Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Coach, My Mentor, My Friend

Catholic guilt requires me to come clean: I’m not training for Eugene Marathon alone. I have a coach. But before you think I’m rolling in dough (au contraire!), let me tell you she’s a good friend of mine who is coaching me for free. She also happens to be an Olympic bronze medalist in 10,000 meters, and a three-time World Cross-Country champion. Yup, you guessed it: My marathon coach is Lynn Jennings, one of the greatest women runners this country has ever seen.

Gee, when I type it like that, I almost feel I should be intimidated instead of eminently grateful! While I realize I’m the runner doing the literal legwork for this marathon in my come-hell-or-high-water attempt to set a personal best, I know I’m incredibly fortunate to have Lynn plotting out my program. Honestly, I get teary eyed with gratitude and awe just thinking about it sometimes.

But what I appreciate more than the training schedule or technique tips from Lynn is her respect of me as an athlete. While we both openly admit she and I are in two separate stratospheres in terms of speed, ability, and talent, Lynn has high regard for my integrity and intent in this marathon undertaking. We were emailing last week about this very topic, and she wrote to me, “I do respect you. Highly. You are a motivated, disciplined, diligent and hard-working athlete. I can respect that to the ends of the earth.”

It’s heartfelt booster-comments like that one that I believe are going to help propel me along 26.2 miles faster—and more comfortably—than I ever have before. We’ll see come May 3. But whatever the outcome that day, this is a once-in-lifetime situation that I prize dearly.

Thank you, LJ.

*That’s a self-portrait of Lynn taken up in Portland’s Forest Park*


Jill said...

How wonderful to have a free coach, especially with the talent of Lynn! You are blessed! I have run many marathons, some well and some not, and I can't even tell you how uplifting words from those around you, particularly the one person whom you put so much trust into getting you stronger, helps boost your moral! I look forward to hearing about your journey to the May 3rd joruney; it's your words that help me with my own to Boston in April (finally!).
Happy Running!

Anonymous said...

With your determination I am sure that you will get a PR. I look forward to the reading about your journey!

Anonymous said...

You are an athlete. What you may not notice that while you are being coached and mentored and befriended you are also providing that service for those who follow your journey. We can all draw inspiration from almost anything. Usually the only person who doubts us, is ourselves. Hold onto all that positive energy, sometimes that is harder than it sounds! Happy Trails to your PR!