This morning we started practice at 6 AM… and it was already warm. It’s not as warm as it has been throughout the summer, but we’re still under an “excessive heat watch” for the Labor Day weekend. Hopefully we start to cool down a little after this.
We didn’t dilly-dally around much though, we took the group through a brief warm-up and sent them on their way, a 4-mile out-and-back course. Today I went to the training with the plan that I would mainly be walking, thus the only running I did was quick sprints between my groups of walkers. But I did those at about a 7:30 pace, so it was kind of like a fartlek run… just with a lot more recovery than I might usually take! 😉
Overall, it was a good practice. We had about 80 people show up today, which seems like a big drop but then again, it is also a holiday weekend. So we’re not too concerned. I know of several people on the team that won’t come to any of the Saturday practices due to prior commitments or religious reasons. I just catch them during the week. I got to spend time with lots of different groups of people and most of them were really nice.
Except one woman… and she really kind of bothered me. I get so many good feelings from doing this it was kind of a shame to let this woman pee in my Cheerios, but that’s the way it worked out. She was walking with another gal and I trotted up next to them and asked how they were doing. They said they were doing good, she asked a couple questions about nutrition, I answered her… and then she got mean. She said, “This is really rotten. There wasn’t anybody at the turnaround point telling us to turn around.”
The instructions they were given was when they reached the water cooler, they turned around. I was patrolling a stretch of the trail talking to different groups and could see the turnaround point, so I was ready to sprint and catch someone if they kept going. But everybody was turning around like they were supposed to, including this woman. She said, “What if I was hurt? Nobody would even notice.”
I told her that I knew precisely where all the walkers were on the path, I knew who had yet to make it to the turnaround and who was on their way back. I was keeping an eye on sections of the trail where the majority of the group was clustered to aid in keeping watch and if someone fell down, most likely I would have seen and helped and other team members would most likely help too. That didn’t appease her, she said “I just think we should have some coaches out here.” I told her that I AM the coach and she said, “Oh… I just thought you were a mentor or something.” I told her that the mentors are also on the course to help but she just kind of blew it off. She said, “I just thought we’d have someone running or walking by our side the whole time, telling us what to do and how to improve.”
I thought I was helping her while walking with her, but apparently she wants someone by her side at all times. I am not quite sure what to do about her. We have 3 coaches, a manager and 12 mentors out on the course. We spread ourselves out amongst the large team on the course, but obviously can’t be with each individual at every moment. But even if we had all 180+ people on our team out there at practice, it still works out to about 1 “leader” for every 11 to 12 people, better than a lot of classrooms in this country.
Okay, I’ve gotta stop venting, it just kind of made me feel bad… even though I’m not sure there is anything that I can actually do to appease this kind of attitude.
On another note, I walked with a couple women for a while and the whole time they were encouraging each other along by saying, “At the end of this we’re going to have skinny legs, and flat stomachs, and shapely butts… it will be great.” I told them, “You’re also going to have a stronger heart to pump blood throughout your body and your lungs will be more efficient and your muscles will be better developed…” They laughed and said, “Yeah, but that’s not cool. We’re more concerned with how we look.” That made me a little sad… our society is way too consumed with appearance and a definition of “healthy” that equates to a size/shape. But as a coach, I don’t tolerate any of my team members belittling themselves and I try to promote the benefits that come from exercise that aren’t purely in terms of how you’ll become “skinny”.
I have to admit, sometimes it’s more enjoyable to run/walk alongside the dudes because they never talk about how they’ll be able to fit into jeans from college or squeeze into a dress for an upcoming wedding. They usually talk about their jobs or families or sports they like/used to play. I have yet to listen to a guy on my team rip his physique apart like the women do.
I won’t be at the next 2 group practices due to prior commitments, which I will detail later on. I’m kind of bummed to miss my group (because it’s so important to be there for them in these formative years, er… practices!), but I’m also excited about the things I get to do.
I am coaching a group of runners for the organization Team Challenge. They are fundraising for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America while training to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon in December.