Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Treat for San Diego Runners

It isn’t often in life that you have the chance to listen to one of the greatest running coaches of all time speak.  When you do get that chance, you take notes.  If you’re me you take multiple pages of notes, but then again, I am a nerd.

Dr. Joe Vigil Coached Deena Kastor (who just so happens to be my favorite female athlete because of her incredible attitude and modesty) to America's first Olympic Marathon Medal in 20 years!  He also coached Adams State Grizzlies to 18 national championships, coached over 350 all-americans and is the member of Eight Hall of Fames.

It was almost fateful that Dr. Joe Vigil visited San Diego City College last night to speak about training principles, considering I just recently finished Born to Run, a book that mentioned and paid honor to Coach Vigil several times throughout its pages.  I also just returned to running days ago, so the timing could not be more perfect to have one of the greatest teach me how to train properly.

Although many of the notes I took involve numbers and exercise physiology jargon, the messages I took away from the lecture were far more profound. Like when Coach said, “If you’re gonna eat, God Damn it, Train!”  Powerful stuff!  With all seriousness he did send me home with some great ideas floating around in my brain.

Dr. Vigil spoke a lot about believing in yourself, believing in your coach and believing in where you came from.  Vigil says we all have the ability to be amazing runners with the right dedication and hard work. As he put it, “nobody ever drowned in hard work and sweat”.  He made me feel like there was very little difference between someone like me and someone like Deena Kastor.  She is just a very hungry woman. She is focused and driven and she works her little butt off.  She wasn’t always able to run like she does today.  It took years of Vigil’s training to get her ready for the marathon.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you or I will be breaking any world records but we certainly can improve greatly if we work at it. We all have the ability to get better, much better as a matter of fact.

Briefly, Coach Vigil spoke about the U.S. in comparison to other countries.  He described the United States as narcissistic and materialistic.  Here in our country we strive for success, rather than excellence.  Success, as he describes it, is about having. Excellence is about being.  I love that… and of course, I wrote that one down!

He left us with the message, “People can run forever with the right motive, because we are born to run.”  Thanks Coach!  I am inspired.