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.

Danielle’s Perspective

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My friend Danielle is training for the big race, 26.2 miles. Over the past few years she has run a few 10 milers and half marathons. Before we met she never considered herself a distance runner but now she has embraced the runner lifestyle.

 

After one of her training runs Danielle made a post on Facebook saying that she dedicated the run to me. Reading her words really moved me; she said that I had helped to encourage her to do her first half marathon. It never occurred to me that I helped to inspire anyone to run.

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As I read her post I was moved to the point of wanting to go out for a run. And that is when I had my other epiphany, running is hurting me.

 

One of the things an athlete has to learn is the difference between good pain and bad pain. Good pain is when muscles get sore and ache, the burn. Bad pain is when you risk agitating and re-injuring yourself.

 

When I read Danielle’s post it clicked, I would be running right now if my body would let me. I’ve battled with and overcome the mental issues associated with returning from an injury but now it is the physical issues that I need to deal with. My peroneal tendon gets aggravated every time I run and sometimes when I walk.

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With 2014 closing and a new year a few days away I realize it is time to rethink my relationship with running. I can’t say that I will never be able to run again, but I have to be realistic, running right now does more harm than good. It is time to focus on the things I can do and not the things I can’t do. So that means more yoga and surfing. Maybe one day I will be able to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement, but today is not that day.

 

Thank you Danielle for your kind words. Even though I can’t be out there with you, I will gladly cheer you on and help you celebrate your running accomplishments.

RnR PVD

Shhhh………

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When Jim changed his diet and started logging his food I jumped on board. I find that when both people in a couple do something together both people are more successful. About a month ago I started logging my food.

 

Writing down everything I eat made me very aware both the good and bad things I eat. It was pretty eye opening.

 

One of the side affects of logging your food is losing weight. Over the past month I’ve dropped 2 pounds.

 

This is something that I should celebrate. There are television shows dedicated to people celebrating their weight loss. But instead of celebrating I’ve been rather quiet about it.

 

I am a pretty fit person. I surf and do yoga. I have run marathons and half marathons (something I can’t wait to do again.) Sharing these things is safe; people are okay with hearing about it.

 

But people are less receptive (and sometimes critical) when they hear about a thin person losing weight. My goal wasn’t to lose weight, it just happened. Shedding some extra pounds is good for my knees, back, and ankles. It also is a sign that I am making better choices with my food.

 

Unfortunately sharing this may come across as bragging, vanity, or showing off. So this is something that I’ve quietly done. (Yes I know the irony of sharing this now.) But it makes you wonder why some people are offended by seeing someone become healthier.

 

Shame on people involved in skinny shaming, what’s next healthy hating, thin threatening, fitness frowning?

 

Let’s celebrate each other’s accomplishments and encourage one another.

 

Stop tearing other’s down, instead let’s build each other up. Then we’ll all be better.

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Dangerous calm

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Most people when they think of yoga picture meditation, breathing, and chanting “OM”. It is the picture of peacefulness and calm. Nothing dangerous or risky about it.

 

And it can be.

 

But yoga can be risky, dangerous, and make face your fears.

 

How you might ask?

 

There is a risk of falling on your face, literally. (And by the use of the word literally I mean it. If you fall on your face in yoga the rest of your body lands on your face. If it gets recorded you not only risk physical injury but emotional injury because you could be on an episode of MTVs Ridiculousness.)

 

For years I avoided the more challenging yoga poses. But one day I picked up a book that explains the anatomy of the body in a yoga pose. Of course I haven’t read the whole book but I looked at a lot of the pictures and found inspiration, I wanted to do a headstand and some of those poses where you support your body on your arms.

 

Those poses not only look cool but they are also a little dangerous. In order to do these poses you have to be able to focus all of your energy and attention on the task at hand. You have to be willing to face the fear of falling and go for it anyway.

 

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