Thursday, April 16, 2015

Triple T -- Black Thursday Edition

Happy day after tax day! Or in some people's cases, Black Thursday. Man, this year was a total ouchie as far as the IRS was concerned! Anyway, that's in the past and a huge day coming up on Monday, that's for sure! More on that in a few.

*After kicking it around for a long time, I've decided to work on getting certified to become a running coach. I've coached basketball for a number of years and helped coach Kevin's track team last year, and with him heading to high school and working under the tutelage of Troy Kerber, who in my mind is one of the best high school coaches in Illinois, I felt like now was a great time to get some certifications and officially move into the coaching circle.

I'm planning on taking the USATF Level 1 course over the summer, but for right now I signed up for a pre-coaching course through the National Federation of High Schools website to get a little more background into the track and field coaching world. If I get through the Level 1 stuff this summer, I'd like to go through the Road Runners Club of America program next year, followed by the Level 2 cert in the summer of 2017.

I enjoy coaching people and helping them to improve, so I'm looking forward to getting started with this. In a perfect world I'd love to help high school kids with cross country and middle distance, and coach adults to new PRs!

*Speaking of coaching (sort of)), I got an e-mail from the Team V director about helping with pace groups for the Chicago Half Marathon in the fall. They want to take the time to get to know me and answer any of my questions. I'm very excited about the possibility of this happening. It would be really cool to help people achieve their goals.

I'm hoping good things come out of this, please give me some good vibes!

* Boston! Best of luck to everyone who is toeing the line at the Boston Marathon on Monday. For many (like me) that race represents the pinnacle of our sport, and I dream of the day that I can be a part of it.

Most of all, I want to give a shout out to Meb Keflezighi, who will be looking to defend the title he won in dramatic fashion last year. Meb seems ready to go, a couple of weeks ago he ran a tuneup race -- the New York Half Marathon -- in a faster time than he did a year ago. As always, he will have his work cut out for him -- his marathon PR is 14th-best in the field and the forecast of cool temperatures and a potential tailwind could make for near-perfect racing conditions. But Meb seems to be on his game when it matters, and no doubt will run with the heart and determination that many of us have grown to love him for.

But he's not the only American runner to root for, as he will be joined in the elite field by Dathan Ritzenhein, whose 2:07:47 PR is 50 seconds faster than Meb. I interviewed Ritz a few years back at the Chicago Marathon for the website Letsrun.com, and he was a very cool guy. Another favorite of mine is Wesley Korir, who lives and trains the US and is cool as well. I talked to him at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, and a few months later he won the 2012 Boston Marathon.

On the ladies' side, I would love to see Shalane Flanagan win, she has the third-fastest PR time in the women's field and has made it clear she puts winning Boston above all else in her running career. Another great American runner is Desi Linden, who all of the sudden is down in the 2:22 range for the marathon and knocking on the door of a big step up in her career, just in time for the Olympics next summer.

One thing I would recommend to anyone who runs is to become a little familiar with the names and stories behind pro runners. Not that you need to become totally engrossed in the sport, but there are a lot of great people in the elite running world and you might find some inspiration from one or more of them. Whether it's Meb, or Mo Farah or Shalane Flanagan, like all of us, they bring a story with them to t!he starting line of every marathon (or race) they run. That and most of them are so nice that they are easy to root for!

No racing for me this weekend, just a 12-miler on Sunday as we move even closer to the Indy Mini. But if you are toeing the line somewhere this weekend, best of luck and run well!

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