Friday, March 29, 2013

RRCA Coaching Certification Class

Two weeks after my Yoga Fit training, I headed to Atlanta, Georgia to accomplish goal number 2 of the year – get my run coach certification through the Road Runners Club of America.  And unlike the Yoga Fit training, we DID get a sample agenda for this clinic and I was made aware that breakfast, lunch and snacks would be provided.  Still, to be on the safe side, I packed some of my favorite snacks. 

In researching my trip to Atlanta I discovered that the hotel and clinic were across town from the airport.  This is normally not a big deal and when I’ve traveled to big cities before I’ve used public transportation with no problem.  However, I was advised by former classmates of mine who live in Atlanta that I did NOT want to use public transportation while here.    The hotel did not have a shuttle to/from the airport and a taxi ride would cost $50, so……..that meant I needed to rent a car.  I wasn’t really excited about this because I don’t like driving in areas I am unfamiliar with, especially in the dark.  But I rented a car and packed my GPS.

I landed in Atlanta around 6:00p.m.  Perfect time for driving in rush hour traffic.  Lovely.  I grabbed my luggage and headed to the rental car counter.  Due to a weird computer glitch, it took longer than expected there and I was ok with that because I was hoping some of the traffic was now gone.  I ended up with a Toyota Camry.  I loaded my luggage, programmed my GPS and headed to the hotel.  The GPS took me through downtown.  Traffic was bad at times, but the speed limit in Atlanta was 55mph, so I just stayed in the far right lane and did the speed limit.  Thanks to the trusty GPS I found the hotel with no problems.  I checked in and decided I did not want to get back out to find food, so I just snacked on what I had and then went to bed.

I woke up early Saturday morning and headed out to make sure I could find the gym where the class was.  It was only two miles from the hotel and pretty easy to find.  The hard part was trying to figure out how to get to the parking lot.  The gym was located in a multi-level shopping center and the gym was on the lower level.  I was not the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get down there.  When I came out of one garage, there were three other cars circling around.  We stopped to chat and two more came upon us.  Finally we just all parked in the garage and walked down the stairs.  Not a big deal except that it was 28 degrees!!!

As we were walking to the gym I was talking to one of the guys walking in with us about where we were from, etc.  Turns out I was talking to the instructor.  He seemed really friendly and I could tell it would be a good class.

We signed in and then headed to our classroom for the weekend.  And oh boy, I don’t think it was any warmer in the room than it was outside!!!  It was freezing in there and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.  (I ended up keeping my coat on all day).

There were some tables set up and I quickly grabbed a spot in the middle where I would be able to see and hear.  Next to me was a guy about my age.  We got to talking and discovered he is also an Ironman triathlete.  Then I learned that he had just attending the USAT Coaching Clinic the weekend before.  We talked a lot about that since that is another of my goals if I can ever get accepted.  I believe things happen for a reason and was glad that I had sat where I did.

We went around the room for quick introductions.  There was one other person from Texas.   Most people were from somewhere around the Atlanta area, but one even came from California.  We also discovered that since we were in a gym that had it’s own deli, that no outside food could be brought in by RRCA.  So, breakfast was fruit and muffins.  I was ok with that since I had eaten a bar prior to arriving and I had snacks with me since I didn’t know what lunch would be.

We jumped right into the material.  They had prepared a manual for us that had all of the slides in it, so we were able to listen more and take notes when we felt like we needed to.  It was also a very interactive class, which I enjoyed.  And it didn’t hurt that our instructor was funny and kept class entertaining. 

As questions came up and as the class went on, we discovered more about several of the participants – two physical therapists, one who owns a running store, one who works for NUUN, an Olympic trials qualifier, etc.  We had a wealth of knowledge in that room and once again, I kind of felt out of place.  But that’s what I was there for – to learn.  And learn I did.

Lunch was a quick break with food from the gym’s deli.  I had a hummus wrap that was pretty good.  I talked with a few more people.  Yoga instructors, personal trainers, insurance specialists.  All people I could learn from.

