I grew up in Kentucky, as a tomboy, in a neighborhood FULL of boys so when I hear the phrase “End of An Era” it MEANS something. Those four words trigger thoughts of a great. I’m talking Micheal Jordan retiring, Muhammad Ali fighting in his last boxing match, and when the Michigan Fab Five were stripped of all their accomplishments due to NCAA violations. (Is it obvious I grew up on college basketball?! lol). Well, that’s exactly how I feel when I think of my fellow run coach “retiring”.
She was the Jordan to my Pippen. I remember her approaching me about starting run club and I signed on because I believed in her and her vision despite the fact I loathe running. Irony at it’s finest. The response we had in the first year surprised the both of us. There is something that happens to your spirit when you have several handfuls of littles that show up and are committed to braving the elements at 6:30 AM every Tuesday and Thursday morning. It didn’t stop there though, they ran with and without us. Some of them taking on 5Ks for fun on the weekend. The running bug bit so many of them that she orchestrated a school wide “fun run” where hundreds of kids ran a little over a mile together. Talk about bringing a community together!
Year 2 I transitioned to a 2nd grade teacher and it was a ROUGH year on all fronts, but I had run club. I looked forward to working with “my person” twice a week. (It truly was the only time that we would see each other during the day unless I came in early to have “coffee talk” before work). This was the year that it was solidified that she wasn’t just my co-coach and coworker, but that she was my friend and not the Facebook kind, but the real life kind! She would listen to me vent about my frustrations and she was a great source of moral support when I made the decision to buy my first home. She was my light when many of my days felt very dark. For 30 minutes twice a week we got to hang out, laugh, and encourage dozens of little people to be great.
Then there’s this year, year 3. I was hesitant to sign on again, did I mention how taxed I was from the previous year of teaching?! lol. Well, I did because I LOVE my co-coach. She really is someone that inspires me. Someone I trust. Someone that fills me up because she is exactly who she is. When she told me she was “retiring” I was heartbroken. Selfishly, I wanted her to stay but I knew it was just that, selfish of me. The news broke and I was asked if I’d continue run club and find a replacement. It was a no brainer…. NO. This was “our” thing. I didn’t want to do it with anyone else. I also didn’t take for granted how much went into making run club work. We had an ongoing joke that she was the brains and I was the braun. The time she spent prepping, emailing, planning, and literally making sure the lights were on was something I didn’t trust anyone else to do. I didn’t have faith that her replacement would show up EVERY Tuesday and Thursday rain or shine, hot or freezing, sick or healthy. I didn’t want to do it without her. Now as I hang up my whistle and running shoes, I leave my run club experience with the fondest of memories…. my 1st 5K, my first bridge run (10K), my first solo kayak adventure (uhm, if you know me at all you know I’m petrified of deep bodies of water I can’t see the bottom of and this woman got ME out in a one person kayak. If that ain’t trust, I don’t know what is! lol), and ultimately these three years have built me up enough where I am FINALLY, ACTIVELY training so I can cross “running a half marathon” off my bucket list. Tuesdays and Thursdays will never be the same, but forever will she be Jordan. One of the greatest!