Let me start with this. I never take for granted the amazing group of young men I get to work with each day. I learn from them everyday and get to witness some incredible moments. All of these boys are balancing time for family, school and other extracurricular activities. Many of these boys at the same time are also striving to be amazing runners which takes sacrifice and dedication. Kids need more credit for all that they do, and I'm going to make sure I remind them and myself everyday how lucky and fortunate I am to be a part of their amazing lives. I love seeing them every day!
There are countless reasons why I tell the boys to ignore what others have to say. When there are doubters, it means you are doing something that many people wouldn't even dream of attempting. There will be people that want to bring you down, but luckily, we have a group of people that are here to commit to the unimaginable. We took the role of underdog this fall, coming into the season with just one senior, along with an excited young group of younger or brand new runners. Instead of making limiting goals, we decided to not set any limits on our training or racing. We made the daily decision to put in our maximum effort, while also having a lot of fun together as a group. Everything we have done has been focused on the team, and that focus continued into the track season. It's no surprise we are getting better by focusing on our standards.
This team and our coaches never look at what others are doing because our goal is not to emulate them. Our goal is to make our own history and race fearless. We focus on us, and control what we are able to control. We put in the work to make ourselves as great as possible. By focusing on being selfless and kind young men, we are able to relax and not be afraid to make mistakes. We will gladly continue to take the underdog role into summer and continue building consistency and love.
Taking Momentum to the Track
The boys took no time for complacency after their nice fall cross country season. In addition to our team from fall, we added a lot of new guys who brought awesome energy and passion that added to our team's momentum. We had 10 boys race the 3200 this spring, with 7 boys under 11 minutes in the 3200 (and 2 others very close). Along with that, we had 12 boys at 5:15 or under in the 1600. While times don't tell an entire story, with most of these boys being freshmen or sophomores, this sets us up for an awesome summer and huge opportunity in the fall to be one of the best teams in Wisconsin. The opportunity starts with summer and the decisions from the boys.
Our focus on loving each other helps all the guys! During the last week, we had 15-20 boys at practice even though only 6 remained in post season competition. Since sectionals, some of our boys have continued to train with Joshua as he prepares for the state meet. This caring and love are what will really drive what we are capable of doing as a team!
When Joshua finished 5th at the regional last year, coming up 4 seconds shy of a sectional qualifier, I told him (and myself) to be patient and focus on each day. We knew that a year later we would be not only looking at qualifying for sectionals, but also qualifying for state and performing very well at the state meet. So we talked about it, and for the next 365 days he never thought about or focused on results. He went to work with our boys. During the hot summer months, he ran every day with purpose. During the cold winter days with eyelids frozen, he ran every day with purpose. Through stressful weeks and some hiccups, he overcame and put in the work necessary to get his body and mind in a healthy spot. He took nothing for granted, and yet through it all made every day an absolute blast. He led our young team to state in the fall, and then came in ready to our sectional meet and dominated the field, racing fearless and running his race from the start. That race was run on Thursday, but the result of it was produced through the day in and day out consistency and purpose leading up to it.
I just came back from a long run with him and a few other of the boys, and we are looking forward to his first state track meet this Friday night! Joshua will be a great captain leader for us. He is a model of purpose and consistency, while also showing having fun with what we do can make it even better. Stay tuned for an amazing state meet!
Our 4x800 team fell just short of the state meet, finishing 4th place at the sectional. Brad got us out with the pack and let Joshua go to work on the second leg. Joshua handed off in 2nd place to Liam who battled and handed off to Riley in 4th place. Riley showed pure guts going after 3rd and 2nd from the get go, but ultimately coming up just a bit short. These boys showed a lot of heart and determination, and the seniors on that team have impacted the program in a big way. Watching Brad and Riley grow over the past four seasons has been so rewarding. Those two also helped me grow and learn over these past four years. While they both will be graduating, they will remain a part of the Hale Tradition, and be a big part of what happens in the coming years! They both have selfless pursuits ahead, with Brad looking to be a police officer and Riley going into the National Guard. I have no doubts that these two will be amazing men of character and be a positive impact on many lives!
For this young group, it's decision time on what you guys want to do together. Thank you Bradley for talking to our guys about what it takes to continue our tradition and create new history. Let's live our true No Limits motto and keep taking risks in training and racing. Be the guy that has crazy dreams, then pursue those dreams by focusing on purpose and consistency. Put the best interest of the team over your own self interests, and pursue selflessness and discipline. There's no secrets here. With love and consistency, you and the team can make the unknown become known!
Let's make it an amazing and fun summer!
There's nothing groundbreaking or scientific about this blog, just observations on what we know to be true. It is easier for humans to conform to what others are doing in a temporary setting, as well as over the long term if the exposure is repeated enough. Who we choose to be with in most situations is very important, and how we react when in temporary scenarios where we have no choice can profoundly impact our success as well. The impact you have on others is significant, and the same is true about the impact others have on you!
What I learned from a youth 5k run
On Wednesday, I was fortunate to run a practice 5k with my amazing 10 year old niece which consisted of 3 loops that each measured 1 mile. The run was organized by Girls On The Run, and the goal was not to race but rather to have fun and for the girls to challenge themselves a bit. My objective was to be her running buddy and keep her motivated throughout the long run. Along with about 20 other girls her age, we took off on our first loop. The girls began excited about the run, getting out fast and encouraging each other as a group of 5 broke away early. They were positive and encouraging each other until... about 400 meters into the run one of the girls began walking. Within seconds, all five of the girls that were just recently encouraging and excited all began walking, with a few bringing up complaints. One person's decision influenced the decision of four other people! This scenario is not unique to this situation.
I maintained a slow run and was able to convince my niece to continue running with me. My goal wasn't to race the other girls, it was to have her do what she is capable of and what is right. After just one mile finished, the group we started with was nowhere in sight behind us. My niece was having fun and challenging herself at the same time, she knew she would see her friends again after the run. She made one decision to do what is right, and with that she was able to grow in confidence and learn that a positive mindset can lead to doing our best!
So when we are in races, practices or any situation with other peers, it's important to remember just how much your decisions and communication affect those around you! If you are positive and encouraging to yourself and others, you can have a powerful group as seen early in the run I did with my niece. On the flip side, just one negative comment or action can sabotage those around you very quickly. It's important that we hold ourselves and each other accountable. We must focus on doing what is right, which may very often not be what is easiest! And that's what makes our group special. We are willing to challenge ourselves, do extra, face stress and be uncomfortable. Continue to recognize the importance of your demeanor and actions, and make sure you are providing the best environment you can for you and others to thrive! And if you see someone not following our standards or bringing others down, be the one to correct them and encourage them back on the right path.
Lastly, in races this can happen too. We can get caught up behind a pack that is not moving as fast as we could be and it can cause us to settle. While competition will fuel us and help us in races, it's always important to run your race and to your abilities. Don't ever let anyone limit what you can do in life.
By the way, my niece did amazing running with me the whole 3 miles and finishing right with one other girl ahead of everyone else. No, it's not about her finishing up front, but rather the good decision she made to be her best and still have a ton of fun accomplishing a very long run for a ten year old!!