For a long time, I talked about wanting to put together a kids running camp.
For a long time, I talked about wanting to attend an RRCA Coaching Certifcation Workshop.
In the span of a single week, I've now done both!
My first-ever Running Camp went great! It was a warm week, but the kids didn't seem to mind too much. On the hottest day of the week, I did hear a little bit of complaining and they took more breaks than usual, but my spray bottle filled with ice cold water did a good job of keeping them cooled off.
I timed them running 200s, and every single one of them improved over the course of the 4 days. They ran relays, they ran 100m races, we played games, did obstacle courses - and the last day, they wanted to run laps, so they ran laps. I gave them a stamp on their hand for each lap they completed, and every single one of them ran enough to complete a full mile - some went even more. They were a very goal-oriented bunch of kids!
It was a really fun experience, and I hope that my impressions were correct and that they really did have a good time. They certainly seemed like they did. Some games were more popular than others, and I'd definitely switch things up a bit if I do it again, but for the most part, I'd say it was very successful.
I've been asked by the Parks & Rec dept. if I'm able to offer something in the fall, and I'm hemming and hawing. I would like to, but just not sure how it would work into our schedule, given what a busy time of year that is for us. But I'll mull it over a bit more and make a decision soon.
I ran into a few of the kids from camp at the Youth Track Meet last night, and it was fun to see them out there racing. And of course my own boys had a blast, as usual. For Carmine, this is the first year that he really 'gets it,' and he's loving it! He asked me to run with him - I tried to see if he was willing to go it alone, but he got very teary, so I stuck with him - and we dashed the 50 and 100 together, smiling the whole way.
As I took this picture, he was yelling "We're ready to RACE!"
As soon as Running Camp wrapped up, I had to get home to get my stuff packed up for my weekend away in Salem, MA, where I was finally going to attend my Coaching workshop.
On the way up early Saturday morning, I made a quick detour into Boston to make a visit to Boylston Street. I felt like I wanted to go back to the finish line. The memorials have been taken down, but I still wanted to pay my respects in some way.
It was very early when I got there - roughly 6:30am - so the street was mostly deserted. I parked about a block from the finish line, and almost as soon as I got out of the car, I started crying. And as I walked around, the whole scene just seemed very surreal, I think mostly because it was so quiet and empty - so different from the last time I was there.
I walked up and down the street, looking at all the landmarks from the day - the spot where my friends had been standing, right near Marathon Sports.
The long stretch past the finish line where we were corralled after we crossed, gathering our water and medals. The Rattlesnake Bar & Grill, where we met up after the race and tried to make sense of what was going on.
As I walked, I felt better. I know that I'll be there again next year, in all these same spots - and that my friends will be with me again. And that the city of Boston will be with me, and with all the runners, and all the spectators. And that the Boston Marathon will never be the same again - because it will be even better.
So although I stepped out of my car feeling tremendously sad, I got back in feeling uplifted. Having the time to make that side trip meant having to get up an hour earlier, but I'm so glad I did it.
Once I was back on the road, I shifted gears mentally to prepare myself for the weekend of coaching instruction. I knew I was going to learn a lot, but I had no idea! It was intense, and it was informative, and it was fun. I love nothing more than talking about running, so to sit and talk and learn about it for two days straight was pretty awesome.
Yes, some parts of the course were more interesting than others, but all of this stuff really and truly interests me, so I honestly wasn't bored at all. And it was so exciting to know that I was finally actually taking this huge step toward what I hope is a future that involves some kind of coaching work. I was so happy to be there, even though it was two 9-hour days of sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair.
This was also a little weekend getaway for me, as I spent the night in a hotel down the road from Salem - in Wakefield, the town that we lived in before we moved down to RI. It was so fun to be back in the old neighborhood. I took a quick drive through town Saturday night on my way to meet some friends for dinner, and it was strange - everything looked so familiar, yet felt so different - even though most of it really hadn't changed much.
Our old house, which looks pretty much the same.
I met friends in Cambridge Saturday night, at a spot we used to frequent when we worked just around the corner, and it was fun to catch up.
As I drove through the city, though, I found myself feeling completely claustrophobic. I've grown so accustomed to the wide open roads here in South County, and the lack of crowds (except for the summer tourist season, of course) - and the narrow, winding roads of Cambridge, which were crawling with people, were making me a little crazy. I was kind of glad to get out of the city and back into suburbia once dinner was over.
Sunday morning began with a 10-mile run through town. I wasn't really a runner when we lived in Wakefield, so running around the area was going to be a whole new experience for me. I parked at the lake and set out with my water bottle (it was humid and warm, but thankfully cloudy, which kept the temps down a tiny bit).
Lake Quannapowitt - beautiful spot, and one of the things we loved about living there.
Driving through town the previous night had been fun, but running through town was even better. I was really able to take everything in, and it was 10 miles of memories - all of them good ones. I smiled almost the entire run.
We had so many great friends up there, and it was just a great spot to live. I'm perfectly content and happy to live where we do now, and this is definitely where we want to be raising our kids (closer to family), but there is a part of me that misses the North Shore, and that part of me was feeling very nostalgic as I ran past all the familiar landmarks.
Sushi Island - the first place I ever had sushi, and still the best sushi I've ever eaten in my life.
It was a great weekend, and an exhausting one.
And now I've completed the online test that I need to pass in order to actually get my certification. I saved my answers, will go back and check them tonight, and then submit my test to be graded. I'll find out instantly whether or not I passed.
It's been a long, long time since I've taken a test of any sort, so I find myself feeling really nervous - it feels a lot like race-day jitters!
This is something I really want, and I'll be extremely disappointed if I don't pass. I'm so anxious to get the official result, I almost just went ahead and submitted it last night, but I think waiting a day and re-checking everything will be a good idea. Then I'll take a deep breath, hit submit, and find out where my future in running is headed. Fingers crossed.....