Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coaching, and the Off Season

I will admit that my posting has been sparse, but it is not because of a lack of motivation. In fact, I have embroiled myself in another project – potentially, someday, a novel which I will share with you. So my writing has been practice, but it has been on the offline pages of a cheap CVS notebook. A notebook that has brought me some great peace of mind.

But I do owe all those who read an update. And it has been a weird couple of months. Many of you know that I am coaching the winter season for the West Side Chapter of Team in Training, the marathon team. I don’t mention it all that often on this site, as I like to keep my personal and professional lives a bit separate. But TNT is a blend of those two worlds, so I figure it is okay to mention.

Coaching and not-training for myself is new territory. After CDA (which I am now over 4 months out of) is a different time. A different tempo. A different world. I don’t train for me. Very rarely do I run, or bike (or even more rare swim) with the intent of bettering myself. Right now my sole focus is my team. With my assistant coach, I have vowed to get each participant to the start and finish lines of their events.

Last weekend was the LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon, the first of three event weekends of the season. Half of our 50-person team competed and completed the event. Like a mother hen, I tried to watch over them– coach them – through the course. I am happy to say that all of our participants who started the race found their finish lines.

And along the way, I was gladly greeted by the faces of some West Side TNT alum – Marvin, Maura (who inspired me to post!), John, Byong, Bally and Amanda, among others. It was a great reminder of the “family” I have created for myself while living on the west coast.

That said, not training for my own goals is a bit of a challenge. I want to be faster, stronger, better, and more experienced. But week after week I am reminded of a cause greater than myself – beating cancer, teaching others, inspiring those who need some hope. Sure, I could improve my bike average from 17.4 mph to 17.6 mph with more training. I could run a 5K sub-20 mins if I really focused. But at the end of the day, my times mean very little. It is feeling of accomplishment among my athletes and friends, and the motivation to continue our quest that means more. Really, it does.

All that said, I have decided to take the Summer ’11 season off from TNT. It will be the first time in 4.5 years that I step back from Team. I will take a break from our cause (physically, though not emotionally or financially) and really evaluate my role as a coach/runner/fundraiser/advocate. In my downtime, I hope to inspire others in their quest. I will train for my own events with THE MISSION at heart. And with my own personal missions as well.

The minor details that I leave out are as follows: I am averaging 17.4mph on the bike without much work, though I have to keep it up 2x/week to maintain. I have managed a 7:40/mile pace as a steady state run, and I’m proud at my ability to hold that for +8 miles. If I were to race a half marathon, I’d like to believe that I could PR and break 1:45. I have not been to the pool in a while. Yeah, I don’t care much for it.

And I leave you with a quote that I have been re-reading for a while:
The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.
- Charles Swindoll

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