Converting a Prius into a Mustang

Ford-Shelby-Mustang-GT500-Coupe_6 by Steve Sisson

You may not know it yet, but you are ready to fly. You’ve nearly completed Rogue’s training program for a marathon, and with some simple training tweaks you can CRUSH your old 10K PR. I am going to convince you that you’d be a fool not to take the huge gains you’ve earned over months of arduous training and capitalize on them in the Capitol 10,000 in April. Below is an argument for why a few more months of focused training can result not only in a huge 10K PR, but will also set you up for your next marathon performance.

Perfect Transition
What many beginner and intermediate runners do not realize is that the training for the marathon is an ideal foundation for faster running at shorter distances. The physiological adaptations that have been developed from the long runs, threshold runs and longer intervals you completed in the fall and winter have your body primed to strike like a cobra. Essentially, you have built a huge base with marathon training that has developed your cardiovascular system into a powerful, yet highly efficient engine. Exercise physiologists will explain in all the increases you’ve developed (mitochondria, capillarization, stroke volume, blah, blah, blah.) from a scientific point of view but I’ll just explain it to you in a simple analogy: you’ve developed the engine of a souped-up Toyota Prius but can convert that efficiency, with a little tweaking, into a Ford Mustang’s muscular power and speed. How, you ask? Well let’s give you a little preview of what an  eight week 10K program will do to help your transition.

Convert the Fuel System & Tweak the Chassis

The two most important differences between racing a marathon and a 10K are distance and pace. While this will seem obvious, what might not be apparent is what is happening in your body and how a training program should address these differences. When training for a marathon you are attempting to teach your body to use your fuel as efficiently as possible for the inevitable wall of low muscle glycogen and low blood sugar that hits late in the race. In the 10K, you aren’t in any danger of running out of fuel; instead, your body runs out of enough oxygen to use the fuel your body has available. Of course, the science is a bit more complicated and I am vastly simplifying for the sake of brevity, but the key distinction is that in the marathon you train aerobically and in the 10K you need to train anaerobically.

While this requires that you train to convert your fuel system to handling the new demands, it is also essential to prepare the body for the faster paces that you will be running in the 10K. Most people will race their 10K at between 40-45 seconds per mile faster than their marathon pace. The neuromuscular system need to be prepared for the greater power needed to initiate and sustain these paces. So training for the 10K means you need to tweak your body’s chassis to handling this different demand. The workouts you’ll be challenged with in the 10K program will be designed to teach your body to run faster and with greater ease anaerobically and to handle the load of running these faster paces.

One of the additional benefits of training these different systems is that, in gaining this greater facility, your body becomes more economical at marathon paces. For example, in adjusting two of my Team Rogue Dawn Patrol athletes’ (Bryan Morton and Marc Bergman) training over the last 18 months to move away from marathon specific training and toward 10K and half marathon focused training, they were able to run significant PR’s at the 3M Half Marathon. More importantly, I am confident that they will also run very well at the Boston Marathon in April now that we’ve transitioned back to marathon training. Keep an eye on their results to see how this plays out in reality.

Seize the 10K

So, are you ready to fly? You’ve already created the opportunity for a huge personal best in one of Austin’s iconic races. The marathon training you have suffered through and are getting ready to reap the rewards of on February 19th is the ideal springboard to an epic result at the Capitol 10,000 two months later. Join us for our 8-week training program and and convert that Prius into a Mustang.

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Steve Sisson is a beer connoisseur (read: snob), coach of Team Rogue: Dawn Patrol and the founder of Rogue Running. To pick his brain on all things running, drop him a line at stevesisson@roguerunning.com or stop by the Fuel Bar on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.

Twin Cities Marathon 2014

 by Bill Durbin, re-posted from the Team Rogue PM Blog

Well, I gave myself a week to write this one, because the last one just took way too long. I started writing in the same second-person-present voice I was (attempting) to use in the past few posts. It’s kind of half “the story” written that way, and half just me interjecting random stuff. It’s a little disjointed, but less long-winded that usual. If you go for this kind of stuff then read on. If not… well, do whatever the opposite of reading on would be. Read off?

Before
It’s a crisp, cool, dry morning. Perfect running weather. In fact, all the usual things that nobody ever has any control over seem to be going perfect today.

The start line is up ahead, and everyone is loosely corralled by their bib numbers. It’s light out. It’s nice to be able to see everything. Usually, these things start just a tad darker. Brent is standing on a gate looking for Ashish, who in turn is looking for a last-minute bathroom break. Taryn and Cam are nearby. One last round of good-race-mojo encouragement as the announcer gives a 3-minute warning, ramps up the energy, and crowd close to the start.

The nerves never go away until you get to the other side of that line. You can’t help bouncing around a bit. Those three minutes seem to pass in just a few seconds, and then the race begins. The kickoff music turns out to not be Prince after all… Instead it’s that dynamite song.

For a couple seconds I was disappointed that my Prince-music prediction didn’t come true. I half expected him to come tearing around the corner on a purple motorcycle with a starter pistol. A guy can hope, can’t he? But then I had an image of my daughter Penelope singing the dynamite song and it made me smile (I don’t actually know the name of the dynamite song, I assume it is ‘Dynamite’ though).

