When I got to practice last night and heard we’d be doing hill drills up and down Kilauea Avenue I wanted to catch a bus back to Aina Haina and go to bed. But alas I persevered because I know, like Coach C says: You get out what you put in. In other words, I don’t want to suck so I’m gonna keep trying. It helped a lot that I really like the coaches we were working with.
Coach C is awesome because he’s respectful and he pays attention. When you do something that’s really hard for you, no matter what it is, he looks you right in the eye and claps in recognition. I told him about this problem I’ve been having with one of my fingers going numb and he adjusted my handlebars to help relieve the pressure points. Coach C is calm and steady, always making suggestions to help me be more comfortable. I like that.
And Coach J is just incredibly inclusive and encouraging. My first time up the hill I went as slow as possible, getting stuck in my head crying foul to the climb. As we cruised back down I called out to him, “I did so many fucking hills yesterday! It’s like I’m stuck on some Repetitive Hill of Hell!!”
He laughed but the second time up he stayed with me. He wanted us to outrun V, a strong seasoned veteran, so he rode up behind me, put his hand on my back and actually pushed me up the hill. I felt like I was on a ride at an amusement park. It was the funniest most awesomely inspiring thing ever. So much so that the third time up the hill I beat V on my own. As I saw him coming up behind me I yelled, “Help me J! Help me!” I kicked it up a gear and rode as fast as I could to the top beating V by an inch in a photo finish. (Let’s assume for a harmless minute that he wasn’t just being nice.)
Coach J laughed again and said, “You don’t need me!” And it was true; I didn’t need his physical strength, just his encouragement. All I really needed was for him to believe in me.
After the ride I ran one lap up and down Diamond Head then checked in with Coach P before heading home. He was more encouraging than usual and had some good tips for the mini-tri we’re practicing this weekend. He said everyone initially thinks ocean swimming feels like drowning, and once I get into a steady breathing rhythm I’ll be OK. Maybe if I’m honest I don’t dislike him as much as I say I do, I just really hate it when he echoes my own insecurities.
Today Coach J is taking me swimming again, this time at Ala Moana where the race will be. He has this brilliant plan where we’ll swim a few hundred meters, get out of the water and run back down the beach to where we started. Rinse and repeat. I’m expecting to make it one time through before passing out flat on my face. Wish me luck!