Wednesday, August 6, 2008


"...I think you can go faster than that, though..." - My coach, via email, following Saturday's race

As per usual, I contacted my coach after my last race to let her know how it went. As you read in my race report, immediatley after the race, I was on cloud nine. In my mind, nothing could have gone better.

She responded with a wonderfully supportive email that just happened to include the sentence quoted above.

Did I see the supportive part that came before or the coaching part that came after?

Ummmm, not exactly. Instead, I got defensive. REALLY DEFENSIVE.

Faster? You think I can go faster? You think I SHOULD have gone faster? Gimme a break! What the hell is she talking is about? She wasn't there! She didn't see me grunting and groaning and spitting my way to the finish. Don't knock me off my cloud, lady! Does she not think I'm working hard enough? I CANNOT get up any earlier and work any harder than I already am. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. ...and I might hate her!

Yeah. It was quite a mature response. My husband was amused.

I went into the kitchen and starting chopping tons of vegetables for the dinner I was preparing. My mind was, of course, spinning. I took a few deep breaths and thought about the race. As I wrote in my race report, in general, I felt REALLY, REALLY good throughout the entire race. In fact, my body responded so well that it shocked me. AND, if I'm really honest, I can admit that went I came into T2, I knew that barring something horrible on the run I would easily meet my overall goal and finish in under 3 hours. Then, I saw my sub 9:20 split at mile one and somewhere deep down thought "'s o.k. to slow down a little bit." Then I remembered that after the race my mom said I looked so good at mile 5 that "it didn't even look like I was working."

Hmmmm.......maybe I could have pushed a little harder on that run? Did I really feel pain? Did I? I know that I was breathing really heavily, but I'm having a hard time remembering any pain now. Maybe she isn't saying "You SHOULD have gone faster - i.e. I'm disappointed" but is instead saying "You got potential, kid -- don't leave it out there!"

I shared this reflection from with my husband. He looked up from the couch and said "You mean, we don't have to hate her now?" and smiled.

As Sage likes to say, "the job of the coach is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Well, job accomplished. Consider my buttons pushed.

After some additional reflection and discussion, I realized that she wasn't questioning my effort or my commitment. Instead, she was simply putting forward a physiological statement. Based on last year's 1 mile time trial, I CAN go faster. The math is there. Rational and to the point.

So, it's got me thinking about potential. About how and why and when we - all of us, including those folks living at Genesis Home - notice our own potential up ahead, but for some reason hold back and choose to let it get away from us.