The Longest 4 Miles

By Chris McClung

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“Come on ten-thirty-nine! You’re better than that!”

I was still about a mile from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, walking a slow but steady pace, and those were the words of an enthusiastic citizen of Boston, yelling about 6 inches from my face in a perfectly thick Boston accent as she screamed my bib number and implored me to run. I am better than that, but I was not in that moment or at least I didn’t think so. I could only respond with a half smile, and even though my heel was hurting and my ego was seriously bruised, I appreciated her words in a way that I never could have imagined. Now, as I sit here 4 weeks later with the stress fracture in my heel bone starting to heal, I can finally wrap my head around the lessons of that day, a personal worst by time but a big victory in other unexpected ways.

Boston 2016 was supposed to be a victory lap for me. I entered the race fitter than ever after a near-perfect training build-up. I was poised for a marathon PR by at least several minutes, and I was mentally ready to give everything I had toward that goal. I wrote these words to the athletes I coach on the Friday before the race:

“I no longer think [my lifetime goal] is beyond my reach. In fact, I now KNOW it’s possible whether it happens on Monday or not, and even better, I have faith that it might only be the beginning of what’s possible.”

I was ready and confident, and my body felt good. As I exited my hotel on race morning to walk to the buses to Hopkinton, I was dressed in a throwaway long sleeve. I immediately felt comfortable in the unseasonably warm air, and I knew it was going to a tough day as the temperatures rose.

For those that don’t know Boston, it is similar to New York with at-times cumbersome logistics on race morning. The race doesn’t start until 10 am, but due to the point–to-point course, you have to be at the buses to head to the start about 3.5 hours earlier. By 7 am, you are at the “Athlete’s Village,” where you are dumped into a field with thousands of other nervous runners for nearly 3 hours, waiting for the 1-mile walk through Hopkinton to the starting line. I was fortunate enough to secure a seat on one of the private buses run by a local Boston club, so I had access with many other Rogues to the private bus lot with its own portable toilets and space to hang out away from the masses. Even still, as I sat there in the shade and wiped small beads of sweat already forming on my brow, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the conditions.

And, I was mad at myself for it. This is the Boston Marathon, THE race for which nearly all runners dream about qualifying, and I was sitting there annoyed to be there. What was wrong with me? That started a cycle of self-flagellation that would continue until I stood on the starting line as I tried in vain to coerce myself to smile and enjoy the experience in spite of the nearly 70-degree temperatures.

Knowing the outcome of my race, that internal struggle between annoyance and anger seems silly now. It’s a reminder for the future not to fight the natural feelings as they come but instead to channel them.

When the gun went off, my petty annoyance continued as I jockeyed for position amidst the crowded street, which is crazy in Boston no matter where you start. But finally with the race itself as an outlet for my frustration, I settled in and focused on finding a smooth rhythm and executed my plan with perfection through the first half of the race.

Somewhere within the first 3 miles, I started to feel a twinge in the my left heel, the subtle kind that you usually dismiss and forget thinking about even before it quietly disappears on its own. In this case, however, it never disappeared and gradually became more and more apparent. By mile 13, it was screaming pretty loudly, and by mile 16, I began compensating with my stride and slowing my pace to manage the pain.

At 22, I stopped to walk because it felt like something was either going to break or tear, and since the pain seemed to be coming from my Achilles tendon, I didn’t want to risk longer-term, more permanent damage. After walking for a few minutes, I tried to run again and knew immediately that I shouldn’t. With the muscles tightening up around the injury due to the abrupt change in pace, my body was loudly telling me “no” even though I wanted it badly to say “yes.” The doctor would say later that walking was a smart decision because running further on the heel would have resulted in a full fracture with a much longer and trickier recovery.

Of course in the moment, it was impossible to see the wisdom in walking even if it was all I could do. Instead, the emotions began to flow.

It started with self-doubt. What is wrong with me? Is the pain in my head? Maybe I wasn’t ready for a big result? What if I am just too weak to do this?

For a fleeting moment, I wanted to quit as I passed by a train station near mile 23. What is the point of finishing this way? What if I do permanent damage? Wouldn’t it just be better to get out of everyone’s way and stop?

