Elaine Scales will be returning to Craftsbury for the 6th time in 2012. She has been a runner for 33 years and lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with her husband Chris and 12-year old son Evan. Chris and Evan come to Craftsbury along with Elaine for a week of summer fun.
You've been a runner for a very long time, so what do you come to camp for? You can't possibly need to learn more can you?
The first year we came to Craftsbury, the trip was a birthday present from Chris. We all had such a great time, we have been coming back ever since. It is possible to learn something from running at all times and coming to camp breaks me out of my routine.
This will be your 6th summer at Craftsbury. How have you changed as a runner since the first year?
I have become more light-hearted, less serious, and as a result I can break out of my typical training strategy more easily. Camp is fun!
You are an architect working in your own firm with Chris. How do you arrange your day and your mental strategies so you get your training in?
Running is fully integrated in my life. I almost always make time for it even if it is just an easy four miles on a busy day. I remind myself that I need to take care of myself and it is mentally healthy to take a break. I love the super-charged feeling that running provides.
I love to run in the morning before breakfast. If I get out at sunrise, I feel as though I am grabbing the most beautiful part of the day before everyone wakes up. That said, on a typical workday I usually go before lunch, after Evan is off to school and I have worked a full morning. No matter what time I go, it always elevates my mood.
Craftsbury running camp week is a family vacation for you. Why come here when there are so many other places to go?
Chris: You're right Lynn, we should try something new!
Evan: We go to Craftsbury because it is fun and we like Lynn. (ed. note: Evan is a speedster and he rocks the track when we run the 4x400 relay!)
Elaine: I feel compelled to come back. It is almost the same feeling as not wanting to take an extra day off running during camp week - I don't want to miss the fun!
During our first Craftsbury vacation, my family got to see that there were other people out there just like me who wanted to run every day. I feel that Chris and Evan gained a greater appreciation for running that has stayed with them.
It sounds like you have a real connection to camp. How does Craftsbury stay in your heart when running camp is months away?
I look forward to spending a week with the friends I have made at camp. The evenings are full of laughter and great conversation. I also want to come back and attack the workouts as much as the year before, if not more. Coach Bill Squires told me it is easier to stay up than catch up. I think of that line often. It applies to running as it applies to life and serves as a reminder to keep a certain baseline running fitness (whatever that would be is individual) so that you can tweak it as desired for whatever you need.
What's the best lesson you've learned at running camp?
My first year at camp, coach Greg Wenneborg led a hill workout lesson. I learned that if I tuck my chin slightly when running down hill it helps me to accelerate. He said to pretend that it is raining out and I am trying to keep the rain off my face. Holding my head high was like putting on the brakes.
This may not sound like much but I love hill running and this lesson has made a big difference for me when encountering a down hill finish.
Running camp also involves hiking, swimming, cycling and other fun things like summer biathlon. Do you ever find yourself outside your comfort zone?
Yes the cross-training at Craftsbury, particularly on Endurathon day, definitely pulls me from my comfort zone. It is very positive, but sometimes very difficult too. I have a long way to go to taking full advantage of all that Craftsbury has to offer.
Where do you run at home?
I am very fortunate to live in the greenest park in Boston. When I step out the door, I am on a wooded trail, with gravel or stone dust underfoot in 3-4 minutes time. We live along the Emerald Necklace, half way between the Arnold Arboretum and Jamaica Pond. I marvel when I vacation somewhere else how much more time I spend running on pavement compared with being back in the city.
You are a creative trainer, melding faster work with easy runs. How do you come up with your interesting mix of runs?
I find speed work essential for keeping the running spark alive. When I run alone, which is almost always, I like to pick a favorite stretch of ground and use it for repeats. There is a nice hill at the Arnold Arboretum where I do hill repeats and a loop around Leverett Pond which is perfect for fartlek. Speed work makes me stronger and more flexible. I like short bursts of focused effort. They clear my mind and make easy running seem easier.
Do you chase down pony tails?
Yes! And those without, too! This tends to happen more often when I am out for an easy run than if I am in the midst of a planned tempo workout. I have made quite a few friends this way and gotten a few strange looks too. There are plenty of people out there willing to give me a challenge especially in the city on a warm Sunday afternoon. I like to pick-up on the energy of other runners to push myself for a faster time. I love it if someone tries to chase me down, too. Let the games begin!
What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of running?
My favorite aspect of running is how happy it makes me feel. During the best of runs I can get into a rhythm where it feels like my hips have been replaced with wheels. It is an ephemeral feeling, like playing a piece of music; one blip and it is gone. I try to make it last as long as possible with attention from my mind's eye.
My least favorite part of running are the days when it is really hard to fit in, it feels like a burden to go, and just seems to add to the stress of the day. This doesn't happen very often though. Too many days like that in a row can lead to an injury too. Oh, I don't like running on ice, either!
If you have 50:00 for a run and want to get the most bang for your minutes what sort of run would you pick as you head out your door?
In 50 minutes I would probably do a 15 minute warm-up, followed by 20 minutes at 10K pace, and a 15 minute cool down. This workout gives me a few miles of hard running in a short time, but it's more low key because I'm not timing splits. I can limber up during the workout and run it to suit my body on that day.
It seems in running that there is always something new to discover. I've always felt or learned something new about running on every run or during every race. Have you had any similar experiences?
On every run I can tune in to my body and brain and see what I feel like on that day. When I give my attention to running and have a positive attitude, I can see immediately how that translates into fluid motion and power. I think this is true in life too. If I really give my attention to the task at hand then everything turns out better.
Favorite things about running camp?
Living in Cabin A next to peaceful Big Hosmer. The delicious food. Most of all, the inspiration I get from you and the other coaches and all the other runners.
Most memorable thing someone shouted to you when running?
The most insulting but funniest thing anyone ever said came from a man while I was running on Summer Street in Boston. It was about noon on a weekday in January during a blizzard. A driver rolled down his car window while he was driving and shouted "You are an idiot!". That made me laugh out loud on the spot.