On having a coach and believing in Santa
July 14, 2011 § 4 Comments
As I was driving back from the race last weekend with Carly, I forget why it came up but I mentioned that when I was little I believed in Santa Clause for an unbelievably long amount of time. Like, middle school age. One of the reasons I didn’t want to cave in and become a nonbeliever was that I was somewhat afraid of never getting presents again. But the other reason is that I simply liked believing in something. I have thought more about this in the past few days, and have decided that believing in Santa Clause so wholeheartedly as a kid actually set me up to be a very coachable athlete as an adult.
Santa knew when you were sleeping, he knew when you were awake. He knew when you were lying to your parents and being mean to your sister. He knew everything. There’s not too much that is different with a coach. Well, I don’t think that there should be. When I decided I was ready for a coach it was because I wanted this type of open communication with them. I didn’t want workouts being sent blindly to me, I wanted them to know my every move. With the glory of the internet these days it’s easier than ever. Hillary and I live in separate time zones, but I can tell you that between my workout log, emails to her, twitter updates, blog posts, and other texts or communications I have with her, she has a pretty good idea of what I’m doing every single second of the day. She would be able to piece it together if I’m not sleeping and taking time to recover. If I’m not doing full workouts. I’d have to be a really good liar to get away with fudging things, and we all know if I tried to make up swim times I would blow my cover pretty quickly. I’d be saying I do 100’s in 1:20 and 500’s in 10 minutes. Hillary gets so much information from me on a daily basis, that one thing is for sure: she’d know.
Another great thing I learned from believing in Santa was not to question things. I never really cared how he fit down the chimney. I never thought we should find hoof prints outside. The question of how he carried millions of presents on a sleigh that fit on my rooftop didn’t faze me either. He just did it. And I just believed. I take a similar approach with being coached. I get my workouts, and I do them. I don’t go into every workout 100% certain I’ll hit the interval or be able to do the reps she asks. But, I try. And no matter what happens, I give her the feedback. Tie this torture device around my ankles and swim with it? Sure, whatever you say. Set the treadmill to go how fast? Alright… Giving feedback as an athlete is completely different than questioning the work you’re being given, and it’s a fine line I never want to cross. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have friends and training partners who look at me and say “what??! she’s having you do that?? why??” I just shrug my shoulders. And then go get the work done.
The final thing that my lasting and unwavering believe in Santa Clause taught me was to look beyond what you’re given. Santa didn’t always bring the right color jacket, or the right size jeans I was hoping for. And similarly, just because I have a coach now I don’t expect to suddenly be catapulted to the podium at every race. But I’ve learned to look beyond results and find the positives that aren’t written in the numbers. And sometimes, even when it seems there are no positives to be had, the positive comes from the fact that Hillary is there for me, even when I can’t find the good. And she gets it. She helps me see the bigger picture – and more importantly, to believe in the process and in what I am achieving as I make strides toward my final goal.