Featured Rogue: Jennifer Acosta

jen-1People 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.

jen-2To 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?

jen-3

Training tips from coach Bill Schroeder

finishkickzilkerrelays2014If 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.

Running thoughts:

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.

Training Tips from coach James Dodds

424114_307936832597745_902211995_nConsistency trumps Intensity:

As a distance athlete it is so important you show up every day. I’d rather see you execute every quality workout a tad bit slower than planned than dominate once bad ass workout and then skip in the next three days. One workout will never “make you” but it can break you. So focus more on consistency over intensity.
Do what you said you would do:
 
In training and on race day alike, distances runners will come up against a feeling of discomfort. In that moment it isn’t a matter of “can i do it?” but “will I do it?” Those are the moments you need to do what you said you would do! It’s that simple.
Your race will look exactly like your training schedule:
 
If you are the kind of person who starts the season committed, disappears for three weeks in the middle, and then shows back up to power through the last few workouts at the end of season; then your race will probably be fun at first, tiresome in the middle, walking next, and then a sprint finish to say you did it. Conversely, those who consistently challenge themselves throughout the season tend to be the people who develop the grit to challenge themselves to new heights on race day.
Discipline breeds Discipline:
 
Training for marathons takes discipline. As you become more disciplined in your training you create a chance for discipline to spill over into other areas of your life. It won’t “just happen.” You still have to make a conscience choice in those other areas. However, the discipline of running will provide a mental framework that can be easily applied in the other important matters of life.
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James Dodds has worn just about every hat that there is to wear at Rogue over the past six years: training director, retail manager, Rogue Expeditions guide and, of course, coach. Known for his incessant smile, words of wisdom and ability to inspire just about anyone, he says that he runs for that sense of accomplishment & to enjoy adult beverages. James currently coaches the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon training programs.

What The Hell Is Cross Country?

IMG_0570by coach & Rogue founder Steve Sisson

So, the other day I was discussing the concept of the world’s greatest race with some athletes I coach. Of course, a topic like this will most assuredly include widely divergent opinions. Kinda like asking who’s the greatest superhero, right?

”Come on?!? Are you serious?!? Of course it’s Mighty Mouse!!!”

We were discussing the crazy-talented field assembled for the London Marathon and what a race would look like that included the best marathoners vs the best milers, with all the other race distances thrown in. At this point, I chuckled…see, most members of this group came into running later in life, after kickball, Pop Warner, HS basketball and intramural Ultimate Frisbee, meaning they have no background in running beyond it being their chosen sport’s punishment.

1477944_10152173185352642_1937235815_nSo, I tell them all that there already is an Undisputed Greatest Human Footrace On The Planet: The World Cross Country Championships.  It is considered by many as “the world’s toughest race to win” because it brings the milers & the marathoners, the track stars & the road warriors to one course, on one day, for all the marbles. It is typically run on incredibly challenging courses, in horrific weather conditions, encouraging fast starts & aggressive racing styles. For decades, almost every significant champion on the track or on the roads, at any distance, competed at the World Cross Country Championships. In 1975, Steve Prefontaine sent a few pairs of Nike’s to an upstart American who had just placed third at World Cross in Morocco. A few weeks later that upstart, Bill Rogers, won the Boston Marathon in an American Record of 2:09:55. It is so tough that the athlete who many considered the greatest runner of all time, aka the GOAT, Haile Gebrselassie, never won a World Cross title.

But I digress… I could make a very compelling case for cross country as the world’s toughest race but my friend over at Flotrack, Mich Kastoff, already made that argument prior to the 2013 World Champs.

I have lived & run in Austin since 1988 & I have always been amazed at the Marathon Madness that consumes this town. Of course, we’ve got a world-class marathon in town and that likely has seeped into the water of every Austinite, but in every training group I have coached the goal is always the marathon. Once someone completed the marathon, they became obsessed with running a personal record. Once that was achieved, it was on to becoming a Boston Qualifier. I am not denigrating that experience. I share the view that Boston is the Olympics for the everyman, which makes that accomplishment the Holy Grail for most runners. It’s just seems to me the two-marathons-a-year-for-years-on-end plan is stale as a popcorn fart.

