Featured Rogue October: Greg Long

When and why did you start running?

I began getting fit in the winter of 2011 as my effort to shed 60 lbs from indulgent neglect and an online gaming obsession that lasted years.  It began with a regimented food routine using Weight Watchers, a standing desk routine, and running.  My first runs were slow intervals at the park for the most part, less than 3 miles, and never two days in a row.  I hated running – Texas is too hot, and I never get anywhere fast.  When I moved to Austin in the summer of 2012, that all changed.  I remember thinking, wow people are super fit in this city. I still remember the exact place in training where I cleared 10 miles for the first time at Town Lake running just one more loop alone.  This was the moment that I flipped from hating it to loving it. Austin Half 2013

By the spring of 2015 and a missed goal of an hour on the Cap 10k, I was frustrated and unmotivated.  I stumbled across Rogue Running in Cedar Park and signed up on the spot with Jen Harney with a twice a week morning training group (Tori’s True Grits).  I began my fall marathon training with my first distance over 13.1 miles on July 4th, 2015 @ 14 miles – it took me 3 hours and 7 minutes.  I ran my first marathon in November of 2015, and have been running more and more consistently ever since. I most recently ran over 240 miles in August of 2017 ahead of my sixth marathon last month in Berlin, Germany.  I think it’s safe to say, I’ve traded one obsession for another…  and I’m totally ok with it!  I now self-identify as a runner.

Describe your first race experience.

The 2013 Austin Half Marathon was my first race that didn’t involve mud, obstacles, or a bicycle that offered up a medal.  I signed up with a friend and our wives signed up for the 5K. We trained together when we could downtown on weekends.  When race day came around, none of us had any real idea what to expect.  We showed up and it was 30 degrees at the capito!  My buddy’s knees were done by mile 11 but he gutted it to the finish and we crossed together – just as the first full marathoners were finishing up.  You’d think everyone was cheering for us!  The finishing chute of a race is just bliss all around.  Our 5k champions were there to cheer us in making it even sweeter.  You never forget the first one, this is where I picked up my first medal.  I ran that half in 2:42:57 and it was the best day ever! Who knew that since then I’ve yet to see a 30 degree start temperature in any of my races.

What has been your biggest running-related challenge?

Greg - Berlin Sept 2017The Berlin Marathon 2017 was my biggest running-related challenge so far.  I went into it with a GREAT training season and expected to move my PB from 4:33 in Chicago 2016 to somewhere around 3:45. Sometimes the marathon just wins the day.  Berlin was one of the best training cycles I’ve had, but I didn’t run my best race.  I did PB at 4:22, but it was one of the hardest races I have run with conditions and level of effort.  I learned a lot about myself and told a friend after the race that this one hurt my body and soul. 

I traveled alone, I raced alone, it was International, it was on a very different time zone, it was rainy, cool, and humid – all factors for the most part out of my control – not blaming, but trying to rationalize the less than expected performance.  I cycled into my corral after nervous bathroom breaks and found myself with a herd of 4:30 flags.  Not a lot of room to press up ahead as the start area was wall to wall people.  The course was packed the whole way both on the road, and on the sides.  I spent the first 15k stressing and looking for room where there wasn’t any to be found.  I was following people the whole way and never got any real room to glide and ease into my paces.  My geeky side showed that my cadence was even, but my stride length was 15% shorter compared to my training.

This race showed me what it was to grit my teeth and suffer through mile after mile with my goals fading away at each 5k interval.  As the later parts of the race come in, the discomfort and pain were there, but you can mentally push past those #JFR. I was an emotional mess afterwards and the awesome support I got from those at home filled me to the brim.  I recommend the race for the experience and loved visiting historic Berlin, but also learned a lot about how to steel myself against a tough race, lofty expectations, and my own head-space.  All that said, I’m anxious for the next one.

What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment?

Greg - 5k Win- Thin Mint 2017Where I’m most proud is the consistency I’ve developed since coming to Rogue and learning to run with a group of similar minded adults who try to balance lives, family, jobs, and aspirations.  I’ve run over 100 miles a month since July of 2015.  My fitness has come a long way since I started at 200 lbs and 14 miles on that hot July 4th and I’m the most appreciative that the largest contributor to that is running.   I’ve taken my marathon time down 1 hour 33 minutes in 2 years and I truly believe there’s room for more.  I really expected to say I killed my marathon time in Berlin and got my 3:45 OR better!  Instead I’ll say, I’m not there yet, so from an achievement standpoint, this one is unfinished business.

