Thursday, April 28, 2011


Being around kids for my entire life has, I think, allowed me to take life a little less seriously than most. However, from time to time, the fact that kids are so much a part of my life allows wisdom and understanding to emerge in places I would have never expected.

In my job as Head of a small private school in Idaho I am, like many school administrators, consumed with details and administrivia most of the time. But, in spite of that, I remain determined to keep in touch with the kids.

And, that is why I coach track.

We have four to seven kids on the team (depending on the day). We have two practices a week (if we're lucky) and five meets a season. Yet, in spite of all that we do pretty well.

Last year, one of our girls, Ellie Swanson, a 9th grader, qualified for the State Meet in the 100 and the 200. She didn't make it out of the first round but it was a start.

On to this year. The conversation goes something like this:

AJW: I think you could do well at the 400
Ellie: No way, that is way too long.
AJW: Just try it. Kind of like an experiment.
Ellie: You're just doing this because you're a crazy ultrarunner.
AJW: Just try it.

So, she tries it. And yesterday, in a conference meet Ellie ran the 4th fastest time in the District this year on her first try. Afterward, she says to me:

"That was actually kind of fun!"

And, her friend, the 1600 and 3200 meter runner chimes in,

"You have a good pain face!"

Maybe longer is better. Perhaps it's all about perspective.


Bryon Powell said...

Wisely, neither runner competes in the 800 meters... which is the track equivalent of the final 25 miles of the Wasatch 100. Pain face, indeed.

Hank Dart said...

Great description of the 800m. My most hated high school event.

Another great post, AJW.

Speedgoat Karl said...

I hated the indoor 1000meter, after dying at the end of 800, we had to run another lap around a dusty poorly banked track. It was brutal.