn-hole, and nukem. Other campers walked down to the river to get a refreshing ice bath, before coming back to enjoy a great dinner of shepherds pie and a dessert of triple chocolate chip cookies.

Then the big game of the night came round, Family Feud! We started with twelve teams and in the first rounds, quickly eliminated six. The finalists passionately defended their answers, eventually with one team coming out on top: The Telemarketers! Campers then played board games and hung out before (most of them) went to bed early to rest up for Tempo Tuesday!

See if you can figure out some of these popular Family Feud Questions! Answers will be included in the next blog post!

  1. Where do kids spend most of their time these days?
  2. What are reasons why people would be running?
  3. Reasons why people are late?

Stowe Running Camp 2019: Day 1

It’d been 355 days since the wooden benches and spike ball sets of Stowe had felt the familiarity of their favorite running camp participants. During the year, SRC (Stowe Running Camp) campers had occupied themselves with running, school, traveling, family time, and other pursuits. Really just filling the days before the next week they would spend in Stowe.

Nevertheless, as soon as the campers walked through the doors of the Round Hearth today, they picked up the same pool sticks, volleyball balls, and hooks (ask a camper about the famous Hook Game) and were immediately right back where they left off last year. Campers returned for their second, third, or fourth year at camp and some counselors are even approaching a decade long stint at the Round Hearth. First year campers were quickly welcomed and included in games of Nukem, Frisbee, and other yard games. Hugs and instant smiles were exchanged and campers were soon shuffling off their helpful, but suddenly forgotten parents.

After campers settled into their bunks, they readied for their first run in the beautiful hills of Stowe. All 85 campers (SRC’s biggest crowd in the history) then went for their first run at the local Stowe High School. There they found muddy trails, ran along rocky ridges, and galloped through fern filled fields. A relaxing (but hilly!) run was followed by an energizing hip/strength circuit (thanks to our strength coordinators Rachel Sessa and Meghan Davis).

The ritual ringing of the dinner bell attracted all campers to enjoy a refueling meal of spaghetti and meatballs. Following dinner was the beginning of the annual Stowe Games. The theme this year is professions. This year’s creative bunch came up with names ranging from heart surgeons to running coaches to lifeguards to marriage counselors to telemarketers! Groups developed skits and posters to represent their teams and then performed them in front of the entire camp. The skit winner— team McDonald’s Worker— put on a particularly humorous performance featuring Makayla, Grace M., Shaun, Mike, Cody, Ellie, and Julliet!

The first place poster award went to the Lifeguards team of Lily, Garret, Annie, Tyler, Matthew, Sarah H., and Lauren!

The campers are now headed off to bed to rest up for Monday Madness tomorrow!

What to Bring to Stowe Running Camp

Greetings campers! With Stowe Running Camp fast approaching, we thought it would be helpful to send out a list of things you should bring to camp. Being away from home for six plus days is a nerve-wracking experience, and the anxiety created by not knowing what to pack can make for a fretful few days before camp begins. Therefore, this list should help set you mind at ease!

Essentials

-AT LEAST 2 PAIRS OF RUNNING SHOES

-Multiple pairs of running shorts/t-shirts/socks to last you six days

-Sheets or sleeping bag

-Pillowcase (pillow optional)

-Personal hygiene items (toothpaste/toothbrush, soap, shampoo)

-Towels (3-4)

-Bathing suit(s)

-Sandals/Flip Flops

-Personal water bottle

-Sweatshirt/jacket (it gets cold at night)

-One non-running outfit …we have a dance on the last day. You don’t need to be dressed to the nines but may want something different than running clothes.

-A small amount of cash…for use at Ben and Jerry’s or vending machine. 20-30 dollars is sufficient. 

-Phone/Phone Charger

Good To Have

-SNACKS! We provide plenty of food, but if you have a favorite snack bring it with you. 

-Rain Jacket

-Any type of board game that you enjoy (make sure to label it with your name)

-Sunscreen

-Sunglasses

-Book

-A plastic bag to put your dirty clothes in.

-Any props you might need if you are participating in the Stowe pageant. 

-Febreze to spray the room/your dirty clothes. 

Final Thoughts

Please note that we do not have laundry service available at camp! So once you wear something, you will not be able to wash it. A few other tips about Stowe Running Camp:

-You really don’t need to bring a laptop. Every year, there are a few kids that bring them thinking they will “get work done” while at camp. It rarely happens, so save yourself the headache and give the AP work a break for the week. 

-As mentioned above, I would highly recommend that you bring snacks with you. We will provide food, but you are going to get hungry and you may not like the snacks that we have available! Last year we had fruit snacks (Motts and Welch’s…one of those options is clearly superior), pretzels, granola bars, and a few other things and people got hungry and bored of those snacks very quickly. We bring more snacks this year, but the best way to ensure that you have the food you want is to bring it with you!

-In terms of entertainment, we are always looking for new board games to try out! Typically we have Scattegories, Taboo, Catch Phrase, Apples to Apples, and a few others. If you have something that is good for a group, bring it along! Make sure you put your name on it though!

-Sports equipment: we have multiple sets of Kan Jam, Spikeball, and Cornhole. We also have numerous frisbees as well as a volleyball net.

I hope this list has been helpful! If there is anything on here that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments or via direct message. Thanks for reading and see you very soon!

-Coach Cusick

SRC 2019: We Are Very Close to Selling Out!!

Hi!

Camp director Fran Cusick here. We are in the final stretch of registration for Stowe Running Camp 2019 and I wanted to offer a few thoughts. First, for those who have already signed up, congratulations!You are going to have a great time at Stowe from August 4th to 9th. For those who haven’t registered yet, it is really, really important that you sign up as soon as possible! Here’s why:

Based on trends from previous years, our numbers typically spike in the period right after the end of school. For most school districts, that is right around now! We currently have 12 open spots, but those are going to be gone faster than a gallon of chocolate milk after a group long run. So if you plan on doing Stowe Running Camp and have not yet signed up, head on over to our website, click on the link that says “Register Now” and get this process in gear!

