Step Back Week! The team just had 5 miles on the schedule today, 6 for our advanced runners. It was a beautiful morning, probably about 63 degrees out today. Why couldn’t we have had weather like this last week when we did the race?! We gathered at a park in Henderson, about 30 miles away from my house, and we started at 7:00 AM which is a later start than we’ve been doing most season. I was excited at the chance to sleep in just a little bit, but my puppy woke me up at 4:20 AM. (Not quite sure what to do about her… she’s been waking up super early the past week. When I take her outside she immediately goes to the bathroom, which is good… but then she wants to play. I don’t want to play then!)
My co-coach Jimmy was out of town this week (he’s in Hawaii), so Assistant Coach Cristina and I handled the dynamic warm-up. Jimmy usually coordinates that and leads the team through a bunch of moves. The grass was all wet at the park, so I just had the team do a few butt-kicks, high-knees and leg swings before moving over to the path for the run.
We have two honored heroes for our team, local girls who are afflicted with Crohn’s disease. One gal is in her early 20’s and the other is a little girl, under 10. The young girl* was at our run with her family this morning, they did a water stop for the team. Prior to each run we usually do a little cheer (“Team Vegas Rocks The Strip!”) so this morning our endurance manager asked the girl if she wanted to “count for us”. She looked at him and started counting from 1 up to about 7, until everyone started to chuckle. I felt bad for her (I know how it can feel as a little kid when all the adults laugh at something you say when you weren’t intending to be funny) so I patted her on the back and said, “Why don’t you just do a 3, 2, 1 countdown for us?” That cleared things up for her, she counted us down, we did our cheer and then she told us to “Go!” for the run.
Our course today was an out-and-back and out-and-back… Meaning we went out in one direction, came back through our starting point for our honored hero water stop and went out in the opposite direction and came back. I got to run with the front runners at first (well, not the REALLY front runners, they’re too fast for me!) to the first turn-around, then I waited to make sure people turned and see how they were doing. Then I ran through some of the mid-pack, pausing again at our water stop to check on the team, ran with a few more mid-packers and ended up walking back in with my walkers (collecting our route signs as I went). This was more of the type of run I enjoy as a coach, the chance to be on the course with lots of different people of varying abilities.
We have a couple on our team that is walking, they’re usually at the back. She has Crohn’s disease and her husband usually holds her hand, he seems pretty protective of her. But I have a sneaking suspicion that they’re holding each other back on the walks. First, they should have their hands free to really be doing a good fitness walk. Second, I know he can go faster (he told me what he did for his walks when he was out of town on business). Third, I think she could go faster if she wasn’t being um… coddled?
So I proposed that next week he does the walk to the best of his abilities and either I or one of the other walkers would be with his wife the whole time. I’m pretty sure they’ll both be able to do better than they think they can that way. Not that I’m trying to take away the experience of doing this together, but I want them to see that they can be together and still be independent.
After the run we had a potluck breakfast and the Team members started on their recommitment paperwork. It will be interesting to see how it pans out with the paperwork this week. We currently have 180 registered members on our team (Yes, 180! We’ve had people continue to sign up as the weeks have gone by!), but the numbers always drop when it comes time to recommit. Simply because now they’re recognizing if they can actually do the fundraising/training. Or more accurately, if they’re willing to put in the effort to do the fundraising/training.
*I’m not including our honored hero’s name because it’s kind of unique and I have a thing where I won’t blog about children or post names/pictures without a parent’s consent. It’s not my place to put them on teh interwebs.
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.