So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Older I Get, The Better I Was - OR - Never Kick A Man Unless He's Down

Some days, when everything seems to be going haywire, all you want is one voice of sanity in the babble. It doesn't sound like it's going to be today.
A local race promoter contacted me at the beginning of the year to ask about the exact location of some mile splits for a race, since the description I wrote on the technical map was a little confusing. I mentioned to him the concern from guys running at my pace - low-6:00/mile - about getting the location correct. I used the term "front pack" perhaps ten seconds too loosely to describe the group who asked me while we were on the course about the sign location. The discussion went from information-gathering to a you aren't all that statement.
The gentleman proceeded to pull up my local race results from previous years & compare them to the top-shelf local runners near my age-group. He also compared locals to out-of-towners. It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before about out-of-town competition. In fact, I have written on several occasions the (painfully obvious) fact with our performances, many locals wouldn't get a sniff of awards in some areas of the country.
While I was down, so to speak, he provided a diagnosis (his words describe an autopsy) why the training group here I coach isn't alive any longer. He used a comparison to some local female runners who have done well, calling them modest, humble & accomplished. I guess that means I'm not, to which he could be right. Of course, one of the female runners he mentioned, as well as a few age-group triathletes, have publicly complimented my advice & counsel. So maybe he's only part wrong.
There are very few good coaches out there who were accomplished athletes. There are even fewer accomplished athletes who have become great coaches. Good coaches have a talent for getting inside the head of the individual athlete, helping them believe the work they've done in the past prepared them for the performance/s of the present. But, there are very few citizen-athletes who want to do the work to be at the level of the top-shelfers this promoter is trying to draw in to local events, mostly because of the painfully-obvious fact most local citizen-athletes need to be able to eat & sleep indoors, pay utility bills & groceries, maintain marriages & families, etc.

It's like the NCAA commercial, nearly all (of us?) are (going) professional in something else. So, the odds are good most of us will someday (if we're not doing it now) look back at our former selves & wish we could do it again, either to do it better or simply to do it.

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