This year I took on a new role. I decided to start coaching again. I took an assistant coaching spot at a local high school. Coaching is something that I loved doing so much in college, and my high school coach is the one who taught me how to run, almost 14 years ago. I can still run up a steep hill and see him perched at the top, squatting, pounding his hand on his clipboard telling me 3 quick steps at the top of the hill. That I was almost there, to keep going. I still hear his voice when I run a marathon, about how I can’t quit now. And with the last race I ran? I also saw my team in my head, cheering for me, telling me I can run faster and that I can keep going.
This season has been an incredible experience for me. I’m so blessed by the entire team, even though it’s high school and with that comes all the high school emotions, drama and just those days when you wonder if they are even listening. They’ve taught me so much and at the end of the day, if they were to finish their last race and never run again I would be totally okay with that, but I hope that in the future no matter what they have to go through in life, that they see me encouraging them, just like I try to do in the races.
There are the days when I know they don’t want to be out there, they don’t want to run or practice. Those are the days when we run together and share life stories together that I love the most, because when we get back they always say, “Well it wasn’t that bad.” I love to run. It’s been an important part of my life for more than a decade, but it’s not just about running, it’s about pushing my limits and showing myself that I can do things that I never thought imaginable. These kids are learning those same lessons and it’s incredible when they push themselves and realize that they can be great, that they can set a new personal record, that they can sprint up the hill, they can succeed.
Maybe I’m all sentimental because today is our last meet of the season before C.I.F starts and we will be working with only the Varsity kids. I know I’ll miss the antics of the 50 other kids that will move onto pre-track training or winter sports. Though I always claim that coaching is taking ‘years off my life,’ it is something I am so proud to be a part of and it means so much to me. I’ve put in a lot of my miles with the team and I’m so excited to see how they do today, but no matter what, I know I am so proud of all they’ve accomplished.