March 1998. After a difficult cross country race where we jumped over rocks, broken fences and at one point, a narrow stream, both teams gathered to shake hands. Coach called me aside. “The new cross country coach from Northwestern wants to meet you. My heart did a wild dance. Just what I’d hoped for. As my team watched from a distance, they always kept their distance from me, I blotted sweat from my face and hands and hoped for the best. The powerful woman had the authority of bringing a sport new to NY and she strode toward me, a grin on her face. No wasted motion, her body fine-tuned like the runner she was known to be. Coach always talked about prominent runners and Lynne Riley rated at the top. Well, hello Charlie Costigan. I’m Lynne Riley. I’ve heard a lot about you and now I’ve watched you in action. Your something. Where did you learn to dodge obstacles and regroup so quickly? You must have had a terrific coach early in your training.” What training? You’d run like me if you had dear old Dad for a coach. I jumped over garbage cans, dodged handsgrabing for me, drunks… I just grinned right back like ‘aw shucks and thanks.’ We’d like you to join our cross country team. Practice begins in August bt make sure you keep fit all summer.” She looked me right in the eyes, “and I mean in the best shape.”In one hand she held a list of exercises for me to folloe. I read. A specific strength and conditioning program, focus on hill and speed plus threshhold running. As if she heard my thoughts, Coach Rile said. “Summer is all about preparing your body for the more intense workouts in September. Coach Garrison said she’d work with you. Welcome to our team, Charlie. I watched her disappear in a cloud of dust over the hill.