What’s next?

Greg and Billie - Cap 10k 2017Running has become an integral part of the lifelong goal of healthy mind and body through 80 years old.  I knew in 2011 that if I continued the path I was on, I’d never make 80 – I still might not, but I want to make choices and decisions that improve my chances.  So, what’s next?  Marathon #7 is the Dopey Challenge at DisneyWorld the first week of January.  This is when you run the Disney parks and complete 4 races in 4 days moving through the 5k, 10k, Half, and full marathon distances in that order.  My wife and I are going to celebrate our 13th anniversary on the day of the 5k with a goal of a celebratory toast during the run.  The half will be her race and I’ll pace her to whatever goal she is looking to hit that day.  The marathon is for me; distance-wise she’s not at the marathon just yet.  It’s a once in a lifetime experience that my wife proposed for us to participate in for our anniversary this year – who am I to say no to that great idea?!  Not only do we get to see the parks from a completely different angle, we get to experience another very cool anniversary in a ridiculously unique way.  I couldn’t script a better what’s next for me than to spend the next significant running moment with my partner in life.  See you on the road!Zilker Relay

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Featured Rogue for September: Rebecca Jones

Rebecca 1

Rebecca Jones who trains with Steve Sisson’s Team Rogue is our featured Rogue for September. Here’s a quick interview about her running journey:

When and why did you start running?

I began my running career in middle school as a sprinter on the track team. I loved running from a young age but started out as a 200- and 400- meter runner. That quickly changed in high school when I followed in my older brother’s footsteps and joined the Cross Country team. I made the Varsity team my freshman year and realized I had an underlying talent for long distance running as well. I wish I could say I was a stud high school XC runner, but in all honesty I was more into the team and social aspect of the sport and didn’t feel like I needed to push myself to become the best runner I could be since I was already on the Varsity team, rocking my letterman jacket as a freshman. It wasn’t until college that I realized I wanted to be serious about running and push myself farther. I ran with quite a few of the runners on UT’s XC team while in college and wrestled with trying to walk onto that team for a while. But when it came down to it I decided to run “for myself” in college and have fun, knowing that post-college I would like to take up marathon running. That was definitely the right choice. I have always been the type to pursue a few things in life that I’m passionate about and really give them my all to see find full potential. Running has developed into one of those areas in my life and since I don’t believe in half-assing anything, I’m all in.

Describe your first half marathon or marathon race experience. What did it mean to you?

My first marathon was back in January of this year in Houston and it was truly one of the hardest but best things I have ever done. Prior to the race I was experiencing some IT issues and was really nervous for how the race would go and if I would be limping the entire 26.2 miles. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to running and I don’t set little goals… so I knew I had the potential for big disappointment. When I started training for the Houston marathon I decided that I wanted to qualify for Boston and regardless of numerous Rogue coaches trying to discourage me from setting such a high bar for my first marathon, I was set in my dream and went for it. I did indeed limp for quite a bit of the race due to my IT band not functioning properly and I even tripped 100 feet from the finish line and had to be scooped up by fellow runners but my grit and determination got me that BQ in the end.

What has been your biggest running-related challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest running-related challenge is the fear of failure. I’m sure many runners would say this is a top challenge but I put a lot of pressure on myself and set big goals so I am always afraid of falling short. Not for fear of embarrassing myself in front of other people, but because I know what I want to be capable of and that the only person that can disappoint me is myself. It’s definitely an internal pressure rather than an external. Oddly enough, I try to overcome this fear by continuing to set big goals. It starts at a small level in workouts: trying to nail tough workouts at paces that might be a stretch for me. Then also in races as I set goals that could be slightly out of reach for my current fitness but are worth shooting for. In the small and big failures that come from each of those cases I try to learn how to meet failure face-to-face and find fuel from it rather than discouragement.

What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment since you started?

I would say the Houston marathon was definitely a pivotal point in my running career. It gave me the encouragement I needed to see that big dreams are achievable and it fanned a whole new flame in me for long distance running. Since that race I have joined Team Rogue and taken my training to a different level. Steve and Team Rogue have already whipped me into a much better runner and I’m excited about what my running career holds for me.

What’s next?

Up next for me is the California International Marathon on December 4th. I will be traveling with the majority of Team Rogue to run this race and I could not be more excited. I have some incredible runners by my side that are challenging me in my training and then will help push and see me to the finish line of that race. I have big goals ahead so we will see how they unfold!

