Bulletin #1

posted Aug 30, 2008, 8:27 PM by PMS Coach   [ updated Sep 21, 2008, 11:12 AM ]
I wanted to welcome you and your child to our cross country program.  My name is Len Goldman and I am the coach.  This e-bulletin is going just to the parents of the 6th grade runners.  A similar e-mail will be sent to the 7th & 8th grade parents.  The PMS cross country program is off and running as this week marked our first practices starting our 3rd year as an organized program.  I would like to welcome you to my weekly bulletin that will be used to communicate news of the team and keep you informed.  Please share this bulletin with your child who is in the program.  This first bulletin will be a rather lengthy, so please read it in its entirety, future ones will be shorter.
One new feature this year is a web site exclusively created and maintained for the cross country program: http://sites.google.com/site/piedmontxc/Home
Please bookmark it.  Its purpose is to provide a resource for parents and kids in the program.
Browse through the website and note we have a calendar section and a document with "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ).  The website will be updated as quickly as we can and will have the most current information. 
Our schedule of practices is right after school from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 every day but Friday.  Your child can come as often as they want, but 2 to 3 times is sufficient, plus they can run once a week on the weekend for extra credit if they wish.  If you haven't yet signed your child up for the program please do so, the form is attached.  Our first meet will be on Monday, September 15 at Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito.  The complete schedule of meets has not yet been finalized, but should be by next week.  Team parents drive the kids to the meets and provide snacks, we depend on your support so that every child who wants to run in the meets has transportation.  I need 3 parents to volunteer to coordinate drivers and snacks for the season.  Erica Benson, has volunteered already, so I need 2 more parents to volunteer to contact parents about taking turns driving to the meets and/or providing snacks.  Please respond to this e-mail if you are willing to be a coordinator.
To briefly re-cap our first week of the season, it was hot!    30+ kids showed up for each practice except Thursday, which was a minimum day.  Because of the heat, we took it easy running wise and tried to find shade where possible for our stretching and drills.  One day for a treat we had popsicles and on another day I gave the kids "chill towels."  We spent some time getting to know each other by playing an "ice breaker" game and I gave an overview of the program.  Each practice will follow a similar format with a warm-up jog, group stretches, team huddle, form drill, the workout for the day, and time permitting an active game. 
During practice, we take frequent water breaks and to encourage drinking water, every child who registers for the program will receive a water bottle courtesy of Nike.  The most important piece of equipment for your child is a pair of running shoes.  So if you have not bought them yet, I encourage you to do so and to go to a specialty running store where they can fit your child with the correct shoe.  Also, running shoes should be replaced about every 4 to 6 months, depending on use and your child's growth.  Please note, regular running shoes are fine, you do not need to buy trail or cross country shoes. Transports running store on College Ave. is offering a 10% discount on shoes to PMS runners.
The emphasis the first few weeks of practice is on building endurance.  We will be running at a comfortably hard pace in most of the training, with some brief walk breaks, and each week the intensity will increase a bit.  Our total daily mileage, and this is broken up into several segments, is about two miles. For the time being, we are doing our runs on campus and into Piedmont Park, but I do plan on doing some running into the neighborhood, like over to Crocker Park, Hampton Field, Dracena Park, etc.  Some of the running incorporates hills and stairs, since the courses where we will be racing will have these features.  Some of the training will involve faster running on the track, but it will be geared to each child's ability level.  I also like to incorporate active type games into practice.  While we have a good size squad, we could use a few more kids, especially girls, on the team, so please help us spread the word.  So if you know anyone who might be interested, just have them come to our practices to check out what we do, no obligation.  Registration for the program will be accepted until mid-September.  Finally, I will be providing a snack at the end of practice (until my supply runs out).  If your child has any food allergy let me know. 
Next week the schedule is, no practice on Monday due to Labor Day, I have asked the kids to run on their own and if they do, turn in the extra credit form, signed by a parent.  On Tuesday, we will resume practice.  Again the emphasis will be on endurance running, mixed in with some shorter, faster running, probably in the form of relays.  I will be assisted by several other coaches, there will be a minimum of two coaches at all practices and usually three of us.  We are looking forward to this season and coaching your child.
Let me briefly tell you a little bit about myself and my assistant coaches.
I have been a life-long runner and started running when I was in middle school, a long time ago.  I have competed at every distance from 100 meters to the marathon.  I have been the President of the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders since 1998, am on the staff of the Piedmont Adult School where I have taught a beginning and intermediate running class, and am a certified RRCA adult running coach.  Also, I am a volunteer for the "Girls on the Run Bay Area" program.  I started the cross country program at the Orinda Intermediate School in 2002, and in 2006 with the support of the Piedmont Rec Department started the Piedmont program.  I run competitively for the Pacific Striders club and for the past three years have been ranked in the top ten nationally in my age group for distance runners.  I live in Oakland, but was a resident of Piedmont for 17 years, and both my daughters are graduates of the Piedmont schools.  I have certifications in Basic First Aid and CPR.  I have received three different national awards from the Road Runners Club of America for my work in running.    
Assisting me for the third year is Steven Merigold.  Steve is a Piedmont resident, and he and his wife have a 9 year old daughter who attends Beach Elementary School.  Steve started running in high school where he was a sprinter and jumper.  About 10 years ago, he made the transition to distance running and has been running ever since.  He has run one marathon, Chicago, and is a regular at the Lake Merritt runs. 
Returning for his second year is Ken Burgess.  Ken is an active duty member of the USCG and serves as an aide to the Admiral.  Ken graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy in 2003 and completed dual masters degrees at the University of Michigan in 2007.  As a runner, Ken has been competing since high school, earning all New England honors in college, and running a 2:40 marathon PR in Boston 2006.
Assistant Coach Melissa Ownby, 33, is an officer in the US Coast Guard working in Alameda, CA.  She has competed in over 70 races since 2000 including 6 full marathons, 14 half marathons, 7 triathlons, 5 adventure races, several long distance road cycling events and various distance cross-country trail runs.  Melissa was a volunteer coach for the middle school track team this past Spring.
David Dunham is also one of our assistant coach.  David is an avid triathlete and recently completed the grueling "Escape from Alcatraz" race.  David lives in Oakland and is a Registered Nurse who works for the County of San Mateo.  He is a veteran of Desert
Storm 1 and is a member of LMJS running club.
As other coaches are brought on-board, I will introduce them to you.  If you have any questions about the program or your child, please contact me.
Len Goldman