Now, I’m not trying to offend anyone. I just want you to be aware that there is SOOOO much more running available! Sure, you’ve done the Cap 10K and the Chuy’s 5K, but they are rarely more than a blip on your running radar. You need to get excited for something…for something unusual, something challenging, something crazy. Believe me, cross country is something very different.

RogueAC-64The Varieties of Running Experience

Every physical therapist I speak with laments their initial consultations with long-term distance runners. They point to their tragic inflexibility, their locked hips, intransigent psoas’ & comatose glutes, which they invariably blame on pavement. Firm, high-energy return surfaces like concrete & asphalt are very fast but they also require a significant toll. Because you need only recruit a minimum of tendons, ligaments & muscles, those soft tissues get supremely overworked. Continuously running repetition after repetition with no variability means those soft tissues get overworked while other complementary body parts atrophy.

When doctors & PTs complain about running being bad for us, this is what they mean. Cross country, on the other hand, requires a full body commitment to racing & training. Soft surfaces require your feet, knees & hips to balance & compensate for innumerable adjustments while you are running. The hilly terrain, sharp turns & undulating surface put your soft tissue under every conceivable stress while you are trying to really push off & accelerate. Many athletes I coach who get back into cross country training will tell me that they are shocked that their shoulders & abs are sore. They just can’t conceive that those body parts, so far from ground contact, are getting a workout.

Now, while your body will get worked over pretty good, your mind will get destroyed. Utterly, sweetly – dare I say – divinely destroyed. The best cross country never stops coming at you; whether the course, the conditions or the competition, cross races are relentless. You have to stay alert, focused & aggressive all while racing at what seems like the fastest pace you can sustain (though in my experience, you can ALWAYS go faster), and you are not doing it alone. Believe me, there is a vibrant community of cross country racers of every age all across the country. Just check out these photos from US Club Cross Championships is Bend last December. Every age & ability level is grinding out the distance on a hellacious course, at altitude & having an AMAZING time doing it.

I am sure that after reading the above many of you will be thinking why the hell would I want to subject myself to that kind of torture? Come on, now. You know why…you need a new experience. You need to challenge yourself, mentally & physically, beyond your current limits. But there is also one other reason you should consider cross country training this summer & fall…

There is no “Time” in Team

In my nearly forty years of running experience, nothing is tougher than a well-run cross country race. Because there is little focus on the clock or splits, so much of what makes an amazing cross country runners is their ability to transcend their own suffering & fears in the middle of fierce competition. In cross country, no one cares what your time is; each course is so different in terms of terrain & weather conditions that few really care what time you run…they only care where you place. Where you place plays into the other thing that makes cross country like no other running discipline: the team.

In cross country scoring, each team has seven designated runners. Five of those seven will count in team scoring by adding up the place of each team member. The team with the lowest score wins. Super simple… no confusing rules or strategy. Just seven teammates, toeing the line against all the other teams to see whose got the right stuff. I think this is the coolest part of the discipline. All other running options are so individualistic: there is no community piece, no bigger sting to a poor performance than the personal disappointment. In cross country, you MATTER. Your result is the key to the team’s success. I find that to be so refreshing in a sport that seems to only highlight the first to finish & not the struggle of all the finishers.

So, please consider racing some cross country. Team Rogue will be getting ready for the 2014 US Club Cross Country Championships in Bethlehem, PA on the historic Lehigh Cross Country Course on December 13. This race is open to runners of all abilities, and we would love to see a strong Austin showing!

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steveSteve Sisson is one of the founders of Rogue Running as well as head coach for Rogue Athletic Club and Team Rogue.

 

 

Summer Half M: Meet the Coaches

So, you’re thinking about joining a Rogue training group. If it’s your first time, chances are that you have questions. Can I do it? What will the workouts be like? Will I be the fastest? The slowest? What are the other runners like? What is the COACH like?

Coach Cameron

Coach Cameron

Coach Jenn

Coach Jenn

Coach Chris

Coach Chris

Coach Michelle

Coach Michelle

Because the coach shapes the program and the experience, it seemed the most important question to address here. We sat down with our four Summer Half Marathon coaches, Cameron Gage, Jenn Howard-Brown, Chris McClung and Michelle Sears, for a some Q&A that will give you an inside look at the how, why and what of their coaching styles:

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When and why did you start running?

