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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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.

One Goal

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For me there wasn’t much running in 2014. Getting injured early in the year can put a damper on any plans for running. And getting a really fun injury does more than put a damper on running it puts a cloud like the one that hangs over Eeyore on your running plans.

 

Last year my friends participated in a wide variety of races. And it looked amazing. There was the Ragnar, Marine Corps Marathon, Newport 10 Miler, tons of races in VA Beach and Florida. As I looked at the pics on social media I was a little envious because everyone was having so much fun.

 

So now that we are onto a new year I decided I need to find a realistic goal. My race calendar is currently very wide open and I plan to keep it that way for quite some time. And while I would love to have some grand goal of getting a PR in a 10k or running another half marathon my goal is much milder.

 

This year I have one very simple goal, I want to run a 5k. I want to be able to run all 3.1 miles. And I want to do it without really hurting myself.

 

To my friends who are onto big races, good luck. I will see you at the finish line.

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.

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Connected to pain

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My ankle pain connected to my knee pain

 

My knee pain connected to my hip pain

 

My hip pain connected to back pain

 

With all that pain I still somehow manage to walk, sort of run, and surf.

 

Until you get the creeping pain you don’t always realize just how connected your whole body really is. Injuries are a great reminder of the connection because once you get one boo boo it manages to knock everything else out of what.

 

It is pretty impressive how your body will compensate and use other parts as you heal. Unfortunately this compensation can mean problems down the line. The worst part is you don’t even know you are compensating. It just feels normal to you. You find out later when the pain in your ankle turns into pain into your knee which turns into something in your hip and finally it lands in your lower back.

 

In the end you have to answer a few questions. What is the price of playing? Is it just a little bit of pain or something more?

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Just a mile

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A few weeks ago I started running again. Now running is a slow and painful process. I am in the same spot as anyone new to running. Each time I go out now it’s just a mile.

Just a mile is a phrase that used to mean something very different than it does today. To a distance runner just a mile is a short distance, something close to a sprint. Today just a mile is a restriction, the distance I need to start with to build up strength in my legs and feet.

Today thousands of runners will pound the pavement along the streets of New York City. I will be watching the race on television, trying to find some running inspiration. I’m still unsure about my running future. But as I watch the race I will remember that each one of those runners (even the elite ones) had to start somewhere. It was probably with just a mile. I guess that’s not a bad place to start.

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