June 20, 2012

Living A Dream or Fake It 'Til You Make It

One of my favorite college professors (undergrad) had so many little sayings that have stuck with me through the years. One in particular was, "Teachers are always ON." What he meant by this was that teachers absolutely can not allow personal issues to come into the way of their teaching. The next mantra was taught to me by a fellow runner. She uses this in races when she feels really crappy- pretending/talking herself into feeling good until she actually DOES feel good or the race ends (hints "make it").

The past two weeks have been going along swimmingly. I'm up to 21 kids on my high school team! We're growing closer as a team, and I'm getting to know them better. They are also building up fitness. My beginners are doing 3 miles now, and my return athletes are doing 4.5 at a time. We run the trail (paved bike/walking path) from the school and athletes turn around at their given points. I've noticed that they are struggling less and finishing faster. (This is a general estimation, as we are not allowed to have timed runs yet. I do wear a watch, but never use it on "stopwatch" function.) Most importantly, I think the kids are actually LIKING what they are doing.

My WINGS program is also moving along swimmingly. We have a meet in Jacksonville, FL this weekend, and I'm very excited. The kids have been working hard, but it's a LOT different than high school practices. Basically, i turn everything into a game. Many of the kids are young; so you have to trick them into working out. If I want them to run 400s, I turn it into a relay or give them a star sticker every time they run. Sprint drills? Play one or two of about 100 possible running games. My older kids can pretty much do the workouts on their own with me just being near and somewhat available. Having a really great parent volunteer has also helped me organize my groups. Some days I can be there to actually coach the other kids, and some days I have the freedom to play with the younger ones. I have also tried to indirectly teach them basic knowledge about track and running, like meters in a mile, terms like fartlek, tempo, and interval. Their new favorite is PR. I heard some very young kids use it after the last meet, and it really made me smile.

Back to my title, my summer schedule looks like this-
Mon/Wed/Fri: early easy run alone (out the door before 5), meet high schoolers for practice, home to eat, nap, and relax, drive to Pensacola for WINGS practice, get home for a late dinner and spend time with TP. Since I get home so late, I often stay up late. This makes the nap very much needed.
Tues/Thurs: I force myself up early for my own workouts, then I have free day. Well, not really. Before I got into coaching, i never EVER would've imagined all the paperwork that there is to do. It is mind-blowing! With the high schoolers, I have check all their transcripts and make sure they are academically eligible and I have to keep a large spreadsheet showing WHEN I checked, and then to also document when their last physical was, and if they have any discipline referrals. Phew. With WINGS, I have to register for the meets, and go through a lengthy process putting each athlete in the events. I also like to obsessively compusively clean my apartment on Tues/Thurs and meet the group for an easy run that evening.

I also have the occasional workshop or interview. (I am on my school's interview team to hire 3 new positions.)

All in all, coaching has been a DREAM. I've never had this much fun in a summer. I love everything about coaching kids. It's the most rewarding job a person could have. Yes, some days I am tired and some days I'm just cranky. The thing with coaching is that if you fake it, you really do "make it" to that happy place. The bad days are very far and few between.

Run Happy, friends!


  1. Sounds like you are having a wonderful summer and are an awesome coach!

    When I was first starting as a lawyer, an older lawyer would come with me and help me out. His motto was "hum a few bars and fake it." If you act like you know what you're doing, more of than not, things will work out!

    But seriously, you know what you're doing. ;)

  2. This post makes me smile. From the small amount of time I spend with you with the team, it's obvious that the team and their coach are well-matched and both sides enjoy what they're doing.

    I do believe you are 'making it' just fine! Can't wait to see what the season brings-and when you and the WINGS come to Houston!!

  3. Anonymous6/20/2012

    It sounds like your kids are lucky to have you as a coach. It makes such a difference when you love what you are doing.

    Good for them too learning the terms of running. I just started a Track Time class (at 41 years old!) and I am just learning this stuff for the first time. :)

  4. I doubt you have to fake it much. You are awesome!! I love your enthusiasm and have no doubt that you are a wonderful coach. My husband has been coaching high school track for years and he loves it. Enjoy the summer! It goes way too fast. :)

  5. Sounds like you've come up with some fun tricks to keep the kids motivate and moving. Nice work!

  6. I like that fake it until you make it mantra...for me, it works in more than just running! :) In running it's getting into a zone, in other things it could be operating on "auto pilot".
    You must be very organized with all of the paperwork. I haven't coached a large group before, but have taught a little PE. Never had to worry about eligibility from a coaching standpoint. It could be frustrating if it goes from week to week and not just once a term or midterm.
    Yes- A rewarding job indeed! And I am sure that both groups appreciate you.

  7. As I have said in the past, those kids are soooo lucky to have you as a coach! It's great that you are getting so much out of it, too.