Detours may take you off the path you chosen, and while it might be unplanned, it just could be the best route you have ever taken.
Except for a brief desire to be Dee Dee McCall from “Hunter”, I have always wanted to be an English teacher. My sister used to hoist me into the dumpster at our elementary school at the start of summer vacation to scavenge for all the old Language Arts workbooks and Beacon textbooks being thrown out so we could stock our makeshift classroom in our basement, complete with chalkboard and school desk. I thought I wanted to be an English teacher because I love books, reading and writing, and talking about books, reading and writing. However, I realized, after being in a classroom and actually teaching that it isn’t the love of words in all their forms I love, but it is that moment when the student realizes she can do or understand something, and suddenly gains a little bit more confidence in herself – that is the reason I want to teach.
Those realizations…that gain of confidence in one’s self, is also the reason why I love coaching. I love all the girls I coach in Girls on the Run, but I always have a soft spot for the girl who starts out thinking she can’t even run a lap and ends up being able to run three miles by the time we reach the finale 5K. With each lap she runs to build up to those three miles, she gains a little bit more confidence in herself and sees that she can push a little bit more.
I get that same feeling coaching the running program for Jill B. Nimble. I love, when after each run, one of the runners says, “I just did that five-mile loop a little bit faster than last time. I didn’t think I could do it.” Or, when Susie and Jennie finished their first 10-mile run – the look of accomplishment on their faces gave me a sense of joy, remembering my first 10 miles and knowing how good it felt.
I love working with all the girls and women I do because it helps me be a better runner, and a better person – to myself, and others. While I am working with one of my runners to get her to leave behind the negative self-talk, I am also working with myself to leave behind the negative self-talk. When I tell my runners to not compare themselves to other runners, I am also reminding myself not to compare myself to other runners.
I wasn’t sure, when Erin asked me to TLC the running program (and even more unsure when she asked me to assistant coach the Barb’s Race half-Ironman triathlon team) if I would be good at coaching women – my peers. But, how could I not be? It isn’t like I don’t know what I am doing/talking about. I have done these things…I have actual experience. But, more importantly, I love seeing people accomplish things. I love seeing people do things they didn’t think they could do. I love cheering people on to push beyond the boundaries they have set up for themselves and move on to success.
I love teaching and I love coaching…I love that I have an opportunity to do both. How lucky can one girl be to be doing the two things she loves the most? Years ago, I wasn’t sure my dream of being a teacher was going to come to fruition (and honestly, with the economy, I am still not 100% sure I will get a permanent teaching job). But, I can definitely say that years ago, when I started this journey of health and fitness, I never imagined that I would be a coach for a running program OR a triathlon team! It is simply amazing where a journey will lead you when you aren’t even looking to go in a new direction – you just have to trust the detour sign and trust you are going in the right direction.