Neil running with coach Smith
A few months ago Jenny and I signed the boys up for a 3 day track camp that would be taught by the UNC track coaches along with help from several team members. Neither of us thought that Neil and Evan would suddenly be transformed into 8 year old track stars, but rather our hope was that they would be inspired by being part of that setting. After three days of hard work, my kids blew me and my expectations away.
I had assumed that there would be a wide range of ages represented at the camp (the reality was a bit different). After Neil and Evan, all but one of the campers were in high school. Initially I was concerned; however it turned out to be a huge advantage. A coach or track team member was CONSTANTLYgiving the boys one-on-one help and encouragement.
Evan preparing to jump
With Father’s Day as a backdrop, I can honestly say that I have NEVER had a better parenting moment (or moments) than watching my kids in this environment. This isn’t to say that they were or became gifted athletes, but instead their attitude and enthusiasm were absolutely infectious. The love and genuine appreciation that was shown by the coaches, team members, and other campers toward Neil and Evan was powerful and palpable. When I thanked one of the coaches for the special attention he gave the boys, he remarked, “Are you kidding – they made the camp.”
photo credit brnzwngs
Jenny and I went out to dinner in Durham last night but beforehand we took in a few hours of the Duke Invitational Track Meet at Wallace Wade Stadium. This was a two-day event featuring over 1000 athletes from more than 50 schools.
While we were able to see several amazing races, the strongest impression I was left with was the total absence of spectator and fan support. With many world-class runners (we didn’t watch field events), we expected that the stadium would have been packed; however with the exception of a few family members, it was mostly the athletes supporting and cheering for their teammates. On the positive side, this made it quite easy to get prime seats and to interact with some of the runners.
The races that I was most interested in were the men’s and women’s 400 meters. In the women’s finals, 26 runners ran sub-60 seconds and in the men’s finals 19 runners were able to beat 50 seconds.
I was also struck by several individual performances. In the men’s 3000 meter Steeplechase Ryan McDermott from Duke cruised to a winning time of 8:55.89 (he barely seemed out of breath). And as good as his race was, I was even more impressed by Dena O’Brien, a freshman from the College of Charleston, who smoked everyone in the women’s 3000 meter (regular run, not Steeplechase). Her time was 9:28.25 and she was able to lap several of the slower runners. (Her time was just barely above a 5 minute mile pace – Wow!)
Next weekend is a one day meet at UNC (for local folks). If you aren’t from the area, just look up a college track and field webpage and check out their schedule. Take your family and find someone to root for. I’m guessing that the lonely athletes will greatly appreciate your support.
Here are a few quick comments and several links to things that I have been reading (or watching) recently:
- Yesterday we harvested our first asparagus spear of the season. Yum!
- CrossFit - It was pretty tough to get up and down the stairs yesterday (after two workouts). Clearly I have not been doing proper squats (need to go much deeper). This morning I can actually walk without pain which is encouraging.
- This is probably the most awe-inspiring track performance I have EVER seen.
(hat tip to CrossFit Local )
- Speaking of running – After reading Born to Run, I was hungry for more information about human evolutionary adaptations specific to running. This paper, Endurance running and the evolution of Homo, provides a lot of compelling evidence on the topic.
- Lastly check out Chris Masterjohn’s new article on “Fatty Liver Disease.” Eating high fructose corn syrup (drinking sodas) combined with not getting enough choline (eggs and liver) can produce a condition that damages your liver in a way similar to consuming too much alcohol.