TRPM Twin Cities Runners (and special guest!) before all the stuff above.
Photo ©2014, Ashish. Used without permission.

Easy on the Front
Crossing the line, it’s a little over a minute behind the gun and that glorious race-start calm descends. You’re no longer thinking about what you have to do – now you’re doing it. That changes the whole situation.

The first task is to run easy. Don’t get carried away. Amy has said it a million times, Steve reiterated it on Thursday, you’ve repeated it to yourself over and over again… DFIU in these first few miles. Starting further back turns out to be a good thing as far as that’s concerned. The road is wide here, but the crowd is pretty thick. There’s not much point in weaving around people. Just wait for the gaps and shoot through. The first mile is over before you know it – a quick sanity check on the time – close to seven minutes… Good. Mile 2 requires a bit more focus to stay on target. You pass Ashish and exchange some encouraging words. The miles start flying by… 3, 4, 5… Almost time for the first real checkpoint.

Mile 6. 41 minutes even. One minute behind target. That’s about right.

It felt like I did an awful lot of watch-gazing during this race. I made the mistake (???) of picking a goal time with some super easy-to-remember intervals. 20 minutes for every 3 miles. And at most of those 3 mile intervals, right at the marker, I was checking to see where I was at. Quite a different feeling from my previous race.

Now it’s time to really start focusing on getting light and efficient as possible. The watch is already reading a little extra mileage. It’s been a bit more crowded than expected. You’ve been doing an ok job of running the tangents, but with so many people you can’t really do it without cutting people off or getting pinched in a corner. You’re gaining on a group that must be the 3:00 pace group. They are packed four or five people deep and taking up the whole road. When you see that the sign says 3:05 it’s startling. They have to be going way too fast!

It isn’t until I did the math afterwards that I realized, if these guys started near the front then they were probably on an exact even split. I think that is what they are told to do.

The next thought is “How am I going to get around all this?” The road is very curvy through this section, and it is obvious the pack has the tangents on their mind as well. The runners on the edges are having to slow down each time the road curves their way. “Do I try to worm my way through the middle, or wait for a straight stretch? When even is the next straight stretch? You realize you have no idea where you are or what comes next on the map.

That’s not entirely true. I was somewhere south of and/or still in Minneapolis. I knew that much.

You studied the course so well preparing for this day and it’s just been a blur of twists and turns since leaving the city. You haven’t even been paying attention to the corners. It’s billed as the most beautiful urban Marathon in the country, or something like that. That might be true, but ever since leaving the city streets a few miles back not a single building, lake, or street sign has registered in your mind. All you see is road, trees, runners, more road, more trees, and more runners. Apparently, some of these houses along the course are amazing, but…

FWIW, I thought Philly was more interesting. Then again, I wasn’t really at either location to appreciate the scenery.

You are hugging a left-hand corner when the choice becomes obvious. The road curves in a big arc to the right and the pack goes with it, leaving a few feet of open pavement to their left. It’s an extra wide corner, but by the time the road turns left again, you’re ahead – they are behind.

Steady and Strong
It’s like the pace group was a cork in a very twisty-necked bottle. Everything has thinned out and now it’s road, trees, and spectators. Lots and lots of spectators. Good ones at that. They aren’t saying stupid things like “only 19 more miles!” They’re giving words of encouragement in vaguely-stereotypical regional accents. “Goh Red!” “Way te goh Rogue Running! Lookin’ strong there!”

I never heard any ‘You betcha’s, but of course the situation didn’t warrant any. Again, I wasn’t really looking around much, but I do remember one sign that amused me.

It is finally possible to run straight from one corner to the next and hug the insides. You establish a comfortable pace that feels about right and just settle in.

There’s a familiar shock of blond hair up ahead. It looks like it might belong to Kirk, a fellow Rogue, and he’s running strong. You aren’t actually sure he knows who you are, but you say “Hey Kirk” and utter some encouraging words as you sidle up to him. If it turns or to be a stranger, no harm done. But it’s him. The conversation is brief, but the familiar face is welcome.

A few more miles slip by. You pass the 13 mile marker and the timing mat for the halfway point is just ahead. Everything still feels ok – smooth, relaxed, light… but now its time for that check-in.

The watch says 1:27:58. It’s pretty close to where you expected to be at the half – you’ve gained about 30 seconds and you still have about 30 to make up. Really, that’s perfect. But then the math starts messing with you.

Running math is hard, and Marathon math is damn near impossible. But there is one math problem that’s simple to do at this point in the race: multiply by two. I don’t know a single Marathon runner who doesn’t do that math problem at the halfway point – Everyone is thinking “If I run the second half exactly the same as the first half…”

Well, ok.. I’ve never actually asked another Marathon runner if they do that math problem. It’s just… come on! Everyone really does this, right?

The other you (I) obviously got off on a tangent there. You were saying that the math started messing with you… “Wait… That’s like 1:28, and 1:28 times two is 2:56, and that means it’s still a minute to make up? Right?”

