Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Coach CB"

Coaching is something I love to do - I have had the opportunity since college to coach quite a few "older runners" - co-workers, 8th graders, and friends.  I am a rookie coach, not an expert by any means, just have a passion for the sport and love to share it.   Mostly towards very specific goals - usually a race.  Every single time I have LOVED it, probably more then them - seeing them reach their goal is so incredibly gratifying.   And this past Spring - I got to coach youth - and I mean YOUTH for the first time - 3rd -5th grade girls!  The humor is so high, I could write a book :)  Now I think certain things play into your life at certain times for a reason, and I needed this experience....I got way more out of it then all the girls combined.
There is a million ways you could skin this cat, but I am going to go the easy way.... Top 10 things I learned from coaching these amazing girls this Spring!

10.  It's All About the Food!
Sometimes I wondered  if I was a snack coach vs. a running coach.  The pure sight or mention of any edible object would cause complete distraction until it was consumed.  Literally moods would be determined by who had what, what flavor it was, and if they could have more.  One day I brought Firecracker Popsicles (you remember these!?) and I might as well have won the Nobel Prize :)  While at first I was shocked by the importance of food in a running program - I mean come on we are training for a 5K here girls! - I quickly realized, well this is no different from adults.  In deep training now, I get very HANGRY 5x a day, and the world STOPS until I eat.  Justin knows after I run there is no small talk until after the PB sandwich is consumed.  So I guess, when you boil it's always all about the food.  And heck, what's wrong with that?  

9.  Cartwheels, Handstands, and Climbing Fences - Oh to be Young Again.
So we had a inside joke on our team, no climbing fences because that made Coach CB very nervous, and handstands and cartwheels must be done sparingly because when I watched them do these acrobatics I could feel my leg popping off just at the sight of it.  It's unreal - they would be running laps for 30 minutes, me thinking they will be pooped and next thing I know I turn around and they are 1/2 way up a 12 ft fence!  OMG - get down - what if their parents see this, holy cow, please GET DOWN, do NOT jump, slide down.  Oh veyyyyyyyyy.   And the cartwheels, I mean literally my leg would pop off if I did that stuff - they are SO flexible and bendy.  When does that change?   It made me think to when I first graduated college I would wake up, be on the road hammering out 6-7 miles, and then jump right in a car to work.  Now?  I wake up 2 hours before I run, have a whole pre-run activation routine so my butt, hamstrings, and feet decide to come to work.  Then after I run, I spend 20 minutes stretching, massaging, etc.  I mean....I'm old?

8.  Fashion  (non)Sense.
I love this one, the outfits.  I literally had to hold back laughter sometimes as they came to practice.  The stripes with the polka dots, the COLORS, the sparkles - - all just so authentic.  I mean I am not a mom, but I think it's because it's that awkward phase where mom and dad don't dress you and you choose your outfit?  And you probably have to pick your battles in the morning as a parent?  But I LOVE it, the greatest part?  No one cares or notices, so when does that change?  When does it matter that you wear J. Crew, your colors are in "season", and heck that you match?  I started to wish I could wear polka dot shorts and a hot pink shirt to work - - it's refreshing :)

7.  Pace Yourself.....or Not.
I will never forget the 1st practice.  EVER.  After talking about starting out slow, easing into it, pacing yourself because we will be running for 15 all out SPRINT ensued after saying GO.  And then we walked for 14 minutes,  No matter how much we harped on this, it never failed - - why pace yourself - it's all or nothing baby!  And once again I realized who am I to talk?  I think those of you who have followed me know my issues with starting out a race in debt :)  So, I mean, I guess I started to come of the philosophy - - if you gotta go, GO -and embrace the suck that will be soon following :) #nowhiningallowed  But you know what?  It matches their outlook on life - why hold back?  You never know if you will get a 2nd mile right?  Live every moment to the most.

