Posts Tagged With: birthday

The Importance of a Coach

I had a really good 41st birthday.  Thanks for the comments on my “birthday blog”!! They are much appreciated!

I'm guessing the decorator was, um, happy?

I’m not sure whassup with the “Happy”, but we pronounced it as Daffy Duck would. Try it.

I was going to write about that and that I got back to RUNNING again after my two weeks down time from it, my 5k race (first time I’ve won $$MONEY$$) and crappy bike ride, but I decided to switch gears and talk about coaching.  My training is going well for the most part, and my race is less than three weeks away.

Yeah, that's me when I count the days until my big race. But I'm also excited.... to get to marathon training.

Yeah, that’s me when I count the days until my big race. But I’m also excited…. to get to marathon training.

I’ve coached two sessions of Stride and have learned a lot about 6th grade boys. The first day was “interesting” and I found that I needed to be more organized.  I need to keep them busy, too.  I was VERY thankful that I have the best assistants EVER. Really, I couldn’t do it without them. The second day was a lot of fun. We got rained on, one of the kids just walked away, and we got locked out of the school, but we figured it all out. I’m already getting attached to the boys and we have nine weeks to go. I think I like this coaching thing and am looking forward to what I can bring to each session.  I find myself thinking about it a lot. I think of things I can tell them, teach them, and encourage them about. I plan to teach them about pacing today since a prime example would be my 5k from Saturday – lesson being, DON’T START OUT TOO FAST!

I started taking the “Fundamentals of Coaching” class from USATF since I’m taking the “USATF Level I Coach Certification” class in November. It’s a good reminder on the influence one coach can have on a student.  I know coaches can be central to a student’s life and experience of a specific sport. I’m trying to be all that I know I should be, and it’s hard. Really hard. But I like it. I like the challenge, I like getting to know the kids, and I like teaching them. I like that two or three have asked if this program is available when they are in 7th grade. Too bad I have to say NO, but I’m working on that one.

My coach experiences are most memorable from junior high and early high school, when I LOVED to sprint. The 200 was my event, along with the 100 hurdles.  I remember begging him to let me run the 200 on my own so I could see what my time was. I remember being so utterly disappointed when I never could, as I was always in a relay. Funny that with all the other stuff I did in track those years, THAT is what I remember.  The disappointment. It seems simple to me, that he could put me in a 200, but he never did. It would’ve meant the world to me if he would have though. It sticks with me.

Then I think it was my freshman year when we had a coach who had no motivation to actually have us run. We would do a little here and a little there, but I clearly remember him being talked out of having us do our workouts in full. I was disappointed in that as well, because I was there to run and I knew I had to work to get faster so I could do well in the track meets. I remember being so disappointed again. I remember him letting some of my teammates talk down to him, and it made me respect him less. I didn’t trust him to lead us.

I remember my other high school track coach who was a runner herself. I trained so hard that year, and BAM, I ended up with terribly severe shin splints. They’re different from the ones I have now, but I remember rolling on the ground in pain after racing, crying because it felt like someone was tearing my muscle off my legs. She tried to help me, but at that point, there was nothing she could do but have me sit out at practice because the pain was too bad.

My husband played basketball all through high school. He was at every practice, did all the workouts, was a great student, and his coach didn’t play him. While we have our theories as to why, we know it had nothing to do with his ability.  I feel like my husband was robbed out of valuable experience because of the coach’s personal agenda, and it certainly shaped him and taught me of how important it is to put each student’s experience above my feelings about the student.

Fast forward to now, and my coaches are very different from the junior high and high school experiences, mostly because I’m on my own and it’s less of a “team performance” atmosphere, as expected. But Coach Kristen expects me to do my workouts. She listens to my feedback and puts in what she knows I can do to better myself to meet my goals. She answers my questions and lets me vent about my “legs feeling like ass” comments as I had only yesterday.  I have an accountability factor when I have a coach, which means a lot to me. I’m self-motivated, but it does make a difference when you have a running plan, especially on those mornings when I just want to sleep…  Coach Tom expects you to run to your potential. He’s yelled at me from across the track to motivate me to go faster, and I won’t forget the feeling I had from actually finishing my 6th or 7th 800 in 3:15, AFTER six days of hard, intense workouts. Many times, you rise to a coach’s expectations, and there’s no better feeling than doing something you never thought you could.

So with all that being said, do you hear the tiny violins playing over my coach experiences? No, really, what I’m looking for is YOUR experiences being coached or actually coaching others. I’m here to learn, and I’d love to hear other experiences. What did you like? What do you remember? What was good/bad/ugly?  I’d appreciate any comments!


Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, coaching, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

30 Days

I looked at the calendar today and realized that I have one more month of being in my 30’s.  It made me think of what I’ve accomplished, what I want to accomplish, and really, what my life has stood for the last 40 years.  What have a really done? What do I want to do?  I am a thinky person sometimes and then when I think about the meaning of life and the meaning of this and the meaning of that, I can get overthinky. I don’t have a career anymore. I have been a stay-at-home mom since my oldest was five months old and I continue to be one, even as my youngest started 2nd grade last week.  I don’t have my own business that I started in the craft room. I don’t “make my own hours” and sell things to the ladies of the town where I live. While I get down on myself for what I haven’t done, I realize that there’s a lot that I HAVE done.  I realized that I honestly do not care about the things I haven’t done, because if I had cared, I WOULD have done them. Maybe I was lucky enough to gain that 40-year-old wisdom a month before I actually turn 40 and realize that it doesn’t matter as long as I’m happy and that my family is happy. Do I make every moment count like Oprah continuously says? Oh goodness no.  Some days are just perfect for curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Some days are for going for a non-training jog followed by tailgaiting and drinking beer at a college football game. I sure am not slaying dragons that day, but really, why do we always have to be doing something and accomplishing things when it’s equally good to just be?  Living your life the way you want to and being happy is just as good of accomplishment as getting promoted, getting that big house and having a bank balance that Suze Orman would approve of. So in honor of my impending entrance into my 40’s, I decided to make a list of 40 things that I have done in my life. As little as they may seem, they all add up to where I am today.

What is your list? Besides those things that you can write on a resume, what are the little big things in your life that you have done? What do you WANT to do? Try and see what you come up with as I have, and you could see yourself differently than you did before. Maybe you’ll see a different kind of joy and happiness.  I’m a happy person with a very good life, but I can get discouraged as much as anyone else can.  I let the “haven’t” get in front of the “have” and in doing so, I lose track of what’s REALLY important.  It isn’t my title, my pay check, my number of Facebook friends (or lack thereof), it’s about how I can make the world better, how I can make other people happy, and what I do WITH my life.  In looking back at the things I wrote down, I know I’m on the right track and doing the right thing.

1) Climbed a mountain – this is the view from around the top


2) Watched a meteor shower in the middle of the night

3) Saw a shooting star at the top of a mountain while camping in Yellowstone with my husband and kids

4) Moved several hundred miles away from home without ever being in the town or knowing anyone

5) Married the love of my life

6) Ran a marathon or six

7) Saved an animal’s life – the little sickly guy below is still living with us but four years later, is healthy and quite robust now


8) Searched, found, combined, then executed the perfect recipe for sea bass.  Mmmmmm, so good.

9) Made someone’s day

10) Written some really good blog posts

11) Been to over 20 Dave Matthews Band concerts

12) Watched the Christmas Shamu show at Sea World and pretended that I didn’t cry


13) Read an entire book in one day and got so invested in the characters that I wonder what they’re up to now

14) Decided one day that I wanted a tattoo and went and got one; then got two more as the time was right

15) Showed my horse at the Iowa State Fair

16) Swam across the Cape Fear River – stupid, stupid, stupid, but I won’t ever forget it (nor do it again)

17) Cheered my sons on as they walked their first steps

18) Met the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

19) Pulled off many surprise visits for my family without letting the surprise slip

20) Decorated a cake and thought it was beautiful

21) Trained to and qualified for the Boston Marathon

22) Rode the ferry from Jersey to NYC and ate NY pizza while looking at the Statue of Liberty

23) Raised funds at different times for different things that I am passionate about (this one also covers #18)

24) Painted so many rooms that I no longer use painters tape

25) Been the first female to cross the finish line at a 5k. Twice.

26) Screamed at the tv during a football game (thanks Clemson and BoSox)

27) Left a $5 bill at the drive through window at McDonald’s for the next driver

28) Learned how to do The Wobble in my kitchen in Texas

29) Rode horses into the wilderness of Montana and camped for a week


30) Literally waltzed into a room

31) Gone thrift shopping with $20

32) Graduated from college with honors while having a lot of fun along the way

33)  Did the Nes-tea plunge into a pool

34) Did the Superman jump into a big huge mud puddle at the end of a mud race

35) Made friends that mean so much to me that it hurts to not be able to talk to them in person

36) Danced in a club in New Orleans – I don’t actually have a picture of me dancing so this will have to do


37) Kissed boo boos, wiped noses, applied Neosporin, checked for monsters under beds, explained the simple version of the birds and the bees, secretly put veggie puree into food (sometimes successful, sometimes not so much), thrown up while cleaning up throw up,  and have put the kids on the bus and been there when they’ve gotten off the bus almost every one of their school days

38) Stayed with my silly dog while the vet administered life-ending medicine and realized it was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do at that point in my life; cried while running past the vet for a year after that

39) While walking under the faces at Mt. Rushmore, asked my kids how big their Kleenexes must be

40) Blare loud, inappropriate music in the house while home alone

So there. That’s just a sample of things that I can come up with that I’ve done. It’s pretty random, isn’t it? I guess that’s life.  And the closer I get to being 40, the more I appreciate my life and the people in it. Maybe I’m not as thin as I want to be and don’t have the career I thought I would. But I have all the things in my life that aren’t things at all, and it’s perfect. They’re people I love, experiences, and memories. I’ll take that over any “thing” and grasp hold of age 40 with a zest for life.  “Over The Hill” can suck it. I’m just getting started.

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