Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Snow in the Hills, Holsteins in the Stables

Somedays the light is just right, and you were lucky enough to have packed the camera in the back pocket. Somedays, this extra pound of metal and synthetic silver salts isn't a burden, and you have an image to remind you of where your strides took you. Here, the road up the Dischma to Durrboden doesn't disappoint.

With snow in the hills, the cows throughout Graubunden have now made their trek back down to the lower elevations in town. Thank you for all the time-honored work, the gruyere cheese has been mighty tasty.

If I could ever offer any expertise in picking a book from the cold winter months ahead, it would have to be The Lonely Breed. Written by none other than the brilliant athletics man from Australia Ron Clarke, The Lonely Breed chronicles twenty-one characters of the sport of running. Mr. Clarke's writing is sharp and introspective. He also fills the sentences with insight only a seventeen-time world record holder could possess. Consider this opening on the Kiwi Murray Halberg:

If one word can begin to describe Murray Halberg, it is perhaps ruthless. His whole attitude before a race, his demeanor, his bearing, all seemed to indicate to his opponents his utter invincibility. There is no doubt that Murray was a tough competitor. He was perhaps more feared by his opponents than any other world champion has ever been. 

There was something about the man which seemed to say 'I will win this race.' His reputation was always one of the tough, hardened and bitter competitor, who would give no quarter and expect none. And yet, when you get to know him over a quiet beer, or in an Olympic Village, he is the most friendly of characters -alive with personality, ready with a joke at any time, possessing a dry and remarkable sense of humor. It was my fortune to meet and run against Murray Halberg, and I feel he is one of the great athletes of our time. ... 

Here in this chapter, I  try to illustrate the very invincibility of Halberg. The race selected is not one of his wonderful wins in the Empire or Olympic Games, but rather one which he should not have won - but he knew somehow that he would win, and so did his opponents.
                                                                  *     *      *

Most of the hours of the days here follow the rhythm of the training cycle. I'm quite fortunate to have the opportunity to train with many different teams. This allows me to never check or curb my enthusiasm. It's pretty easy to put the whole of yourself into a session of 5x8min intervals when you have Toni Livers and Dario Cologna and others doing the very same thing you are, chasing the very same feelings, at that very same moment. 

Until the next time. -T

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