Sunday, April 8, 2012


In the 1800s, a young woman was sick and tired of the snow (who could blame her?). One night, she had a dream. This dream, of course, was after reading and discussing recent scientific experiments involving electricity and the prospect of bringing the dead back to life. See, back then, television was called books and people actually read for entertainment. Such an awkward time to be alive. Anyway, as a result of the dream, Mary Shelley created the novel, Frankenstein. The premise: take raw materials, add a little bit of energy, and the heart will start beating.

Grouping Runners
There are generally 3 types of runners:
  1. Those that know running is good for you but refuse to do it because it's either hard or just plain more convenient not to run.
  2. Those that know running is good for you and that's the only reason they go.
  3. Those that know running is good for you and couldn't care less. They absolutely love it regardless of the health benefits.
Despite the fact that I pretty much suck at running, I still belong in group 3. Running gives me peace. Gives me freedom. Gives me kick-ass leg muscles.

The biggest problem with being a member of group 3 is that I have a hard time convincing people in group 1 to run and getting people in group 2 to love it.

The Making of a Monster
I recently started coaching my school's track team. Coaching people in running is an uphill challenge. Very few kids get excited about the prospect of track. Here in America, runners are not really celebrated, despite the fact that it's the single most participated sport in the country. All the kids want to be basketball or football players. Runners? Not so much. I don't mind.

My guess is that the reason most anyone even joins the track team is for lack of better things to do (which is the exact same reason I started running way back when). I won't fault them for being in Group 2. I still like coaching the team regardless of the attitudinal challenges.

What's nice about track is that I get to run with them. Nothing motivates a bunch of pansies like hanging out with the lead pansy. At one of our first practices, we did some light and easy distance running. I went for a jog with one group of kids, came back and took out another group. On the whole, I was holding roughly 11 minute mile paces over the course of my 4 miles. Not at all taxing. The kids, on the other hand, were sore. It'll be an interesting season.

One thing about being a coach is that you can never tell how your athletes are going to respond to your philosophy and training methods. There are certain aspects you can predict, such as the soreness, whining about a hard workout, the lack of motivation to do the work, or the wincing at the smell of their coach. Then, there are some things you could never predict that make this whole job worthwhile. I got this email the other day...
I did run for 2.6 miles with 1 mile pace of 8:22 this morning! :)

I love it!
This was one of my track kids. I had my doubts about being able to transfer my joy of the run on to other people. Truly loving running is a challenge. I have a feeling that this kid is going to be a lifer. Here's why. He sent me a follow-up message...
I just ran 2.6 miles again with my sister!

5.2 miles in 2 days! That's good, right?!
And then another...
I just ran 3.2 miles! With 1 mile pace of 8:45 minutes! 
And then another...
I just did 2 miles run with sister and it started to rain after 1 mile and we were little wet. It started to rain more soon as we just arrived home.
I started with nothing more than a lump of raw flesh, added a bit of energy, and now his heart is beating. It lives and it runs! It clearly has a mind of its own and there doesn't seem to be much I can do to stop it.

What I can do is apologize to his parents, sister, girlfriend and future spouse for the creation I have just made. Good luck to you in living with the beast that has just emerged into the Group 3 of runners.

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