Spring Featured Rogue: Amanda Rycraft

Amanda Rycraft who trains with Steve Sisson’s Team Rogue is our featured Rogue this Spring. She shares with us her training routine and experience gearing up for and racing the 122nd Boston Marathon.

I began my dedicated training for this year’s Boston Marathon back in January. Even though it was my second time going to Boston I wanted to take a no stone unturned approach to my training efforts this time around.

Training with Team Rogue with Steve’s direction has been tough, challenging, inspiring, eye-opening, fricking exhausting and amazing all at the same time!

On the running side we mixed up a lot of different workouts, the most impactful of which were the Canova K’s (where we did different variations of sprints around a 1k loop) and then the 24 and the 30 miler runs with no nutrition. All three of those workouts helped me push my running to another level and gave me more confidence in my capabilities. Knowing you can run 30 miles with no nutrition really does make running a marathon with a few GUs much less daunting!

Amanda 6 The volume of running we did in the 16 week period up to the Boston Marathon also had a big impact on my strength as a runner. Running an average of 70 miles a week would never have been possible without the support of my friends at Team Rogue. Regular meetups at 4.30 AM with no option to hit the snooze button would have never happened if I tried to do it on my own!

The Boston Marathon itself was a real shock to my system due to the terrible weather. My training prepared me enough so I was able to finish and get another BQ while at Boston but it slowed me Amanda 2down meaning I didn’t hit my goal of a sub-3:10. I also managed, despite hand warmers, to get Hypothermia towards the end of the race and ended up in the Emergency tent after the finish line. Looking at the statistics from the race though I was one of 2,500 runners who received onsite medical assistance with 40% of those people being treated for hypothermia. At last year’s Boston Marathon it was 80 degrees, go figure!

Despite the need for medical treatment I got back to my Airbnb, rested for a bit then jumped in an Uber to go to the Black Rose to celebrate with Team Rogue in style! Special thanks to Rebecca Jones ,my guardian angel, for bringing me warm clothes and checking on me after the race. Everyone had their own challenges this year at Boston but it is as a community and family of runners that we come together to reflect and support each other to reach our personal goals.

Like many runners I thought “never again” after running at Boston this year….until 24 hours after the race when I was already dreaming of the next challenge and asking everyone around me “Are you going to CIM again this year?! Awesome, me too”

Next up – Amanda will be heading to California to race Mountains to Beach on Sunday, May 27th! Go get that PR!!!

Featured Rogue for January: Cate Barrett

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Cate joined Rogue as a member of Rogue Athletic Club after graduate school at Baylor University and has also worked for us on the retail floor. She recently started training with the Rogue Morning Show for the marathon distance (seeking an Olympic Trials Qualifier), while supporting the Rogue Sole Survivors with Bobby Garcia as an assistant coach. Later this month, she takes on her first solo-coaching gig, leading a group to get FAST for the Capitol 10K in April.

She is our inspiration for January!

When and why did you start running?

I started running when I was 8 years old with my Mom. She said that she saw I had an aptitude for it – maybe in the obstacle courses we made running laps around our house. I was homeschooled, so I guess that counted for my PE. I played some other sports with our homeschool teams, but was basically only good at being aggressive and fouling out every basketball game.

In high school, I competed modestly well at cross country, winning JV races, but nothing special. I remember watching the elite races at big meets, girls in the lead with their French braids flying behind them, and thinking they were breathing some rarefied air. I had no idea that I could be up there racing with them in a few more years!

Right before my senior year of high school, I happened to meet a local track coach, Chris Schrader, who showed me my potential as a competitive runner. We trained over the summer and won a few races that fall, which is when I learned I could compete in college. I ran track at Baylor, and after college I moved back home to Austin and joined Rogue Athletic Club for three seasons.

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

My first marathon was the Tunnel Vision Marathon in Seattle last August. It was a smallish race that takes place on a rail trail that drops 2000 feet in a gentle, continuous downhill. There’s beautiful mountainous views with scenic bridge crossings and lots of shade. The spectators are almost nowhere to be seen, but my husband ran the whole thing with me and there were decent pace groups so I didn’t feel lonely. I ran 3 hours, 8 minutes. I was already signed up for the California International Marathon a few months later, and I wanted to use this race to find out what happens to your body when you try to go for a 26 mile run!

