There’s No Place Like Home

Back to Jersey

I’ll admit it, I was not tapping my ruby slippers together trying to get back home.  I loved Syracuse and I felt like it was home for the past five years. I once heard my college coach describe it as a difference between “home people” and “here (Syracuse) people”: people who went home on weekends and stayed home for all of winter, spring, and summer break, and people who stayed on campus the whole semester and breaks, or at least always came back early. I was a here person. I saw my parents every time I raced and visited home occasionally, but visiting was all it was because I lived in Syracuse. So once I got the opportunity to run with the NJNYTC, returning to New Jersey was actually new!

It’s been a month since I moved back to my parents’ house and, believe it or not, I’m actually really loving it for the moment. Part of that could be that I’m done with school, I haven’t started my job yet, and all that’s on my daily agenda is to run. And though my parents don’t love losing half of the garage and basement to my hoarding habit, they’re thrilled I’m here for the time being too.

Roxbury High School

I’ve stayed close with my high school coaches, and one of them is still the head coach at Roxbury so I had been able to stop by when I visited home. I planned on just stopping by for their first day of pre-season practice to say hello and get a look at the team, but got wrapped into a little bit more. Turns out the boys team was going the same pace and distance I needed for the day. I took them out on a nice hill run that was a staple workout when I was in high school. Going back to my roots got me hooked. I’ve always wanted to coach when I become a teacher some day after my competitive running career. For right now (as I said, no school, work hasn’t started yet, and I’m living at home) volunteering to help out my high school coach is a nice addition to running on my daily agenda.

The more I spend time with the team, the more I am finding myself invested in their success. Of course, because it’s Roxbury, I have always wanted to see them do well. But the more I see them grow, I see how much potential they have and I feel the same way about it that I expressed in my post about camp: I want to help them see the awesome things that running can be for them if they put the work in. In the next month I’ll be starting my job and moving, but I really want to make it to some of their meets and follow their progress. It makes me pretty excited for when I become the coach of my own team.

A New Home

Speaking of my own team, I had my first workout with a couple teammates. I had done some workouts on my own this summer, and there were still only a few of us, but it was the start of something. It felt good, and I’m excited about getting started. The whole day, in fact, was about getting started. First, my job became official and I had a meeting to find out more details about what I’m going to be doing. Then I drove through the apartment complex I’ll be living in. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see inside because the office was closed, but I got a good feel for the area. I finished the day with that workout. All of it just a preview of my future life, but the preview looks good to me!

Also, I got to rock my Rogas, Lesko bra and Flyte tank for the workout!
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Run Love

When I was in high school, running camp was the highlight of my summer.  As a younger kid, I never went to day camp or sleep away camp, and I can’t say I ever really wanted to.  But when my teammates showed up to practice at the end of my freshman year spring season with applications for all of us to go to Running Works I was all in. That year had been my introduction to the awesome things running could be for me (check out my first post for the start of that year). I was anxious to do anything that would make running more a part of my life. That August, we headed up to the Poconos for a week of incredible trails, great coaching, a lot of new friends, and amazing memories.

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High school teammates and me at camp

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I continued going to Running Works each summer until I graduated high school, when I was pretty upset that I was too old. Then last summer I got the opportunity to go back to camp, as a counselor. I ran into some of my old counselors out in Oregon at the Olympic Trials and the next thing I knew I was on my way back to the Poconos. Being a counselor is just as fun, if not more, than being a camper. I’ve said it before about my college teammates and about the Oiselle women, but it is just really cool to be surrounded by so many people that are so passionate about the sport.

I think that is a big reason why I want to be a high school coach some day. Of course, I’d like to use the education degrees that I worked on for five years and therefore the high school level makes the most sense, but I also think high school is such an important time for young athletes to be inspired. My college coaches played a major role in my running career, but I wouldn’t have even gotten to them if I hadn’t had my high school experience.

Roxbury and the neighboring towns are even fortunate enough to have youth track programs. I was a volunteer coach for Roxbury’s youth team when I was in high school and it was a great low key way to introduce younger kids to track and field. So between volunteering in town years ago, and being a running camp counselor recently, I feel like I get so excited to show young athletes what the running lifestyle could be for them if they love it enough to put in the hard work.

In less than a week I will be heading back to the Poconos once again. I’m excited to see (and hopefully be part of inspiring) young runners getting started on their journeys, dreaming big about what running will be for them.