It takes enormous willpower to keep the mental train on the rails. There is no room in your brain right now to reason it out and identify why it is wrong. It just is. You just have to trust that, and banish the demon. You yell the expanded and uncensored version of “JFR!” at nobody in particular, and it seems to do the trick. 28 seconds. That is the right answer, and if it isn’t the right answer, we’ll find out soon enough.

I didn’t actually yell that. Not out loud. I might have muttered it under my breath, but I was screaming it in my head. That’s what counts.

Maintain
The 15 mile marker is coming up soon, and it’s almost time for another gel. The problem is, you really, really don’t want one. Really. Everything else feels great right now, except your stomach. You pull out your remaining selection of Gu and take stock of what’s there. Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, and Salted Watermelon. Yuck. Just looking at them makes your stomach roll.

Most gels taste pretty nasty to me. Vanilla is kind of the base option that seems to be the lesser of all evils. It is the “natural” Gu flavor… If you were to actually go out in the wild and find a guberry bush, and pick a bunch of fresh guberries and mash them up into a paste, that’s what they would taste like. All the other flavors are just trying to mask the guberry-ness. But you can’t ever really mask it. 

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, not only do they taste kind gross, but it usually gets more difficult for me to stomach them as the miles get longer. However, the two “salted” options actually invert this fundamental law of Gu, and seem to taste pretty decent once I’m tired enough. They are both pretty much just guberry plus salt before you get going though.

And (no, I’m not done with this aside yet… hang on) I don’t know what was going on with my stomach. This wasn’t even my last scheduled gel, and it wasn’t so late in the race that I should be feeling so hostile towards the little packets of vile. Maybe the pasta at dinner had something to do with it? I normally go more for veggies and protein the night before a race. It’s something to think about next time – maybe try a few new dinner options in the shorter races this fall and winter. Enough of the note-to-future-self…

You put your gels away and vow to revisit the decision somewhere before the next water station. A couple miles later, and it’s been decided that salted caramel actually sounds pretty good right now. You dig in your gel pouch and pull out vanilla bean. Nope… return that one and grab one of the others – salted watermelon. Dammit! Keep that one in your hand and grab the others from the pouch to see them all at once… Wait.. there’s only two in here! Crap! I must have dropped the other one! Watermelon is the choice – probably because it has “salted” in the name. You must not be tired enough. It tastes disgusting.

I didn’t drop it. My race brain must have decided it was special or something. Apparently I went through the trouble of tucking it into the back zipper pocket on my shorts and zipping it up when I put them all away at mile 15. I don’t remember doing that at all. I was already back at the hotel and showered when I found it there.

It’s not so much your stomach objecting to the Gu now – your brain simply does not want the guberry-watermelon-flavored gunk. That first taste brought a shudder. You just hang onto the rest until the water tables appear up ahead. The blue and red cups at each station have some Powerade concoction that you’ve been avoiding like the plague all race, and now is no exception. You want water. This stop, however, obviously didn’t get the memo on the cup-color-codedness and flags thing. The water has been in the white cups after the Powerade and after the blue “water” flags at every station so far. The first white cup you grab is full of a Windex-colored substance that isn’t water. You drop it and grab for a real water, wash down the remaining Gu, and feel a little better.

I realize it sounds like I am complaining about the water station. I’m really not. I completely appreciate all the volunteers that come out and make these events happen. I thank them when I’m passing the tables whether I am getting something or not.

Mile 18 – you take a quick survey and see how everything is holding up.

Of course, it was a 3-mile interval so I looked at my watch, too. I don’t remember my split at this one though.

Still have the hat, gloves, and makeshift arm-warmers. Hands are icicles but arms, head and everything else is doing ok. The arm warmers (old socks with holes in them) are kind of wet and bunching up in the crook of your arms though. You decide to take them off. They decide to stay on. Pulling on them from the bottom isn’t working. You start to roll the left one down from the top, but it just gets stuck at your elbow. You have a sudden fear that it is going to get snagged on your watch and then just flap around, dangling off the end of your arm for the rest of the race. You win this time, silly am socks. As for the hat…

The Almost Last Part
The scenery is still just whizzing by, oblivious to you standing there. Or maybe it’s the other way around. But there’s one landmark you’ve been waiting for – the bridge over the river. Because Gabe said he’d be somewhere after that bridge on the left-hand side of the course. It’s also a mental thing. It is the place to start thinking strong thoughts.

You can hear Gabe before you know it’s him. He’s ringing his cowbells and cheering on the runner up ahead in the green shirt. He’s by far the loudest spectator you’ve seen on the course, but when he sees you his eyes get wide and he turns up the volume even louder. As you planned (just a few minutes ago), you grab your hat and toss it straight up in the air. Except… it doesn’t go straight up, it goes straight at Gabe! Oops!

I wasn’t the only person to throw clothing at Gabe this day. It sounds like he turned into quite the coat rack. But I wasn’t exaggerating when describing how loud he was. Maybe it was just amplified by the personal connection. Who knows. At any rate, seeing Gabe there definitely gave me a boost. And he kept my hat and returned it! Gabe deserves some special credit thanks. He was supposed to be out there running the race alongside us, but he was sidelined with an injury. That didn’t stop him from coming out and freezing his butt off to cheer the rest of us on. 

