People often ask me, “Why do you run?” and I respond with “Why don’t you run?” In many ways, running has always been a big part of my life. When I was in high school, I was always seen as a “fast” kid. I was on the cross-country, track, and soccer teams. In my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What did I do when I first heard this? I asked my parents to drop me off at the track and I ran until I couldn’t anymore. After undergoing treatment and brain surgery, I was told there was a great possibility that I would never be normal again.
My recovery was a rough year, I couldn’t do things I once took for granted. I couldn’t walk, was bound to a wheelchair for six months, had aggressive physical therapy, and was trying to retrain my brain to move my legs again. In addition to my walking abilities, there were other things I couldn’t do like button my shirt, speak properly, or remember things. I worked tirelessly to build up the strength to stand and then to walk around for a couple of seconds before my legs would give out. After a year of recovery, I tried to run again. I’ll never forget this particular run because I made it halfway down the block, felt like everything was loose in my brain, and started vomiting.
Many years have passed since that first run post brain surgery and I have since encountered others who have inspired me, motivated me, and shared my enthusiasm for running. Last year, I found myself once again motivated to go beyond what seems possible by one of my patients, Sharon. After talking for a while, she encouraged me to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Most people don’t understand what a “BQ” is or why “I must run Boston.” In my clinical experience, I have encountered patients who had the same diagnosis as me but their story did not end like mine. They are not by societies standards “healthy and normal.” They are in a wheelchair with a trachea tube, have an abnormal gait, or slur their speech. God has obviously guided me for a greater purpose. I promised myself if I were healthy enough to run, I would run with the best at the Boston Marathon.
To achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston, I joined Rogue and started running with Coach Larry’s group. Coach Larry suggested I train for the Houston Marathon to achieve my “BQ”. It was here that I bonded with fellow runners over long runs and happy hours. The miles just pass when you’re having a good time with friends! And then there’s Eddie, my best friend that I’m fortunate enough to call my husband. Eddie has always supported my crazy decisions, and is the only person who has patience for my stubbornness. Anyone who has met Eddie knows he hates running, yet he has completed two marathons and helped pace me during our runs.
On January 15th, 2017, the Houston Marathon had arrived. The start was 67 degrees with 97% humidity with mention that the temperature was expected to escalate into the 70s. I had trained in the humidity and heat before, so I thought I was ready to embark on this journey. I told myself that I would aim for my original goal, which was to get my “BQ” and run a 3:35 marathon. I would start off running negative splits and then pick up the pace as the race went on. The first two miles were fun and crowded; there were so many people, it was like a herd of cattle trying to get through a corral. I was on target with paces until mile 16 on Memorial Drive. Eddie told me that if I wanted to keep my initial goal, I would have to pick up the pace. It was at this point I was feeling lightheaded, my legs felt weaker, and my heart felt a little faster than usual. I almost gave up.
I felt like a cloud slowly drifted away and I cried a little. Memorial Drive was never ending. When we reached mile 23, Eddie told me he needed a break but for me to keep going. I guess that gave me some adrenaline, so I kept moving forward. Ironically, I clocked my fastest mile at mile 26, when I felt like I had nothing else left. I’m a strong believer and have a lot of faith…as soon as I crossed the finish line, the sky broke open and rain started pouring down.
It was a sign from above. God was telling me you didn’t meet your goal but you’ve completed this chapter. Not all stories have a perfect ending. Sometimes we must fall before we can learn to walk again. If we never challenge ourselves how will we know what we are capable of accomplishing?
If you don’t use it, then you will lose it. This applies to using your body and your mind. It is always easier to stay in shape, than to get back into shape. Always. It is even truer the older you get.
I truly believe that running has given me so much more than I could ever give back to the sport. By being fit and active I have seen so many places around the world that were only possible because I was a runner.
My mantra is “Focus Up!” This is a mental as well as physical philosophy. Focus Up reminds me to keep my head up (good form) and to mentally stay positive!
Running everyday keeps me healthy and injury free but it takes discipline to remind yourself that you can’t have 2 hard days in a row. When it is an easy/recovery day then no matter how good you feel you must not run hard/fast. I have 2 long running streaks of running at least 25 minutes every day. The first was 13 years, 2 months, and 3 days long and my current started on Oct 16, 2011.
