"For the record, we never broke up; we just took a 14-year vacation..." - Glenn Frey, 1994
I've coached a small group of (as few as three to as many as a dozen) adult runners for six years, in the classic "stand on the side of the track" as well as the "in the pack" style. Each style has its benefits and drawbacks; coaching revealed me at my best and my worst. If an aspiring author were to write it without the benefit or hindrance of this blog it would most likely either look like a Charles Dickens ("best of times, worst of times") tale. Maybe not. More likely in the style of a Stephen King ("...heeeeere's Johnny!") screenplay. As long as Jack Nicholson isn't playing me, I'm all right.
Coaching is stressful, especially if you feel the need to prove to athletes that the training will never get "boring," (news flash: it will, get used to it...) or, worse yet, when a symbiotic relationship with a running emporium (''...you refer runners to me for training, I send them to you for shoes and gear...') transforms into "competition." Add to the stress a pair of achilles tendons made cranky by too much hard training and not enough recovery, and life becomes a misery.
So, I took a bit of a holiday. I retired. I became a "gentleman" coach; a "quasi-guru" with a limited and non-paying clientele. Not surprisingly, people "suddenly" become more interested in training when you're not available. It's no different than the difference between when you're single and when you finally find that "soul mate;" every other person who otherwise would not have given you the time of day if your watch had stopped cold dead wants something to do with you.
Last weekend I decided, against my better judgment, to hang the shingle again. I don't know why, other than perhaps the moon was full, the beer was cold, my tendons hadn't barked at me for a month, and the person who asked me seemed to be genuinely interested.
This time, however, things will be different. I have nothing to prove to anyone who shows up. Except for the fact I can give them a good product at a reasonable price. They will pay, I will coach, and they will work. Seems simple enough to me.