Showing posts from October, 2012

Lion wins again

"Coach. You nervous?" she asked. Hum. I really hadn't thought much about it but maybe I was. Maybe that uneasy feeling, that desire for the sun to set and the day to be behind, was nervousness. I wasn't the one who had to run. But I was the one who had to watch the day unfold. As the wheels on the bus went round and round, I stared out the window, the fall foliage a bit dull under cloudy skies. I thought about yesterday's conversation with my upcoming star, Noel. A quiet, reserved eighth grader, this first-year runner has no idea how good she is. She runs free and naturally, effortlessly even. There appears to be no straining, yet she runs easily with the older, more experienced runners, often outpacing them. Sometimes her age prevents her from running varsity races. But those she enters, she runs well despite lack of 5K experience. She finishes close to the front but I know she can be the front. So we have the talk. "Noel, no pressure here. But you need

100-milers, crazy days, and peculiar teams

The days are crazy. Insane. Ludicrous. Why?, I ask myself. I'm too old for this. Why start a new profession at 55? I have this habit of biting off really big pieces. Sometimes it's cake. Sometimes it's life. I'm pretty sure the cake bites are easier to swallow. My days start at 4:55 a.m.. My desk at school is my home from 5:45 a.m. until the bell rings in the start of a new day. Then it's a whirlwind of teaching the specifics of protein synthesis and DNA replication. My planning period serves only as a time to shove my fruit and yogurt down the hatch as I furiously prepare for the afternoon and upcoming lessons. Then it's time to teach again until the final bell. But it's not over then. The kids on my beloved cross country team come streaming into my room. They are usually excited and noisy. Me? Sometimes I have to work on the excitement part. I am tired. I love these kids but I can't say I am always enthusiastic about the coming workout. Still, I

Super Surprise

I wanted to cry out "SUR-prise. SUR-prise. SUR-prise!", channeling the best Gomer Pyle I could muster. It was hard to keep it in. But I had to keep running. The shouting would have to wait. A year ago on this weekend, all I wanted to cry out was tears. I hated every step, every cruel foot plant in the popular Virgina Ten-Miler. I entered only because I coached a team of energetic, motivated kids who embraced the concept of chasing each other on this rock'n, roll'n road course. I, however, did not embrace those ten miles. My running was lack-luster. Every workout during practice was so difficult, almost tortuous. I walked uphill often under the guise of waiting for lagging runners. I assigned my other coaches to run with the faster groups. Me? I often chose the novice runners because I could at least keep up with them. Most of the time I  put on a hopeful face, but it was a masquerade. Something was wrong and I doubted a road race was going to help. Still, I threw my