sitting on the back deck of the track shack, the plans were hatched over a heaping pot of red beans and rice and a few too many bottles of high life. running journal and a road atlas. everyone was lean as fuck and antsy. we were looking to test that summer base work out with some harder efforts while keeping the house rule of not waking up to an alarm or run fast in the heat of the day. that summer, we spent as much time thinking up alias names to race under as we did tapering. we always took advantage of the race day sign up because cash was always scraped together last minute. the mileage was high as everyone was enjoying the volume that the trails offered, but conscious of the need to turn the legs over. a few uninspired attempts at running daytime tempo's brought about the house rules concerning effort, but we needed an outlet for this growing fitness. discussions were brief and the rules were simple.
-races had to take place at night
-they couldn't be more than a 3 hour drive from brevard
-nothing longer than 10k
-shirtless, no kits.
-aliases for most of us, proper names for those capable of cash money.
-post race grub always at huddle house
everyone was training for a fall marathon and were coming off of being counselors at brevard running camp, so that first trip entailed 6 guys in a station wagon hopping over the mountain to crazy 8's. soon after, we hit pigeon forge, maggie valley and finished at midnight flight. 4 races in a quick 5 weeks while running 90 miles per week. the house was fast. i remember a few pr's coming out of those races, some prize money and a few comped post race hotel rooms. the game of finding new events without amending the original rules mellowed the cheetahs out while respecting the trials of miles necessary to build that foundation for those bigger pictures we all saw in our mind. nobody gave too much of a fuck and it was fun. everyone ran well, plus with all of us racing we didn't have to worry about an eager housemate half stepping us on those sunday long runs. everyone was sore and tired, so we built into the longer sessions slowly and finished strong. ego's were checked but accountability and stoke from the weekly fitness checks were high.
that summer was endless and never to be authentically repeated. a few years later when the shack got condemned by the county, guys moved on. a few got jobs. one of them wifed up and it was never the same afterwards. sure, a few of us still traveled to races and trained together but everyone was more focused. during the summer of george we had shared everything, including a schedule and a common goal. side jobs never were anything that would interfere with what we were doing. seasonal girls were abundant and enthusiastic it was some of the most effortless running i have ever done. it was pure freedom. no dogma. no designations. just running. the south is good for that. races are abundant and creative. no better place to be a road whore in the summer months.
to the cajun cannon, wild bill, randy, subcommandante inspector marcos, abstract & breece d'j pancake: long live the summer of george.