Thursday, April 28, 2011

3-4 Thursday

Okay, I admit it, I got this idea from another blog. But it might just work for me, too. Instead of having a fully formed idea--which doesn’t happen often enough--on some Thursdays I’ll just share three things on my mind. Or, maybe I’ll just try it this once…

#1: Tornado > Run

The first thing I do when I wake up is listen to the weather. I don’t mind running in most conditions. In fact, I really like running in rain and snow. But when I heard that there was a tornado sighted in Lansdowne, which is not very far from where I live, well, I didn’t run today.

Normally, Fridays are a day of rest. Tornado on Thursday > Rest on Friday.

Texaco#2: $5 Worth, Please

To the attendant my dad would say, “$5 worth, please,” and he’d get most of a tank-full of gas, the oil checked, and the windshield wiped. Yesterday, I put $72 worth into my car. Pumped it myself. Couldn’t find the squeegee to do the windshield. Not sure how to check the oil… Oh, I guess one upside was that while I was filling the tank I could watch highlights from last night’s installment of “Entertainment Tonight” on the pump.

#3: Time Flies

I made a joke yesterday based on the film, “An Officer and a Gentleman,” that no one really responded to favorably. You see there was this maintenance guy on his hands and knees diligently scraping the dirt and grime out of a floor panel in our building. I said, “he must have done something bad.” Does anyone get that immediately? No? Free boonies for the duration. Nothing? I want your DOR. Get it? You can kick me out, but I ain’t quittin’?

I guess that movie came out 30 years ago. I got nowhere else to go.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It’s Official.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve begun my training for my next BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Look for me at the starting line of the San Francisco Marathon on July 31, 2011.

sfmWhy San Francisco? Well, for lots of reasons not the least of which is a chance to combine a great adventure and a visit with my brother, John, who has lived in the Bay Area for many years.

I also fell in love with the city when I did business there back in the 1980’s. Oh, and of course there is the incredible attraction of running across the Golden Gate Bridge (twice). It’s a demanding/hilly course, but I think I’m up for that or at least I will be three months from now.

Note: The cool weather in San Francisco makes it one of the few spots in the United States where you can run a “big city” marathon comfortably in mid-summer.

Typically, I tie my endurance challenges to raising money for Multiple Sclerosis research. But this time I decided to give all of my wonderful and constant supporters a break from that annual request. Maybe later this year—or even next year—I will find another way to do that. But, for now, peace on that front. And, of course, thank you again and again to all of those who have sponsored me over the years.

This doesn’t mean I will be running without purpose. Far from it. The good will of my family and friends who have supported me in my fundraising efforts over the last 18 years will again be a sustaining force. Making the most of this gift called life, in my father’s memory, a second driver. And, ultimately, I run because I know that others who suffer from illnesses like MS cannot. I do it for them.

I’ll post regularly here, among other topics, but you can follow my marathon preparation daily on Twitter, too, @chasruns2stopms.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It’s There. You Just Can’t See It.

Ashley, Allyson, Jenny, and HaileyI love soccer, but I coach for the relationships. The spring season brings longer days, warm weather (eventually), and more chances to bring the team together. That typically means 3-4 times per week for “fun and friendship” on the pitch. I think this is what heaven will be like for me.

But the springtime changes when your team enters high school. Most of the girls get a chance to play for their schools and they dive into that with everything they have. And that means their priorities have to shift, rightfully. They get to practice five days a week—which is awesome—but other things in their life have to get moved out to make room for that intensity.

So what role does their Avalanche team have for them? Well, it’s simply their home. Some will have good experiences on their new teams and some will have less than good experiences. But all know that they have a place they can go to that will be consistent and free and safe. Avalanche soccer is good, yes, but the bonds they share are even better.

The other day, I watched Heritage (Jenny and Hailey) play against Stone Bridge (Allyson). Allyson scored the only and winning goal in a 1-0 match. Both of the Heritage girls said, though, that if they had to lose they were glad it was to their Avalanche teammate. After the match they all hugged each other with no thoughts of winning or losing, just one of friendship. Ashley, who did not make her high school team, was there, too, and she was equally happy for her teammates and friends.

I believe that the thirteen other girls in light blue would have acted exactly the same way because the Avalanche has an important place in their hearts and will, forever. You can’t see it; you can’t touch it. But you know it’s there.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The First Few Weeks

I coach a girls travel soccer team. They are high school freshmen, and many of them now play for their school teams (yay!). Unfortunately, a few that tried out did not make it.

After their initial disappointment we collaborated and came up with a plan to get them more ready for next year’s opportunity. The plan includes running for fitness five times per week (among other soccer-specific activities).

Fifteen-year old people, typically, do not do that. In fact, when I first suggested the idea to Ash, Dana, and Jenny the concept was met without much excitement or any belief that it was a good idea. But, to their credit, they are mostly sticking with the plan, and they are finding out what I already knew.

1. The first few weeks are the toughest.

Whether you’re training for your first 10k or marathon or just trying to get more fit, the first first two weeks of your running program kind of, well, suck. You don’t feel the gains, but you feel the pain. The miles seem long and tedious—even when you only have one or two to do. You feel like you’ve accomplished something when you finish each run, but when you start the next one you still dread it. You have to trust that they payoff will be there, but you aren’t quite sure.

2. But it will pay off (I promise).

Unprompted, all three girls have come to me recently and said they are starting to feel a real difference now. Their stamina is increasing; their confidence is growing. Their bodies have adjusted to the new demands, and are beginning to thrive.

And, in our first game of the spring season, all three had excellent showings. One of their goals was to keep up with their teammates who are playing and practicing five days per week at school, and in some ways the three were even better than I had envisioned.

3. Once you get through this part, you want to keep going.

Yesterday was one of the first beautiful/warm evenings of the season. I texted the girls and said, “what a great night to get out for a run.” Since they have many competing priorities, the girls can easily be distracted from the plan so a little motivation/reminder from me doesn’t hurt. Within seconds of my text, here’s what I got back from Ash:

“Dana and I are already done.”

We have transitioned from the coach saying this is a good idea to the girls knowing that it is.

The first few weeks are over.