Rebecca 2

Featured Rogue for August: Courtney Whited

 

Courtney Whited is a member of the Tribe coached by Tori Howard at our Cedar Park location. Courtney is our featured Rogue for August because she inspires her teammates each week as she continues her training while battling stage II breast cancer. She shows up every Wednesday with a huge smile on her face, encourages her teammates, and we have never heard a negative comment come out of her mouth. She emulates positivity for not only us at Rogue but more importantly to her two beautiful daughters.
dallas half marathon
When and why did you start running? 
My interest for running first came about during my Air Force Basic Training in 2005. Only I did not discover my love for running until my very first 25K trail race at Bandera in January 2014. Prior to that race I had no formal training and clearly did not know what I had gotten myself into……. I thought to myself am I crazy? Why yes, yes I was!
trail running
Describe your first race experience. 
Weather conditions were less than stellar. I was cold, tired, moody and ready to give up. Like many runners, the experience of trial and error, sweat and tears (literally) to push through the rain, sleet and tough terrain of Bandera somehow allowed me to be consumed by a desire to be completely raw- in the moment. Feeling every breath with every stride knowing I will finish this race. As I did!
What has been your biggest running-related challenge? 
I was diagnosed with Stage II breast Cancer this past April and I currently undergoing treatments.  I’m no longer making my destination as my primary focus but enjoying my journey and that includes running, well walking for now. I’m engaged in the biggest marathon of my life- unprepared, unscripted and can’t wait to see the results and get back to training with my fellow Rogues who continue to inspire me with their growth and spirit. cutest picture
What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment? 
The word Achievement for me is not a one -sided single event but rather a personal choice of consistency in all my running endeavors both in training and at my races. I try not to get bogged down by the chip timer, staying focused on my goal.  At the start line I choose to be consistent in my love for running. I embrace the suck and run like hell with a joy like no other- being grateful for what my body can do right here right now….. “Achievement hello my name is Courtney and I just owned your ass.”
What’s next? 
I am often asked what I will “do” when I return to running and the answer is very clear, – I don’t truly know. I have a Runners To Do list per se and I can completely see myself taking on Bandera again as a return race or a Rogue Expedition run somewhere like Greece!!!! How wonderful would that be!
However at the end of the day
#nevertakeforgranted
We are Strong,
We are Runners,
We are Rogue………

family

 

Featured Rogue for July: Ryan Campbell

Ryan Campbell is a member of the Rogue Killer Bee’s coached by Brent Stein and Amy Baker. Ryan is our featured Rogue for July because of his inspiring journey from smoker and non-runner to half marathoner, with a marathon coming this fall! Here’s a brief Q&A with Ryan:

When and why did you start running?

At no point in my life, prior to taking up running, have I been the least bit athletic. I have exercised in fits and bursts, and gone on healthy diet kicks, but I never really stuck with anything and my weight fluctuated wildly. By the summer of 2015, I was about 250lbs, and living on a steady diet of pizza, beer, and cigarettes. After making some changes to my diet and seeing some positive results, I decided to find a good exercise plan that I could stick with. I had tried running several times over the years, but I never stuck with it for very long. So, in September, with the encouragement of a good friend, I signed up for the Brown Santa 5K, downloaded a couch-to-5K app, and began training on my own. For the next four months, I trained exclusively by myself on a middle school track down the street from me.

At first, running was simply a way for me to lose some weight. While it has certainly done that (I’ve lost close to 70lbs now), it quickly became much more than that. It became a huge source of confidence and a way for me to prove to myself that I could overcome huge challenges and accomplish what I put my mind to. Running has become one of the most important elements of my life, and I hope to keep running for many years to come.

Describe your first 5K or half marathon race experience. What did it mean to you?

My first race was the Brown Santa 5K in December 2015. I quickly learned that training on a track was not adequate preparation for running up and down hills on asphalt. The second half of the race was pure pain. This felt like the longest 3 miles I had ever run. I finished in about 32 minutes — a full 3 minutes slower than my fastest time on the track, and my shins were on fire. Regardless, I was thrilled to have completed my first race.