Cameron: I used to run as “punishment” in high school and college basketball practices.  It wasn’t until after college that I realized it was fun and so fulfilling.

Jenn: I started running to get in shape a couple of years out of college.  It wasn’t pretty and I did everything wrong in the beginning.  I ran too hard and ran out of steam.  As I got a little smarter, I trained and ran half marathons and marathons, but all within about 5 min. of each other.  I finally found Rogue and started training methodically and have improved every season.

Chris: I started running in college after my sophomore year. I was a soccer player previously and was looking for a way to stay in shape. A friend of mine goaded me into training with him for a local 10K, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Michelle: 2008. A friend talked me into trying a 5K group at Rogue & I’ve been hooked ever since!

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How did you get into coaching?  

Cameron: I think I first talked to Steve Sisson about coaching when he was still at RunTex. That was a LONG time ago.  I think it took years for me to take the plunge because I take the responsibility so seriously.

Jenn: Initially I started coaching beginners and loved helping people do things they never thought they could do . . . run a mile, run a 5k, run a 10k, etc.  That led to coaching those same athletes on to half marathons and I found my niche.  I love coaching the half marathon.  It’s superhuman, but it’s reasonable to fit the training into a person’s busy lifestyle and juggle along with a family, career, etc.  I’ve enjoyed coaching my athletes to their first halves and personal bests.  I can achieve one or two personal bests in a year myself, but coaching gives me a chance to multiple that by 25-50!

Chris: I am passionate about sports and have always wanted to coach in some way, whether it be soccer, flag football in college, or, now, running. I am passionate about helping people change their life through sport, and there is no better sport than running to drive personal transformation. My first official gig as a run coach came in grad school when I coached a group of 75 classmates for the Capitol 10K. I led several to their first 10K and many others to personal bests for the distance, and I that’s when I fell in love with this.

Michelle: I was invigorated by the power and spirit of Coach James Dodds!

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What is your trademark coaching philosophy and/or style?  

Cameron: As Steve says, “there are type A coaches at Rogue, and then there is me.”  I am all about people having the experience they want.  Whether that is a Boston Qualifying time or a check on a bucket list, if we are aligned as coach and athlete, both will be happy.

Jenn: My coaching style is nurturing with a dash of drill sergeant. My athletes have called me a “Tiger Mom,” “but in a good way.”  I’m supportive, but want to push them to their personal best at the same time.

Chris: I am a big believer in the power of the TEAM. Coaching philosophy matters, yes. But, the group dynamic and community is what helps the group push each other to places no one thought possible. So, I invest a lot of time and energy helping my groups channel the power of the team and find no greater joy than watching them run on the roads or circle the track in small packs, working together.

Michelle: Encouraging. Cowbell. Positivity. More cowbell. Keep it fun!

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Most memorable run?

Cameron: I was running the Greenbelt with another Rogue and I took a spill on some rocks.  I ran the 4-5 miles out with a mild concussion and a broken thumb and elbow.

Jenn: Running the New York Marathon six weeks after 9/11.  Flights had barely resumed. Ground Zero was still smoking.  There were still threats on bridges across the US . . . and the NYC Marathon goes over a lot of bridges.  But, we decided we needed to go and show our support.  Only about 20,000 people ran it that year (vs. 45k) and it was an emotional roller coaster.  I stopped and hugged firemen and policemen and took photos all along the way.  I ran alongside people and listened to their stories . . . and cried.  It was an amazing experience to run that year with no focus on running a personal best, but being part of the healing and recovery post-9/11.

Chris: I’ve done a 2-hour long run on the trails around Crater Lake in Oregon. An easy run alone surrounded by nature’s glory = bliss.

Michelle: The SeaWheeze half marathon last year in Vancouver (amazing scenery with even more amazing running partners)!

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Favorite post-run meal?

Cameron: Breakfast tacos and beer (really).

Jenn: Tacodeli. . . specifically an Otto with Dona sauce.  It’s an addiction.  If I run 16+ miles, I’ll splurge on a Mexican Coke too.

