Running is not recreation for me it is revival and survival.
I was an at-risk kid who went on to become a college athlete and overcame severe asthma.
Today, I help other kids achieve their goals, no matter what they may be- through running. I am running once again for Team for Kids next October in the Chicago Marathon. While not right around the corner, it is never too early to begin fundraising and help these programs. They are so grateful for the support of those donating time or treasure.
Click here for my personal fundraising page and many thanks!
Monday’s practice consisted of a distance trial and drills. We are dividing the team up so that we can focus on distance and speed in a more specialized format.
I want to make sure my girls who desire distance get that specific training and those that desire speed work have the opportunity to shine and grow. Each group will hover in the other’s workouts as speed helps distance and distance helps speed.
Our routines are being established and the girls are getting dressed, eating a quick snack and stretching in record time. Bringing water is still an issue and they know that if they don’t next practice they sit out.
They were also instructed to reflect on a goal they want to reach by the first half of our year during their distance trial and we’ll discuss and collect those on Wednesday.
It poured for 13.1 miles on Staten Island October 8, 2017. I lost some toenails but gained a new resilience I had not thought I was capable of at the time.
I spent the weekend alone, touring Manhattan by seeing SOHO and Bleecker Street. Saw the court houses and walked through Korea Town and then across the Brooklyn Bridge. Took the ferry to Staten Island the next morning and did the race, came back to Tampa the same evening.
At practice the next day, the girls got to see my finisher medal and I showed them some of my “wounds”. They were mostly curious about people quitting.
“Did anyone quit. did you see anyone go down?”
My answer was of course a teaching opportunity but I think again, this has taught me so many things about myself and how I can be a better mentor, parent and educator.
Stay tuned as we begin prepping for the next big thing: Turkey Trot 2017.
Working on establishing routine and skill and drills. Form is everything especially with developing bodies and minds. So, the drills will be a part of every practice and over time, these broken down elements of running will be a part of their routine.
Each girl expresses interest in HS track and drills will be a huge part of speed work, especially in the track season.
Coach (me): This is hard, but what have you done that is difficult that gets easier with some practice?
I was hoping this was brilliance they would ponder and realize the answer was “riding a bike, swimming, playing guitar….”.
“Girls in particular seem to benefit from athletics: Participation reduces the chances of developing heart disease and breast cancer, cuts rates of unplanned pregnancies, lessens obesity, and boosts body self-esteem. And the advantages extend into adulthood: Four out of five female business executives played sports as kids, and women who go on to play sports in college are 25 percent more likely than those who don’t to develop political aspirations.“
“What organ in your body is your greatest enemy when you run?” I ask.
I get various replies: legs, feet, heart.
“Yes, your legs do get tired and your feet can get fractured and yes, your heart is critical for pumping the necessary oxygen, via your blood to the muscles that move you. But there is one that gives up before all of these.” I look around to see if I am getting anywhere and I can see some smile as I explain it is their brain.
“Your brain will quit first. It gives up and tells the rest of you to follow. We don’t stand a chance unless we change our mind about running”.
I believe that once the team of 15 girls conditions their mind to push through pain and see the value in being uncomfortable, their minds will condition their hearts literally and figuratively. These bright lights, fifteen girls with various goals for the year, will become lamps on an unbroken path.
This one of kind, inaugural middle school girls team will lead the way into what I hope is a new tradition for young ladies who believe their bodies were made to break barriers and records of all kinds.
I’m off to NYC next week to compete for NYRR and for my Jaguar girls. If you feel inclined, please visit my fundraising page as we are so close to our goal!