Thursday, September 24, 2009

On leading people on a run

After I finished my first marathon in March, my friends and family took that finish as proof that I know what I'm doing as a runner. Now, I would not consider myself an expert at all, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve and know some things that work, etc.

The first time I was ever asked to go with people on a run was in Rochester. My dad had a few friends from the gym, whom I had met, and they wanted me to pace them on some runs around town. I was so nervous - I did not think I would be able to meet the expectations that they had about me. But then we made it through our first run together. And before I knew it, we ran together twice a week, and even tackled a few half marathon courses together. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and I look forward to running with my triathlete buds again.

At Beloved Summer Job, we had a student who was a cross country super star and needed to train while she was at camp. I was asked if I could accompany her on runs. This made me a lot more nervous than my first time running with the triathletes - she goes to State Championships and I...went to choir competitions in high school. I imagined that on our first run she would take off, and I would be left in the dust, feeling stupid about my ability to run. But we turned out to be a good match for one another, since her distance is more the 5k length, we sort of met in the middle for long runs, and paced each other quite well. At one point, I took her out for a 9 mile run, which is a little longer than she is used to (she normally goes to 8). She definitely started to tire toward the end, but still finished fine. We had such an interesting exchange after the run was over. She had trouble understanding how I was not tired from 9 miles, so I explained that I just had to train myself to not get fatigued at that point, because in a marathon, there is still a lot of the race to go. Then she said, "You're turning into my running idol." Me? I've never run competitively, and here I have a student telling me she looks up to me. I was so incredibly flattered; it was such a sweet thing to say. She is a remarkable person, and a reminder of why I come back to that job year after year.

At CUA, I work with a variety of departments in Student Affairs. I've had the opportunity to work with the Fitness Center, and have made a good connection with their director. We decided at the end of last year to found a running club for the undergrads called Cardinal Striders (our mascot is the Cardinal). I took a few of them on a run yesterday afternoon. We did a 2 mile loop around the perimeter of campus, and it was just really enjoyable to take them out and show them a good route. They had a lot of fun, and I did too. I am not sure that I'll be able to take these girls out a lot, but I think we're going to shoot for once a week.

Again, I do not consider myself an expert, but I'm flattered to know that people trust me enough to have me lead them on runs. It's really a great experience, and I enjoy sharing my thoughts and tricks of the trade with others. I'm sure if coaching is necessarily in my future, but I do like what I'm doing now!

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