I just found out this morning that my old high school cross country coach is losing his battle with lung cancer and probably only has a few more days left. He’s been a friend of my family for many many years, lived down the road from my parents when I was growing up, and was also my English teacher at one point. His battle with cancer has been going on for several years, and it’s very sad to hear that things are not going well.

I don’t think I would ever have attempted to run a marathon if it hadn’t been for his support and encouragement back when I was running in high school. I wasn’t able to run all the way through – I had to stop in 10th grade. I was having some very bad knee problems – what I now know to just be ITBS. I wish I had been able to continue for longer.

When I went for my run just now, I was thinking of him and how thankful I am that he instilled a love of running in me. I ran 5 miles in negative splits and ended with a sub-9 minute mile. My PR for training so far. I typically run 10 minute miles comfortably.

I’m trying to decide if I should write him a letter or something to thank him for the time he spent as my coach and to let him know he’s still there with me as I am training now. But I’m not really sure what to say…

I think I may also look into becoming a cross country coach for the college I teach at. I’d love to be able to encourage people the way he encouraged me.

Thanks Mr. Nolan. You’ll always be my coach.