Gabe and I. Believe it or not, I stopped and had a beer with him there between mile 19 and 20.

At mile 21 another time check, and you’re only 14 seconds off target! Slowly but surely whittling away at that remaining time. You’re actually going to make it!

The Part Between “The Almost Last Part” And “The Last Part”
There are conflicting reports about the hill. The monster one on the map that looks like it just keeps going up from about the middle of Mile 21 to the end of mile 23. There have been a few short but steep hills sprinkled throughout the course. Ones that made you think a little. But none of those even registered on the elevation map. There’s a short and steep part at the beginning of “the hill” as well. That one really is a bit of a challenge, especially at this point in the course. Once past that, you discover that for the rest of these miles there really is no hill.

Ok… so there may or may not have been a hill. My mind was reading that whole section as being too flat to care. Others felt differently. And my splits indicate that yes, there is a hill there. Perhaps it just has something to do with your mental state. My mental state was still stuck on “I’m actually going to make it!” and I was pushing myself pretty hard.

The miles are beginning to feel very, very long. It’s that weird end-of-race twilight zone where everything starts to happen in slow motion, probably because everything hurts so much. You have started questioning your motives for pretty much everything, but especially for this race. You’re thinking of cancelling the next one on your calendar.

“GO ROGUE!” The shout comes from behind. You haven’t heard anyone say that today… that is not a cheer from here. That is someone from Austin, and that shout was for you. A quick glance over your shoulder, and it’s Steve and Ruth! More familiar faces are exactly what you needed at that moment. Despite the pain and mental issues, you are still running strong, and now you are determined to finish that way.

The Last Part (Except For The Part(s) After The Last Part)
The mile 24 marker kind of rains on your little “finish strong” parade. You’re expecting to see that you’ve knocked more time out, or maybe, just maybe you’re even ahead of the game now. But it says 2:40:23. Hrm.

This was tough, because I was completely convinced I had sped up since mile 21 and was going significantly faster than my goal pace. I was working really, really hard at this point, and I did not have a whole lot left to give.

Hang on. Hang ON! You’re so close! Just be strong and finish it! On the edge, yes, but not falling apart. Past mile 25 now (FIVE LAPS!)… past that subtle left turn in the road…

You keep waiting to see the church. The church (so it’s been written) is what signals the imminent end of this race. And, like the museum at the end of Philly, it supposedly sneaks up on you. Looking for the church, looking, looking… and there’s the Capitol building off in the distance. But the capitol is like… past the end of the course. Isn’t it? Wait – maybe that’s not the capitol. Maybe that’s the church? You turn to look over your left shoulder and Oh, no… that’s the church!

It’s pretty obvious that my brain is scrambled eggs and toast.

Your head swivels back to the front and now, you can see the capitol, the 26 mile marker, and the finish line! Glancing at the watch again it’s at exactly 2:53.

Two minutes. I can make it there in two minutes.

The Marathon is a funny race. It beats the crap out of you physically and mentally. It takes you right to the edge. Then if you are lucky, it will nudge you over the edge and show you something amazing there. I was lucky this time. I got nudged. All of the pain vanished at this point and I had one purpose. Get to that finish line in two minutes! As I can now see from the data my watch collected, the finish line was about 1/3rd of a mile away at this point.

Time is going fast again. It doesn’t feel like two minutes. You’re at the finish line with your hands in the air. You eventually stop running, then stop your watch and take a look to see where you landed.

The Aftermath
This is the first time I’ve ever laughed at the end of a Marathon. I laughed and laughed, and someone handed me a medal, and I laughed some more. When the woman with the space blanket came over to me, she said “You seem like you had a good race!” Like a dork, I showed her my watch and said “That was my goal, right there!” And I started thanking her and all the other people who were handing me the post-race stuff.

Somewhere in there, I shed a few tears. Maybe it’s the first time I laughed at the end of a race, but it’s not the first time for the waterworks. I’m already kind of an emotional guy. Then I put myself into a situation where I’m mentally and physically exhausted, I just finished doing something I wasn’t completely convinced I could do… the faucet comes on.

I retrieved my dry bag and futzed with it for a couple minutes. I couldn’t get it open because my fingers were frozen, numb, and basically useless. Finally I used my teeth to rip a hole in the bag so I could get at my junk. I donned some warmer clothes, found my phone and tried to call Stephanie. I knew they were going to be out, so I left a message. Decided to try the other phone too, and left another message.

I saw Cam, Brent and Flashish then. (That’s not a typo, it’s his new nickname.) We all exchanged some congratulations and they went to grab their bags. I called coach Amy. She said we were rock stars, and told me my official time was 2:54:56! And then I started to choke up again.

The Bragging and Thanking Section
The stuff up there was fun and all, but I need to get my brag on. Of course, I also need to say the obvious thanks to my wife for putting up with this running thing once again and still supporting me (as usual), my coach for believing I could do this before I ever did (as usual), and the Team Rogue PM crew for allowing me to suffer alongside them through the steamy summer (we’re all unusual, so I won’t say “as usual”).  Did I mention Steve and Ruth? and GABE? Friendly spectators? Thank you!

