The Running School

Anna Decker, Staff Writer

This past summer I went to a sleep-away running camp called The Running School. I know, doesn’t sound too fun. Waking up early every day on a paper thin mattress in a crowded bunk. Cold showers in small bathrooms shared with 20 plus other girls. And then comes the running. Actually running for pleasure, because we want to. Not because we are trying to cut a few pounds, not because Women’s Health claimed it would help us “live a happy and healthy life!,”  and not because we disobeyed our little league soccer coach and are being forced to run suicides. We do it simply because we think it’s fun. As crazy as it sounds, we enjoy it.

That’s where the famous saying comes from: “Running is a mental sport and we’re all insane.” Because we enjoy the pain, we enjoy the feeling of our legs going numb with each mile and the way the air feels in our lungs with each difficult, usually wheezing, breath. And when I say “we” I mean all runners, us as a community. I use the word community because, whether you believe it or not, there is a sense of kinship between all runners. We understand that it’s about your own personal improvement, not beating one another. “Our main goal at the Running School is to help each athlete improve and ultimately feel better about himself or herself.” This ideology is one of the many things I learned at camp, that it doesn’t matter if you run 27 minutes or 17 minutes, we are all putting in the same work.

Along with lessons like these that I will carry throughout the rest of my running career, we learned a lot about the sport itself. “The objective is to offer our campers with an unrivaled opportunity to learn about our sport while receiving personalized feedback on training, technique, and preparation.” Pushing ourselves to our limit throughout the entire week, we suffered through some of the hardest training any of us had ever experienced.

Yet we still count down the days until next summer.