Oops, how did I become a track coach?

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My plan was never to spend my spring afternoons bundled up at the track. Somehow I ended up there coaching the high school track team. While I love track from a spectator perspective coaching is foreign to me.

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I’ve been a runner for a number of years, but that is just one aspect of the sport. Track includes running over hurdles. And track goes with field. Field has jumping and throwing. To say I was wholly unprepared to coach was a bit of an understatement. I feel a bit like someone who tripped and fell and when they stood up found they were a track coach.

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The technical aspects of the sport are not be my strength. However after running into one my runners parents I discovered that maybe I am on the right track with this coaching thing (pun intended)! She told me that her daughter talks about me and says how nice I am. Nice may not be the word I want attributed to me as a coach, I would prefer tough, but nice means I am building relationships. If there is one thing I’ve learned about coaching is the importance of relationships. When you have rapport and trust you can push people farther and harder then they ever imagined.

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Running scared

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A few years ago Jim and I were training for the Disney Marathon. We were up in North Carolina visiting my parents and needed to keep training so we would be prepared for the race. We woke up one morning around 0430 to run the Cape Fear Trail.

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That time of the morning is people are pretty quiet. Most people are still sleeping. The animals however are active, trying to do their business before the rest of the world wakes up.

 

While we were out on the trail we did see several deer. It was do dark that the only thing you could make out visually was their white tails, but you could hear them.

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As we ran Jim and I did not speak. We waited until light broke which was about the ten mile mark in our run. As the sun rose we began to get more comfortable and we both shared what we had been thinking about as we ran. Jim and I both had fears about someone with night vision goggles ambushing us. Not only did we both have the same thought about some murderer in a ghillie suit, we were both coming up with survival plans.

 

Our plans ranged from knowing our escape routes to attack plans.

 

As the light shined on us we felt much safer and much more comfortable, so comfortable that we got to share and laugh at our morbid thoughts. The most frightening thought is that there are dangers in running. It is not very likely to get attacked or abducted while you are jogging but it could happen. Trust your gut, be aware, and stay safe. And maybe find a partner in crime who will help you escape from the person who might be in the woods with NVGs and a ghillie suit.

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Parades and Races

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Jim and I survived the constant barrage of precipitation as we joined our friends to support and promote Clean Ocean Access in the annual Newport St Patrick’s day parade. While we were out on the parade route I realized that walking in a parade has a lot of similarities to running a 5k.

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Of course there is the obvious, both have a start and a finish. At both the start and finish of a parade and a race you will find spectators who cheer for you as you go along the course.

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The next and maybe a little less obvious similarity is the beer. Many of the races Jim and I did over the years were accompanied by beer either during but usually after the race. This similarity could be because this was a St Patty’s Day parade but there was definitely lots of beer and other beverages which Dionysus would approve.

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Finally and probably the most important similarity was the sense of community. One of the things I love about road races is how it brings people together. Even though there was rain falling from the start of the parade to the finish, people still came out to the streets of Newport to celebrate this fine holiday.

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Happy St Patrick’s Day.

Time Out

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My Facebook feed is filled with lots of pictures of friends running. Some are doing local races and others are down for the big Princess Marathon weekend at Disney. Looking at all the fun everyone is having makes me envious and makes me want to lace up my running shoes and start training again.

But I am in time out. And it is a much-needed time out.

I learned this lesson in my early twenties after I had ankle surgery and got back out on the volleyball court a little too soon. Of course being in my twenties I was in the indestructible phase of my life so I could play through the pain (or at least I thought I could).

Time out to recover doesn’t mean a time out from an active life. It’s just a different kind of active and on a much different scale. Of course it is frustrating not being able to play but over the years I have learned to appreciate giving my body a break. I’m hoping giving myself a long break now will keep me from breaking myself when I get back out there.

Good luck to everyone running this weekend. Can’t wait to get back on the road with you.

Bored with the gym, try something new

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Are you bored with going to the gym? Tired of endless miles on a treadmill where you just don’t seem to get anywhere.?

 

Why not try something new. It is a workout with the same intensity as doing burpees over and over again combined with the cardio output of a marathoner’s speed workout.

 

There’s more snow in New England, grab a snow shovel. Can you dig it?

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To community college and beyond

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Kia is nearing the end of her high school sports career. We are in the middle of the basketball season which means track season is right around the corner.

Graduating high school signifies not only the end of Kia playing sports but the end of being a spectator at her games.

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Like many seniors Kia has no idea what she wants to do next year. We are encouraging her to go to school, somewhere. The thought of college sports was far from our minds until about two weeks ago.

Leah (the head coach for the MHS volleyball team) arranged a meeting between some of the seniors and the head coach from the Community College of Rhode Island volleyball team. The meeting resulted in Kia and one of the other girls going up for a try out. Coach liked what she saw and she is ready to recruit some Islanders.

This means not only will Kia get a chance to continue playing sports in college, but Jim and I will get a chance to keep on cheering for our girl!

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What are you wearing?

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This morning was a crisp 18 degrees, a little cooler with the wind chill. After loading up the car I headed to the beach to check out the waves. They were in rare form, nice size and not close outs. As I looked at the water and the surfers in the lineup I was not sure that I wanted to suit up. There was no other way to describe the weather except with words like frigid, freezing, Jack Frost’s backyard, or whoa why on earth am I outside today? While I was sitting in the car pondering I realized that much like in running, what you wear matters.

 

I’ve gone out running in some pretty brutal weather. My personal weather restrictions are lightening, ice, and wind- lots of wind. I do have a limit on air temperature, but that is subjective. My decision to run when it is cold depends most on how I feel that day.

 

Fashion is forgotten when you run in extreme weather. The goal is to put on enough clothes to stay warm while not wearing so much that you overheat. Finding the right balance is not easy especially if your running route takes you far from your start point. When find that perfect level of layering it makes running in cold weather tolerable.

 

Surfing isn’t much different. With the right equipment it isn’t so bad. So after a few minutes of debate I climbed into the back of the truck to get dressed. And layering doesn’t just work well in running, I use it in surfing too. Smartwool socks and gloves fit nicely under my wetsuit and they help to keep me toasty warm.

 

Although for me, it was a frustrating day of surfing I was really happy to be out in the water. And despite the cool temps I never really felt cold, until I got out of the water.

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