Chris: Kerbey Lane breakfast platter with apple whole wheat pancakes. No question.

Michelle: It used to be breakfast tacos…until Kerbey Lane cinnamon roll pancakes debuted. Gamestopper!

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If you could give one piece of advice to a new runner, what would it be?

Cameron: Think in the big picture.  Rushing to a goal will most likely leave you injured and down on running.

Jenn:  Be patient, consistent with your training, and have a positive attitude.  It will pay off.

Chris: Slow down. Most new runners start too fast. The assumption is that you have to hurt in order to get benefit through exercise, but in running, that’s dangerous. Not only does it lead to sub-optimal aerobic development, but it also usually leads to early injury. You should start slower than you think you need to and keep any early running at easy, conversational paces. If that means you need to walk or run/walk initially, then do it. Keep it easy and your pace or ability to run more continuously will improve as you build consistency.

 Michelle: The body is truly an amazing machine! Stay consistent. Positive self-talk. Smile when it hurts.  (Oops, that’s more than one!)

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What about to an experienced runner?

Cameron: Are you still training, competing, living, eating and thinking like you did as a new runner?

Jenn: Don’t set your own limits. . . . and have a positive attitude.  Most of my experienced runners don’t push their limits enough because they don’t realize their potential and their brains get in the way.  They need to have an open mind, push their limits to see what they are truly capable of.

Chris: Slow down. My athletes have heard this a thousand times: you have to go slow to go faster later. For an experienced athlete this applies in two ways: 1. For recovery. Your easy days should be super easy. I like to call them “active rest,” allowing your body to recover and prepare to get more out of your hard days. Only when you get the right balance of training and recovery will you truly see your potential. And, 2. During workouts. It isn’t always about going as hard as you can. You need to mix up your paces in order to work various parts of your aerobic system depending on the timing of your target race. For some workouts, there is more benefit gained by holding back while staying relaxed and in control at pace, while in others, you might need to press closer to the edge.

Michelle: Trust your training. You are strong, powerful and awesome!

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What do you do when you aren’t running or coaching?

Cameron: I like to take spin classes and do yoga…oh, and I have a wife, kids and a job too.

Jenn: By day, I focus on marketing for an engineering company, National Instruments, to top accounts like General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, etc.  I am passionate about raising awareness and funds to support Girls on the Run of Austin, an after-school program for young girls (8-12) to build self-esteem, teach life skills, acceptance and awareness and culminating in a celebratory 5k.  In my spare time, I love hanging out with the hubby, Scooby, and our pup, Kennedy or spending time out at the latest restaurant with friends.

Chris: I have 3 little kids at home, ages 1, 3, and 5. They keep me on my toes!

Michelle: Cooking, laughing, sipping on cold beer, flossing, watching football or futbol and snuggling with my puppy.

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What is one item that is ALWAYS in your refrigerator?

Cameron: Beer.

Jenn: Sparkling.  I don’t indulge a lot, but I love a glass of Champagne, Prosecco or sparkling rose.  I wish I could say baby carrots or Greek yogurt, which yes, are usually in the fridge.  But it’s not an emergency if they aren’t!

Chris: Crunchy, organic peanut butter. I usually eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!

Michelle: Cheese.

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What is one to-do on your bucket list? 

Cameron: Running Big Sur and Grandma’s Marathons

Jenn: Complete all 6 of the World Major Marathons . . . New York, Chicago, London and Berlin done, only 2 to go — Boston Marathon 2014 and Tokyo 2015.

Chris: Run Patagonia. Coming to a Rogue Expeditions trip soon!

Michelle: Learn to play the guitar.

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Favorite quote? 

Cameron: “For when I run, I am a hunter and the prey is my self, my own truth.” – George Sheehan

Jenn: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –Maya Angelou

Chris: “If you have a body, then you are an athlete.” – Bill Bowerman. 

No matter your background or current starting point. You are an athlete. The only question is: are you in training or not? You can do more than you currently think possible if you have the courage to go for it.

Michelle: “We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh.”  ~William James

– “Live happy, joyous and free.”  ~my beautiful mother’s daily advice

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And finally, why Rogue?

