REPOST: Everything you need to know about November and December Races in Texas

Editor’s Note: This is a repost of a blog from about a year ago. Lazy? Nope Pertinent? Hell yes!   We are one month from the start of one of the most popular training programs here at Rogue: Texas Half Marathon and Texas Marathon.  Why the name? Virtually all the best marathons and halves in Texas fall into the same two week window and if you want to train for one of these, then you do it here….for Texas Marathon and Half. We’ve analyzed the courses, broken down the pro’s and con’s and much more.  So saddle up with us and lets run these wild west favorites!

Texas Half Marathon and Texas Marathon both begin on July 14th or 15th in Cedar Park, North Austin, South Austin and Down Town. 


THE LONE STARS: A TEXAS MARATHON GUIDE

by Allison Macsas

Here in Texas, we don’t offer much in the way of fall marathons, largely because “fall” typically begins somewhere around mid-November and ends a few days later.

However, we do have plenty of winter racing options and although “winter” can mean many different things, it’s widely considered the time to toe your local starting line.

So, what to choose, and where to start? There are many top-notch Texas events throughout the winter months, but in this guide I want to focus on 2014 races only – the ones that are done before the holidays, and that present the opportunity to end the year with a shiny new PR and extra reasons to celebrate.

So, read on and pick your race. Rogue is going big for Texas races this year – new training groups, awesome custom t-shirts (designed by yours truly) and ENERGY. Be part of it!

622x350THE ROCK N ROLL SAN ANTONIO MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 6, 2015

I won’t lie. San Antonio hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews over the past few years, and I know many a runner who has sworn it off for good. But, nearly all of the negativity surrounding this event has been due to the weather – sweaty, suffocating, blazingly hot weather. No matter that the week leading up is chilly, and that the day after the race brings sleet; for whatever reason, the San Antonio race weekend is always. so. hot.

Well, I’m here with good news. That’s when the race was in November! And now they’ve moved to December! So although winter weather is never a guarantee, as every self-respecting Texan knows knows, there is a much better chance of cool, clear, perfect race conditions and some big PRs on what is actually a pretty fast course. (Editor’s Note: The move to December definitely helped weather-wise is 2014)

Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 9.56.40 AMDespite what looks like a 120 ft. brick wall at mile 5, overall this is FLAT terrain with a quite a bit of gradual downhill to help get the wheels turning. As this is a Rock n Roll Series event, there are bands galore, which fills in some of the quieter spectator areas and keeps energy levels high. The full and half runners take off together and keep each other company for a good ten miles, which results in some amazing crowd energy.

And, best of all, it’s in San Antonio which means that you can feasibly drive down morning-of, and be safely back in Austin in time for happy hour! No flights, no long drives, no waiting at restaurants the night before and no hotel expenses. Though it may be preferred to stay the night before to avoid any race-morning hiccups, this is one of the most budget-friendly out-of-town race choices that an Austinite can make, and one with lots of capitol city representation.

I was lucky enough to run the half marathon in 2010, a rare cool-weather year, and it was a fantastic PR-setting experience for me. With a new December race date, I’m hopeful that San Antonio will regain a spot on the favorites list this year!

website_dallasraceTHE METRO PCS DALLAS MARATHON & HALF  /  DECEMBER 13, 2015

Dallas is another race that has gotten a bad rap over the past few years, again due to everyone’s favorite scapegoat – the weather! In 2011, it rained. Cold, cold rain. It actually led to some big PRs, but also a lot of chafing and miserable spectators. In 2012, it was HOT. San Antonio-style hot. And HUMID. It’s gone down in the history books for many runners that I coach as the worst marathon experience ever. Then, in 2013, there was ICE! So much ice that the race was cancelled! All of that training, all of those race-week nerves, all of those entry fees, down the drain.* Who would possibly want to give this race a fourth chance?

My first marathon - a great Dallas experience!

My first marathon – a great Dallas experience!

Well, I would. Historically, the Dallas Marathon (formerly the White Rock Marathon) has had perfect weather. Like, 40 degrees and sunny-perfect. I grew up in the area, and began running the half marathon at age 14. I ran it every year until I left for college, and then flew back home four days before I graduated to run my first full marathon there (it was also my first ever run over 16 miles, but that’s another story). Every single time, the weather was perfect, the crowds were excited and the experience was top-notch.

The course rolls a bit, but is overall very flat, very fast. It hits a huge variety of neighborhoods and offers a great tour of the city, which makes it very easy to divide the race into sections for a strong race-day strategy. You get city, you get ritzy neighborhoods, you get the lake. It’s far enough away to feel like a “destination race,” yet close enough that you don’t have to take any time off of work. The toughest part of the whole thing is the drive up I35 to get there!

