A couple months ago I drove down to Orlando to attend the USAT level I coaching seminar. Now getting down there wasn’t exactly a cake walk, although I’d been to Orlando more times than I can count. Why was it such a pain you ask? Let me paint you the picture of the Florida DOT… The trouble was worth the reward though.
If you’ve ever driven down to Orlando, and used a GPS or (probably) MapQuest, then you’ve driven the turnpike. When I saw the sign stating that I was getting on a turn pike, the first thing that popped in my head was the turnpike level from Mario Kart 64, and how crazy/hard that track was. With that image in my head, I was already a little on edge. Without getting into a mile by mile recap, I’ll exaggerate, but only a little, and say that after driving on that Hot Wheels track like road with its loops, tornado ramps, and gap jumps, I finally made it to Orlando. Yeah; I could have gone around and stayed off the turnpike , but I wanted to go through three toll booths, ranging from .50$ to 2.50$, all back to back. Seriously FDOT?! Three toll booths within 5miles of each other, with one demanding 2.50$ to pass? Shenanigans… Someone (I’m looking at you Joel) from Florida explain to me the thinking behind that road. I’d take GA 400 any day over that turnpike again.
Well once I got myself all checked in, filled my mini fridge with healthy food for the weekend, I had as quick run. The weekend consisted of an early am training session like always, and then two and a half days or presentations from big names like Bobby Mcgee and Bob Seebohar just to name a couple. Add a CEU (continuing education unit) presentation on running mechanics by Bobby, and an open water swim in Lucky’s Lake (gators included 🙂 luckyslakeswim.com), and it was a pretty eventful weekend. I honestly had no idea how much I’d learn. I try to read as much as I can on all three disciplines of our sport, but the information gained from the presentations grew my knowledge exponentially. A long drive back, on that damn turnpike again, and I’ve never been more fired up to take a test.
Well it took me about 6weeks to get to the test. Well 6weeks to submit it; I completed the multiple choice, short-answer, and had the training plans written on paper within a week of finishing the clinic. School was still going on, race season had just started, and while I was completely confident for the test, for the first time ever I had test anxiety. It’s a very strange feeling, especially because I test very well, but I guess because this was such an important test I was subconsciously psyching myself out. When making the training plan, you have to say WHY you’re prescribing that session. Now I thought I had to have some scientific answer like, ‘to build the neuromuscular endurance of the legs in order to….’ Yeah; something like that. Turns out, that my original thoughts, like saying, ‘we’re doing this to build your base, and it’s on hills because your race is all hills’, is all that I needed to say. I don’t do things half-assed, so I wanted to make sure my plans were perfect. First off; there’s no such thing as a perfect plan. And secondly; when all the info you have on an athlete is that they want to do X race, is 35, and has 20hours a week to train, there’s not a lot of specialization you can make. I think that was the main problem. I wanted risk factors, lifestyle, years competing; all that stuff on the form you fill out when you first start with a new coach. Not important; the test was submitted last Friday.
The multiple choice is immediately scored, so I knew I passed that with ease, but I had to wait ‘7 business days’ to see how my short answer and training plan was scored. I’ve been jumping at every email I’ve gotten since Friday. Finally I got an email from USAT yesterday. In very plain and bland wording, the email stated that USAT had completed grading my test, and had my scores below it. I should be receiving a certificate showing that I’m level I USAT coach certified in a week or so. 😀 I guess all those loop-de-loops and people shooting turtle shells at me on the turnpike was worth it.