Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Run Down Memory Lane

Monday night's run around Lake Morey was amazing. It had me waxing nostalgic for the first time I ever ran (ok, walk-jogged) around it in 1984 when I was 12...

It was totally about the t-shirt. It wasn't a special t-shirt - just a regular camp uniform shirt, white with green trim on the neck and the sleeves and a camp logo...BUT, it had a REALLY COOL screen print right from Arts and Crafts on the back. I knew I wanted one the minute I saw it - whatever it takes to get one of those, sign me up. It would make me special, set me apart, show I'd achieved something. The screen print was a green bootprint and the treads of the boot spelled out "Lake Morey Marathon." 5 miles around the lake, no problem. I'm IN.

For the next week (I think we only trained for a week...seems like maybe we should have done a bit more) we met on the front porch during "free time" when everyone else was playing cards or jacks or kickball and we went for our training run...I think there might have been 3 or 4 of us, if even that many. I don't have any recollection of this training except for one session when we went with the DIRECTOR because the counselor in charge couldn't go and the director happened along at what I'm sure she thought was an unfortunate moment and got stuck dragging four little girls along during her half hour of what was supposed to be her free time too. I distinctly remember from this run that the director left us in the dust...I get deja vu EVERY time I'm riding my bike along this particular stretch of's SO vivid in my, sweaty, further from camp than I wanted to be, wondering why I was doing this, sun in my eyes, director person a tiny dot on the horizon. I remember being alone but I'm sure I wasn't. So we trained.

Race day came and we climbed in the van to go over to the other lake (Lake Morey) where the older girls and the boys camps were - and they were setting up the race. We would run along side the BIG kids.

I remember being nervous about making it the whole way and I also remember that there was a LOT of walking. I remember meeting a few other people along the run and getting encouragement from them...and I remember that when there were people cheering, I ran, and once past them, I walked. I also remember that I had old crappy tennis shoes. And I got that shirt. I still have it. I had everyone sign it too. It was totally worth it.

After that summer, I "graduated" from the younger girls camp on Lake Fairlee to the older girls camp on Lake Morey and stayed for 7 more summers as a camper, midi (counselor in training) and a counselor. I don't think I ran around the lake once in those 7 years! But the Lake Morey Marathon still happens...two guys I know once ran it while they portaged a canoe. Strange folk in these parts...

So now I've bought my first house and I've moved back to the lake, just down the road from camp. I get to run around it as much as I want and now that I've become a triathlete, I. LOVE. IT. There's a short Olympic distance race every year, The Great Fairlee Triathlon that has you swim a circular course, bike 24 mi. and then run around the lake (5 miles). I raced last year and finished in 3 hours - it's a GREAT race - very well organized and good post-race food. This year I had a great swim - 3 whole minutes faster than last year - but then I crashed on my bike and had to drop out. I'm already getting excited for next year...and 20 years later it's still pretty much about the t-shirt!

On Monday as I did my first lap since early spring of this year, I was reminded of that first time around when I was 12...and also of all the other times I've spent on that lake. I ran by the gravel pit where I bushwacked a new trail for one of my campcraft ranks, past camp where they were having their end of camp banquet and singing drifited up from the pine shrouded Hale (assembly hall), past the skinny-dipping raft just beyond camp property, past the boys camp where they were having a street hockey tournament complete with organ music and commentators, past three different staff houses where I lived after college as an outdoor educator, past the spot where as a counselor I crept away late at night to fall in first love and still my love... Every turn has a different memory, every smell evokes a different feeling, every step reminds me of who I used to be in a time of innocence and happiness and who I've become in the intervening 20 years. Feels kind of like I've come full circle...except that I just got back and it's time to start all over again. How lucky am I? Pretty damn lucky...


Blogger tri-mama said...

I need to visit Vermont and the rest of the NE. I was briefly in RI and MA, I'd like to spend a couple weeks exploring.

11:11 AM GMT-5

Blogger Flatman said...

"...past the spot where as a counselor I crept away late at night to fall in love..."

"...time of innocence..." my booty!

Just joking. This is a cool post and I am glad you were able to "return to your roots"!

3:03 PM GMT-5

Blogger nancytoby said...

Wonderful post! Yep, it's all about the t-shirt!

7:50 PM GMT-5


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