Cameron: Community, community, community.

Jenn: There simply is no substitute.  I spent years running on my own or with a friend here or there, but without purpose and without improvement.  I wanted more.  I wanted to be a better runner, run faster times, have running partners.  Once I joined Rogue in 2008, everything changed.  I have continually gotten better, accomplished goals I never thought were possible (like qualifying for Boston) and reset my limits and expectations of myself.  My coaches and teammates are irreplaceable.  They drive me to be better and support me when I’m not.  I try to give my athletes what Rogue gives me.  Rogue is a community, a network, a team, a training philosophy, a family, a support group, and a way of life.  Once you find your way in, you don’t want out.

Chris: Rogue is not about a single person. It’s about the community. And, in this community, you will find a diverse group of people from all backgrounds who are passionate about setting and reaching big goals. You won’t find any pretense or bulls**t, just real people helping each other smash their perceived limits and crush big goals. Once you experience it, it’s contagious, and I can’t get enough!

Michelle: Why not Rogue?! Everyone is a somebody here!

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Whether you want to run your first half marathon, set a new PR or simply become a stronger runner and part of an amazing community, these coaches and this program can get you there. Many day/time/location options available – find details for Cameron, Jenn and Michelle here, and details for Chris’ group here.

The Road To Boston

photo(13)by Amy Anderson

Are you on the Road To Boston? Join me and Team Rogue PM down town.

Are you running the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014? Whether you are taking it as your well-earned victory lap or you want to BQ again or you want to PR, Team Rogue PM: Road To Boston is the place to be.

Are you itching to qualify? The 119th Boston Marathon will be on Monday April 20, 2015 and the “window” to qualify began on September 14, 2013. Whether you are training for a spring marathon or have an eye beyond that, Team Rogue PM: Road to Boston will help you with your immediate goals and your longer range forecast goals to get that BQ.

Why Team Rogue PM Road To Boston? The Boston Marathon is my passion. It is an unofficial rite of passage in the world of marathon running. As marathoners, it’s our National Championships. As age group athletes, it’s our Olympics. No other marathon in the world captures the history, pageantry and excitement of the Boston Marathon. I’ve done Boston 6 times so far, and one of my goals is to do it at least 10 consecutive times. Not only that, my two fastest marathons ever are on that historic course, and regardless of what other marathons I “run”, Boston is the one I love to “race”. I think I have at least one more PR in me, and another of my goals is to PR again at the Boston Marathon. But my other goals? The ones that directly impact you?

If you are running Boston 2014: My goal is to coach you for exactly the race you want. As a member of Team Rogue PM, you not only get my 13 years of coaching experience, but I’ll also share Boston training and racing secrets that will prepare you very specifically for the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. Although I continue to learn something about that race every time, I can honestly say that there aren’t many people who know it better than I do. And I‘ll be right there with you in April.

If you are seeking your BQ: Oh, but to get to the start line in Hopkinton, you must qualify. That mystical and often elusive BQ, designed to be the upper limits of each gender and age group. My goal is to push you to reach those limits. As a member of Team Rogue PM, you get a coach who’s been with Rogue from its birth, coached hundreds of successful marathoners, who has run over 20 marathons and who will be standing on the starting line with you in 2015. Not only will you benefit from my own knowledge, you will be training with athletes who have run Boston in the past and are running it again.

In other words, whether you are running Boston 2014 or you are seeking a BQ for Boston 2015, you’ll be part of a running community focused on and working toward a specific goal… dare I say a “team”? Team Rogue PM The Road To Boston.

Top 10 reasons you should join my group

by coach Chris MacLeod

If you follow me/Rogue on Facebook or Twitter, you may have heard the big news. Starting December 10th, I’ll be coaching my own training group in Cedar Park!

ImageOkay, that’s not me. But I can give a darn good high five, too! Except when I miss. And then at least it’s still kind of funny.

I am beside myself with excitement! Coaching has been a dream of mine from the day I joined Rogue. That said, I realize my excitement alone might not be enough to convince you to sign up. You may be thinking, “Won’t you guys meet at 5:30 am…TWICE a week?”