A month later, a friend convinced me to join Rogue Running and to sign up for the Grand Canyon Half Marathon. I needed a new challenge, and a 13.1 mile trail race at high elevation seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. When we woke up on race morning, there was snow on the ground and it was about 36°. The first 2 miles of the race were on a gravel path, and the weather wasn’t too bad, other than being cold. Then about two miles in, we took a sharp left turn onto a jeep trail. The next 11 miles were a blur of rain, sleet, snow, ankle deep mud, rocks, hills, and pain. I finished in 2:36, faster than anybody expected. This was a huge milestone for me. By now I was 45lbs down from my peak weight, four months smoke free, and I had just completed an extremely tough race.

What has been your biggest running-related challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest running-related challenge has been my own self-criticism and doubt. For most of these first two years of running, I have never been fully satisfied with my results. 32 minutes at my first 5K wasn’t good enough. 2:36 at my first half marathon wasn’t good enough. 1:52 at my second half marathon wasn’t enough of an improvement because it was a street race, not a trail race. A 10 minute PR at 3M two months later wasn’t impressive because 3M is “downhill” and “easy”. Then I shot for another PR at Austin on a humid 70°+ day — yeah, didn’t happen. Finally, running 8:00 miles on my third leg of a 30 hour, 200 mile relay a month later was somehow a letdown to my team. My only accomplishment that I was fully satisfied with at this point was an 8 minute PR at the 2016 Brown Santa 5K. After all these races, I was burnt out and getting close to a serious injury. I decided to take a month off from running to nurse my busted shins and to reflect on my accomplishments so far. I looked back at that last year and a half, and realized how much I had accomplished. I started to to really be amazed with myself. I knew that if I kept pushing myself this hard, I was going to seriously injure myself and not be able to run for a long time. So now I’m trying to focus on the big picture and not look at every single run and every single race as something I need to impress myself or anybody else with or turn into some kind of major accomplishment. I’m finally learning what it means to JFR.

What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment since you started?

Every race has been a great learning experience for me. However, a major turning point in my maturity as a runner occurred at the 2017 Grand Teton Half Marathon. I was just getting started on base building for Fall marathon training, and I really needed to be smart about this race. My coaches, Brent and Amy, were adamant that I didn’t race this. Up to this point, every time I said I wasn’t going to race, I did. That’s how I managed to burn myself out and nearly injure myself. This time, I took my coaches’ advice, and just had fun on the course. I took my time and soaked in all the amazing scenery around me. I felt like I didn’t have to race against myself or anyone else. I was just running for the sake of running, and doing it in the most beautiful place I have run to date.

What’s next?

This summer, I will be training with my fellow Killer B’s for my first marathon at Chicago with a goal time of 3:45. After that, the quest for the BQ begins!

Training tips from coach Amy Baker

Amy has been running 18 years and considers it an essential part of what makes her Amy. She has some fast PRs and lots of philosophical, been-there-done-that advice for other runners, which she gets to share through her role coaching half marathoners and marathoners in the Killer B’s alongside head coach Brent Stein. Luckily, she shared her top four tips here as well; check it out!

  1.  The struggle to achieve is what makes the achievement worthwhile. We measure my success by the sacrifices and struggles that we overcome. No one truly gets satisfaction out of accomplishing something easy for them, even if it may seem impressive to those on the outside. Remember this when you struggle and you won’t look on hurtles with distain, but instead, see them as exactly what makes the success you find meaningful.

    2. The numbers are not important, it is the effect on YOU that is important. I got this idea from Lydiard’s chapter on Physiology of Exercise. Really the number of reps, the paces, and the distances is NOT what makes you fitter. Putting the right amount of stress on your system so your body can make adaptations is what makes you fitter. A successful workout is not completing the number/pace/distance, but rather getting what you need out of it.

    3. Run your own workout, not your teammates’. Everyone is going through their own struggles; the most you can do as a teammate is be kind, patient, and understanding. Don’t be their coach – let them go, sometimes people need to make mistakes for themselves. Lead by example and let the long term results speak for themselves. A positive environment is an essential key to success. Energy is contagious, so contribute to it, don’t take it away.

    4. Choose Today. Remember this every day, but especially on race day. You chose this specific race for a reason. The sacrifices and struggles were to make TODAY possible, so really go for it. You get one shot to be your best, don’t let the opportunity pass. This will forever be one of my mantras. It reminds me that I am here because I want to be here, because I made a choice. I am forever grateful for the opportunity that today presents.

Featured Rogue for June: Jennifer Brase

Jennifer Brase trains with the Rogue Sole Survivors coached by Bobby Garcia. She is our featured Rogue for June. Here is a quick intro from her coach on her running journey and why she is an inspiration to us all:

“Jennifer has been with Rogue and on my team for two years and she is exceptional. Smart. Very smart. Dedicated and focused. Hard working. She has run the Austin and Portland marathons and will be running

Chicago this year. She ran a little over a 4:00 marathon in Portland and wants to (and will) run a sub 4:00 this year.

