"Noob" is a term used on RWOL that I didn't know the meaning of for like a year. Now I know that that term is referring to someone new or inexperienced at something. That's how I feel right now. It's a great feeling, really.
"Coach!" is what I hear, but I don't turn around or even respond. I am still not used to being called that. I think I'm loving and getting used to the coaching more and more each day. I can really tell that I'm bonding with the athletes, and that makes me really happy. We talk about things now, especially during our "slow distance" days. The thing I like and appreciate the most about the group of distance runners and SOME of the sprinters is that they are like little sponges, just waiting to soak up information. I've really been focusing on their running form. I know that my running form is awful, but I had already been running for 5 years when someone tried to fix me. It has improved some, but nowhere near model. I'm hoping to get these kids off on the right foot, so they have a lifetime of good running in front of them. The good news is that the kids are doing a lot less whining, too. I think they are becoming used to pushing themselves and actually like the way it makes them feel. I run with the kids on our easy distance days, and monitor/time workouts on the hard days. I've been planning all their workouts, but the plans aren't original. I've kind of made my own plan from Jack Daniels, mixed with ideas from a book called Coaching Track and Field Successfully. Just to be honest right now, the distance kids are really slow. Just to let you know how slow, here's an example. This week I did 6 x 800s as a workout and did them b/w 3:00-3:03. Only ONE boy on my team could beat that for ONE 800. Yeah, not good. I'm alright with it for now, baby steps, baby steps. They have the desire, which is always the most important thing. We'll just work our way up the ladder slowly.
So, now the downside. The older I get, the more I see the glass ceiling that society has put on female athletes, not just athletes, but any female involved in athletics. It's a difficult thing to explain, but it's interesting how when Coach D and I are together, many outsiders automatically assume he is the head coach. Also, I'm in the process of making the meet schedule and some of the other coaches' comments are sort of interesting. Here was one mini conversation I had with a coach from another school.
Me: (after introducing myself) I was wondering if you had any openings at your upcoming track meets.
Him: Are you the head coach?
Me: Yes, this is my first year.
Him: Are you over guys and girls?
Him: Wow, I didn't know there were any female head track coaches in the state.
Me: Yep. So do you have any openings?
See what I mean? How bold! Schools hire football coaches with NO running experience whatsoever to coach their track teams. Why would hiring an experienced female runner be so shocking? I was also informed by our school's coaching staff that the coaching windsuits (Remember, the wool skirt has to go) only come in men's sizes. Seriously? Like, even the "small" is ginormous. That's just not going to cut it. Also, i think I had to go through a phase where I really 'proved' myself to the guys on the team, nothing that a few hard laps around the school's campus couldn't fix, though. It seems that male athletes immediately respect the male coaches, but a female has to earn the respect. I will say, though, that when dealing with teen girls, I think female coaches have the upper hand. I've noticed differences in the way some of the female athletes respond to me, as opposed to a male coach. They seem to take advice/coaching more seriously from a female, especially if they know you have experience in that field (like running).
I am also stressed about a few things revolving the track meets.
1) We live Nowhere, so we have to drive pretty far to each meet. That will require me leaving school an hour early and someone will have to watch my class. I HATE putting my work off on people. Ugh, but there's no choice.
2) The school board is pressuring all head coaches to get their CDL so they can drive their own teams to games/matches. Seriously? I can't even drive my own car w/o a run-in with the law. Shouldn't that get me out of driving the Cheese Wagon? There's no way... Coach D has a FL license, so he can't get an AL CDL.
3) I can't get coaches from other teams to return my calls or emails. I feel like we are BEGGING for meets, but no one will pay me the time of day. It feels like some sort of secret club that I'm trying to get into.
4) I'm worried about our financial situation. Our kids need uniforms, shoes, and we need money to pay bus drivers. We are holding a fundraiser, but I'm not confident.
On a personal note, I PROMISE to blog about my own running soon. It's actually going very well. I'm working with a new plan now, made by someone super fast & smart, that includes a booty-load of speedwork. I am trying this for a few weeks, then moving into more marathon-specific training as Charlottesville approaches. Sorry this is all about track right now, but it's pretty much life consuming!