You all can leave now. I’m just going to do my normal little victory lap and be done with this one.

Time: 2:54:56  (3:41 PR!)

Placing:
Everyone, 164 / 8852
Age group, 16 / 707

Official half splits:
First, 1:27:57
Second, 1:26:59 (that’s an unofficial half marathon PR!)

Geekometer Splits:
1.   6:56
2.   6:59
3.   6:38
4.   6:39
5.   6:44
6.   6:40
7.   6:39
8.   6:35
9.   6:36
10.   6:33
11.   6:31
12.   6:31
13.   6:37
14.   6:36
15.   6:31
16.   6:34
17.   6:39
18.   6:44
19.   6:39
20.   6:29 <- Gabe
21.   6:36
22.   6:46
23.   6:46
24.   6:30 <- Steve + Ruth
25.   6:42
26.   6:42
26.36 2:08 <- Me

Stage Three: The Actual Race

A race report from magical and exotic Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Part 3 (catch Part 1 here, and Part 2 here)

10632891_716796906448_8039759965038456960_nAll three of us, Alicia, Anna and I were going for BQs at this race. Josh was shooting for an epic halfer PR. We’d all had mixed training camps this summer, and the pre-dawn tension was high.

The race had 450-ish full marathoners total, so there really were no corrals, and it started on the high school track/football field. The weather was perfect, 55*F or so, so we spent most of the warm up hiding under the bleachers out of the “wind.” When the start time came close we all said good luck and went to line up behind our respective pacers. Josh was starting somewhere else with the half marathoners, so we wouldn’t see him until afterward. They sang the anthem, prayed the prayer, and we were off! Coming out of the track onto the road my main goal was to stay between the 8:12 pacers (BQ time) and the 8:35 pacers (for a 3:45 marathon). The 8:35 pacers kept riding me, and I had to keep going fast to avoid getting passed by them. I noticed that my Garmin read 7:55. About this time I heard him say to his pace group: “I’m really counting on y’all to let me know if I’m going too fast, my race pace is 7:35.” PACERFAIL. I mean, really. The guy had ONE JOB. In any event, they backed off, and I slowed down to 8:24s.

Originally, this was my BQ attempt. However, the Great Fairy Step-Godmother of Injury came calling and I had 12 days of inactivity right in the middle of prime mileage. A 3:35 seemed unlikely, so I was mainly hoping for a 340, figuring that if I was feeling strong around mile 17-18, I could try to pick it up and close with a negative split race and possible BQ. As one of my friends put it, “maybe you’ll have a heroic last 8 miles.” I would argue that the last 8 miles of any marathon are pretty heroic regardless of pace.

We headed out of town, northward towards the regional airport. I was clicking off my miles at pretty much goal pace, which is new for me. About mile 2 I was passed by a lady who had the unfortunate habit of getting right on people’s shoulder, hocking a loogie to the side and then trying to pass on the right. I want to be clear that I think this type of race behavior is not acceptable, and also that I passed her later in the race while she was walking. It serves her right!

It’s not a big race, so you’re spread out fairly soon, and I could actually relax and concentrate. Everyone around me in this race had an accent that sounded like a character from A Prairie Home Companion on NPR. It was pretty amusing! I played leap frog with a group of three ladies who were talking very loudly and enthusiastically. Eventually we ended up talking about our MGP goals, and we were right around each other. However, waterstops and mile markers were the main places that spectators were gathered, and I have an inability to maintain my pace when I know people are looking at me, so I generally just sped up going through those areas. The spectators were very supportive and enthusiastic, considering how cool it was and how spread out the race was. After we looped around the Sioux Falls Regional Airport (scenic!!!) we headed back down south and cut over to the levies along the Big Sioux River.

This section was pretty flat and sparse and was also a bike path that had surprisingly NOT been closed for the race. It generally wasn’t a problem except it was kind of annoying now and again to put up with bikers who clearly had no idea a) a race was happening and b) how much I was already hurting. However, while the terrain was flat, it was also exposed and the whole section involved running into a headwind which contributed to the effort level of holding MGP (that’s what Im telling myself). We finally got done with the levies and headed back into town across a bridge that overlooked the Water Treatment Plant (scenic!!!!) and jogged immediately past a Correctional Facility (scenic!!!)

After that we maneuvered back into downtown where the waterstops were populated with a lot of high-schoolers and there was a lot of energy and hilarious cheers. There were not a lot of signs along the race course, and certainly not any I hadn’t already seen on other courses before, but the cheer that seemed to be the most popular was the USMNT World Cup cheer: “I believe-.” There were some very hilarious middle school cheerleader types that were simultaneously encouraging “you’re doing so goood!!!!!” and bossy: “stay to the right of these cones, right around this corner!”

