Friday, September 10, 2010

Pushed to new limits

"To the line, Group 1. Ready? Go. Keep it steady. Hold that pace!"

Group 1 took off on their appointed task, leaving Group 2 on deck and Group 3 in the hole. I held stop watches in both hands, trying to time laps and rest periods for the twenty-some teenagers making their way around the track. Lap after lap, they started, stopped, and sucked down gallons of water on command. Their faces told the story.

After casual running throughout the summer, this practice was the first true test of so many things: fitness, speed, endurance, motivation, discipline, and of course, attitude. I tried to prepare them mentally for this difficult workout: a ladder run at tempo for 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1600, 1200, 800, and 400 meter distances. The rest periods were slim at 1, 2, 3, or 4 minutes between the various rungs. It was tough; I proved that in the surreal fog of the early morning hours prior to practice when I ran the workout alone. I had told the kids I would never ask them to do what I was unwilling to do. Hence, my own fast paced laps.

I was interested to see how they would respond. With the sun climbing higher in the sky and not a cloud to provide shade, the kids persisted. Each time they came to the line they brought with them determined faces despite fatigued muscles and labored breathing. No one complained. No one whined.

By the time the last runner crossed the line, they were exhausted. Yet, I could tell they were pleased. It was a tough workout and they had divided, conquered, and returned with honor.

I am proud to call them "my" team.

(Describing the August 17 pre-season workout and in honor of the 2010 Liberty Christian Academy Cross Country team.)

3 comments:

Rick Gray said...

I use to hate ladders, but they do have a tendency to make you fast and strong. I will have to say that the feeling of flying around the track and being light on your feet is a wonderful feeling. I guess that is easy for me to say, as I was not the one doing the ladders. Really nice of you coach to do it before them, but was anyone watching and how did your splits compare to each other? Just wondering if we need a little checks and balances put into this coach/team situation. Being serious now, I know you have been a great inspiration to your team. They will do themselves proud and in return make you proud of them. Good luck to your team tomorrow in their first big/huge meet of the season. My prayers and thoughts will be with your team tomorrow at about 7:00am when they will begin toeing the line. Best of luck Liberty Christian!

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Thanks, Rick. And actually, my 400 splits were virtually even throughout the whole ladder. So there...:) At the worse, it was a 10 sec. difference from my best to worst lap. But overall, I was pleased. My first 400 was like my last, the 800s were alike, as were the 1200 and 1600s. Of course, it was a little slower than I would like (from 1:40 to 1:50 for each 400) but I'll take it.

Rick Gray said...

Now you have shown me up and put me in my place big time! I probably deserve that one!