What impresses me so much is her discipline and commitment in working towards a goal. She recently passed her Professional Engineering exam which is a very difficult exam. Last fall she took a four week pre-exam course that conflicted with our very important 20+ mile LONG RUNS. Before she signed up for the course, she and I talked about balancing training for a marathon with studying for her exam as she was unsure about the exam. She was very concerned about missing four weeks of long runs at an important point in the program.

I told her that if she decided to sign up for the pre-exam course and it conflicted with our long runs that I would meet her as early as she needed to start so she could run her miles. So, we met a little before 3:00 a.m. at Rogue for two straight Saturday mornings and she did her long run. 20+ miles both times. She ran the streets and hills of Austin including the Run from Hell on one of those Saturdays. I provided her water support and other food items. She wanted to both complete her pre-exam course AND also complete the required 20+ LONG RUNS that were called for in the program. And, she did it with no shortcuts. I am very proud of her, personally and professionally.”

Q&A with Jennifer:

When and why did you start running?

I cannot stress enough that I was the furthest thing from a marathon runner for the first 23 years of my life. I did not play sports, I did not particularly enjoy breaking a sweat nor being outside (unless it was poolside), and I was not confident in my body’s ability to achieve anything athletically. I did not develop a desire to run, or at least train for a race, until the summer after I graduated college. To be quite honest, I was struggling through a recent breakup, and I was on a run one afternoon when it occurred to me that it was having a therapeutic effect- I felt strength in my steps that I had not felt in months and a re-centering of my spirit. I decided that day to train for a half marathon.

From that moment, running for me has been about confidence, purpose, rejoicing in the legs that I have and their ability to accomplish great distance with small, repetitive steps. Running has been about the ability to connect with the neighborhoods, trails and the outdoors in a way that I miss when I am trapped inside a vehicle or sitting on a couch. It is to be cognizant of weather patterns, sunrise and sunset, temperature, and to be more in-tune with the world around me. The transformation in my outlook and character over the last 3 years as a result of running astounds me. Even though I still consider myself in many ways an amateur marathoner, I have had to in many ways redefine what I believe that I am capable of.

Describe your first marathon race experience.

My first marathon was Austin in spring of 2016. I am confident that even through training 20+ mile long runs, there is just no way to be fully prepared for your first marathon. There is a big black hole in my memory between miles 16-23, perhaps stress-induced amnesia? I remember finishing and swearing to myself I would not subject myself to that, ever again. And then I did, 8 months later.

What has been your biggest running-related challenge and how did you overcome it?

To know me is to know that I’m an overcommitter- I often think I am invincible and subject myself to as much as I can handle, and then some.

Last fall, training for my second marathon coincided with a career goal as I began to study for my Professional Engineering licensing exam. I was committed to a prep class for my test which would swallow my weekends, but I also needed to get my long runs in, and I was in the peak of training where I would be running 20mi+ long runs on the weekends. Both were imperative to my success and I felt strongly that neither could be sacrificed or cheapened as a result of the other. After talking it over with my coach, he and I moved the long run start times up to 3am for those weeks (when you’re waking up at 5am on a Saturday, what’s another couple hours of lost sleep, right?). My coach, Bobby Garcia, woke up with me (multiple times) and followed me along the route in his truck, providing water support, oranges, and encouragement. Anyone who knows Bobby knows that he coaches with his whole heart, and I would have never been able to accomplish these things- a successful race day, to pass my exam- without his selflessness and unending support.

What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment?

Aside from the race highs, my defining running moment was a trip that I went on last year. Shameless plug- I was so fortunate to go to Patagonia, Chile with Rogue Expeditions, which had been a long, long dream of mine to travel to this part of the world. The last day in Torres Del Paine National Park, after the reality of where we were had finally caught up with me, I was flying down a mountain trail with pure adrenaline spurred on by the beauty around me. The liveliness I felt in that moment was truly remarkable, keeping pace with other runners much better than myself. Whoever thought that a running vacation could be one of the most rewarding endeavors? Sightseeing on your feet is the way to go.

What’s next?

I will be running my third marathon in Chicago this fall, training with Rogue Sole Survivors through the Texas summer. Stay thirsty, my friends.