So I decided that today would be the day that I finished my blog on being a coach. You see over the past year, I have been exposed to another side of athletes, a side that I am not a big fan of.
If you have been following my blog for any amount of time you know that I have been a runner for most of my life and a coach since 2004. You may also have noticed from pictures I have posted, I am not built like Deena Kastor. Like many people I have struggled with eating issues, weight issues and health issues for the greater part of my life. However, I did not until recently think that what my current size was or was not did not effect my ability to be a good coach. Kind of delusional I guess.
I started my marathon journey in 1995 with Team in Training in Charlotte, North Carolina. So it seemed quite fitting that I would start my coaching career with Team in Training. In 2004, I took the leap. Disney Marathon 2005 would be the first finish line I crossed as a coach, albeit an assistant coach, but a coach. While all my marathon finishes have been super emotional there is nothing like crossing the finish line with a first time marathoner and experiencing the emotions they have as they reach their goal. I was hooked and I realized that coaching was my passion.
Fast forward to 2008, and I am now coaching Marathons and Triathlons for Team in Training. At this point, I had decided I wanted to pursue coaching as a job as well. Beyond Endurance was founded. My philosophy in regards to coaching is and always has been helping someone to achieve something that they had always dreamed about but never felt possible.
Now there are many people out there that do not believe if you finish a race with a pace slower than 10minute miles, you are not racing. In the minds of these people - these athletes are not runners much less athletes. Well I disagree. As soon as a person makes a decision to complete an endurance event, whatever the distance, they become an athlete. Will they go to the Olympics no probably not but their accomplishment is no less amazing or extraordinary.
Back to me now - after a divorce, cancer and several person struggles - my weight changes as my mood does. I am not skinny, I won't ever be. Does that make me less of a coach? I don't think so. I think your ability to coach begins with your ability to listen. Once you can understand what the goals of your athlete are then you can help them to achieve their goals.
It is very hard for me to not get frustrated when I hear people saying that unless you have been there you cannot coach it. Well I have crossed the finish line in over 35 marathons, I have completed more half marathons and 10k's that I can count. I have complete the Goofy Challenge 3 times, completed 2 Half Ironman races, numerous sprint and Olympic triathlons and attempted an Ironman. I have coached 15 seasons of TNT participants and had 100% of my teams cross the finish line at their half marathon, marathon and triathlon. Most of my athletes were first timers when they came out but many of them are repeat offenders now.
I am also the Triathlon Coach at the Lake Nona Y. In the 8 months since I arrived, the program has changed, I think for the better. Many of my athletes have completed distances they did not think they could do and all of them have accomplished their goals. We have brought home many age group awards and are looking forward to the new year.
So back to my original comments - You don't have to look like Deena Kastor or run as fast as Chrissie Wellington to be an athlete or a coach.
All you need is PASSION. Passion for your sport, passion for job and a passion for life. Everything else is just a bonus.
When I cross the finish line at my Ironman it won't be in under 10 hours, It might not be in under 14 hours but will that make my accomplishment any less? Heck no, I will still be an Ironman.
So if you think you cannot do something you cannot but if you think you can, YOU WILL and I can help you get there.
Talk to you soon!