Tag Archives: coaching

When a Half is Greater than Hole

It was not my longest run.

Not even close to my fastest.

I didn’t hear any cheering

or have any great epiphanies.

I remember being scared.

But I was excited too.

Scared it was going to hurt.

Excited that it might not.

February 4th.

I was a junior in HS.

I ran a 1/2 mile from my front door.

That’s it.

My most important run

was only 800 meters long.

Five months earlier, in September,

I opened my XC season with the

fastest time at the meet by a NJ runner.

That was followed by an invitation

to the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC.

Then my foot started to hurt.

Then it hurt worse.

Taping it alone, icing it alone,

screaming at it alone, throwing things

around my room alone – it only hurt more.

October. Misdiagnosed – again & again.

Told to take a few days off.

Told to run on it again.

Told it would get better. It didn’t.

November. I got mono.

I got over the mono.

My foot still hurt.

December. The bone scan said 4 cracks in the foot.

Explains the pain. Explains why I couldn’t run through it.

And it explains the knee high plaster cast I was put in.

For five months I knew that every time

I put my right foot on the ground it

would hurt. I would flinch even before

I put my foot down.

Every. Other. Step.

I anticipated the pain.

The cast came off in late January.

I put on my running shoes again.

I even wore the team jacket.

I wanted to feel like I had a purpose again.

I wasn’t afraid of hurting.

I was just afraid of still being hurt.

Please.

Please don’t hurt.

I knew that I was going to start & finish

this run at the same place.

I knew I wouldn’t be gone long.

And I knew one way or another

I wouldn’t be the same when I got back.

I want to run again.

Please. Give me this.

I started down my front lawn.

It was the only time my Mom

took a picture of a run.

I didn’t even know it existed

until she showed it to me after

graduation 15 months later.

Hundreds & hundreds of miles later.

Miles without a flinch.

State Championship miles.

All American miles.

So many miles.

But none of the miles that followed

were as special to me as this.

And it was only half of one.

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When the Result is More Than the Results

This is the picture. This one. It’s not the picture of Eliud Kipchoge crossing the finish line. It’s not the picture of the clock stopped at 2 hours and 25 seconds.

Even though that run was the single greatest effort I have ever witnessed…it will be this picture of the Pacers running and dancing down the homestretch to join Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese at the finish line that will forever remind me why I run.

And it will be the Pacers being the first to cross the starting line and never the finish line that will remind me why I coach.

It will be the Pacers, instead of recovering and preparing for their next shift, leaving the cover of their tent to line the fence and cheer as loudly as they could that will remind me why I am a fan.

It will be the the Pacers telling the Breaking2 team that even though their duties were done they would get back on the track if any of the runners needed them and that they would run until they couldn’t run anymore that will remind me why I love this damn sport so very much.

None of these Pacers will be listed in the results. But the result of Breaking2 was impossible without them.

So, this is the one. This picture here represents what Breaking2 meant to me.Because it is a picture of celebration. Not one based on nationality, tribe, or training group. Not a celebration of a result or a time on a clock.

This is a celebration of what happens when we are selfless instead of selfish. This picture celebrates competing with each other instead of against each other and it celebrates the risking of great failure instead of the rewarding of easy success.

This picture represents why we run. Because not only are we all meant to be runners…we are all meant to be Pacers.

Dear Doubt

Dear Doubt,

I’m going to kick your ass today. 

I want you to know that.

And I want you to know that ahead of time. 

Because I want you to be ready. 

So please plan on bringing everything you got.

Bring the hurt. 

Bring the shortness of breath.

Bring the dead legs.

Bring your hills and your cracked sidewalks and your roots and rocks littering the trail.

Bring it all. 

I may not have been ready for you before. 

But I’m ready now. 

I know you. 

I know all your games and tricks.

You’ll try to tell me I’m too hungry to run. 

Or maybe you’ll tell me I’m too full from eating so close to the run.

You’ll tell me I’m not good enough. 

You’ll tell me that I’m never going to get better.

You’ll remind me it’s raining and cold.

Or is it hot and humid?

Keep talking.

It doesn’t matter. 

So go on and tell me that running is punishment.

Just let me tell you something.

I’m not running to punish myself.

I’m running to punish you. 

Cheers,

Runner

The Most Elite Version of Yourself

 

Elite is not a time on a clock.

It’s what happens during that time on the clock.

Elite is not a medal.

It’s what you did to earn that medal.

Elite is not a distance.

It’s about running the distance.

Elite is not a finish line.

It’s a starting line.

Elite is not a pace.

It’s an effort.

Elite is not perfect form.

It’s keeping your form.

Elite is not a headline.

It’s the story.

Elite is not elitist.

It just means being the most elite version of yourself. 

Heath

 

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It matters.

That’s what I knew every day when I woke up.

It matters.

All of it.

Everything.

When I walked into the classroom and when I went to practice I knew it.

Mr. Heath made sure of that.

Because it mattered to him.

The challenge was if we could care as much about it as he did.

If we could do that, well, that is how one team wins 21 Meet of Champions titles.

 

He never treated Cross Country or Track & Field as peripheral sports.

To him they were the only sports.

That was super important to a 14 year old deciding what sport to commit to.

That mentality brought so many great runners into the program.

They didn’t even know they were runners!

But they wanted to be a part of something special.

 

Mr. Heath and I  didn’t coach the same way.

In fact, we were incredibly different when it came to coaching.

So, we argued.

But, we also laughed.

We laughed more than we argued.

We had fun working so hard.

The bar kept getting raised.

I’ll put those last 4 years we had together at CBA up against anyone’s best 4.

The greatest part was that it got harder and harder to get better and better.

And that made only made it more fun for us.

 

He didn’t need to do any more in the sport.

His place on the mountaintop was earned years ago.

You could add up the MOC titles of every other coach in NJ and put them in a corner and that pile would be smaller than his.

He kept coaching though.

Because it mattered.

And if something matters to you then dammit do it as best as you can.

That’s something I remember when I think about Mr. Heath.

 

Between The Lines

(I originally posted this on Instagram before the 2014 NYC Marathon. I thought it might be a good idea to repost it now. Good luck to every runner racing this Spring. Enjoy the journey between the lines.)
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 It’s not going to be perfect. And it’s best to come to terms with that now.
You are going to go out too slow or too fast or fall asleep in the middle or come up short or have too much at the end. You may cramp because you drank too little and you may cramp because you drank too much. You may be sick and feel like crap. You may be healthy and feel like crap.
It’s not going to be perfect.
You have weaknesses. You screw up and make mistakes. You have doubts. You get scared.
Because you’re not perfect either.
But you’re not doing this because you thought you were perfect. You are doing this because you know you are getting Stronger. Because you are learning every day about yourself. And you Believe you can do this. And because being Scared is OK. Being scared reminds you that you are Alive. And sometimes you need to be reminded.
And you should celebrate that you are not perfect. That means you Always have something you can work on, Challenge yourself on. You know what you can be is Better.
You know what you can be is your Best.
You just can’t be perfect.
So this mile, this run, this marathon, this journey between these start and  finish lines can be Life Changing. It can be Inspiring. It can be a Triumph.
It can be so many amazing things.
It just can’t be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be Extraordinary.
And neither do you.