Okay, so here we go again, little ole Chambersburg making a huge impression on me. This weekend I attended and snapped some pictures at the Running Seminar hosted by my beloved Chambersburg Road Runners Club. The guest speaker was none other than the “Ambassador of Running”, Bart Yasso from Running Magazine. Tim Fisler the new CRRC president and extraordinary runner simply emailed Bart and asked if he would be willing to visit our little town. In a Yasso like fashion, he accepted and headed to our town for the weekend.
The first evening we had a talk and slide show over a wonderful full course Italian style meal at the Main Street Deli. I had promised Tim that I would take pictures throughout the weekend and post them in the newsletter, website and our FB page. Matt was running late as usual and it was terribly cold out. My husband is notorious for making me late; a trait I simply try to endure as I am impeccably and border line annoyingly prompt. After moments of frustration we were finally in the car heading to the event. We walked in 15 minutes late and it was a full house. The wait staff was rushing around setting up more tables under an amber glow of candle light. I looked around the room and to see a field of familiar faces, just a welcoming site to behold.
I quickly got myself organized and I asked Tim, if he had mentioned the photos to Bart. He replied that he had not but he was a yard away setting up the slide show. I have to admit I was a touch nervous and was not sure what to expect from this infamous man who seemed to live such a glamorous life of travel. I quietly walked up to Bart and introduced myself. He immediately was shaking my hand and giving me high fives and telling me to shoot and publish at will. I should have known that he would be so inviting and playful.
After a wonderful meal, Bart stood up and began to speak about the different marathons, races and lands he had visited. He has done a race on every continent in the world. He has raced in Africa dodging rhinos and hyenas, he has raced in Antarctica hoping a leopard seal would not break through the ice and carry him down to a watery grave, he has raced in the arctic getting a tad to close to a polar bear. He raced and completed the 146 miles of Badwater up to Mount Whitney. It was an amazing night of story telling and beautiful photographs of exotic lands and people. I found myself distracted from shooting, as every story was more interesting, funny and inspirational from the last. Bart has contracted Lyme’s Disease twice and the second bout almost kept him down but he fought back. He is running again but not with the distance or speed from his past. He is still an amazing athlete and he is currently coaching over 6,000 people.
The next day was the training portion of the seminar. In my regular form I was lurking through the auditorium, crawling on the floor or under tables to get a decent shot. I wish I had recorded the event as the amount of information provided was staggering. I remember a good quantity of what I heard but there is so much advice I am sure was lost. He spoke of the mid-foot strike, nose over toes, good posture to maximize your lung capacity, shorter stride, higher cadence, consistent training, listening to your body, and setting goals. He spoke of his love of the sport and the adventures that he has had but this was not his main message on either night.
It was clear to me that his love for the sport stemmed from community. Yasso kept mentioning the two words that described runners, “Acceptance and Community”. He obviously has a great love of meeting new people and going to new places but the running community seemed to drive him.
I sat there on the floor of the middle school auditorium taking pictures of this wonderful speaker and the audience of whom I am familiar with most. I realized what a gift my camera is to me. As a photographer it gives me free reign to turn around and really dissect the experience. If I were just a spectator I would sit in one seat and listen closely to what the speaker was telling me. I am an excellent student and I would be completely focused. In many ways you are not experiencing the event completely. As I look around the room, I heard whispers of the people around me. I looked through my long lens and I saw wet eyes, smiling faces, friends giggling together. I saw the head nods and the sideways glances. I saw the woman that you would look at in a moments glance and see only a typical elderly woman but I see the signs of an elite triathlete.
This event left me feeling charged and confident. I was so proud of our town and our community that I am finally feeling as a part of the whole. My husband and Bart Yasso have a similar philosophy on goals and passions. Both of these men are elite athletes that have coached many people; both of these men had the same message to me. If a guy like me can do it so can you. It is not your innate physical talents but your belief in yourself and just stepping out the door to try. So go out and do it my friends, there is no one holding you back but yourself. It is an amazing freedom to believe in yourself and to follow your passions. All it takes is a commitment to do it every. single. day. Just make it daily my people.