Sunday, February 21, 2010

Message From the Captain #14

Ahoy Mateys! You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? Well, how about our first port o’call coming up this next weekend? Yep, the LLS Mentorship will be dropping anchor in the Port of New Orleans, the Big Easy, for the Mardi Gras Marathon and Half Marathon. Don’t you wish we were going? I do! Well, mentor Nicki is going, and running to demonstrate her good health and good fortune at surviving cancer. It is the 13th anniversary of her life-saving bone marrow transplant the day before the race. What a way to celebrate! Congratulations, Nicki! And congratulations to all of the Mardi Gras team!

It was good to see so many of you at the Silent Mile. I really appreciated hearing the stories of our patient honorees. A couple I heard for the first time, and for those that I have heard before, I never fail to get inspired upon hearing them again. By the way, it is sure hard to recognize you cyclists in those helmets and other gear, as you zip by at 25 mph. You make it look easy, other than when you walk in those clickety foot things.

By now, you should have a pretty good handle on dealing with your mentees’ fundraising, and hopefully those that are still on the team are making good progress as well. So I am going to focus on some other mentoring aspects with this email.

** Be There! One of the key duties of a mentor is to train with the team as much as possible. No one is going to be out there 100%, but make sure you are getting out for training in the 60-75% range. Talk to the participants before training, and during if possible. I know for me, with my summer mentees, I am not going to be able to keep up with those that run 100%, and I am going to be ahead of the ones who walk 100%. So I can’t count on actually talking to a lot of my mentees during training. But it is important to be out there with your teammates whenever you can. If you are injured, talk to the coaches about other ways to support the team, such as helping with SAG. The coaches will know better than I how you can best help if that is the case.

** Where Did that Water Come From? My first season with TNT, water and gator aid magically appeared during training. Did it fall from the sky? Did a generous homeless person put it out for us? Did Dumbledore conjure up a spell – Aquas appearicus – and have it magically appear? Well, it turned out that a coach or mentor put it out. As mentors, at least on the marathon team, a key responsibility is to help with water stops. We have had a break from this for a few weeks between cancelled training and revised training schedules, but this will start up again soon – like Saturday. So make sure to share the load with this. As the miles increase, there will be the need for more and more water stops. Cycle and Triathlon teams – I do not know how you handle this, so just see if your coaches need the help.

** Be a Cheerleader! If you can, cheer for your teammates at Shamrock next month. Contact Cate and Amber for details. If you are going to be down for the race, either as a runner or a cheerleader, I have room at a beach condo if you want to stay for free. It is in Sandbridge and so is a bit of a drive – 30 minutes or so – from the race course. I think that Kathy and her husband will be staying there, but there is a second guest bedroom with two single beds available. I’ll be going down Saturday the 20th right after training. Let me know if you want to stay there – first come, first served. Warning – I can’t guarantee I will cook you a gourmet meal, but I will feed you! And you might have to put up with some NCAA basketball on the TV, since that is the second round of the Big Dance that weekend.

** Be a Pal! Some mentees are fine with fundraising, but may want to talk to someone about their experience with TNT, what it means to them, why they are doing it, and so forth. This is particularly likely if they have a loved one who is going through or has gone through cancer. So be accessible to them as a teammate and friend, not just as their fundraising coach.

** Communicate the Mission. Give a mission moment yourself – all of you have done multiple events and there is a reason why. Share that with the team. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who is a survivor and would be willing to talk. Let me know anytime if you want to do a mission moment.

Well, that’s about it from the Captain’s Chair this week. Have a good week. I will try to get out before summer team training Saturday to say hi to the marathoners.

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