This week instead of running at a 8 to 9 minute mile pace I've slowed way down, gone outside and run for something much more important. On Sunday November 18th the Downtown Giants have 3 teams in the Metro Division Championships - one of the three teams just happens to be mine! American Youth Football has a 134 pound weight limit for their Pee Wee teams. 4 of my players are right on the verge of not making weight, and won't be allowed to play if they are over at the weigh in.
I was a fat kid, well let me restate that I was a big kid who always struggled to make weight for Pop Warner football. For the better part of August I would eat nothing but fruit and "turkey roll ups" as my Mom cleverly called them (just turkey cold cuts rolled up with cheese) to drop drown to the weight limit. When I found out some of my kids were a bit over the limit I didn't want them to go through the absolute hell that I had to endure to play youth football.
I initially e-mailed the parents and told them that as a kid I visited nutritionist after nutritionist and now as a triathlete and type 1 diabetic nutrition has always been a staple in my life. That I wanted their sons to lose the weight in a healthy way and that their long term health is way more important than playing in a game (Championship or not). So over the past few weeks my players have been on a diet I outlined for them and this week we started to run together. Last night I took 3 players with me on an hour long run leaving from Grand & Essex St. going all the way past the South Street Seaport - about 4.5 miles.
The fact that these kids are willing to give up their evening to run with me (one isn't over the limit he just wanted to go out with us) means the world to me. Although I've run only 8 or 9 miles this week when I should have finished 12 to 15 - these miles have been the most special of my training. More important than any triathlon, than any game I coach is getting these kids to understand the commitment and dedication necessary for success - our goal as an organization is to make our players "winners in life". The fact that these players are this committed to their team and willing to sacrifice their nights for it proves to me they already are.