Downtown was also a head game similar to Duval, where it’s just enough of an incline to feel awful, but not enough of one that you know why it feels awful and then it gets in your head and fear and doubt start flying. I did however, basically PR coming back down that stretch (this was a mistake. At no point in a marathon, except the finish line, should you PR) and happened to see my teammate Alicia go by on the other part of the course (victory high-five!!). The course wandered back over to the Falls Park (actually scenic!). Going around the twisty-turny park, I was still hitting my 8:24s, but I was starting to dream about my delusions of grandeur (“oh I just ACCIDENTALLY BQ’d at this race! I wasn’t even TRYING!!”) and I told myself that if I was going to go have a heroic last 8 miles, now was the time. So I tried that for a mile or two, and then I hit the wall.

I don’t know if in my previous races (they have a history of not going well) I was just distracted from the concrete-leg feeling by my concrete-stomach feeling, or if my legs were just shot from pounding the downhills and trying too hard, but they were like anchors at this point. Mile 20-24 were slogs. I knew I wasn’t going to hit my 3:40, and I walked through one or two water stops. This section looped largely through neighborhoods, where the roads were also not closed, and it was unclear which side of the cones we were supposed to be on. Until the cars came, that is. Later, after we went around a high school, we actually got out onto the access road of a highway (scenic!!!!!) which was also not closed, and we were all just running in the right side lane, assuming that the cars would see us and not hit us. At that point, I would have taken death. Not to be dramatic.

The last 2 miles were on another jogging/bike path that had also not been closed to the public. At this point I was passed by the 3:45 pacer guy (he had ONE guy with him), and I also kept leap-frogging a guy in a bright yellow shirt and visor who would charge past me, and then I would pass him later when he was walking. I passed him and he told me “good job blue” (I was wearing blue Team Rogue jersey) and then he caught up to me at the mile 24 water stop and said in a very wanna-be personal trainer way “here we go Blue, let’s get this.” I didn’t have any energy to think of a response, and running with someone when you’re both hurting does help, regardless of how patronizing one of the people might be, but I came out of that stop actually feeling revived and started putting back in effort and he dropped after a quarter mile.

The final mile was pretty good, a guy at the mile 25 water stop jogged with me to hand me a cup of Powerade (I really appreciated the effort, but I didn’t get a chance to thank him), and then there was a guy on the last stretch who was very aging-track-coach who got down in my eye-line to make sure I was looking at him and told me “doing good, keep it moving.” The turn to the homestretch was a welcome sight. I finished up with a 3:46, which was not what I wanted, but was still a PR, and I don’t think I could have done more on the day.

After my traditional sit down and cry a little (no reason, is just how it goes) I called my mom to tell her how I did, and then I spotted Josh in the crowd. We talked about the race and the course and the deceptiveness of the hills/role of the wind. They were also giving out DQ ice cream sandwiches (TEXAS!) and we soon spotted Alicia and Anna in short order.

None of us ended up with what we were hoping for, and we all had some bruised egos getting back into the shuttle bus. But that’s what teammates are good for, suffering together and making fun of the terribleness after. As Alicia put it: “Stupid Falls.” Anna also had the ingenious idea of getting beers at the bar before heading to our rooms to take a shower (shower beers) which all the other runners at the hotel agreed was a good idea and one they wished they had thought of. We all met up in the hotel restaurant after showering and changing for some more beer, good food, and story-telling.

If I can be effusive for a moment, I think the best feeling is the post-race feeling. The work, the suffering and the challenge is over, and the rest of the day is a celebration of how it went or didn’t went and however it did go, it generally doesn’t end up mattering. To me, winning and losing are two sides of the same coin and it’s a mistake to read too much into either of them. Certainly all the encouragement I saw when I logged into Facebook and had 25 notifications from all my teammates, past and present made me feel better. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Coach Amy for putting up with all my ridiculous and neurotic emails, and my teammates for putting up with all my dumb jokes/attempts at humor (particularly Anna, Alicia and Josh on this trip), and the Rogue community at large for reading my blogs and not making fun of me (so far).

We went, we tried real hard, and we all left alive! I’d rate the Sioux Falls
Marathon as a pretty good experience over all. 5/5 for the weather, 4/5 for crowd support (not a lot, but the ones that are there are very supportive), 3/5 for deceptive hills, 3/5 for scenery (very pretty in places!), 2/5 for the ratio of snot rockets to pavement (too many) and 1/5 for BQ-ing, just because I didn’t manage to. Thank you.

Your First Marathon

by Chris McClung

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

The Dallas Marathon in December 2000 was supposed to be my first marathon, but I didn’t make it to the start line. I was sidelined with injury just two months before race day. Diagnosis: tibial stress fracture. Translation: broken leg. Doh!

Ok, now, listen carefully… I want you to run your first marathon THIS December, and I know you can do it. Yes, all of you on-the-fencers, I am talking to you! You might think that I am crazy, but give me just a few more moments to push you off that comfortable seat on the fence.

It’s been almost 14 years since I signed up for that first marathon. I was barely 21 years old and had run only one other road race in my life – a 10K. Dallas was a natural choice. Even though I lived in Houston at the time, it was a relatively short drive away to run on my home streets with no shortage of friends and family to cheer me on. There would be plenty of time for the big, exotic, destination races. There was work to be done, and I loved the simplicity and familiarity of my chosen race.