Some of you may be wondering why we would need to put a cap on registration at all. It’s a good question and truthfully, it’s going to break my heart if we do have to turn people away who really want to go. However, we are unfortunately limited by the physical space which we occupy at the Round Heart. That means that we can only fit so many people into the building without creating major issues. So if you’re going to register, do your best Matt Boling impression to your computer and get signed up! If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should attend the best running camp in New England, read on as to why I think this experience is worth it.

The first thing I want to mention is that we have a great staff of counselors who are going to work tirelessly to make the camp experience the best it could possibly be. Almost everyone on our staff attended Stowe Running Camp as a camper so they know they know what makes the camp great and what needs to be improved upon and they are endlessly thinking of new and interesting ways to do just that. They are also talented and passionate runners who have compete at the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels and are a valuable resource for those trying to navigate the oftentimes choppy waters of high school athletics. Our staff is superb and are a huge part of why the experience of attending Stowe is so amazing for so many kids.

I also believe that what separates SRC from our peers is that we do a superior job of balancing the rigorous aspects of training with the fun and enjoyment of a summer camp. I will acknowledge that this can be a challenge and you’re never going to please everybody! There are people that want every minute of every day scheduled and programmed. There are others that would be content with a loose, ramshackle plan that only tangentially touches on running and consists of hanging out all day in between meals. The vast majority of people are in between these two poles and finding the balance between them is something we do really well. This is not to say that we have refined this process completely, as we are constantly tinkering with our approach and making changes to push the camp forward. But from my experience with other running camps, we do this part really, really well.

I could ramble on about how great the camp is, but I would ultimately suggest that if you’re torn on whether to attend, look through our blogs to get a sense of what our camp has been like in the past. Check out our Facebook or Instagram pages while you’re at it. Still unsure? Shoot me an email at fcusick13@gmail.com. I’d be happy to talk with your or answer any questions you have about our camp. Just be sure you do this quickly, as we are going to sell out real soon!

Until then, happy running.

-Coach Fran Cusick

 

Stowe Volleyball

Running Camp and the Passion Paradox

Stowe Blog Pic

Greetings! This is camp director Fran Cusick. The spring season is upon us and I want to wish everyone reading—parents, prospective campers, friends of the camp, enemies of the camp perhaps—the best of luck this outdoor season. If you’re reading this, you are most likely from the northeast region of the country, and if so I hope you are enjoying manageable weather.

On to the blog post (does anyone actually use the word blog anymore? It it outdated? Am I getting old?) at hand. The fact that we are in mid-spring season means that summer vacation is peaking around the corner. Before we know it, the school day grind we all know and love will be replaced with…whatever it is you people do over the summer. Presumably vacations, trips to overcrowded beaches, scalding hot car seats that burn your leg when you sit on them, gutting through a 10:30 long run because you decided to sleep in, etc.. It is a glorious time of year where possibility and promise are as common as sweat and awkward tan lines. For me, the feather in the cap of the summer season for the last eight years has been Stowe Running Camp. I’m hoping that after reading this post, I can explain why and motivate you to sign up for a week long trip to Vermont that could make a significantly better runner and person.

One of the best books I’ve read this year is called The Passion Paradox by Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out, as it completely remade the way I think about the concept passion. In the book, Brad and Steve talk about both the positive and negative aspects of this oft-used word. Going all in on something you love, spending most of your time obsessing over it, working hard, are generally considered positive attributes. But clearly there is a dark side to this, a point where enjoying an activity crosses that thin line into obsession, where love for the activity turns into love for the results that spring from said activity. This line is wildly apparent in the running world. For a light hearted take on what happens when a passion becomes an obsession, check out our video “Don’t Be A MIleage Maniac” on what happens when GPS watch usefulness turns into a nightmarish hellscape of Garmin-induced paranoia.

There are plenty of other examples of this. I’ve seen athletes throw temper tantrums when they don’t PR, despite running great tactical races. I’ve seen coaches berating kids for not executing their race plan and costing the team a few points. I’ve seen and heard parents yelling at coaches for not running their athlete in a certain event or not training them properly. All of these things spring from what is fundamentally a positive place: the desire to perform well. However, it can be a dangerous path.

Running camps have a tendency to exacerbate this problem. For kids who really care about running, being placed at a camp where, ostensibly at least, their sole purpose is to run can lead to some issues. It’s not a shocker that many double or triple their average weekly mileage while at camp, or that recovery and shakeout run turn into epic hammer fests with each kid trying to “win.”  At Stowe Running Camp, we are very aware of the problems associated with this mindset and we do absolutely everything we can to foster the exact opposite of that. We want to grow athletes’ passions, but in a healthy, positive way, one that leaves the athlete with a more positive view of the running community than the often cutthroat one that can be engendered. We have found that one of the best ways to create life-long runners is by fostering a community of like-minded individuals. Because ultimately, when you look at back at your running career, it is unlikely you will remember what pace you ran for your tempo run on August 7th or how long your long run was or how many miles you averaged in your senior year of cross country. What you will remember is the people that helped you, the teammates you endured with you, and the friendships you made along the way. At Stowe, you will leave the camp a better runner and with a better network of people to draw support from, so when you cross paths with a Stowe alum on the trails or  tracks of this region, you’ll know that they  will be rooting you on.

Thanks for reading, please visit our website here to sign up for Stowe Running Camp on August 4th to 9th. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact me at fcusick13@gmail.com.

Happy running.

-Camp Director Fran Cusick