Monday, November 09, 2015

Living Vicariously and Coaching

This fall I took it upon myself to organize and coach a small group of kids in the hops of starting a middle school cross-country team. It didn't work out as well as planned but it certainly could have been worse. With a decent start and lots of interest, I was happy as kids showed up once a week to practice and I did my best to guide them through the basics of running trails.

Sadly a late start, a lack of school support, and some bad weather killed the vibe. I think the kids had a great time and I know I did. Even though I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I was glad to learn from them and about the process.

Later in the already late season, it ended up just being Elizabeth and I running together. I could have pushed her more and ground her through some intense training but I wanted her to have a good time and enjoy running. I mean, she's only in 6th grade so I didn't expect her to go out and break records.

Anyway, I had a blast every time we ran. We'd talk about serious stuff, like growing up, and not so serious stuff, like goofy jokes, and everything in between. But it was nice to enjoy the run and live vicariously through her eyes and her experiences. Granted, I probably could have skipped the memories of my own awkward pre-teen years, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

Moving forward to Saturday's race, I knew Elizabeth wasn't going to be performing at the top of her game just because she's only training once a week. Sure, she's gotten older and stronger, but she doesn't play a sport on a regular basis so I knew she wasn't in peak condition. My goal was to have her focus on doing her best while having fun.

I think she did both. We got to the race start, checked in, got a bib, and generally tried to avoid the rain. On the drive in, we discussed some of the family history she's researching so we kept doing a little of that as well. My dad showed up so we chatted with him a bit. Saw a few other runners we knew and generally hung out until it was time for our warm-up.

We did a short jog and a few stretches before the race. Hit the bathroom one last time. Then we headed out into the fog to go run. I gave her some last minute words and headed off down the road to catch her going by. She passed by looking comfortable the first time. Looked good around the one mile mark. Looked a little tired at the two mile mark. And crushed it at the finish. She kept her splits but deleted them before I could tell her to pass them along to me. But her finish time was a new PR of 28:59, roughly two and a half minutes off her old PR.

She was so excited she jumped up and down. I did too, but on the inside. After lots of praise, we headed headed out for a walking cool down, forgot to stretch, hung around for a few minutes, then headed home. She wasn't in the top of her age group, which was loaded with a ton of runners, but she enjoyed the donut on the way home.

While I generally save the data section for my own reports, I figured I'd put it in here just for posterity.

Some of the murals that were in the school/church/building where the race HQ was located.


Temps were about 60F. Sky was overcast. Light rain before and after the race, none during the race. No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Soy milk and Pop Tarts for breakfast. Plain water before, during, and after the race. Recovery was a donut with vanilla icing and fall sprinkles.

Aches and Pains:

Wore capri pants and short sleeve shirt.

Naughty Elizabeth:
Probably shouldn't have had a donut, but what the hell, she's a kid and did a great job.

Today's Motivation:
Dad and the desire to run a half marathon.

Finish - 28:59

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thats awesome, running with my son has been a blessing and a curse. He is now up to his 3rd Half Marathon and even won his age group at RnR Vegas this past weekend. Keep at it and I wouldn't give up on the cross country team, someone has to do it.