Then I got mad. How come I didn’t feel any issues with my heel before? Why is this happening to me? Why now?!?

Realizing its fruitlessness, anger turned to sadness as I mourned the loss of my goal. Was all of the work in vain? Will I ever be this fit again? What if this was my only chance to achieve it?

In the midst of the self-pity, I almost forgot about the fish bowl I was in, surrounded by tens of thousands of cheering fans and Bostonians, until I saw Jen – a friend and fellow Rogue coach – cheering on the sidelines. I surprised her when I said “hey” and stopped right in front of her as she was cheering for another Rogue running by. She knew that something was wrong and instantly choked back tears, knowing my goal for the day and how ready I was for it. I won’t soon forget her face as she pulled back in surprise and shock to see me and then immediately rushed forward to hug and console me over the security fencing.

Seeing her reminded me of everyone at home cheering from their tracking screens and how I wanted to do well for them as much for me. It also made me more aware of everyone cheering on the sidelines as they yelled loudly and encouraged me to run.

Leaving Jen and continuing my steady stroll, I was happy to have seen a familiar face but was suddenly filled with an intense sense of guilt and shame. I felt guilty that everyone was cheering for me either at home or there on course, but I couldn’t respond. The fans on the sideline were urging me to run as I walked closely to the security fencing to stay out of the way of the runners, but I had nothing to give them in return. And, they tried really hard to help me. There were coordinated chants of my bib number and high fives and pats on the back and cheers of “Go Team Rogue.” Those cheers were perhaps most painful as I felt ashamed to be representing my team so poorly, so much so that I nearly pulled my singlet off several times in response.

Other than perhaps early in childhood, I can’t remember a time in my life when I received something without being able to give anything in return. But with love flowing to me from the sidelines there on course and through data lines from tracking screens in Austin, all I could do was receive even if I didn’t feel deserving.

Gradually, at a pace of 17 minutes per mile, guilt and shame turned to acceptance as I humbly realized that the love flowed to me with no expectation. My family and friends at home wanted me to succeed because they love me, but their love wasn’t and isn’t conditional on my performance, it flows regardless of it. The fans in Boston were doing their part to contribute to the magic of the day. They didn’t need or expect anything from me in return, other than what I was already doing just to be there for their city.

By the time I reached the woman that I mentioned at the top of this blog, I was at peace with the day. Her words were harsh on the surface, but really just a reflection of the love that all of Boston gives to the runners on Marathon Monday. And at that point, I couldn’t help but offer a partial smile as she yelled at me in a way that only a Bostonian could.

Minutes later, I turned right on Hereford and left on Bolyston for the final straight away, perhaps the most famous four-tenths of a mile in all of running and deservedly so. Even post-bombing, the crowds are unlike anything in our sport and the noise and electricity can only be compared to what you might experience in the most crowded and energized stadium. It took me 6-7 minutes to walk that straightaway soaking in all that I could until I managed to shuffle-jog in the final 30 meters to cross the line, relieved to be done and so much better for it.

What I experienced in the 68 minutes it took me to cover 4 miles can only be described as grace. I was offered love when I had nothing to give. I received when I could not earn. There is freedom and power born from love unencumbered by the artificial burdens of expectation. This lesson, taught to me in a way that only a tough day at Boston could, will lead to my fastest and best self still ahead. For that, I am so very grateful for the longest and slowest 4 miles I’ve ever “run.”

The Elixir Reincarnated… A Mizuno Wave Catalyst Review

By Chris McClung

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WHY DO THEY DO THAT? You know what I am talking about. Just when you find that perfect shoe, the shoe company goes and changes it. Version 14 rolls over to version 15 and suddenly the upper rubs you in just the wrong place, creating a blister the size of Texas on your heel. Or even worse, they get rid of the shoe altogether and you find yourself neck deep in the bargain bins at marathon expos trying to find the last known survivor of your perfect footwear match.

Well, in many cases, it is purely a marketing move to give you a reason to go buy the next version or perhaps to justify a price increase. In other cases, it is about making subtle changes to assimilate feedback from the thousands and sometimes millions of feet that call that shoe home. Or, in the case of Mizuno nearly 4 years ago, they turned their footwear assortment upside down in the name of simplicity and in a bold attempt to take what were already really good shoes and make them better.