The backstory to that race was the best part. 2017 was a special year for me where I took responsibility for my running and owning my journey 100%. Rogue Athletic Club had ended in 2016, so this was the first year that I was training on my own. I’d always been on teams before, and while the idea of competing for something bigger than yourself is nice in theory, it’s a copout that doesn’t force you to find your purpose and face up to why you’re really going for something.

When I signed up for CIM, I was trapped in an injury cycle and feeling sorry for myself. Running a hard, fast CIM was far enough away that it was motivating, but it didn’t feel real. Future Cate could handle that. Probably. I didn’t tell many of my friends that I was signed up, particularly Rogues, because the idea of going for it was too big and scary.

In April I put together 5 weeks of healthy running (25 miles per week), a feat that had evaded me the past six months, and I started to think about going for a BQ so I could run Boston with Jake in 2018. He had qualified the year before, and CIM was outside the qualifying window. I found the Tunnel Vision race online and chose it for the course and location. I figured even if I bombed the marathon it would be fun to visit Seattle.

During the summer, I trained really well and got my mileage up to 45 miles per week. I even ran an 18 mile long run, which I was so sure would get me “caught” by friends that I secretly ran a few miles early and didn’t upload the run on Strava.

I ran the Tunnel Vision race conservatively, with Jake pacing me and counseling me not to get too excited. I didn’t compete, just let the race flow and had fun. We ran a 6 minute negative split and had a blast. I knew the 8:00 pace that I needed to hit for the BQ (3:35) was easy for me, but I didn’t know if I was fit enough to run 26 miles at that pace. Jake was undertrained for this effort, only doing a 15 mile long run a few weeks out. We shouldn’t have worried, but maybe that’s how the race ended up feeling so easy. We kept looking at each other and the scenery in disbelief saying “Is this real? This is too good. Are we really doing this? How do we still feel so good? Man. We are awesome.”

The only thing that could have made the experience better would have been having some Rogues there to celebrate with. But posting about it on my Instagram and Facebook was a good substitute. Watching the cascades of surprised comments from friends was really satisfying. Got ‘em! Normally I think going public with a goal is the way to go, but in this case, it freed me up to make my own expectations. I don’t think I was strong enough to name the goal in public and stand by it, so doing it privately was motivating.

After that I got to share that I was going for my first hard marathon at CIM, and having the Rogue support behind me was really helpful.

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

After my last year of undergrad, I had one last season of eligibility to compete in track, in 2013. I started grad school, and promptly developed plantar fasciitis that turned into a stress fracture. I had to take six months off running, forfeiting that season. This was obviously a sign that I was too attached to running, but it really derailed me mentally. Combined with grad school being harder than I thought and the pressure to decide “what’s next” with life as a twenty-something, I got depressed. I tried cycling with Baylor’s club team for a while, but I got less and less involved there while waiting for the injury to heal. I eventually quit working out at all. I saw my dream of grabbing an All-American award and joining a pro team getting further and further out of reach. I was only sleeping a few hours a night, partied more, and got behind in my classes.

I’d like to say that I developed a new mental strength that enabled me to be OK without running, but I really only started feeling better when I finally got out for a few jogs. I was able to go for 3 mile run-walks in April, and took momentum from that to quit going out on weekends and finish up the semester. I got hired at Rogue that summer and started getting plugged in here, then graduated that fall. I got to join Rogue Athletic Club, as slow and out of shape as I was, and I met my soon-to-be husband. I had a few very solid plans for the future and started hitting my stride along with some speedy workouts and races again the next year.

I guess what I learned about “overcoming” through that experience was that all bad times end eventually. I learned a lot of empathy for people and mental health struggles. I learned patience. And that was my first lesson about writing your own life narrative and ascribing your own value to your situation.

