Raking the pit

Last week at the track, our other two distance coaches were out on the same night, so my awesome friend and fellow coach Shayna, who normally helps with the long jump, helped me coach the distance kiddos. Shayna’s no stranger to running and has done a marathon and a few other long races; plus, she has the encouraging coach spirit that’s more important than any distance or time one runs.

The next night, I paid a visit to the long jump sand pit to reciprocate Shayna’s favor with some raking. What distance coach with *zero* upper body strength doesn’t like a good arm/shoulder/back workout from raking a sand pit?

Knowing next to nothing about field events, I picked up the rake and smoothed down the sand pit. The other coaches measured run distance, and the kiddos warmed up with some agility exercises and a few short but fast runs to shake the legs out- it’s important to get good speed, power, and control before jumping.

Others were there to comment on technique and ways to improve, so I stood back to watch the kiddos long jump. With so many ages and abilities at the track, you just do what you can (as a coach) to help each athlete improve- and improvement is different for everyone. As a runner, I was just there to encourage, give high fives, and rake.

One little girl jumped and pretty much just fell in the sand; another kiddo took off and went almost nowhere. Some kiddos jumped far and even hit personal (practice) records. Some had good days, some… not-so-good days.

Out of curiosity, I took a practice jump myself- my distance slips my mind, but I’m still shaking sand out of those running shoes.

Reflecting on track, life and the move, I’m about to take off into a sand pit. So many factors come into play for jumpers. Speed. Flexibility. Strength. Foot placement. Control. Velocity. Balance.

Speed, foot placement, and velocity aren’t big concerns in the long jump pit of adulthood, but flexibility, strength, control, and balance definitely are. While I secretly wish I had three chances to get the jump right, one shot is usually all you get in the track meet of life.

I have to trust my training, speed down the runway, and take the leap of faith. Just as I’m a stranger to the long jump pit, I don’t have all the answers right now…

… but I know who does.

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22 Responses to Raking the pit

  1. krisranhere says:

    Leap of Faiths are important for the soul. The move might be scary but I know you will love the experience in the end. Wishing you the best!

  2. Kara says:

    The track meet of life!! I love it!

    I’m sure you will just fly when it comes to adjusting to your new life :) hang in there!! You have lots of people here to support you!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Kara. I hope I do fly, although last night we had a girl miss a hurdle and that looked brutal. Guess there’s a reason why I stay away from that!

  3. allieksmith says:

    Awesome post!!! I love the way you connect track to life <3

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Allie. I guess as a writer, I’m a good observer and always see connections with things and have a different perception than non-writers (keep in mind, this *is* my profession). But yeah, a lot of running and track definitely connects to life and even writing!

  4. Rebecca says:

    I do feel bad, knowing that I can’t run nonstop. I have to walk/run/walk/run, but then I realize that it takes time to buold up to something like that, and although I may never be one to run nonstop, I can enjoy the fast and exciting moments I do have in my life. :)

    Sometimes it’s hard. I guess I either push myself too hard, or I don’t push myself enough. Maybe I’m afraid to get sand in my shoes. :)

    Best wishes on your leap of faith!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Actually Becca, run/walk is the best way to get started to eventually run nonstop. That’s what the Couch to 5K program emphasizes, and that program works. I say you should download something like that if you really want to get into it. It’s 3 workouts a week and works (my coworker used it to run and she is a grandma and winning her age group in 5Ks).

      I personally think you’re mentally psyching yourself out. It does take time though- it’s taken me years to build up to the times and distances I run, so I can imagine the work that faster people put in.

  5. I was always baffled by the long jumpers, it seemed so difficult and so much to think about while you were trying to jump.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It is! There’s just too much to remember in some of these events. I know I always say running is 90% mental but I think long jumping and field events are like 95% mental! At least running we can sorta turn our brains off and go and then kick it at the end.

  6. I love that picture and how it says that it’s impossible to jump 30 feet. Love! I did long jump during freshman year just at chance. I was looking at another event to do and decided on that one. I loved it but it was SO hard! I give so much respect to those that are able to jump crazy long

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s gotta be hard! Then again, I guess different events work best for different people, but it’s interesting that you gave it a shot and loved it, even though it wasn’t your first choice event.

      We have some kids who can jump pretty far too- it’s really amazing! Plus developing that mental concentration needed for sports at such a young age will really help them in the long run.

  7. The analogy is so true! I remember field days in elementary school and I was always so bad at long jump and high jump. The tricycles event was always fun though and I was one of the few kids who could still successfully ride them by the time I got to 5th grade since everyone else was too big. Oh the perks of being small ;)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Haha, yeah being small does have its positives!

      I’d be horrible at high jump. We have a guy who can jump 5 ft and I joke that he can jump over me :).

  8. I used to do the long jump when I did track (in 8th grade, lol). It was my favorite! :)
    I love how that can relate to life in general.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Glad you liked doing it! A lot of our kiddos love it.

      I definitely try to see the life lessons in things like running and sports in general. Hope the athletes do too :).

  9. Shayna says:

    I must say, I have seen many a long jump attempts and for a first attempt you did an awesome jump. Your jump was full of commitment, determination, strength and most importantly, you landed on your feet. So, taking lessons from long jump, it seems to me you have nothing to worry about for your upcoming new life chapter.

    I’m excited to read about all of your wonderful Charleston adventures! And by the way, I like the start of the post, I sound awesome (don’t tell anyone how out of shape I am now; I certainly won’t be running anymore marathons too soon).

    See you Saturday!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You are awesome- I didn’t just make it sound that way. Sure you might not be able to just go out and run a marathon but that doesn’t change the fact that you did! And your out of shape is more in shape than probably 90% of people LOL.

      And thanks for your compliment on my jump- trying it was neat! Hurdles, on the other hand… not happenin’. Especially not after Tuesday night, even watching that was painful.

  10. no one knows wat’s in the future and leaps of faith are the only way to go…u either wind up accomplishing something awesome, but even if u don’t wind up quite there u always learn from the journey! :) that’s sooo cute, i love watching little kids doing track and field…haha, but me trying to jump is an epic fail. the one time i tried the high jump i knocked the bar over and proceeded to roll off the back of the mat. ;) good luck with all ur future relocating related issues, take it all in stride and u’ll do great. :)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Cait! I love watching them too and cheering :). It’s fun to cheer and then the kids runs faster.

      I’ve never tried to high jump but I may have to now, hehe.

  11. Such an empowering and great analogy Amy! No one truly knows what there future will hold for them, so I think that taking a leap of faith and trusting that things will be okay is essential. I mean you have to keep working hard and be willing to adjust and change (which you are) and then things will fall into place, something I believe in.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Tessa. I definitely believe that too. I do trust that things will be okay, and I know that in a few weeks, all of this will be close to over. It’s really awesome when you can see the finish!

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