At the end of the day I was mentally exhausted again.  And I was still frozen.  I had kind of hoped a group of people would go out for dinner, but I didn’t hear any ramblings about that, so I headed back to the hotel in hopes of getting warm.  There was a Subway just across and down from the hotel, so I decided to walk over there and get some food to bring back to the hotel.   I ate my food in the hotel and read over the course materials again, highlighting things I thought were important.  I also used the down time to study some of my personal trainer manual.  When I almost feel asleep while reading, I knew it was time for sleep.

Sunday morning I headed back to the gym for day 2.  It was still cold in the room, but not as cold as yesterday.  We jumped right into learning and decided to work through lunch since it was Super Bowl Sunday.  Today we went over some of the business side of coaching, which is the side I have questions about.  You know – setting up the business name as an LLC, legal waivers to cover you as a coach, insurance needs, etc.

Over lunch today, we broke down into small groups and were asked to write a plan for someone wanting to run a marathon in 12 weeks.  We were given a few parameters, but we quickly realized that we really needed more information to get really specific.   It was also interesting because all five people in my group had different ideas on how to get him there.  Some thoughts were very similar, but some thoughts were different.  None were wrong.  And that’s what we got out of the class as well.  As a coach, you have to determine what your philosophy and way of coaching will be.  If it works for you and your client, it’s not wrong. 

We wrapped up the afternoon, were given instructions about the procedure for taking the test, took a group picture and were sent on our way.  I felt really good about the weekend and was excited to get back and get the test taken.  In the meantime, I headed back to the room to watch the Super Bowl.

When I booked the class and my flights, the Super Bowl was not even on my mind, but I was glad that I decided to stay Sunday night and fly out early Monday morning.  I had stopped at the Target by the gym Saturday and bought some snack food for the Super Bowl, so I was set.  I got comfy, munched on bad food and then went to bed.

Monday I was up super early to head back to the airport, turn the car in and get through security.  Luckily, the GPS did me right again and I was sitting at the gate waiting for my flight with plenty of time to spare.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve worked my way through the test in my own time.  I finally got the nerve to hit the “submit” button and was very pleased to see that I passed the test with a 94.  So, I am officially a RRCA certified run coach.  Now I just need to get some clients!

Monday, March 4, 2013

YogaFit Level I Training

If you remember from reading a past post, one of my goals this year was to start on my journey toward becoming a yoga teacher.  Due to past exposure, time limitations, etc. I decided to begin that journey with Yoga Fit.  Yoga Fit is the type of yoga I have been practicing for the past 11 years and it’s a program that allows you to go at your own pace to work toward your 200-RYT.

So, January 18th after work I headed to San Marcos and checked into my hotel for the weekend.  The class was going to be held at the rec center on the Texas State University campus.  I wasn’t sure where that was, so after checking in I drove over to make sure I knew where I was going and where I could park and then grabbed some dinner.

I also wasn’t really sure what to expect with the class.  I have to say that from my type A personality, that was my one complaint about the class.  Other than the email confirming my registration and an email to remind me that I was signed up and that I should be at the rec center at 8am Saturday morning, there was no other communication about the class.  Usually when I attend these kind of things, there is at least a sample agenda and they tell you whether breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided or you are on your own.  Nothing from Yoga Fit on that.  Nor did they say whether we should come in yoga clothes or not.  Since it was a yoga training, one would assume that we would be doing a yoga session, but you never know.

Since my yoga teacher was trained through Yoga Fit, I asked her and knew that I should at least wear my yoga clothes.  I also planned to take snacks just in case.  Because of the food limitations and pickiness I have, I always like to be prepared.

The other thing I was curious about was how many people would be in the class and what their background would be.  Being that the class was taking place on a college campus, I wondered if I would be surround by 20-something year olds getting their kinesiology degree.  I figured I would be one of the older ones in the class.

Saturday morning I woke up early, got ready, ate a Lara Bar in case there were no food offerings and headed to the campus.  Being a college campus and being that it was around 7:30 when I got there, the only other people there were obviously attending the yoga training as well.  I headed into the room where the class would be.  There were a few people already there, but not many.  The instructor told us to find a spot on the outer edge of the room, so I made my way to what would be my spot for the weekend.

