Boxes stuffed with paper lined the basement walls, pictures lay stacked in between furniture, and I packed a few sets of clothes, mostly running clothes and my two pairs of shoes in my carry-on that I unpacked only a week ago. The whole house smelled of damp cardboard from moving day rain. But, this weekend is for me. The sun was already setting when I left for a drive down to Springfield, VA, leaving everything behind.
The weekend promised to be hot and sunny, and I was going to spend the vast majority of it inside learning as much as I can about how to become a running coach. I didn’t know what to expect, so I arrived forty minutes early to the seminar room to ensure a good seat near the front because even with my glasses on, it’s difficult to see in the back. To my surprise, two other runners were already seated and eyeing the breakfast in the back. No one wanted to be first to eat.
Runners soon started pouring into the conference room, laden with notepads and water bottles. The thick course books sat in piles on a table at the front of the room, and each person took one and made a name tag out of the cardboard for their seats at the table. Personalities were propped up on the cardboard, written in black Sharpie–some names were all in caps, others had first and last names, but most had only first names. Some names hid in the corners of the cardboard while others ran off the edges. As the runners took their seats, conversations started and continued until the beginning of class.
Our instructors had a wealth of experience between the two of them, and I learned so much and laughed so hard that I thought my head would burst. I’m still processing everything and rereading or studying even after taking the certification test and uploading my CPR/First Aid certificate.
At my table of three was Jess, busting with enthusiasm about running. After the class, I needed to find some runners who were staying around for awhile to go for a run, and Jess was one of those runners, eager to get out in the 90 degree heat with high humidity. Surprisingly, I wanted to go for a run too after sitting most of the day. Usually, I don’t do heat and opt for a swim instead.
Chris and Jesse joined us and knew the route we were going to take. I planned to do my best to keep up with everyone in the high humidity. By the time we reached the lake, three miles later, heat swirled around my head despite gulping water the whole way there. Chris and Jesse ran ahead on the way back, but Jess stayed behind with me. We walked and talked a lot, making plans for dinner and making some wrong turns from delirious heat running. Sweat dripped off of me as if I just took a shower with my clothes on. It was hot, hot, hot! And, I was out of water.
The sun reflected off of the asphalt as we neared the hotel. I shook my empty water bottle, hoping to hear a slosh of water in it. There was none. That’s when we noticed the Dunkin’ Donuts that saved our lives with the extra large bottles of cool Gatorade behind frosty windows near the counter. Donuts were the last thing on my mind– I wanted that Gatorade. Relief. Jess paid for mine, and I promised her that I’d buy her drinks later at dinner. We walked over the last overpass before reaching the hotel, sipping Gatorade the whole way. We walked like giddy kids, giggling over silly street names. I think I had an orange mustache, but I didn’t care. Chris and Jesse came up the bridge to check on us, and we ran the rest of the way back.
Because of the heat, Jess and I decided to go running early in the morning before Sunday’s class, and I’m so glad we did. It wasn’t crowded yet at 6am, just peaceful. The trail was soft with rolling hills, and Lake Burke glistened to our right. It was just what I needed before the last day of the coaching certification: time to relax and reflect. Even though we only ran twice together, I’m going to miss Jess. She has a spirit like no other. And, she’s now a running coach in North Carolina.
Go to RRCA Find a coach to find Jess or me!