I Am Officially An American Cancer Society/DetermiNation Run Coach (What?!)

Pretty big news going on in my fitness world right now. Huge, actually.

Right around the new year, I was approached by the folks at the American Cancer Society’s Philadelphia branch of their athletic/ fundraising program, DetermiNation.

It not surprising that they were keeping in contact, I ran with them for Broad Street last year, have been a vocal supporter, and even spoke as the “inspirational athlete speaker” at the pre-race dinner the night before the Philadelphia Marathon last November.

What WAS surprising, however, was why they were emailing me this time though. The new head of the DetermiNation (Or “DNation”, as it’s called by all those in the know) was asking if I would be willing to join the volunteer committee for the year and serve as a run coach/ mentor for a group of the charity runners. My gut instinct was to say no, just because I’m not entirely sure that I am qualified to serve in that role. But as a few days passed, I thought about it constantly and as most things go with me. “How the hell could I do that” turned into “How can I NOT do that?” This was all cemented after talking about what would actually be entailed and what they were looking for. Since there are already some lifelong runner/ real deal coaches on staff, they needed someone to fill the role of working with the beginning runners. Someone who can relate/ speak directly to/ support/ and possibly inspire these folks who may be either brand new or still relatively inexperienced in the running world to work their way up to the Broad Street 10 mile distance, run their race strong and cross that finish line. That is precisely my wheelhouse. I’m “Mr. Beginner”, if you will. If nothing else, I can relate to every ache/ pain/ ounce of self-doubt/ nervous question that they can come across as a new runner because I was literally just in their shoes not all that long ago. I have value in this role because I’m the proof that it can really be done.

So with it being such a great fit, great opportunity, and great organization: it just didn’t make sense for me NOT to want to work with them.

So I am insanely excited and proud to say that you are officially hearing from the newest run coach/ mentor for DNation Philly. There’s a big part of me that still cannot believe this is happening. I keep saying that I am putting this all out there to help anybody else who wants to take the same path and make some changes for themselves, and this is the next logical step in that process. In addition to just writing on the blog, I’ll have the opportunity to have a real face to face relationship and effect on someone (or a group of someones…which will be even cooler).

Nothing else has changed. The Broad Street plan and Team Running My Ass Off is still in full effect. As a matter of fact, in the post where I announced that I wanted to form a team, I wrote about how one of the big benefits to running through the charity was access to a running coach/ mentor and having a structured plan to get you to the race distance. What I didn’t know at that time was that I was going to be one of those coaches/ mentors.

One thing to share about me is I’m a “list guy”. If you want something done from me, or multiple things done, I like it listed out so I can see it all at once. If it’s there in my face, then I can work away at it and start checking things off. Hence the running tally of all my upcoming races and the visual reinforcement of my weight log in the sidebar of this blog at all times.  So when I made that list of goals for 2014, I immediately got the itch to start checking things off. First and foremost- Act as a coach/ mentor to beginning runner in same way. Done and Done. What I thought was going to be the most far-fetched stretch goal is the first one to be marked as completed. One down, 10 to go. (on a side note, I have also taken steps to mark another off the list as well…I am now in possession of a brand spanking new pair of Trail Running shoes. The brand new Newton BoCo AT trail running shoes to be exact, and I will be trying them out and giving a full-blown review in the upcoming weeks. Just something to keep an eye out for)

But back to what I like to refer to as “DNation Philly”. I have not gotten my assigned runners yet as we are still getting everything organized and put together, but suffice it to say I’m very excited and anxious to meet my group of runners and hit the road!

I’ll be providing periodic updates as things progress and bring you all along for the ride as I try to continue to develop myself as a runner, help others do the same, all the while continue to prepare for the Delmo Sports Escape The Cape triathlon (My First!) coming up in just a few short months.

In an update in my own training, I had another watershed moment yesterday. The IT Band Syndrome seems to have subsided. Between a combo of rest and the yoga/hip & leg/ core strengthening routines I have been using, I have been able to slowly start working my way back into running and rebuilding my (what is a direct result of the rest and more sedentary lifestyle of the past few months) crappy cardio conditioning.

I have run a few times on the treadmill and I am happy to report no leg pain. Hell. Yes. The watershed moment for me though was my ability to hit a benchmark that I like to hold myself to that I have not been able to get to for quite some time. I hit the gym right after work yesterday and was able to run my first Sub-30 minute 5K since Late August/ Early September. I was able to run a 29:27 5K. (a consistent 9:30 pace) and even though 1) it was on a treadmill which I have always found to be easier than running on the roads, 2) it’s only one time so far, and 3) I am still a ways off from the speeds I had worked myself into before I got hurt: I still felt absolutely unstoppable after that run. It’s massively encouraging and confirmation that what I have been doing is working and I’m moving in the right direction. Don’t call it a comeback. Booyaa.

Ok, enough rambling for today. Big news on multiple fronts, and I couldn’t be more excited. I will be back next week, (maybe sooner)

Until then, have a great week and take it easy.


6 responses to “I Am Officially An American Cancer Society/DetermiNation Run Coach (What?!)

  1. Congratulations Andy, you’re going to be a fantastic coach! Looking forward to reading about that experience for you.

  2. So exciting for you! I’m leading a Couch to 5k group for the first time so I can tell you firsthand how rewarding it is. Yours is obviously in a bigger manner then mine, but either way helping people change their lives is what it’s all about for me. You’re gonna do great!

  3. So glad you did it Andy! You will make a fantastic coach and mentor.

  4. First time reader, great read, congrats on the opportunity. It is great stories like this that have led me to share my journey with the world. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading about your upcoming success!

  5. you are such an Inspiration! I was asked to speak to a group last night in order to share my journey of weight loss, and when it came where to seek motivation, I had to mention ” Big Andy’s Running” as my favorite blog. You always make me proud of you!!!

  6. Yay! Several awesome things I’ve noticed about mentors:
    1. The swag is FANTASTIC!!
    2. Some mentees will ignore you. That’s ok too.
    3. A mentor can make the entire experience for a runner (no pressure!)
    4. This whole thing wouldn’t work without people stepping up to be guides through the process. Thank you for stepping up, and enjoy the ride!!

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