Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Coach Justin

How did I get so lucky as to have someone as great as Justin is for my partner in life? He is a lot of things to me, but recently, he’s been a fantastic coach, despite all of my many inadequacies…

I’ve been dealing with a strained hamstring that has affected the past week and a half of training. I’ve been trying to be conservative and actually took four days off from running, but I’ve been driving myself crazy about it because running wasn’t going great right before the time off. I’ve been a bit concerned about an upcoming race – I really wanted to be dialed in and feeling fast, and I’m not exactly there because of this injury. Justin interprets my moods pretty well and generally knows exactly what to say. Here are some examples of things where he is simply an amazing coach that I really should be paying 20% of my annual income for:

1. This morning Chris finishes her first run in several days and is secretly disappointed that the time is not faster because it actually felt pretty good. Coach Justin appears to sense her mood and reminds her that the time is actually quite good because Haley (one of our dogs…the other one wouldn’t get out of bed this morning) had to take a shit and we had to scoop and bag it.
2. After the run, Chris asks Coach Justin if he’d be up for transition practice tonight, and he tells her that he would rather watch her and see if he can help her by pointing out anything that he might see.
3. After a shower, Chris diligently wraps her leg with the compression ice pack that our good friend and physical therapist, Norman, has loaned her. She laments (this is only the 442nd time this has crossed her mind in the last week) that it’s too bad that she’s not been doing speedwork because she really was hoping to be able to run well this weekend. Coach Justin hits a home run with her by telling her that many of the great race performances have been done by athletes who were dealing with injuries leading up to raceday and had been forced to rest. He points to Joan Benoit Samuelson and her Olympic win and also says he has heard of others whose name he can’t recall.
4. During breakfast this morning, conversation switches to Coach Justin telling Chris that he spent some time during our run this morning thinking of things he was going to yell at her when she races on Saturday. He says the thoughts give him goosebumps. Chris gets teary inside when he tells her and then teary again as she writes this.
5. Finally, Coach Justin tells her that she needs to be confident in her abilities. Chris asks Coach Justin why he’s never had a confidence problem, and he just shrugs as though she had just asked him why his hair is not hot pink. Chris makes mental note that her on/off confidence might simply be a decision she has to make (to turn the confidence switch to “on”).

How lucky am I? All this plus a million other things that he does (including lots of help with bike maintenance stuff!). And to think that even this morning I gave him a hard time for not looking for things very well (“Honey, where is my race belt? I can’t find them in your bag” “They’re there! Stop looking like a guy!” “I can’t find my tri-shorts” “In the drawer” “Didn’t see them” “They’re there!”). I feel bad about that. I think I need to give him a million “Find it for me without giving me a hard time” passes (Chris makes mental note of this...maybe she better write it in her PDA so she doesn't forget).

He’s an amazing guy, and I’m so fortunate.


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