With that decision, the Mizuno Wave Precision, Elixir, Musha, and Ronin disappeared from the shoe wall and were replaced by only two shoes – the Sayonara and the Hitogami. And, simultaneously, Mizuno executed a near-complete overhaul of their flagship shoe – the Wave Rider – to significantly reduce its weight while retaining its cushioning and functional properties. For the traditionally slow-moving and conservative shoe brand it was a bold move, and many consumers were not happy about it.

Though I questioned certain elements of the move, I appreciated it because simpler is better, and out of it, came the best and lightest moderately-cushioned, neutral trainer on the market. Yes, the Mizuno Wave Rider (now in its 19th iteration) is just that good… but more on that another day.

The Sayonara was an attempt to replace both the Precision (neutral) and Elixir (light stability), two of the best lightweight trainers on the market at the time. That was an order that proved too tall, and versions 1 and 2 of the Sayonara were total busts, burdened by a seamless upper that they just could not get right. In addition, the Sayonara, which was predominantly neutral, had trouble pleasing those familiar with the more rigid and stable Elixir.

Realizing the error, Mizuno completely overhauled the Sayonara in version 3, making it very similar to the old Precision, while also going to work on the new version of the Elixir.

Enter the Mizuno Wave Catalyst (released in February). Now, Elixir fans can finally come back out to play… or run!

Just like the Elixir, the Catalyst falls into the lightweight stability category for those looking for a lighter shoe with a little bit of support. The stability is relatively subtle however, so the shoe also works well for any neutral runner (like myself) that might be looking for something a little bit more responsive and less flexible than the Sayonara.

Those currently training in the Asics DS Trainer or Saucony Mirage (which is going away soon) might enjoy giving the Catalyst a spin, given the similar ride. Or, if you run in the Adidas Boston, Brooks Launch or Nike Pegasus, the Catalyst could be a firmer, more responsive alternative for faster days.

I find the Catalyst a bit stiff in the heel upon initial step-in and while walking those first few steps, but that stiffness goes away quickly once you start running and is replaced with a comfortable ride and pleasantly smooth, heel-to-toe transition. Mizuno credits the smooth factor for its new “Articulated Rebax Fan Wave” technology in the heel (say what?), but what actually matters is that the shoe approaches the disappears-on–your-foot goodness that we at Rogue look for and love.You also feel a little bit closer to the ground than in the old Elixir thanks to a 3 millimeters (mm) reduction in foam in the heel, resulting in a 10mm heel-toe drop for the Catalyst (vs. the old 13 mm).

The Catalyst is light (9.4 ounces for men and 8.0 ounces for women) for the amount of cushioning that you get, feeling very much like the cushioning of the current Wave Rider, but in a lighter package with more pop. This new incarnation is slightly heavier than the old Elixir by 0.3 ounces. Elixir purists will feel that difference, but the Catalyst should be more accessible for the mainstream runner looking for a lightweight, everyday trainer.

The upper, a hybrid between the traditional, sewn uppers of the old Elixir/Precision and the new ones with welded overlays, fits the foot well and is the right balance between light and breathable. The fit is slightly narrower than what you will find in the Wave Rider and Sayonara, but still comfortably snug and not restrictive on my foot.

Overall, I think old Elixir fans and new converts alike will enjoy the new Catalyst. Kudos to Mizuno for getting this one right.

If you live in Austin, come check out the Catalyst at either Rogue location, downtown or in Cedar Park.

If you don’t live in Austin and can’t come see us in person, shop our online retail partner RoadRunnerSports via the links below and save between now and May 16th. Sign up for the VIP program and enjoy bigger discounts plus the 90 Day Wear ‘Em & Love ‘Em Shoe Return Guarantee. This review was sponsored in collaboration with RoadRunnerSports.