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

The biggest defining moment was when I took second place in the Texas Relays mile race as a high school senior. It’s a really competitive race, like a state meet preview that combines runners from every division. The year before, I’d sat in the stands watching the meet. This year, I not only qualified but raced my way to a new PR, broke 5:00 for the first time, and showed the rest of the state of Texas that I belonged.

My more recent races are a lot more important to me now, but this changed the course of what I thought I could do with running.

What’s next?

In 2018, I’m racing the Austin Half and the Boston Marathon. I’d like to race either CIM in December, or the 2019 Houston Marathon. I want to compete at the Olympic Trials Marathon in 2020, and I’ll have to qualify for that first by running a marathon in 2:45 or better. I did 2:54 at CIM last month, so this goal is extremely realistic for me. I thought that I could run at the Trials for a while now, and I’m excited that the time to chase this goal is finally now. I’m training with Chris McClung in The Morning Show, and we have a strategic plan that’ll develop the marathon legs gradually. I only averaged 35 miles per week for my CIM training block, so I know there is a lot of room to improve. I can’t wait to go after these goals and I’m so happy that Rogue is still part of my life after finding it four years ago.

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Featured Rogue for December: Tory Livingston


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A Rogue since 2008, Tory just completed the Lake Tahoe Midnight Express Ultra (a 72 mile race) in October. She is our featured Rogue for December because of the obstacles she overcame to get there. From being a former smoker to running her first half marathon to now being an ultra-marathoner, Tory is an inspiration for us all!

When and why did you start running?

In 2008 I signed up with Rogue Running to run the Austin 1/2 Marathon. I had only ever run a few miles prior to that and was excited to have coached training and to run with a group. I was trying to improve my weight and health as I was a former smoker (yikes!) and wanted the accountability of being around healthy people.

I also found a much needed Zen running. There is nothing in the world like lacing up and heading out the door in the early morning when the rest of the world is asleep. Those early morning runs have become a treasured part of my daily routine.
My first running coach was Nedra Bray -she taught me so much and most of all believed that in me and that I could learn to run distance! She is a great part of the reason that I run today and I am so very grateful.

I truly believe that each of the Rogue coaches that have been a part of my journey have helped me not only exceed my running goals, but they have also have helped me to trust and believe in myself!

I discovered so much more than I ever imagined becoming a part of Rogue… I found a wonderful supportive community of people who over the last 9 years have become my close friends and family. (literally, I found my wife there!). What a gift.

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

My first 1/2 marathon was the Austin 1/2 in 2010. After a series of stops and starts with running, due to numerous injuries- I was so excited and ready to run my first race.
I met with my coach and developed a firm race plan, attended the Rogue information session on how to run the race (which was invaluable!) and was ready to run.
Austin is such a well-supported race with an overwhelming amount of cheering spectators.

I will never forget towards the end of the race when I was struggling on a hill, someone yelled “Go Victoria”. I was like who is that? How does he know me? And then I was off with a shot of extra energy brought on by that personalized cheer. I don’t know if that stranger knows how much his cheer helped me! Later I would discover my name was on my race bib, ha-ha (for a moment I thought I was famous or something!).
Running has done so much to boost my belief in my ability to conquer goals. In the beginning, I could not run 5 miles and then I did… and then 7 and then 12, etc.
Running my first race meant the world to me – I am hooked!

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

My biggest running-related challenges have been physical in nature. When I first started running, I had a series of hip and sacral stress fractures that delayed my first race goals greatly. Later on, I had a labral tear in my hip and had to have surgery. Through all of that I discovered that cross training is important to my running. I have to strengthen my hips and all of the small muscles that are not utilized during the continuous forward motion of running.

To this day, I am not very good at the cross training part- although my injuries seem to be a thing of the past. However, going into 2018 I plan to make it a point to run the miles AND hit the gym. My goal is to become a strong, well rounded runner.

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

I have had so many wonderful experiences and achievements running. I love making goals bigger than my dreams, train for them, put in the hard work and see what happens. So far, with each run, race and goal, I have not been disappointed. Even though I may not always have the time I want or hit the mark I am striving for… I learn and then I am able to apply my lessons to the next goal.
Therefore, each goal (regardless of the outcome) builds upon the previous and better prepares me for the next.

