My coaching role is over for the season.
We still have 10 kids going to the state meet, and that in itself is so fantastic.
Our team cheer, the hurdle kids getting directions for the day, our drills.
They go into storage until next year.
This was my fourth season coaching and by far my favorite season.
I’ve seen some great kids come through, don’t get me wrong.
My first season coaching was when our best 800 boy finally broke 2:00, won the district title, and got 4th in state.
That same year we took such a hard working girl to state in the 3000.
The year after that my dad became the head coach, and coaching with him is my favorite thing ever.
Last year one of my favorite people got 5th in state for Long Jump and my dad won his first co-coach of the year award for our league.
Those all seem so hard to beat.
But this year wins in a landslide.
I did not work with the distance kids a single day this year, it was hard at first I’m not going to lie. The thought of working with new kids who didn’t know me and who I hadn’t already established a relationship with was scary. I had worked with those kids for the last three years and distance running was something that I knew like the back of my hand.
I worked with hurdles last year with my dad, but it really consisted of hurdling 3 days a week for 30 minutes or so a day.
On the first day of practice this year I had twelve kids come in my direction when we split them off into disciplines. I was a little intimidated.
I remember sending them off for a ten minute warm up, something absurd to a few of them, and sending a snapchat to my best friend telling her I was nervous.
After a “you’ve got this coach” snapchat back, I proceeded to drills and the first workout of the year.
We ended the season with eleven consistent hurdles.
That was seven more than our best last year.
ELEVEN TOTAL HURDLERS.
That was insane to me and it still is.
Eleven kids that believed in hurdles and what we were doing. That trusted me. That worked hard every day at practice, some days harder than others.
We had our ups and downs.
I teased them whenever they did something worthy of being teased.
(You know who you are)
They got note cards before every race, and bright yellow “McKay Hurdle Crew” shirts.
Because I was so proud to call them our hurdlers.
It felt weird yesterday going to the track to watch the state athletes practice and not have the hurdlers asking what the workout was that day. I miss it all so much. I know it will come around again next year, and if I’m lucky some of them will come out for winter conditioning (hint hint) and we can start working earlier.
I just miss it.
Plain and simple.
Coaching is a huge part of me and I hate the off season.
I wanted to write this as a reflection of the season and as a thank you to the eleven kids who dedicated so many hours to our team and hurdles.
So thanks guys.
Thank you for taking a risk and trying an event that so many people find intimidating.
Thank you for always giving me something to laugh about.
Thank you for teaching me so many valuable things that I will use on and off of the track.
I remember the day that running collegiately ended for me.
Before my race I was so emotional, they played the national anthem and I cried.
This is it.
This is the last time I’ll ever get nervous listening to the national anthem.
The last time my foot will shake on the starting line.
The race didn’t go how I wanted, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great.
I remember standing along the fence with my dad after my race.
We were both quiet, staring at the races in front of us.
He said, “So that’s it.”
I replied with “yup.”
And that was it.
The last time my dad and I would talk about a race or strategize over what to do next.
But it wasn’t.
It wasn’t the last time.
I get so nervous when my kids are about to run, I feel like all I want to do is stand there with them and push them along.
My dad and I still strategize and talk about anything and everything related to track but this time it isn’t about me.
And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
How many people get to coach an amazing group of kids alongside their dad?
Ok some, but none as cool as my dad.
Coaching gives me that feeling that I never thought I’d have again. That nervous feeling that I never thought I would take for granted.
I am so incredibly thankful I have the opportunity to coach and that I have a wonderful mother who watches my son. It allows me to keep my love for running alive.
This season was my favorite, hands down. We had hurdlers with PR’s left and right, sprinters making it to state, distance runners with some amazing races, and throwers getting better every single day. I love that team and I am thankful every day for it, but I am especially thankful for the hurdlers and what they did for me this season.