Click here to Sign Up for VIP & Save 25% on SHOES + Free Shipping! Use offer code RUN4FUN16 at checkout. Offer ends 5/16. Some exclusions may apply, see site for details. Coupon Code: RUN4FUN16

Don’t want to sign up for VIP? Click here to Save 15% on SHOES + Free Shipping! Use offer code RUN4FUN16 at checkout. Offer ends 5/16. Some exclusions apply, see site for details. Coupon Code: RUN4FUN16

 

2016 Prep & Pump Recap

preppumpAustin runners packed the house on Friday night for our third annual Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Prep & Pump and came away with a toolkit of mental tricks from coach Amy Anderson, rock solid race strategy from coach Chris McClung and words of wisdom from coach Steve Sisson. Though we cannot recreate the magic after the fact, we can share notes and, perhaps most importantly, the course breakdown. If you missed out or simply want a refresher, you can find the slides from the event here:

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Prep & Pump Recap

Austin Marathon Pace Chart

Thanks to all who came out, and best of luck to everyone this weekend – we’ll see you out there!

10 Reasons to Go Rogue for Chicago 2016

by Chris MacLeod

These days, it’s virtually impossible to pick a marathon everyone can agree on. San Antonio is too hot, Boston is too exclusive, Canada is too friendly…we’ve heard it all! And we’re sure you can think of reasons why Chicago is not “the best” choice for Rogue’s 2016 Fall Marathon. Allow us to present our reasons why it absolutely 100% is!

  1. Get the PR without the passport. After four trips to Vancouver and one to Toronto, we really do love Canada. But…it’s freaking expensive to get there! (Who else had to shell out $80 at that Express Passport place on Rio Grande?) Not only does Chicago have a famously flat, PR-friendly course, it also has the highly attractive feature of being situated in the Continental US. AND, Chicago has not one but two international airports! Direct flights FTW!
  2. You won’t have to twist arms to get your support crew on board. Yeah, we all think it would be awesome finish a marathon on Hayward Field. But do you know any non-runner who’s heard of Eugene, Oregon? (And no, it doesn’t count if you forced everyone to watch Pre at the last family movie night.) Chicago is a city you would totally plan a trip to without the excuse of a marathon. Historic sites, loads of museums, pro teams in all five* major sports…pack up the kids, we’re headed to the Windy City!
  3. You can Über everywhere. Or you can roll like a true Chicagoan on the CTA. Seriously, Chicago might just be the most navigable city in the US, and there is zero need for a car. The El train is not only historically interesting, it will also get you from Midway Airport to Downtown for 6 bucks!
  4. You hate hills. Chicago has one hill. ONE. It’s practically a speed bump. Running up 45th street during 3M is 10 times harder than Chicago’s one teeny-weeny little hill.
  5. The half marathoners won’t eat all the bananas. Because there IS no half in Chicago! Everyone who’s in it is IN IT. And that is freaking inspiring!
  6. No one’s suing Chicago over their lottery. Yeah, lotteries suck. Two guys in Utah are so mad over New York’s lottery that they’re suing! Alas, lotteries are a fact of life for major marathons. Still, Chicago isn’t as bad as it could be. In 2015, NYC only let in 18% of its lottery pool. Chicago let in 53%. That’s 1 in 2 odds! And on the off chance your friends get in and you don’t, there are loads of wonderful charities who will give you a number in exchange for a little fundraising. Or you can run sub-3:15/3:45 to qualify on time. We promise, it’s really not that hard to get in to Chicago!
  7. For the perfect first-timer experience. Crowd support, crowd support, crowd support! No matter how slow you think you are, you will never be alone on the Chicago Marathon course. And you won’t be kicked off it either. At 6 hours and 30 minutes, Chicago has one of the most generous time limits in the business. (And they’ll let you finish on the sidewalks if you can’t make that.)
  8. No out-and-backs!
  9. To experience the best logistics in marathoning. Race director Carey Pinkowski has been doing this job for 26 years. The course hasn’t changed in 10 years. The expo is staffed by thousands, the corrals run smoothly, and there are TWENTY aid stations. Chicago organizers have this stuff figured out.
  10. Ain’t no party like a Rogue party! If you’ve never been on a Rogue trip, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Nothing can compare to taking on the challenge of the marathon with all the people you laughed, cried, and sweat with over five months of training. And if that’s not enough for you, Steve Sisson, aka “The Original Rogue”, aka the reason the Rogue Fuel Bar has the best craft beer selection on 5th street, is leading this whole shebang. It will be an epic run, and it will be an EPIC party!

