Lately, lots of people have been asking me for running & diet advice. Sometimes together, sometimes separately. I think it is because I am a self proclaimed expert in both areas. I mean, I’m like practically a certified nutritionist and Olympic coach by default, right? RIGHT??? OK, maybe not. I will say though that my early years as a runner taught me lots about what to do and what not to do. particularly because my coach, as charming as he was, could be a bit of a dick. If we had a home race, we ran to that race from school, then we ran the race, then we ran back to the school. I will never forget my mother’s horrified expression when she went to take me home after a race and my coach was like “Hold your roll, lady.” (Different words may have been used, but you get the point) It’s rare that she doesn’t argue and I was shocked when she whispered “Meet you back at school.” without so much as a single word in my defense. He also really loved riding in his large vehicle behind or next to us, screaming through his bull-horn: “This isn’t a walk ladies, they call it running for a reason.” Then there was his punishment for not behaving properly. He caught me walking once during a race, stealth style and rewarded us all by making us do suicides over and over again. Everyone on the team refused to speak to me for like a month. Clearly, I never did that again. But by far, the best and my personal favorite was when he took a giant dump on what you thought was a huge success. “Coach, I did the last race in 30 minutes (it was a 5K)” His response: “If you are expecting a high-five, you’re not getting one from me. Shave some time off.” Most of you may be reading this and thinking that he was a horrible person but he wasn’t, he was the opposite actually. He turned out to be the single most influential person in my life, lifting my capabilities beyond what I thought they could ever be and inspiring me enough to make running a life long endeavor. He also taught me that whining is for pussies, you run through the pain no matter what and that if you don’t do it right, you are just disappointing yourself. These are philosophies that I have carried with me fondly. So, when people ask me for my advice, it usually has those key points laced somewhere in my response.
Example: I have a cramp in my side, what should I do?
My response: You keep running, what the hell else would you do?
Example: I’m doing the Coach to 5K program, what are your thoughts?
My response: I think that is remarkably stupid. I hate that program.
You get the point. I try to be sensitive. I try to put a nicer spin on it but the bottom line is, just like Nike has always said: just do it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Christ. Just do it.
So, I have now had three people ask me to coach them (this does not include my running buddies, they are running companions and I consider them to be totally my equals, they kick ass) and a couple of these people I am really excited about because I feel like I can really help them (A-Logan, if you are reading this, I know you can do a 5K!) However, I struggle with the “my way or the highway” approach. I do know this, when people listen to me, they get results. When they don’t listen, they look like jerks. How do I effectively communicate that without sounding like a giant douche? I dunno. My husband for instance (sorry Josh!) is always asking me for eating advice and finally I just said: “Well, jesus, don’t put it in your mouth then.” I could have answered him a little differently. I think. In hindsight. However, I can also be completely be a wonderful cheerleader, encouraging people to get over hurdles they never thought possible. And I think my energy for running is totally contagious, bringing with me the idea that everyone can do it. I have never told anyone that they couldn’t be a runner. I have always said: you’ve got the tools, you just have to commit. I also praise well when someone does a great job and I take the time to really cheer on those who need it and who have done it. Really, what I am trying to avoid is taking my shoe off and throwing it at someone in complete and utter frustration. I need to learn that not everyone is exactly like me. I take a lot in stride, that’s not always the case with the rest of the population. Anyways, I would love to hear some thoughts on how to deal with different personalities in the sport of running. Let me know how you cope with similar situations.
Happy running to all and remember, just do it! 😉