Some of my best workouts are ones that I almost didn’t start.
The hardest part of the workout is the first step out the door.
If every run was great then they would all be average.
The bad runs make the good ones even better.
Bill has been running since 1974 (from the 300m low hurdles to the 50K and everything in between) and coaching for 35 years! He currently coaches The Jets, a year-round group in Cedar Park that welcome runners of all levels.
We are excited to announce our Fall Marathon and Half Marathon destination race. After 4 years away, we are headed back to the Philadelphia Marathon & Half Marathon on November 18th and 19th 2017. Here are 10 reasons to join us there!
- Distances for everyone. The marathoners in the group don’t get to have all of the fun. Philly has an 8K and Half Marathon on Saturday, November 18th and then the full marathon on Sunday the 19th. In 2016, the 8K had 3,000 finishers while the half marathon and marathon had 13,000 and 10,000 respectively. Those are all great field sizes – not too big or too small!
- The City of Brotherly Love. Why is this the nickname for Philadelphia? Because that’s what the name literally means. William Penn, founder of the city, named it using a combination of greek words, phileo meaning love and adelphos meaning brother. Penn’s vision was to create a city with large squares and wide boulevards to promote stronger community bonds. The result over 300 years later is a beautiful city with great history and plenty of things to do and eat pre and post race.
- Direct flights from Austin. Great city with easy access. Check. American Airlines currently offers 4 daily non-stop flights straight to Philadelphia. And if you prefer the budget friendly Southwest, you can get to Philly on a single stop through Dallas, Atlanta, Baltimore, or Chicago.
- Marathon weather. After this past weekend in Austin, you know you need it. Since it’s later in the fall season, you are almost guaranteed to get good weather for this race. The average start time temperature for the last 5 years is a brisk 43 degrees. That’s what we call perfect marathon weather – cold enough for gloves but warm enough to stick with a singlet and shorts once the gun goes off. Yes, please.
- Fewer summer blues? With the race date 5-6 weeks after early fall races such as Twin Cities and Chicago, your hardest workouts and long runs come in September and early October instead of August. You might even get a 20-miler in sub 60 degree weather vs. the typical 70-80 degree summer days. And after the summer we had last year, you know we need any relief we can get from global warming…
- Run through history on a beautiful course. You start at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and run the opening miles through historic Philadelphia as you cruise by Independence Hall and the home of the Liberty Bell. Mid-race, you run through Drexel University and by the Philadelphia Zoo before finishing with an out and back along the beautiful Schuykill River, where you can watch the morning crew boats race you back into the city.
- Spectators rejoice. Spectators can easily see half marathoners 3 times and marathoners 4 times with just a little bit of walking between cheer spots from the start line. The ambitious spectator can run the 8K or half on Saturday and save some energy to cheer on the marathoners on Sunday.
- The perfect holiday season appetizer. Since the race is the weekend before Thanksgiving, you can run on Sunday and then kickoff a season of guilt-free gluttony once you cross the finish line. Why? Because you earned it!
- Fast course with a history of strong Rogue performances. When we chose this race as the fall destination race in 2013, Rogues came back with a slew of PRs. The race isn’t Chicago-flat, but it isn’t too far off. You have some rollers between 7 and 10 to keep things interesting, but otherwise the course is flat and fast. I raced Philly in 2010 and ran my 4th fastest marathon there (out of 15).
- Eye of the Tiger. The finish line is in the shadow of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which boasts a statue of Rocky at the base of the steps, commemorating the moment from the original Rocky where Sylvester Stallone’s character climbed the 72 steps in triumph at the end of a hard workout. So cue up Eye of the Tiger on your playlist and be prepared for your moment of triumph in Philadelphia on November 19th!
Registration for the race opens on April 1st. Check out more details at philadelphiamarathon.com.
Training starts with us on Saturday, May 6th. You can find more details on our fall marathon training programs here. If you can’t make Philly, that’s ok. We have training options for Chicago, Twin Cities, Portland, Marine Corps, NYC, and all major marathons in September, October, or November. Come run with us!
Note: A previous version of this blog mistakenly stated that the half marathon was on Sunday. It is on Saturday, November 18th and the marathon is on Sunday, November 19th.