Chicago 2016. Training starts April 30. Be there. #JFR

* Wikipedia includes soccer as the 5th major American professional team sport.

Racing with Rogue in the Year of Fast

by Chris McClung

A few weeks ago, I wrote this blog about the Year of Fast. As the writer, I imagined you reading it and, so fired up by the words, threw your hands in the air and screamed “I’m in!!” to no one in particular, perhaps while sitting at home alone or, even more awkwardly, in a coffee shop full of people. A guy can dream, right?

Whether you reacted that way or not, I hope you committed to challenging yourself with speed in 2016 to see if, with the right amount of work and commitment, you can take down personal records on your way to your fastest year yet.

In our February newsletter, you will read about lots of training programs that will provide the path to faster times ahead. Here are some other ways to celebrate the year of fast!

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.26.39 AM1. Race the Capitol 10,000 on April 10th and join our Cap10K team.

This is an iconic Austin race, and we always have a great turnout for it. The race will set-up a team tent for us at the finish line area once we reach a certain number of participants, so we can celebrate and party as a group post-race. Plus, as a team, they will deliver all of our packets to Rogue, so you don’t have to brave the packet pick-up lines. If you haven’t already registered yet, go to this link:

http://www.imathlete.com/events/EventReg/EventReg_SelectType.aspx?fEID=23327&fNew=1&fsource=imATCInvite

Then, click on “Team Challenge” at the top of the registration page and choose “Rogue Running” as your team. This signs you up for our team and also gives you individual registration.

If you are already registered, you can still add yourself to our team. To do so:

  1. Go to “Edit your registration” from your confirmation email or the site directly.
  2. Enter “JoinATeam” into the “invitation code” – hit apply (do not hit “make the change”)
  3. Select Team-Challenge and choose Rogue Running.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.26.57 AM2. Race the Daisy 5K on May 28th.

This one will be like a Spring version of the Zilker Relays with plenty of Rogues partying both during and after the race. In it’s 39th year, the Daisy 5K is the oldest in Austin and will be held on Memorial Day weekend this year at Camp Mabry. In addition to sponsoring the race, we are encouraging all Rogues to participate as a part of their training cycle, whether near the end of Spring 5K/10K training block or starting to gear up for fall races.

Regardless of your focus, we will be bringing speed development workouts into every Rogue program during this time as a way to balance the demands and requirements of half marathon and full marathon training. Check out this great article from Greg McMillan on the topic.

You can sign up for the Daisy 5K here and use the coupon codes below for discounted entry:

rogueDaisy16 = $3 off 5K entry

rogueDaisy16kids = $2 off Kids K entry

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.30.21 AM3. Start a Running Club in your neighborhood.

In partnership with Marathon Kids and Austin Runners Club, we are looking for individual athletes who would like to coach of group of kids and adults to their first 5K (or Kids K) at Daisy via a neighborhood running club.

We know that Rogue can sometimes seem intimidating for new athletes, so working with the Marathon Kids Running Club curriculum, we’ve found a safe and encouraging way to help people get started, but we need your help.

If you are interested in starting a club in your neighborhood, email chris@roguerunning.com and plan to join us for an info session at Rogue on March 3rd at 6:30 pm.

You can find more details here.

———

12274495_1215671458478182_7220714263850107808_nChris McClung heads up all things Rogue and coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.

 

 

 

 

 

2016: The Year of Fast

 

by Chris McClung

It’s January 18th. It’s the day after the Houston Marathon, and I sit here more inspired than ever to be a runner and coach in this family we call Rogue. I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2016.

Yesterday, I spent the first half of my day glued to this computer, obsessively checking the results of friends and athletes in this community. The Houston Marathon app was pretty amazing, but the darn thing only allowed you to track 20 runners at once. Don’t they know that when we descend on a race, we come in groups of 50 or more?!?

In the wake of recent IAAF doping and corruption scandals, I have more or less discarded my trust in the sport at the highest levels. But, I have not lost all faith because the inspiration I find in athletes throughout the pack is greater now than perhaps ever before. That was on display in HD sharpness yesterday as the performances and stories came rolling in.

