TRS Days 5 and 6: Good ol' Woodstock

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I can’t lie. I was ready to go home. Then I woke up at 7 a.m. and heard the pouring rain and thought to myself, “I wonder if they’d actually let us skip Woodstock.”

By now we would have heard Bart Sessa’s raspy Long Island accent breaking through the speakers outside calling out “Good Morning campers” in true Camp Candy fashion. (Click here and think of Bart as Counselor Candy) But so far, nothing. Just rain. So I went back to sleep. An hour later, there was his voice, calling us out of our cabins and out to the soaked camp grounds and dark clouds, waiting to dump the sky’s worth of water on our heads.

On Friday we met to tie dye shirts for the run to Woodstock today. It looked like madness to us when my cabin got there. Everyone was dunking t-shirts, painting, stuffing them in giant white plastic bags. We all looked at each other with faces that said, I don’t know if this is a good idea. The concept was this: Imagine 300 people running to Woodstock in tie-dye shirts. It would be like a really weird parade. Which was the best part. But then we saw the paint staining people’s hands. We were Cabin 1. We had to at least pretend we were too cool for this. So we decided to keep our t-shirts white. Indifference always makes you look cool.

So we cut up our shirts. We ripped sleeves off, tore them straight down the middle and wore it as a vest, anything to dress it up. Then we wrote “Never Dye” on the back and some of us drew the number 1 on the front. Forest’s made his political alliance to Lil Wayne by printing “Free Weezy” on the back of his shirt. Myself, Bernard England and Aaron Ghobrial made headbands from our sleeves and wrote the slogan for the weekend: “Got Booty lock?”

I knew I shouldn’t have run with Cabin 1. I’ve been running with them but only once a day. Just for the second run which is always a slower recovery run. Before we left I made sure to say, “Hey guys, I’m only asking that you don’t leave me.” The run to Woodstock is 3.5 miles. I knew they were running back and I wasn’t so I was only asking from them to hang with me for half their run. We waited for every other cabin to leave. That was the first thing that should have warned me that we were about to run pretty fast. We passed at least four cabins before we even got off campus. Then we hung a left and the group took off. Twenty seconds later they were fading in the distance and I was running by myself, still way too fast, trying to hold on. I knew it was a bad idea but I did it anyway. Thanks Cabin 1. I hate you all.

I blew by a couple more cabins. Cabin 1 was long gone. The rain was coming down.  I knew I was running too fast but I refused to back off. The rain soaked into my shirt and my legs were getting just as heavy as my clothes as cabin after cabin trotted by on my right, reminding me that this run would be long, lonely, wet and painful. I saw people the entire run. Either I passed them or they passed me. I never latched on to another group until we got to the hill at Woodstock which is about 250 meters straight up. Cabin 7 was right there, at the foot of the hill, right next to me. Their cabin leader was Jerrell Wisdom, a Campus Magnet grad who ran 1:53 in the 800 in high school. I’ve known Jerrell for 13 years, since he was about 12.

This is what running is about, he turned to his cabin and said. You run. You hurt. Then you run some more.

Exactly. He might as well be talking to me alone. When he saw me, he pulled up next to me and said in a voice only I could hear, “You got this.” We ran up the hill side by side. And that is exactly what running camp is about.

I survived the run. Thank the running gods. But it wasn’t just that Jerrell was there or even that half the camp was at the top of the hill, waiting the rain cheering us on. It was that I knew that Peter Hawkins was behind us. That he had to crank his racing chair up this giant hill in the rain. I had nothing to complain about.

I wrote about watching Pete push up this hill last year. It’s beyond amazing. It’s ridiculous. It’s humbling.

Pete came storming toward the hill, trying to use his momentum to shoot him up the incline. But the hill halted him and almost spit him backward. He pushed again but moved about an inch. So he flipped the chair around.

He went up backwards.


Try running up a steep hill. That’s hard enough. Try going up on a mountain bike. You’ll probably jump off and walk your bike up or jog with the bike in tow. Watching Pete crank up that hill makes you almost forget where you are.