6.  You Better Be All In.
This was one of many reasons why I needed these girls more then they needed me.  I have a lot swirling in my head right now with training, life changes, wedding, work, etc.  And if I ever tried to "half" be mentally there....C.H.A.O.S.  I had to just drop whatever was on my mind and give them my all.  And for me, what a release. I would leave practice and forget everything that was bothering me when I had arrived.  It was like free therapy :)

5.  Trust.
They tell you things.  And when they do, it means they TRUST you.  And you cannot break that.  Whether it's their friend is mad at them, their parents yelled, or they failed a test - it is important to them if they tell you.  So LISTEN.  I remember the first time one girl came up to me and said her best friend didn't like her anymore.  My first reaction - "tell her to take a hike, her loss, move on sister".  But then I talked to my sister and she quickly advised me that was not the right response :(  Her telling me was a BIG deal, and I needed to listen, to ask questions, and offer solutions.  Joy.  Can't we just run?  But then I realized if this stuff didn't come out - then they couldn't run.  And OH MY GOD - how does that NEVER change.   Again those who have followed this crazy blog know, whenever my head is not at peace, my running TANKS.  Stress=injuries.  Talk it out.  Find someone you TRUST and unload.  Insert Justin - boy I hope he is ready for this marriage thing :)

4.  Pure Innocence.
So they basically say what they think.  There is no filter.  EVER.  Are you married?  No, but I am getting married in June.  Do you have kids.  No, I do not.  Why?  Well let me get married first.  Who are you voting for?  My Mom.  No you're not, pleaseeeeeeeeeeee tell me.  My mom.
Now, having no children, and not being around them a lot, the first week was a little rough - I mean, I am a) shy b) introverted c) super private.  So telling 10 5th graders my plans for kids on day one was a little - um - unnerving?  But I soon realized - there is no agenda - they just - legitimately want to know.  The thought pops on the brain, and boom! it pops out the mouth!  When does that change?  When do we start to "craft" what we say, when do we decide to be politically correct about everything - why can't we just call it like it is :)  It's refreshing!

3.  Bribery.
It works at this age.  And you pretty much can get anything achieved with it.  So another inside joke we had was I always brought special pens to practice.  Now, let me first clarify these pens were freebies, one was a "Fractured Prune Doughnut" Pen Justin got from some doughnut shop, another was Dent Wizard Pen from when my windshield cracked, etc.  But,  they LOVED my pens.  One practice we ran for my pen, Never saw them run farther, faster, more focused :)  Bribery....great tool.  Keeping that in the parental memory bank.

2.  Love.
Ever been hugged by 5th graders?  They leave marks in your skin they squeeze so hard.  Marks I never want to leave my body.  EVER.  These little bodies are filled with 90% love, 10% food.  And they give it out freely.  And it's awesome.  I have people scream CB at me a lot - for work it's they need something, for running it's to go faster, for life it's to do something.  All good - I love hearing CB - but hearing "Coach CB" - melts your heart.  At the final 5K I was trying to catch as many of the girls I could at the last 1/2 mile to run them in.  Most looked dead at that point - I know the feeling - just get it over.  I was doing the eye scan looking for our girls and I heard 'COACH CB"  - I caught her eyes and she LIT UP - I ran over to her and all of sudden she had the will to sprint,  the will to finish, the will to WIN.    In that very moment I felt more loved then I had in my entire life. That's all I have to say on that.  #chills  Give somebody BUG EYES when you see them.  It will make them feel loved.  Real love.

1.  From the Heart.
Whatever they say, whatever they do.  It's not fake.  It's from the heart.  I will leave you with this story.  The last practice we tried to run alone with each girl.  I told them what they brought to the team, and how special they were.  Upon telling one beautiful girl how amazing she was, she said...and coach CB I have something to tell you now!  oh ok...I thought.  "My dad googled you, he said you were like an Olympic athlete (me thinking no not really, I wish :) and I just wanted to say I know you will achieve your dreams because good people like you achieve their dreams."  I don't know about me being good, but I do know that I must have done at least one thing right in life to deserve that, because that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.