This is Sunday, December 17, 2023.
Running long runs on Sundays in the Santa Cruz Mountains was part of my young adulthood.
My college coach, Dan Durante, taught engineering at Santa Clara University and worked at Lockheed
building missiles. On Sunday runs, Dan, Paul, Rick Allen, and I would have these existential talks on nuclear proliferation
and just, well. Building missiles that could destroy the world. As we were running along at a seven-minute pace early on,
Dan trying to get us not to worry about an atomic war (quite a real thing in late 1970s-early 1980s).
First, you need to appreciate Dan Durante. Dan was a fine runner, running a 3:05 hilly marathon and breaking 55 seconds at 400 meters,
in his mid-fifties. A New England accent, Dan loved coaching us and we loved Dan. He was possessed by engineering, but he was like, well,
the anecdotal meets the scientific. Dan was Lydiard fan (that is Arthur Lydiard, who I would meet a few years later), and Bill Squires, the famous
coach at Greater Boston Track Club.
Dan built our weeks around two workouts, a long 18-22 run on Sundays and a Tuesday workout like 20 x 400 meters, 6 x mile, 4 x mile and 800. We would be out on the Los Gatos track all winter, many times, just Paul, myself and Dan timing us. It was grueling, but Paul and I wanted to see just how fast we could become and we improved well.
Larry Eder and Dan Durante, Fall 1981, photo from Santa Clara University Yearbook
Sundays were a wonderful day all year. The Long run, then, NY Times on Dan and Cherri’s (his wife) porch, and then, a nice breakfast.
Okay, in this early run with Dan (Dan would run 12 of our 22, heading back in time to watch us work the hills in the last five miles), Dan told me not to worry about nuclear war because half of the weapons probably would not even work, and especially the Soviet Union, which he wondered out loud how many were in workable shape. About this time, Rick Allen, one of our more colorful teammates would imitate a mushroom cloud as I went into an existential crisis.
Paul Gyorey, noting my anxiety, would use that moment to pick up the pace, pushing down to about six minutes, and Paul and I would take off, Dan would head back to the house. Paul knew I could take bomb talk for only so much time, as it was quite real to me.
It was in this complicated, wonderful environment, with engineers, philosophy and history majors, that I developed as a distance runner, and more importantly, as a human being. When I have rough days, I go back to that time, with Paul, Dan, Rick, Danny Greco, Gerhard Behrens and Danny Crowley, and consider how lucky I was.
Your workout today, is a relaxed long run, 45-60 minutes slow, on the trails.
Consider the past year and how lucky you are to be alive.