We had two new faces at training for our youth triathlon program, last night. Both are eighth graders with cross country experience, though they indicated they ran "shorter" distances (it sounds like 1500m). And they both learned something about themselves in their very first triathlon training session.
When the training started, it was only myself and one young man. After a reasonable timeframe for late arrivals, we headed out for a two mile loop. He set a decent pace and we talked about some basics of endurance running. Since our target race is a spring with a 5K run, we focus on runs of between two and four miles.
As we finished our first loop, our second new triathlete, the first young lady in the club, showed up. I won't let a transportation mix-up ruin a training session, so after a quick break, it was time for a second loop. As we started, I found out that the furthest she had ever run was the 1500 meters she ran in cross country.
We let her set the pace for this two miles, which worked well as the second loop was tough on the boy, who was going beyond his normal training distance. Again, we discussed pacing and form. I try to ensure the kids understand the goals of having fun and finishing strong. We try to keep the pace aerobic so the kids can see the benefits of solid base training over the summer.
As we neared the end, the young lady pointed out that without us helping her along, she probably would have stopped "about 30 minutes" back (we had only run for 18 at that point). As we rounded the final turn, I told her she could share with her parents that she had just set a personal best by running farther than she ever before.
That was when she pointed out that in cross country, she had never once RAN the entire distance of her race. She had always walked at least some portion of the mile and a quarter races. Yesterday, she ran the entire two miles, and at about 10 minute pace. I did everything possible to let her know how big a victory she had just achieved. It was easy to see she was thrilled on many levels.
I'll have to make sure I have a camera at the finish line in August when she completes her first triathlon. She'll have other victories before then, but I think that is the one she'll truly celebrate.
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There are people in this world with an amazing ability to patiently allow things to develop. They start something in motion, then sit and watch as it changes into something bigger, better, or more impressive over time. Often, that time is years, if not decades. Then there are people like me.
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This is just a quick note to let everyone know I have not, in fact, fallen off the face of the planet. It's just been a busy and hectic week. Between work, kids, and planning for the second season of the Brigade-Junior Fox triathlon club, I've been buried.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.