SBVK runner Sam Scherz should be in Colorado studying

As a student at Unversity of Colorado studying evolutionary biology, the evolving case of Covid-19 that we are all now paying attention to is the type of thing he has chosen to study. Also, as a type 1 diabetic, Sam is not your typical invincible college student. The Dos Pueblos alumni is home with his family and has found his way up the SBVK course twice now while he completes his schoolwork remotely.

Sam was chosen at random to be the winner of Deckers X Lab shoes of his choice and answered a few questions for SBVK.

Q. You’re a college student at University of Colorado completing classes remotely to finish out the semester. When did your college close campus? Did you immediately decide to come home and how was the journey? What are you hearing from your college and your professors about what your future at CU looks like and how are you planning for it?

On March 13th, CU’s campus officially closed. On the 14th, I cooked up 5 pounds of pasta and pizza, piled all of my belongings into a small U-Haul (the only vehicle I could rent because I’m 20) and started my journey from Boulder back to my home in Santa Barbara. I drove two days straight, stopping only to sleep and trail-run on some pretty spectacular trails in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. I tuned into my first remote Zoom class in the parking lot of a Starbucks in Barstow, California.  Much like ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, Barstow is where the real strange, dreamlike journey that we’ve all been living for the past month began for me. 

In my area of study we do a lot of biological and viral computer modeling, so my classmates and I kind of understood COVID’s transmission capabilities some weeks before school closed. This knowledge paired with being an immuno-sensitive type 1 diabetic made me ready to bug-out at the drop of a hat. Most of my professors are evolutionary biologists, and even they are unable to answer questions about how COVID is going to behave in the coming months. If the experts aren’t sure, then I find myself unable to trust decisions made by the school regarding the fall semester. I plan to keep social distancing, running, volunteering at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network and not lose any sleep over it. 

Q. How did you get into running and what were your plans for your own running? How have you adapted those plans to our stay at home orders and social distancing?

While running began for me in the sixth grade as a way to lose weight and fail at impressing girls, it’s held different meanings throughout the years. In high school I ran on the cross country and track teams, where running became an authentic source of camaraderie and adventure in the face of an academic bureaucracy (or at least that’s how I saw it). My diabetes diagnosis in 2017 led me to discover that daily exercise is the best treatment for keeping my blood-glucose levels within target range. 

Nowadays running and endurance activities have grown more personal, like a friend in itself. Most of the time, I don’t use a watch or keep track of mileage, but listen to what my body feels it can achieve that week. My plan for this spring and early summer was to build up my aerobic capacity for some steeper races this fall, and I think this quarantine has helped me step back and identify the patterns of over-training that I’d been solidifying in Colorado while stressed and away from home. I could probably use some coaching, but for now I’m happy with my progress. 

Q. You’ve done the SBVK twice now, how would you recommend doing the course?

I really liked what Jeffrey said about focusing on your strengths for performing well on this course, as well as taking advantage of the first mile if you’re a strong road runner. However, I think that no matter how much you pump the brakes around mile two (the suicide mile as Dani puts it), your heart rate is going to be up there due to the new muscles being recruited for dealing with large rocks. As an amateur with good muscular fitness, but relatively poor aerobic fitness, I found that doing small hundred meter efforts followed by fifty meter power hikes worked best for me in clearing these technical sections before being able to recover at the halfway point sign, and the flat area before Camino Cielo Rd. My best advice is to just try it before times stop being recorded on May 8th, and be grateful for the free sufferfest! 

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