12553093_10207256741089719_2041494438056456915_nThere is the story of Steve Chase. Steve is 47. He ran his first marathon in 2010 in 4 hours and 36 minutes. The following year he joined Rogue and began training with Carolyn’s group in north Austin, the Northside Runaways. If you know Steve, he is nothing if not detailed-oriented, and few work harder at this sport than he does. With a steady progression in the last 5 years, he now trains with Jeff Knight’s Team Rogue group and regularly logs 100-mile weeks in the midst of working a full-time job. Steve finished Houston in two hours and 44 minutes yesterday, nearly 2 full hours faster than his first marathon. That result is impressive, but it’s no accident. It’s the product of thousands of miles of hard work and a singular focus that would make any elite athlete jealous. Congrats to you Steve. You are an inspiration because you aren’t afraid to set big goals and then leave no detail unattended in the work to achieve them.

 

1511783_10153762391400034_1459414190_nThere is the story of Tina Bizaca. She is 25. She ran her first marathon in 4 hours in 2013, but after her second marathon in Austin in 2014, she battled injuries that would cause her to take time nearly a year away from races. In all of the down time, Tina never gave up or lost her smile. She diligently did the physical therapy needed to strengthen her body and better prepare it for the work required to do this sport. In October 2015, she ran a personal best marathon in Toronto, running 3 hours and 38 minutes. When she told me as her coach that she wanted to follow that result with the marathon in Houston, I told her it was an ambitious plan. It’s hard mentally and physically to run two big marathons with only 3 months in between. Doing it successfully required patience in recovery from Toronto and then restraint in a modified build-up to Houston. She followed the plan diligently and then executed a perfectly paced race in Houston to record a new PR and her first Boston qualifier in 3 hours and 30 minutes, running the second half of the race 4 minutes faster than the first. Congrats to you Tina. You are an inspiration because you stayed positive in the face of adversity and committed to do the little things when no one is watching that separate those who qualify for Boston from those who just talk about it.

12009720_10153140440664849_5439696862510511140_nThere is the story of Lori Brown. She is 56 and ran a personal best for the marathon yesterday in 4 hours and 37 minutes, beating her previous best from 15 years ago. Lori worked harder than ever in this training cycle and started the race perfectly on her planned pace. An old foot injury re-surfaced during the race, which caused her pace to slow, and her PR attempt to be in doubt. As the pain increased, she met two teammates at mile 22 who would run the final 4 miles with her. Working together with her teammates, she fought through the pain and even increased her pace in the final 2 kilometers to earn a PR by 2 minutes. Lori had nothing to prove to anyone, and a lesser athlete might have given in to the pain and either slowed dramatically or walked off the course. Lori did not and could not. She is one of the toughest and hardest working athletes I have ever coached. Congrats to you Lori. You are an inspiration for not giving up on achieving your fastest race when others surely would let age or pain beat them down.

I could tell 30 other stories like that from yesterday in addition to countless more from teammates and coaches who didn’t run but rather cheered and paced their friends and teammates on the course. The day was certainly magical, but there is no magic formula. Trust the plan. Do the work. Do it together. Big things will come. Simple, right?

It’s simple until the alarm clock goes off when it’s 32 degrees outside or the injuries come or fear sets in the night before a race. Our achievements are the sum total of a thousand decisions, starting with a single choice to reach for something we have never done before, to strive to cover an arbitrary distance faster than ever. Most don’t make the initial decision to strive for something big, often under the guise of what might be considered reasonable excuses – “I just want to have fun” or “I’m too busy” or “My body can’t handle the training.” Is that truth talking or is it the fear of what might happen when things get hard or when failure comes?

Within Rogue, we sometimes shy away from using the word “fast” too much so as not to alienate some who would call us “elite” or “exclusive.” I like to say there is no “slow” within Rogue, only degrees of fast. If you train with us, regardless of your pace, you do so because you aren’t satisfied with the status quo. You want more for yourself. You want to test your limits and find out how far and how fast you can go.