I laugh when I think back on the naivety of that new runner. I had no idea what I was doing, but oddly at the same time, I had absolutely no fear of covering the distance. Now, I am jealous of the boldness of my younger self; real or not, youth brings a courage and fearlessness to do things that is often stifled as we get older and wiser.

Interestingly, at that age a marathon was already on my “bucket list.” I am the son of a runner and marathoner, so it was something that I had witnessed as a kid. My Dad’s story of his first marathon was the stuff of legend in our house. To this day, he swears a guardian angel appeared to him after collapsing to his back on a swath of grass just beyond the finish of the Cowtown Marathon. The angel appeared in the form of a mysterious woman who was oddly willing to massage his cramping calves into relief before disappearing as quickly as she appeared. To this day, we don’t know if this actually happened or was a vivid post-marathon hallucination, as are known to happen.

In addition, my then girlfriend (now wife Amy) was also already a marathoner, something she accomplished in Houston at the absurdly young age of 19. So, as a new runner and 10K-finisher, I was somehow the “slacker” in the family. Others around me had finished a marathon, so my assumption was that I could to. That, paired with the naiveté of youth led me to sign up for Dallas with absolutely no doubts that I would be a marathoner 6 months later.

As you know already, I was wrong. I spent race day in December on the sideline, cheering on my friend and training partner. We were college friends and were supposed to checking the box on this milestone together. Instead, he would do it alone while I watched from behind the barricades with a boot on my leg.

What went wrong? Well, the same naiveté that urged me to fearlessly sign up for the race also pushed me to make every mistake in training that I can now think of. It wasn’t enough to just finish my first marathon; I wanted to hit a specific time. To reach that, I assumed that I could do it alone without a coach. I found an online schedule, and dove into training.

I ran too much, too soon. I ran too hard. All the time. I didn’t do any stretching or strength work to supplement my running. And, most certainly, I didn’t slow down at the early signs of pain. A little shin pain turned into shooting pain up and down my leg, and before I knew it, I was doing 3-hour “long runs” on the elliptical machine in denial over what was happening and determined to still run the race.

If I had a coach or a structured program, then none of this would have happened. I mean that quite literally. I wouldn’t have ended up with a broken leg, and the Dallas Marathon would have been my first. But, it’s bigger than that. Everything happens for a reason, and I don’t think that I would have been inspired to be the coach I am today without that first experience of failure.

A broken leg left me with lots of time to sit. Devastated by the outcome, with time to spare and emboldened to never make the same mistakes again, I poured myself into every training and coaching book I could find over the months that followed. That began a journey for me that would lead me to successfully coach myself to my first marathon in Chicago the following year and then eventually to Rogue where I now coach a seriously cool and committed group of Morning Show athletes.

I, along with am amazing cohort of fellow Rogue coaches, am committed to making sure that new marathoners don’t make the same mistakes I did. Our methods are tried and true. Thousands have walked and run on this now-very-well-paved path to their first marathon and you can too.

So, what’s the moral of this story? We end where I started.

Get off the fence. You can do it. Stop doubting and just sign up. Then, let us help you. Our Texas Marathon program, starting in July will get you ready for one of 3 familiar, well-organized, and beginner-friendly races in San Antonio, Dallas, or Bryan/College Station. [Note: Dallas and BCS are two of my personal favorites] All you have to do is take the first step where, in the words of the great runner-philosopher George Sheehan, “Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.”

Will you be the person you were destined to be? Or will you continue to sit comfortably on the fence in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat?”

10373522_10152273679728666_5112001614360975145_nThe Texas Marathon training program will begin on July 12, 2014 with a huge kick-off party, open to everyone! Come on out to run, enjoy breakfast, win prizes, chat with coaches and receive a swift kick off of the fence.

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Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 2.46.38 PMChris McClung heads up all things retail at Rogue Running, and currently coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.

 

 

Austin Marathon: The Plan

 By coach Chris McClung

For those reading this blog in preparation for the Austin Marathon on Sunday, I applaud your bravery. Since the course was changed from a downhill screamer to the loop course we have today, most locals avoid their local marathon out of fear of those deadly Austin hills. While other locals are running scared to out of town races, you are facing this beast head-on with thousands of poor, naïve out-of-towners, who have no idea what they are getting into.

I have good news for you, though. I think this course, run correctly, can be nearly as fast as a flat course. It’s just damn tricky and requires near perfect execution in your race plan. There are two potential outcomes for you on Sunday. 1.Run smart, following a plan like the below, and you will crush the finish. Or, 2.Start too fast, falling into the booby traps of this race, and you will find yourself at the top of Duval around mile 22 curled up in the fetal position wishing you could roll downhill instead of walk or run. Which outcome will you choose?

If you choose outcome #1, then I suggest following a plan like the one below. It requires supreme patience early, but it’s the only way to take advantage of the generous downhills in the closing 6 miles of the race.