Consistency trumps Intensity:
Tim joined Rogue in 2013 to train for her 1st half marathon at SeaWheeze in 2013. She moved over to The Morning Show in 2014 and ran her 1st marathon in Dallas in a time of 4:37 on a warm day. Fast forward 2 years and a month to Houston this January, she ran 3:39 to earn her Boston Qualifier and clock a 9 minute PR in a time that was nearly a full hour faster than her first marathon. And, she did it in some of the worse marathon conditions possible. Consistency. Execution. Courage. Guts. Determination toward a goal. Teamwork. Her result has all of those elements and is a perfect picture of what Rogue represents. That’s how we do it, and if you follow that formula, then the sky is the limit. This is Tim’s story:
When and why did you start running?
I never found a contact sport that I enjoyed growing up. I knew some exercise should be incorporated into my weekly routine so I decided to try running and liked it from day one. I began running in high school to help with the stress and to get outdoors.
Describe your first race experience.
My first race experience was fantastic! It was the Chuys Hot to Trot 5K. A friend of mine convinced me to run it with her. I couldn’t have asked for better first race experience. I remember feeling sad that the race was over because I felt like my run was just getting started. Distance running became my favorite.
What has been your biggest running-related challenge?
My biggest challenge is continuing to push myself in my mental and physical fitness. I constantly struggle with not being satisfied with just going through motions and am fearful of change or being pushed out of my comfort zone as a result of it.
What has been your biggest running achievement or defining moment?
The defining moment that changed me as runner was training for the Chicago Marathon in 2015. In the past, I wasn’t consistent with showing up to workouts, sticking to a schedule, or following a race plan. My goal was to do all of those things with a plan to race an under 4 hour marathon. I achieved it with a 40 min PR. From then on, I became a believer that putting in the time and work is the key to achieving anything you want.
I need to conquer my fear of running half marathons. I’ve completed several without a single one being a positive experience. I’m determined to change that. From there, running a marathon with the goal of under 3 hours and 30 mins.
Sonia Perez joined Rogue Running in Cedar Park last year, but few know of her inspiring story. She was an accomplished marathoner when I met her, but her battle to get there was beyond anything I could have imagined.
She was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid Cancer in August of 2007 and had surgery in September. As traumatic and scary as this was, the worst was yet to come. In 2009, she was crushed in a car accident during a heavy thunderstorm. From the accident she had her spine fractured in three places and pelvis in seven places. She had a broken hip, a punctured kidney, punctured lung and internal bleeding in the brain. For 7 months she needed assistance 24/7. She had to relearn everything and living seemed impossible.
How did you start running? It was during this time when I was recovering, in my darkest moment that I made a plea with God. “God, if you give me my legs back I will run for you and not ever stop running”. I started with trying to walk again first. But, when I went back to work a coworker asked me if I wanted to run a marathon. I asked, “What the hell is a marathon?” I had no clue what she was talking about. We both signed up in May, but she quit after a month of training…and I didn’t. I had come too far to quit now.
Describe your first race experience? I ran the Rock-n-Roll San Antonio Marathon in November of 2011. My goal was to finish but when I hit the wall at mile 23 things became much more challenging. My finish time was 5:32:49. Family and friends were waiting for me and the accomplishment just overwhelmed me with tears of joy! This marathon gave me a passion for running and I knew I wanted to improve.
What has been your biggest running-related challenge? Well….that would be the question that I have now learned from my current coaches here at Rogue. How much time off or recovery do I give myself before my next race. I ran with several groups prior to Rogue, but Rogue has been the best because they designate training schedules to the race you are targeting and if you need more guidance, coaches are always there.
What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment? My biggest running achievement was becoming a member of the Marathon Maniacs. To become a member you have to run back to back marathons. I became a gold marathon maniac by running 3 marathons in one weekend. I did that back in 2012 shortly after my first marathon.
What’s next? My next marathon is the Chevron Houston Marathon in a few weeks. I would really like to qualify for Boston there, but if not there, then soon. I also have signed up for my first Ultra Marathon, a 100K in March. After that I’ll rely on my coaches at Rogue to help me decide the next goal. Until then……