So, yes. I would give Dallas another chance, and you should give Dallas another chance. For an accessible big-city race with PR potential, this is the one.

*Except for those who took a chance on BCS. Details below.

1461471_600650926667129_1745573852_nTHE BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION (BCS) MARATHON & HALF / DECEMBER 13, 2015

Most Austinites had never heard of BCS until December 6, 2013, the day that the Dallas race organizers called off their event in the midst of an ice storm. Some people got angry and some people threw their hands up in despair, but other people immediately looked for another race.

Enter BCS! Held on the same day, in the same state, but far enough south to escape the worst of the ice, this was the golden ticket. Except for one thing – it had long been sold out, full of runners who knew what a secret gem this small event was.

However, the organizers of this race are fantastic human beings. In between setting up for the event, providing excellent communication via social media and fielding emails from desperate Dallas orphans, they went to the trouble of contacting all of the registrants to offer refunds to anyone who wasn’t going to make it to the starting line, and then opened up all of those spots to would-be Dallas runners, even offering a discounted no-race shirt or medal option to allow for more entries.

So, a number of Rogues ended up at BCS, and they ran FAST. You’ll get more on that story and that race later, but I can’t recommend this event enough. Yes, it’s a small town race and the spectator side of things is pretty quiet, but it’s flat, it’s fast, it’s affordable, it’s impeccably organized and it benefits an important cause. Plus, you can park right at the starting line, no hassles or lines or leaving the hotel two hours early. Roll out of bed and run!

Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 5.04.39 PMDECKER CHALLENGE December 6th, 2015

This long-standing Austin favorite offers only a half marathon these days, but 13.1 miles is plenty on that course! Decker has hills on top of hills, and everyone who runs this race earns some serious bragging rights.

This is a true Austin staple, a key component of the Austin Distance Challenge and an event where you’ll see all of your friends and are sure to make new ones. If the half marathon is your distance of choice and you want to keep it local and enjoy your own bed the night before, Decker is for you.

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So, what’s it going to be? All of these races will have huge Rogue representation, but as you well know it takes work to get to that finish line. We kick off training for Texas Half Marathon an Texas Marathon on July 14th, 2015. Commit, then let’s go conquer!

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562699_10100101789924218_815994431_nAllison Macsas wears many hats at Rogue Running; she is a coach, an elite athlete, the graphic designer, the blog manager, the head of Rogue Expeditions and the boss of an extremely important whiteboard calendar.

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.

 

 

My (Dallas) Bryan/College Station Marathon Race Report

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Thanks, Arthur!

“In the marathon, anything can happen.” – Paula Radcliffe, world record holder for the marathon

As someone who has now lined up for 12 of these, Ms. Radcliffe’s words ring ever so true. I just never expected that “anything” might start a few days before the race when the email came with the official news. It arrived at 12:53 pm on Friday, just as I was preparing to drive north through cold and icy conditions, and the subject simply read: “MetroPCS Dallas Marathon canceled.”

Wait… what?

After ten years of dreaming, tens of thousands of miles run during that time, and six months of hard training in this cycle, that’s not a scenario for which I was ready. The script I had written in my mind for how this weekend and race would play out went immediately to the shredder.

I stared blankly at the computer screen as the “good luck in Dallas” emails in my inbox gradually shifted off-screen while the “condolence” emails piled in. Though impossible to see at the time, the lining was glimmering silver on the dark clouds that covered Texas that day…

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Grab a carb-loading meal with fellow Rogues. Check.

In a 3-hour scramble, I was fortunate enough to secure one of the additional spots opened up by the Bryan/College Station Marathon for the Dallas refugees. With that race on the same day, a new script was already being written, and there would be no time to even proofread it, much less rehearse it, before the opening act on Sunday.

–       Check to see if all my teammates got in. Check.

–       Book a hotel for Saturday night in College Station. Check.

–       Arrange for a group carpool to College Station on Saturday morning. Check.

–       Drive to College Station. Check.

–       Pick-up my race packet and repurposed “Arthur” bib. Check. (Thanks Arthur!)

–       Check into the hotel. Check.

–       Drive the course. Check.

–       Foam roll out the final kinks. Check.

–       Grab a carb-loading meal with fellow Rogues. Check.

–       Sleep. Pre-race Lucky Charms and UCAN. Final tips from my coach. 1-mile warm-up jog to the start. Check. Check. Check. Check.

Standing on the starting line, I reflected on the whirlwind that was the previous 36 hours. I was supposed to be in Dallas. In my head, I was ready for everything to be familiar. Having run the Dallas Marathon before and growing up running those streets, I know every inch of that course by heart. On this start line, nothing looked familiar except the faces of my teammates standing in the corral with me.

