I am doing a little bit of running coaching. I say 'running', I actually mean walk/run - my friends have only just started running. I also say 'coaching' in the loosest terms, I actually mean 'an excuse for my friends to buy me coffee'.
Initially this started as a trade with one of my friends. I had decided that one of my goals this year was a triathlon. I did have a little issue in that I couldn't swim. My swimming technique was more based on the 'Non-drowning/doggie paddle' stroke. Not the most successful stroke to make 500m. My friend was a competitive swimmer, so I asked her to teach me. She then decided that she wanted to do the Tri too, except she couldn't run. So a trade was struck! I also invited another friend of mine to join us and we then became a very informal training group. We are still discussing the barter for my services from my second friend. I think she may trade her husband.. (as a cycling coach I may add, before some of you get the wrong idea). :D
As an incentive for the running, I have broached the idea that we all run the local 5K in March. It's called the 'St. Paddy's Day Dash' and as you can imagine it's a very laid back affair. However, last year this was the race which caused me to develop two stress fractures in my foot, (at the 4K mark); so as you can imagine I have a few scores to settle.
So this is where the dilemma develops. I want to RUN this race and I really want to beat the time I ran last year - probably not hard as I limped the last kilometre. I ALSO want to run barefoot and stick a couple of fingers up to the running store that holds the event.
Before 'shod' runners get defensive; I am not some barefoot/minimalist purist who think all shoes are evil and should be banned. Some people can run in shoes and some people can't. I fall into the second category and I KNOW that the shoes I was sold by the running store were a factor in my stress fractures. To be fair, it wasn't the running stores' fault. No matter where I had brought the shoes, I would still have had the same problem. The issue I had; one which I later realised; is that I have effectively been a minimalist shoe person all my life. I have never once worn shoes with a heel, and the first real shoes I wore with heels were my runners. It was a disaster waiting to happen. After moving to a minimalist shoe (VFF's) and consequently barefoot running all my issues have disappeared.
Anyway, I digress. So the dilemma. I want to run this race and I want to run it in under thirty minutes. I want to run either barefoot or minimalist. However, I also want to be there for my friends. My friends have put in a lot of work, but we are still in the early stages. I want to be there for them. I want to cheer them on. I want to run every step with them. I want to cross the starting line and the finishing line with them.
I know my friends would say 'that I should run as fast as I can' and that they 'don't want to hold me back'. I know they mean that with all their hearts. I also know, that they mean the world to me and that in my eyes, even if they run a 50 minute 5K, they are never holding me back.
So which part of my heart do I run this race for? The one side that wants to prove something to myself; that wants to put closure on a part of running career that was not the happiest for me. Or the other side that wants to celebrate the achievements of my friends and how much they mean to me.
Yep! Okay, fine, I know what I should do.... I know there is only one answer to this dilemma that I can live with. I just need to gag the competitive part of my heart - anyone got any duct tape?