Thursday, May 22, 2014

You never know.

This past week I received a random Facebook message. It was from an athlete I had coached in soccer who had been given an assignment to write a note to someone who had influenced him. He chose me. The only problem, he didn’t know my mailing address and wanted to send the note my way.

The point of this blog is in no way to gloat about a note that was written. When I first read the message my immediate thought was, “I would have never predicted that.” I stepped away having been reminded of the fact that you never know who is watching and who is listening to you. In the time spent coaching this individual, I cannot recall too many times in which we had a one-on-one conversation. I’m sure there were times we conversed on the field about positioning, skill, tactics, etc. I’m sure there were moments where I was addressing the group of people he was hanging out with. But as far as a serious and/or in-depth conversation, I cannot recall too many, if any. Had you told me someone from that year’s team was going to write a note, he honestly would have been near the end of the list of those I would expect. Yet, he did. Something that was said or done along the way made an impact. It was not something drastic and something I walked away saying, “Yes. That was a golden moment of influence!”

As I spend some time reflecting on this, I want to throw out the same challenging conclusion I came to; you never know who is watching and who is listening to you. And, you never know what kind of an impact that is going to have on someone. You never know.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy (early) Mother's Day

In order to beat Hallmark, and the majority of people I wanted to write a post today, a few days prior to Mother's Day. The inspiration came from a random phone call I had with my mom earlier in the evening... 
I received a text from my dad letting me know my mom had sprained her ankle. I responded to him and asked how severe it was - he informed me it was a bad sprain, but nothing was broken - and that I should call and ask if she could get something from the basement for me (family humor at its best)
Being a good and concerned son, I called. Not wanting to give my mom much of an opportunity to call my bluff, I quickly let her know I was calling to let her know I left something in the basement storage room when I moved all my stuff and am curious if she can go check on it for me. Being aware of her condition I fully expected her to view this as an opportunity to explain about her bruised and swollen ankle. Yet, she hesitated, and I could tell that running through her mind were thoughts of, "Where does he think it is? How can I get down there at the moment? I don't want to, but I will." As she was running through those questions, I heard her give a defeated sigh as she began to tell me about her bummed ankle, and how she cannot get down the stairs. At which point I started to laugh, and let her know I was full aware of her ankle, which is why I called. Thankfully, she is fully aware of my (poor) sense of humor and was able to laugh with me and enjoy the phone call. 

This phone call brought to mind something I have known for many years: my mom is incredible. She is willing to completely disregard her own interests and desires to serve her family, and others. Even in a time where she is physically unable to do something, her first thought is, "how can I do this for him?" She is full of love, support, encouragement, passion. 

I know this post may be short, and the story is longer than the conclusion. But, as I sit here and reflect on the phone conversation (and so many other times throughout my life), I am overcome with gratefulness for the mom God has given me. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Here we go again

Three days from now I will be competing in my ninth marathon. It is a real quick turn around from number eight, and that is by design. I am hoping to be able to get two races in, without having to go through the rigorous training regimen twice. It sounds great on paper, but I’m not entirely sure how my body will respond.
In the two weeks since my last race I do feel as though my legs have recovered quickly, and recovered well. I was able to go out and get a solid run in four days after my marathon. Since then, I have had a decent balance of rest but also getting miles as needed. The biggest struggle has been a mental battle. I know I need to continue to rest and recover, but a large part of me is itching to hit the trails and get going full-speed. The taper period is never easy for me. At times it is hard to remember that resting, is a very important part to training. 
A very discouraging thing for me, is that this past weekend I picked up a bit of a bug that has left me feeling very weak, tired, and flu-ish. Perhaps this is a good thing, as it has forced me to be a lot less active than normal. But, it is also disheartening as I try to rev up for my next race, and find that walking a flight of stairs is giving me a little bit of a fit. 
With that in mind, I feel as though the mantra I have accepted for #9 is quite fitting; unprecedented determination. This past winter was dreadful for training. Each run I went on required a lot of determination and discipline. From the beginning of the year I had my goals laid out and I knew what I wanted to accomplish. Never before had I felt so determined and so unwavering in my attempt to conquer 1,200+ miles in a year, and four marathons (with my times averaging 3:20). In order to accomplish those things, it was going to take unprecedented determination. 
As I sit down today, a few days away from my second marathon of the year, and ninth overall, I am excited to take a few more steps toward accomplishing my goals. Knowing my body is perhaps a little tired from setting a marathon PR a few weeks ago, and battling a bug, I can only look forward and know that one thing will help me find success: unprecedented determination. 
PS. There is a way to get real time updates on my progress throughout the race. If you are interested in this, send me an email and I will let you know how to get set up.