Instead of a mile-by-mile plan, I break the course into 6 sections, each section with its specific mission and pace guidance. Don’t worry so much about hitting a certain pace in each mile, but rather focus on executing an average pace within each section. Here is how I break it down:

Section 1: The Warm-up

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Start to Mile 2.6 on Congress. The goal for this section is to “shorten the race.” By starting slowly, you turn a 26.2-mile race into a 23.6-mile race. Now, this is easier said than done because all of your normal physical and mental cues about pace will fail you in these opening miles.  Adrenaline and the frenetic energy of your fellow racers will tempt you into getting sucked out too fast. Plus, booby trap #1 on the race course – the Guadalupe downhill from Mile 1 to 2 – will make it easy to run faster than you planned.

Don’t. Relax. Start slow and easier than you think you need to, and if you hit your target marathon pace in this stretch, then slow the f**k down.

[One side note on pacers: The Austin Marathon has some of the finest pacers of any marathon in the land. And, it’s no coincidence that most of them are Rogues. They, however, are instructed to run even paces throughout the race, regardless of the hills. They can do that because they are all trained to run marathons 30 minutes or more faster than their selected pace on marathon day. If you want to blow up on the course, start with your target pace group. If you want to run smart, I would suggest that you use them as a tool or reference point, but DO NOT plan to run with your target pace group. Instead, start at least 2 or 3 pace groups back of your target group and plan to progress throughout the race. If all goes according to the plan below, then you won’t reach or pass your target pace group until the final miles of the race. I submit to you that there is no other way to run this course and be successful.]

Section 2: Crushed on Congress?

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Mile 2.6 to Mile 6. Many overlook this section of the course, but do so at their peril. This section of the course has the highest elevation gain per mile than any other section of the course. Those whose goal is to run the last 6 miles of the race at a snail’s pace will take this section too fast. The temptation is to hit your target marathon pace and hold it in spite of the uphill climb. Do so, and your race is done before you even hit mile 6. Instead, stay relaxed, progress to marathon EFFORT, not pace. Let the hills slow you down naturally, holding energy/power in reserve for later. If you do that, then you should be running no faster than 10 to 15 secs/mile slower than marathon pace.

Section 3: Slammin’ South First

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Mile 6 to Mile 9.5. In this section, you drop ~250 feet as you scream down South First back to the river. Most people will run this either too aggressively going too fast, way too early in the race. Or, they will brake the whole way down with their quads, destroying them for later. You should do neither. Instead, stay relaxed, let gravity increase your pace to slightly faster than marathon pace, but do it with proper downhill running form – body over your feet, so that you aren’t braking and destroying your legs.

Section 4: The End of the Beginning

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Mile 9.5 to 13.1. This is the Winsted-Enfield-Exposition section of the course which many of you fear the most. It has rolling hills the whole way and some of the toughest hills on the course. Essentially, you take the challenges of sections 2 and 3 and combine into one section. You have steep ups and downs and no single will be the same pace in this section. The main goal here is to conserve energy on the ups and relax on the downhills, so that you save your energy for later. Treat the hills as a gift reminding you to be conservative. Don’t fight them. Embrace them all the way to the half way point.

Section 5: Still Climbing?

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Mile 13.1 to 19.75. Most people want to breathe a deep sigh of relief at mile 13.1, thinking the hills are behind them. But, they aren’t. These 6+ miles feel like a long, gradual climb, and essentially that’s what it is. Those who make mistakes here will force the pace/effort too early rather than staying in control and relaxed. Your pace should be +/- MGP but you should again let the slight ups and downs adjust your pace accordingly. Stay patient as long as you can, b/c the last 6 will be screaming fast for you, if you play your cards right.

In this section, you will also begin to face your biggest mental demons of the race, potentially on the long, annoying straight-away that is Great Northern. Be prepared for that – have power words or phrases and other mental strategies ready to maintain your focus.

Section 6: Road to Glory

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Mile 19.75-26.2. Road to glory. You reach the northern most part of the course at the same time you reach the highest point on the course. It is literally all downhill from here, including the screaming fast section on Duval. Now, the biggest challenge is getting to this point with cards left to play. If you can avoid the early booby traps or at least outsmart them, then the last 6.45 miles will truly be the road to glory. If you can’t avoid those traps, then you will find yourself on a miserable slog to the finish. Those are the two extremes, and this course allows for very little in the middle.

The last 6 miles should be a progression run to the finish, picking it up each mile as you go and letting the downhills carry you where they can. There is an annoying climb in the final half mile up San Jacinto to the finish, but if you are running progression to that point, then it will be no big deal b/c it’s so close to the line. Your job is to execute the first 5 sections well, so you can close the deal when it counts.

If you’ve done everything right, then your plan should be to run the second half of the course 2-4 minutes faster than the first. Believe that this is possible, and then execute the plan one section at a time. The outcome will then take care of itself.

You are ready to go the distance! What you are doing is important! Remember your training! Be ready to fight! Study the plan! Execute the plan!

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Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 2.46.38 PMChris McClung heads up all things retail at Rogue Running, and currently coaches runners preparing for the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon, followed soon by The Morning Show: Seawheeze 2014.

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.