My fourth day ever of summer running was also the day I left for my first GFC XC camping trip. How I was able to convince my parents that I should go away with a group of strangers that I barely knew for 4-5 days in another state is still a mystery to me.
Besides running, stretching, push up ladders, frisbee, fireside chats, s'mores, pranks, stupid human tricks... I remember being subjected to the litany of nicknames of my new teammates. Krutch, Cheeto, Fishdog, Smokey, and Gumby are a few I remember learning right away, but those monikers seemed to morph and change as often as we would play cards. But it certainly wasn't just Rummy and Speed taking up our free time. We constantly would make up new, random ways to compete with each other. Bat balancing contests, juggling, trick frisbee throws, football launches, chicken fights...all different ways to bond and to make some of the best friends of your life.
A truly lasting memory from my first camping trip was the day of the long run. Again, I had been running for about a week at this point, so my long run was 3-4 miles. Nick Glimsdahl and I finished our run, went and showered, and came back to camp. We were sitting around, probably making our own form of pre-freshman mischief, when Nate Fiala came back from his run. I couldn't believe someone could possibly run for as long as he had. It was at that point that I resolved to be someone who could run long enough that it caused other people to be inspired like I was that day.
Every year after that point, the camping trip was met with increased anticipation. My non-XC friends become obviously jealous as we came back each year with more and more amazing memories. Some would ask if Coach could make an exception and let non-runners come. Some just joined the team so that they COULD come. The experiences I had on those trips are some of the best I've ever had and I hope to someday come back and chaperone the next generation of Knights.
Lee DeKrey - Central 1998-2002, 2000 State Cross Country Champion, 2001 State XC runner up,
2-time UND Cross Country and Track & Field Captain