Over the weekend I finished reading Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear and can say it truly was a joy to read.
The premise of the book follows the University of Colorado’s men’s cross country running team during the 1998 season. The book is laid out in a journal-type format that followed the key training days, races, and important moments and events for the team on their journey to the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
You get to enjoy a little sneak peak into the hearts and minds of young athletes that love the sport of running.
The Colorado team was led by senior running machine Adam Goucher who had one goal for the year, to win the national title. This guy is a bad ass.
When you get to experience the behind-the-scenes that this book provides, you get to see some of the same key qualities required in life; dedication, perseverance, belief, and flexibility.
Some of the memories of the book for me:
- Coach Mark Wetmore followed a Lydiard style (high mileage) of training. There was definitely a risk/reward negotiation required to push the envelope but remain healthy. Most all of the runners didn’t come from a background of high mileage so the training definitely required a huge belief in the process as you may not see the fruits of your labor for months or even years into the future. He cranked out some pretty impressive results for those that were able to handle the training.
- Coach Wetmore had his team race in a manner that was consistent with his runner’s proven fitness. When racing in this manner they rarely blew-up and would start to mow down runners in the last few kilometers of many races as other runners would take off faster than their ability warranted and be in damage control the final kilometers. You have to like strong finishes. I think this strategy promoted the consistency the team exhibited.
- How the team copes with the sudden loss of a teammate.
- Adam Goucher chews up his competitors and spits them out. He seems to run on anger/aggression. Any guy that runs with small skulls around his neck, be afraid, be very afraid.
I think the book also highlights why running clubs and teams can be such a success. There are supportive dimensions in the group concept that don’t exist for the solo runner.
Although not a specific ultrarunning book, I feel there are elements that runners of all types will enjoy.
If you are interested in a little cross country running adventure, you can pick up this enjoyable book for a great price at Amazon.
For those that have read the book, what were your impressions?
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 05 Oct 2009