Now about yesterday (Friday). It was mostly slow. The guys ran in the morning while I searched for somewhere to work because the internet was down at camp. In the afternoon we were supposed to run an easy 3 miles on campus. The first mile we went through in 7:50. That was fine with me until I felt a surge. I riding Sean Brosnan’s shoulder and he starts laughing. “I don’t know how we got up to 6:30 pace,” he said.

Uh oh, here we go. The pace dropped again. Then before I could even right myself someone comes racing over to us.

You guys are Cabin 1 right?


You’re bunk just got trashed.

Everyone took off running.  The truth is we started the prank war since Wednesday. But this day the pranks between cabins got a little out of control and stopped looking like pranks and more like anarchy. But that didn’t last very long. Sessa and Sean Rice quickly gathered all the culprits and put the brakes on it. Sessa’s angry speech lasted all of one sentence. He basically said, “Stop it.”

And that was the end of the pranks. And after Woodstock the end of my stay.

Oh but I’ll give Cabin 7 props for best prank. Yes, I knew it was you who put the spoiled cup of milk under our beds. Just gross.

Shout out to Caroline O’Hea of Ward Melville for being my first guest writer. Another shout out to Rachel Paul of Sachem East aka 2:12. She made the drills workout so much fun. Thanks to directors Bart Sessa and Sean Rice for allowing me to do this project for a second time. But the biggest shout out goes to boys Cabin 1.

Brian Bennett (Fairfield Prep, Conn.) aka Cruise. He provided us with a ton of jokes before he even step foot at camp and even more the very second he arrived.

Justin Connolly (Walpole, Mass.)  aka Poison Ivy. Justin actually had Poison Ivy. He probably said a total of 27 words the entire camp but fit right in.

Patrick Corona (Fairfield Prep) ask Jersey Shore. I thought it had something to do with fist-pumping or spray-on tans but Pat was actually a lifeguard on the Shore. Tell Snookie I say what’s up.

Joe DiRienzo (Sachem East). Joe didn’t get a nickname but he should be called “The Mole” he knew what was going on in every cabin on campus.

Rashawn Evans (Curtis) was the first camper to receive the “Camper of the Day” wristband.

Forest Gilbakian (Westhampton Beach). I’m still amazed that no one made a Run Forest Run joke. But I’m also impressed because that joke is just too easy. Anyone who runs in throwback RayBand sunglasses is good by me. (Old-timers think Tommy Smith in the ’68 Olympics. Youngsters think Jay-Z.)

Ryan Phillips (Regis). I think Ryan is probably the most mature in our bunk. That includes me.

Evan Purdy (Shoreham-Wading River). Shout out to Evan for winning the pushup contest, retrieving our stolen bench in the middle of the night and being small enough to belong in Youth Cabin.

Connor Rog (Fairfield Prep). Connor didn’t get a nickname either but he did beat Sean up McKay and will have a pair of new Mizuno spikes. So who’s really the winner here?

James Walker (Curtis) aka Crazy Jay. He’s a sprinter turned middle distance runner and might end up a distance guy before he knows it.  He was cool enough to collect every wristband at camp. He didn’t even think he belonged in Cabin 1 but he sat in the front for every run.

Bernard England (Easton, Pa.) aka the England Express aka Philly (even though he’s clearly not from Philadelphia).  I have no doubt that he’ll break 1:55 this year.

And thanks to counselors Sean Brosnan (Wantagh – Adam State – Powerbar), Aaron Ghobrial (Pine Bush - Binghamton) and Evan Bloomberg (Northport - Georgetown). They kept order and added to the chaos at the same time. Like a good counselor does.


Oh and Sheepers McSheep. I never saw him in the cabin but on the board outside our cabin his mileage read like this:

Tuesday: 10 miles

Wednesday: 18/16

Thursday: 12/18

Friday: 26.9/8

Saturday: 20.6/3

Sunday: I don’t think he made it to Woodstock. Shame on him.