Running Dirty. Eating Clean. Loving Life.

My Fitness Mentor – November Blogging Challenge #10

This weekend was a bit nuts, and I’ve fallen way behind on the blogging.  Nothing like having to be up before 5 am for work on both Saturday and Sunday.  A normal person would look for a regular 9-5 job with weekends, holidays, and vacation time.  But I’m not a normal person, and having an actual set schedule sounds boring to me.  So Saturday morning was spent working at the YMCA, chatting with members and working on exercises plans for my regular clients.  Sunday was spent hanging out at a volleyball tryout for a club I provide athletic training services to.  Mostly I got caught up on my kindle free downloads and ate way too many donuts.  Hey, they were free.  So I’ll be spending the next few days getting caught up in between shifts at the gym, meeting with potential training clients, and freezing my butt of at high school hockey.  You wish your life were this glamorous. 

On Saturday, Lisa at She’s Losing It! wrote about her fitness mentor and wanted to know who our fitness mentor is.  Trying to think of someone who doesn’t read the blog since I don’t think anyone wants to take any credit for the craziness that’s ensued due to my love of fitness, I’m going to go with my high school track coach.  Actually, he’s probably the one to blame for a lot of my running related insanity.  He wasn’t the most sane guy himself.  He put up with a lot of crap from me during those 4 years of being a distance runner for my high school team.  Like me yelling how stupid running 8 laps around a track was, in the middle of the meet, each time I ran past the coaches area where he sat with his stop watch and clipboard, laughing and yelling out my splits.  I’m pretty sure at one meet I screamed at him that I hope I was never reincarnated as a hamster. 

So why did I run the 3200m if I felt it was some form of cruel and unusual punishment?  This was another of his crazy ideas.  I’d agreed as a freshman that I would run the 3200m once a year, mostly as a time trial, while predominantly running the 1600m, my favorite distance (4 laps was tolerable).  During my sophomore year, we what was supposed to be an easy 5 mile run.  It was overcast and sprinkling a bit, with some storms and heavy rains in the forecast for later.  It was a bit on the chilly side, with temps in the 50s, so I went out in shorts and a jacket, not thinking much about the weather.  About 2 miles from the school, the thunder started.  It wasn’t a gentle distant rumble.  It was an earth shaking, get your ass inside NOW!  sort of blast.  The instant, the skies opened, the winds picked up, and we were caught in the middle of a hail storm.  With nowhere to hide out the storm, we hauled ass back to the school, trying to dodge hail stones that we were running into head on.  It freaking hurt.  I’m not one to tempt mother nature, so I ran as fast as my legs would carry me back to the safety of the high school.  When we got back, the first thing my coach did was check his watch.  I’d run a 2 mile PR, and he wasn’t going to let me leave until talking me into rethinking my running goal for that year.  

Coach: “That’s the fastest you’ve ever run 2 miles!  Who knew all it took was a little thunder and rain to get you going!”

Me:  “Don’t forget that lightning bolt that I’m pretty sure had it out for me and the ice chunks that were pelting my face.  Do I have a black eye?”

Coach: ignoring my whining as usual  “Forget the mile next week, you’re going to run the 3200m and you’re going to do it in under 14:00.”

Me: “No, that’s okay, I can run the mile.”

Coach: “I’ll have your split goals next Monday. This is going to be fun.”

Me: “Glad you think so!”

So I ran the 3200m.  I don’t remember my exact time, but I think it was somewhere in the 13:30 ballpark.  The next 2 years, while the 1600m was still my baby, I was running the 3200m more than that promised once per season only.  As a senior, he would have me run it whenever he had some younger runners he wanted to break in.  I was entrusted with the task of helping them learn how to pace, when to make their move, and how to finish strong.  While there wasn’t much glory as a middle of the pack runner, it was watching these girls finish (and usually leave me in the dust the last 100m) and thank me for helping them learn the race that was the biggest reward that last year.  Looking back, it was him that started me on the path of being a running coach and helping others realize their running and fitness goals.  It was also him that helped me start my love affair with running.  At 16 years and counting, it’s my longest relationship to date even with the occasional break up and rough patches. 

For the record though, you still can’t get me to run 8 laps on the track willingly…

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One response

  1. I love this story! Sorry it took mother nature throwing ice chunks at you, but at least you found your passion and a great mentor to guide you there.

    2012/11/15 at 3:10 pm

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