In 2013 and 2014, I was introduced to The Tahoe Triple by my friend and coach, Carolyn Mangold. The races cover the circumference of Lake Tahoe by running a marathon a day for three consecutive days for a total of 78.6 miles. I was hooked and love the rough and raw nature of the races and quickly decided that someday I wanted to run the ultra.
On October 14th of this year I ran the Lake Tahoe Midnight Express Ultra. It is a 72 mile race that starts at 9pm. The race is completely unsupported for the first 48 or so miles. No restrooms, water stops, medical…. not even the roads are blocked off or with signage that runners are present. You have to have to be lit up like a Christmas tree and have your own crew (who is your lifeline).

I trained in the ATX summer heat and showed up October 13 ready to run with my crew of one. The race had quite a few stops and starts and was even cancelled at one point due to construction. I was told I could have a refund or run the final marathon. Sadly I resigned myself to running only 1 marathon- but 2 hours before go time, the race was back on with a different course.

I was mentally unprepared, had been running around with no rest all day and had given away all of my nutrition hours before. I decided that I was not going to run the ultra- when Dori urged me to phone Coach Carolyn. Carolyn said “You need to run this race”.
In less than 2 hours, my Rogue family pulled together and gave me three bags of nutrition, went and picked up my singlet and re-registered me for the race and sent me out the door.

The race was a once in a lifetime experience and I was so fortunate to have Dori as my crew. Intuitively, we developed a routine and settled in for the long haul. It was completely dark, cold, hilly, hard, cars drove at me, I came upon a ginormous bear-size porcupine and I wondered many times throughout the night if I would even make it.
I ended up running 73.14 miles (got a little lost!). I was not aware when I crossed the finish line that I had placed 6th overall and that I won 1st place female!!!

Had I given up, I would have missed so much. I am very grateful to my Rogue family and to Dori for everything. While I am short 3.5 toenails right now, I hope to do the race again someday and utilize what I learned!

What’s next?

I am not sure what is next. I am waiting to see what speaks to me in terms of goals, so for now I am #JFR and enjoying it!

Featured Rogue November: Crystal De La Cruz

Crystal is a member of the Tribe at our Cedar Park location. She joined our Couch-to-Marathon program in January 2017 and is training for the 2018 Austin Marathon as well as the Austin Distance Challenge. Her coach, Tori says she is incredibly dedicated, a hard worker, has a positive attitude, and is a great teammate!!

couch to marathon

When and why did you start running? I first started running in 2013, after I had my son, Christian.  I took a long break and realized how much I missed the running community and joined the Couch to Marathon training group at Rogue in Cedar Park in January. I was never a fast runner and I’m still not. If I didn’t have speed, I wanted to at least have endurance, hence the marathon goal.  I started running because I wanted to do something that I had never done before, something that would challenge me. I can easily say running is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.


Describe your first race experience. My first race experience was my first 5K back in July 2014, Vern’s No Frills 5K. It was my first 5K and it was the first time I really got to experience how great the running community was. The people were amazing, they cheered me on and they didn’t even know me! I was hooked. I wasn’t able to run the whole 5K, which was my next goal I set for myself as soon as I crossed the finish line.


What has been your biggest running-related challenge? My biggest running-related challenge would definitely be not giving myself enough credit. I am my own worst critic. I tend to be really hard on myself and get discouraged because I am always comparing myself to a better or faster runner.

What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment? My biggest running achievement would definitely be my first 5K I ran without stopping. That was the first time I felt like a runner. It was the CASA Superhero run in September of 2014.

What’s next? I am in month 11 of the Couch to Marathon program with the Austin Marathon being my first marathon. I am so ready to become a marathoner. Training for 11 months has been very challenging but I set a goal for myself I cannot wait to finally cross that finish line. I get emotional just thinking about it. I see a lot of marathons in my future.

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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

Featured Rogue for September: Rebecca Jones

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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!

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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
We are Strong,
We are Runners,
We are Rogue………



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.