“To be a runner is to learn continual life lessons. To be a coach is not just to teach these lessons but also to feel them in the core of your marrow."
~ Martin Dugard
Felix (behind MASCO shirt) w/ his LHS teammates
EMASS D1 Championships @ Wrentham 2012
Felix, one of our former LHS runners, is currently training for his first marathon which he'll tackle next month. In my personal opinion, an August marathon sounds like hell, but he's young and spritely, so the heat and humidity don't seem to phase him. Ever. In high school he was crazy fast. Though he no longer runs competitively in college, he is still crazy fast. Early on in the summer, I suggested we try and get a run in as I, too, am training for a marathon. "Yeah, for sure," he said. Then, he let me know that he'd been doing most of his long runs at a 6:45 pace. You can go ahead and laugh here. I did. So, we grabbed a cup of coffee and talked strategy instead. He let me know his goals; listed here in order of priority....first, he'd like to beat his brother (hopefully his brother doesn't read this), second, he would like to qualify for Boston for which he needs a 3:05, and third, he'd like to run a sub 3:00. All of them are both lofty and attainable. We agreed to check in throughout the summer and maybe grab another coffee as I sure as hell wouldn't be running with him any time soon. Sunday morning he texted me to let me know that he'd crushed (my word, not his) his 24 miler; easily completing the run at a comfortable 6:19 pace. Just...really? I am always motivated, inspired, and in awe of young runners. Their drive, dedication and general enthusiasm towards both running and racing is almost tangible. Just being near these young chickens makes me want to run more and be better. And this is a great thing. But, hearing how smooth and "fun" this training has been for him has also highlighted how much tougher and, well, not always fun, my own training has become as I've gotten older. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I'm just being honest. On Sunday, I got a little dose of my own coaching medicine, so to speak. Here's how our conversation rolled out:
FC: Hey Coach. Check out my activity on Strava (clicked on the link to get the details of the previously discussed long run)
Me: Holy SHITE. You smoked it. I hate you. No, I don't. Just jealous. You're going to crush this marathon.
FC: I felt really great. Perfect conditions. It was awesome.
Me: Fantastic!! I got 16 in today. 50 miles total this week. Not bad for an old person.
FC: That's great. And you're not old.
Me: Thank you. But, I still wish I was faster.
FC: Which is good. Everything starts with a goal. You've got the discipline!
Me: True. True. Thanks Coach.
FC: Reciprocated coaching. The best way.
I love being a coach. And I am more than happy to take coaching advice from my fellow runners. Particulary reciprocated advice. Knock 'em dead, Felix.
Listen to this:
Left Hand Free - Alt-J