Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cross Country

When I was in high school, I had a fairly decent mile time ... 5:23 was my personal best. When the cross country coach heard about that time, he called me at home and talked to me about being on the cross country team. When I talked to my mom about it afterwards she said, "I don't know, Rich. I don't feel comfortable with you running across the country." ... True story.

I've since lost my ability (and quite franky, my desire) to run a mile in 5:23, but I still enjoy running. This year, I was asked, out of the blue, to help with the Fairfield girls cross country team. I NEVER saw that request coming, but looked at it as a great way to be a presence at the high school and to invest in some lives. I'm still learning the ropes, but it has been a really cool experience so far.

The above picture is from a practice on a Friday (thanks Katy Hawkins for letting me snatch this picture from your Facebook page even though you don't know it yet. lol) Every Friday the girls get to "dress up." It's just part of the fun they seem to have together as a team.

Yesterday was a very cool experience for me because there was a meet between Fairfield and Goshen ... the two biggest schools represented at axis. There were quite a few girls from axis on both teams and even though I was technically "working" for Fairfield, I was pulling for all of the axis girls regardless of what team they were on.

Part of the fun for me yesterday was simply to look at the focus and determination in the eyes of each girl as they ran ... the look that says, "I am going to kick this course' butt!" I just love that! I also really enjoyed being the "cheerleader" as they ran. When I did my half-marathon earlier this year, the people along the course cheering on the runners were a HUGE encouragement. I wanted to take on that role and try to help the runners realize they can attack the course and "ignore the voice" that says to slow down.

I'm hoping to continue to learn about the "science" behind coaching cross country and, more importantly, hoping to be a positive influence on the team.

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