There ended up being over 20 people in the training.  When we went around the room and introduced ourselves, I started to feel a little out of place.  Some of the people were there to retrain Level I (part of the 200-RYT requirement).  Others were there for the first time like me, but it was obvious that I was one of the very few in the room who were not already teaching yoga somewhere.   And I was not the oldest in the class.

We started the day with some basic stuff and then did a 2-hour yoga session.  This was the longest yoga session I have ever done.  It did not seem like a 2-hour class, which was good.  There was a lot that I was familiar with, but there were a few poses that I don’t do on a normal basis or that maybe she got us into in a different way that I am use to.  I decided that it would do me good to attend some different yoga classes back home to get use to a variety.

After the class we broke for lunch.  Which we found out was on our own.  And we only had 1 hour for it.  Normally that would be fine, but just learning that and not knowing what was close by was a little challenging.  I managed to find a Subway, grabbed a veggie sandwich, inhaled it and headed back.

The afternoon was spent breaking down poses with each student in the class reading the cues for the pose and other students modeling the pose.  Then we would model the incorrect poses so we would know what to look for in our students.

After a long and mentally challenging day, we were assigned homework and told we would start at 7:30am Sunday morning and would work through lunch so that we could leave a little earlier.

I headed back to the hotel for a bit and then went to grab some dinner and stop at the HEB to grab some food for Sunday’s lunch.  Luckily the hotel room had a fridge and I still had an insulated lunch bag in my car from work Friday, so I wasn’t totally limited on what I could pack for Sunday. 

After getting back to the room I sat down to do my homework.  Basically we were asked to write out cues for getting into 3 poses in a flowing manner.  It sounds easy, but when you are writing it out it is much harder than it sounds.  Once I was done, it was time to sleep.

I was up again early Sunday to pack and check out before heading to the rec center to start day 2.  We had a shorter yoga session in the morning and then we broke down some more poses before breaking into smaller groups to “teach”.  This is where our homework came in to play.  We had to instruct the other participants in our group through the series of three poses we had written out for homework.  Even after practicing yoga for as long as I have, I was nervous to have to instruct someone through the poses in the 2-3 minutes we were given.  The first time was the worst, but then it got a little more comfortable, which was the whole point of the exercise.

We wrapped up class, discussing the insurance options and certification requirements and then it was over.  I was mentally exhausted and my body hurt from sitting on a hard wood floor all weekend.  I drove home and just chilled out.

Since the training, I have been working on completing my 8 hours of community service.  This just basically means I have to teach 8 hours of yoga (preferably to people who would not normally be exposed to yoga) for free.  The first session I did was for my family.  That way if I messed up, no big deal.  The hard part for me was getting the timing of it all down – did I have enough poses in the sequence to last an hour or would I be done with the sequence and still have 20 minutes left?  would I recognize the song right before meditation so that I could make sure we were on the mat and ready to start meditation at the right time?  Ultimately, I didn’t do so bad the first time.

I branched out after that and did a session for six of my fellow triathlete friends.  Only one had done yoga before and only a time or two, so a whole class of beginners.  They really enjoyed it and I hope to find more opportunities to help them.

From there I was trying to decide whom to teach to.  I originally thought I’d do my community service hours for a group of soccer players my son trains with, and I still want to, but that just hasn’t worked out yet.    What I discovered in the meantime was that a high school classmate of mine is bipolar.  I know that yoga can help people with mental disorders, so I asked if he had ever tried yoga.  He said he had not but would be willing.  So, we set up a time and off I went.  He said he enjoyed it and would like to continue, so I see my community service hours coming from there.  I hope that I am able to help him, even if only a little bit.

The next step in all of this is to complete my community service hours and then decide what I want to do as far as teaching.  I’m not sure a gym would hire me since I’m not 200-RYT trained, but I don’t really have a “place” where I can teach one-on-one sessions, so this will be an issue.  Hopefully I’ll figure something out.  I am also hoping to attend the Level 2 training at the end of June and continue down the path of learning and knowledge.