Or perhaps even, “Why would I want to work with a coaching noob???”

Well, I’ve compiled this handy list to convince you that this program, Rogue Early Birds*, is right for you.

*–There’s a very real chance I will “go rogue” and change our name to “The Highlanders”. Cause we train up north and my last name is MacLeod. Also, I’m immortal. Get it?

1. You live North

Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat. Any of our Cedar Park groups solve the issues inherent to living north and trying to get downtown…ever. Plus, construction on Mopac is starting soon, so things are only going to get worse. Make your life easy. Train in Cedar Park.

2. You have a life outside of running

Granted, now that it’s “winter”, we no longer have to scrape our evening runners off the steaming pavement. But if you have kids, a job, or an all-around busy life, you know how difficult finding “me time” can be.

Well guess what? No one over age 2 really wants to hang out with you at 5:30am. (Except me.) Front-load your “me time” and you’ll feel accomplished for the rest of the day!

3. You want first dibs on cool new stuff

Yes, all Rogue training members get 15% off everything in the store, but how many of them train with a store employee? Want something put on hold for you before it even hits the floor? Want to know exactly when your favorite shoe is due to update? Use me, people! I’m not above that.

4. You want to be entertained as well as educated

Though some around here claim I resemble Tina Fey, I’m no comedienne. What I am is naturally shy. To fight this in public, I overcompensate by telling ridiculously embarrassing stories about myself! I’m serious…when I decide to “turn on the people skills”, I have NO SHAME. Want to hear about the time I sent a computer virus to half the student population of UT? Well, you’ll just have to sign up.

I also have a really cute dog who makes occasional long run appearances. You can’t say no to a puppy, can you?

5. I am not a morning person

Yes, 5:30 is early. Yes, I hate it too. I’m the type who could sleep 12 hours a night, wake up to eat, then take a nap. There is NOTHING that will get me out of bed in the morning. Except running.

I love this sport to an irrational extent. Possibly an unhealthy one. And I want you to love it that much, too! So, my clothes may not match and my hair may not (WILL NOT) be combed, but I will be here for you. Because I love you guys! Even though we haven’t met yet.

6. This is what I read for fun

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I like to read. And do research. Got a running-related question? I have a library. Please try not to break the spines.

7. I’m “in” with some awesome people

If somehow my fanaticism and study skills aren’t enough to persuade you, don’t worry, I’m not going this alone. Remember that bit about how I work in the store? That means I’m surrounded by excellent, experienced coaches day in and day out.

Okay, I’ve never run a marathon in the 2:25…but Warren has. I’ve never run 50 miles in one stretch…but Kim has. I can’t keep up with Jimmie at a Team Rogue workout…but I can corner him later that day. And, despite my oft-professed love for the Brooks Adrenaline, my own coach, the other Chris, has graciously agreed to be a sounding board whenever I’m in need.

Yes, I’m new to coaching. Yes, you might stump me. But I seriously doubt you can stump ALL of us.

8. I’m a worrier

I was going to say “I’m a perfectionist”, but let’s be real. I worry. About everything. Which means I will worry about YOU. I will take notes on where you’ve been and where you want to go. If you have a bad day, I’ll ask myself if what I could have done to prevent it. In short, I will go all Mama Bear up in here.

9. I’ve been there

Look, I know a bunch of people who’ve been winning races since middle school. Their race plans include things like “take the lead at mile 9.”

I’m not one of those people. I was a fat kid. My marathon debut involved lots of walking and took almost 5 hours.

BUT!!! I have seen what hard work and training can do. Thanks to Rogue, I’ve completed 7 more marathons since that inconspicuous start (and now run closer to 4 hours than 5).

I’m not a natural speedster, but I know this program works. And I know that it can work for you.

10. Running will change your life

I swear here and now, running has changed my life. Cheesy, I know. But I’ve met my best friends, found a new career, and learned a whole lot about how far I’m willing to push myself, all through running. I’ve learned new definitions of “hard work”, “confidence”, and “fun”. And I will do my best to force all these joys on you! ;)

What are you waiting for? Make the commitment. Set the alarm. Come run with us.

Sign up now! 

Seriously, NOW. Before you have second thoughts…