2016 is a year in which we will embrace that pursuit more than ever. You will see this come to life in a variety of ways as the year progresses. For example, we have planned a speed development block of training for all of our groups this spring (from TeamRogue to Fall Marathon to 5K/10K PR) that will lead up to the Daisy 5K on May 28. Why? Because you cannot be your best in the longer distances until you develop your speed at the shorter distances as well. Besides, we have seen what happens when a group of us focuses on a single race. What might be possible when the entire Rogue community is singularly focused on the oldest running 5K in Austin? Stay tuned – those details will come.

So, what will you choose in 2016? Will you set aside your fears like Steve and Tina and Lori and strive for your fastest year yet? I know my answer.

———

12274495_1215671458478182_7220714263850107808_nChris McClung heads up all things Rogue and coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.

 

Rogue’s Spring Marathon Pick: Chasing the new with the tried-and-true

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by Allison Macsas

Springtime. It’s all about the new. A new season, new life, fresh starts, big goals! So, it’s in this spirit that we have chosen the Vancouver Marathon & Half Marathon as the spring destination race for Rogues in 2016.

But wait. Haven’t we gone to Vancouver en masse before? What about this whole new theme?

Well, you’ve got a point. Rogue runners have descended upon this race before, specifically in 2012 and again in 2014, so no, the event itself is nothing new. And when you add in several years of SeaWheeze Half Marathon attendance as well, the location itself is definitely nothing new.

10305334_10152233618963666_4632822413701579075_nBut, here’s the thing. Vancouver is tried and true when it comes to the one new thing that we all care about: NEW PRs!! The weather is nearly always brilliant.* The half marathon is blazing fast and the marathon, despite a rather challenging last bit around the seawall**, also delivers consistently fast finishes. Both races are incredibly scenic, and the city happens to be at its blue-skied, flowery best in May. With 5000 marathoners and 10000 half marathoners, the field is the perfect size – big enough to generate that magical race day energy and to draw lots of spectators, but small enough that you’re actually able to do what you came to do – RUN.

228618_657908089998_5356123_nOf course, the event is just part of the draw. We all know that the post-race festivities are just as important as the race itself (and let’s be honest… usually a lot more enjoyable too!). The city is packed with every type of food, drink and venue imaginable, all of which you can walk (I promise, it’ll help with recovery!) to. You can stay afterward and enjoy one of the most beautiful areas in North America: take the ferry, go to Whistler, visit the suspension bridge, explore the redwood forests, eat as much sushi*** as you possibly can.

Flights from Austin are reliably affordable, and while hotels near the race can be a bit spend-y, there is no need for a car rental or a taxi – the light rail will take you straight from the airport to wherever you need to go for a few dollars. Better yet, join up with your running friends and find a cool place to rent on airbnb – there are a zillion options, many of which are more affordable, more comfortable and a heck of a lot more memorable than a hotel room. Plus, you can get the inside scoop from some locals that way.

10176147_10152235417568666_6132313691518639592_nIn 2014 it put a huge smile on my face to hear the race announcer comment, as yet another Rogue crossed the finish line, “Wow! Another Austin runner!” and I’d love to see our crew show up in an even BIGGER way next spring. I’ll personally head to Vancouver in May for the fifth time, and while the neither event nor the destination will be anything new, I believe that it’s the perfect recipe for exactly I want – a fifth shiny new PR.

Ready? The race date is May 1, 2016 and you can register here. Then, get ready to train like you’ve never trained before (in kilometers!). We kick off on December 1sign up here.

*”Brilliant” is defined by me as a temperature between 38-48 degrees and dry conditions on the starting line. In 2014 it was wet and “miserable” was perhaps a better term, but everyone still ran fast, soooo…

**It’s beautiful, but quiet and lonely on the seawall. But even if there were crowds, it’s the last 10K…it’s gonna hurt. Prepare your mantras in advance.

***And pho and ramen and everything else

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AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMBAAAAJGZhZmVmYWVlLWUxODQtNGI3OS1iMmNhLTM1NmUxNjM3OWY0NwAllison has worn many hats at Rogue over the years, from graphic designer and marketing director to coach and co-founder of Rogue Expeditions. She spends most of her time globetrotting between RE trips these days, but always makes sure to leave the Vancouver race weekend open.