Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My letter to the best coach I've ever had

Dear Coach,

This morning while slogging through those dreaded treadmill miles, the ones I have to do when it's too dark and too cold to run outside.  I thought about how I really got into running - not just getting into it, but sticking with it.  The mega-caloric burn, and the feeling that comes with it are simply side benefits.  When I was a young, inexperienced, impressionable little freshman in high school, I decided to try long distance.  If I'm truly honest with myself, I tried it because my brother did it.  Why I stuck with it though, is a completely different story.

I'm 31 years old now.  I ran with you for four short years and it changed my life.  Since I last ran with you, I've run 7 half marathons, multiple 10ks and 2 Ragnars.  I've fought through a tough surgery, and I'm currently in training for another half marathon and ultimately my first full.  

You see, I need to say thank you.  A long overdue thank you for the time and effort you put into someone like me.  The amount of self-confidence running has given me is something I could never repay you for.  Running has given me some of my best friends.  Running has taught me that I can truly do anything I set my mind to, and it's the one thing that gives me back exactly what I put into it.  You taught me what happens when you don't give up. 

Here's the thing - if I had a coach that only put time into the fastest runners, I wouldn't be where I am today.  I would just be another person the goes to the gym with no major goal in mind.  I used to sit in class when I first joined track, and dread the hard work of practice...but slowly, I began to love it.  The camraderie, the energy, the outlet.

Each year after the first, I waited for it to be track season again because on the track, I really felt like me.  I didn't have to be a great student, or a great daughter, or perfectly put together.  I could run and who cared what I looked like or acted like or felt like.  Track season changed my life.  It made me learn to love running, and love myself.  I have a dream to someday qualify for Boston.  It is the ultimate goal, and it is what keeps me waking up at 5am to hit the treadmill when it's minus 12 outside.  

In the summer, when I'm doing high knees, butt kicks, and other drills on the grass at my house, I'm reminded of how I learned those types of things.

Life changes almost weekly, but the consistency of running has allowed me to roll with the punches.  When I need an outlet, I grab my running shoes.  When life is fighting to push me down, running brings me up and clears my head so I remember what truly matters.  When a task seems insurmountable and I want to give up, I remind myself of those early days when I wanted to give up and you encouraged me not to.

People ask me why I run, and then tell me that they hate running.  I run for a kid named Hunter because he can't, but I don't hate running because from the beginning, I've had people that celebrate the triumphs, and helped me through the setbacks.  

High school was a long time ago, and I don't live in the past talking about "the good old days" because I love my life as it is now.  However, you instilled in me a love of running, provided me with the tools I needed to succeed, and what I didn't realize then is that would be something I would have for the rest of my life.

You will likely never read this.  It will probably end up somewhere in the blue nowhere.  Regardless, I thank you, PKB 420, and the distance coaches you hired in my four years.   

Running changed my life.

1 comment :

  1. Really nice indept interview on you running. Lots of work, cold weather
    and perserverence. Don't know how you do it every week.
    Also, great tv spot. That is s major interview being on WTMJ.