My race plan was finely tuned to the terrain of the Dallas streets. I had spent more than a month visualizing each point in that race. I had the major splits memorized in my head – no need for a pace band. On this course the goal was the same, but with different terrain a different plan was required and I had had very little time to reflect on what that meant.

I was confident and ready, but my mind was blank as to what what lay on the course before me. As I stared ahead waiting for the start gun to sound, I kept repeating in my head the mantra that I share so often with the athletes I coach: “One step at a time.”

And, we were off….

For those who have run a marathon, you know that the opening miles of the race can be a lot like taking a cool international trip. You are brimming with excitement and anticipation as you await boarding in the airport (or as you stand on the starting line), only to have those feelings muted when the reality of the ten hour flight (or 26 mile run) sets in as you get onboard (or on course).

For me, the flight started and I was hitting turbulence from take-off. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as the 1:30 pace leader for the half marathon flew past me in mile 1 [note: to hit my goal, I would need to average 30 seconds/per mile FASTER than him over the full marathon]. My first three mile splits clocked in 15-20 seconds slower than what I needed. Everything just felt labored through one mile, two miles, three miles, four miles, five miles, and then even six miles into the race. The weather was perfect, and the paces were supposed to be easy at that point but I was working too hard to sustain this effort for 26 miles. Steve, my coach, saw me at mile 4 would later say: “You looked like s**t.”  I felt like it.

My mind raced with doubts already. How could this be happening? I shouldn’t be feeling this way at these paces.  What’s wrong with me? What do I do if I can’t hit the paces?

I had spent all of my mental energy in the build-up for the race preparing for an epic battle over the FINAL six miles. I wasn’t ready for it to start in the first six. At mile 4, the half marathon split from the full, and I was suddenly running alone, as I would do for the next 22 miles. Alone with my mental demons, I knew that backing down from my goal was not an option. All I could do was try to hit the right paces, relax as much as I could, and just keep running (JFR, as we say).

As I am known to do in races, I spent much of miles 4-6 on the long straights running with my eyes closed, trying to relax my body from head to toe and keep my breathing under control. I was channeling my inner yogi and literally meditating on the run. Then, somewhere near mile six or just after, things began to click. My legs and body and breathing fell into rhythm with the paces that I needed. My effort level dropped to sustainable-for-26.2-miles levels. My mind stopped racing with doubts, and I just started to roll, as Coach Steve would say.

I saw him again near mile 8 and must have looked like a different runner. When I passed him then, I pointed to two runners well ahead of me on the horizon and said, “They’re in trouble.” Not only were the doubts gone at that point, but I had suddenly also become an over-confident bastard, very unlike me (!). What a difference a few miles can make.

From 8 to 18, the chase was on. I gauged my efforts by the rate at which those two runners were coming back to me. At the halfway point, I was a minute behind one of them (who was in 5th place at the time) and 80 seconds behind the other in 4th, gaining steadily. And, aside from the time I lost due to the slower start, my paces were dead on-track for my goal.

By mile 18 I had run myself into 5th place, and by 21 I was alone in 4th with no other marathoners in sight and feeling strong. The epic battle I expected in the final 6 miles never materialized. I didn’t get my final two mile splits, but I do know that miles 21-24 were the fastest four miles of my race. Although the final miles of any marathon are never easy, I never had any more doubts about how this one would end. When I hit the finishing straight, I could see the clock ticking comfortably in the 2:45 range as I cruised home, feeling a mix of relief and excitement that it was all ending in success.

I had done it, earning a new marathon personal best after 10 years of trying. I allowed myself a small smile and fist pump as I crossed the line to punctuate the moment, a “big” celebration for those that know me. A few minutes later in the finish corral the tears would start to well up, reflecting on the last ten years – 10 years of marriage, one, two, and then three kids, a graduate degree, two moves from Austin to Houston and then back, a major career change, seven other marathons, over 75 races, many, many, many, many miles run and finally, this goal achieved.

I know that this blog is already long, but please indulge me by allowing me to share some lessons from this 10-year journey:

1. From the weekend…  plan for the unexpected.I talked about a silver lining to the race switcheroo, and this is it. I was so dialed into my plan for Dallas, that I had not allowed enough mental leeway for the unexpected to happen. If the race in Dallas played out the way this race did (with an ugly first 6 miles), I wouldn’t have been ready for it. I was too locked into the race happening a certain way, and I don’t think I would have recovered from such early struggles. Fortunately for me, the race venue change put me into a new, more adaptable mode which would ultimately make the difference between working through those first six, rough miles or letting them derail 10-years of work.

2. From this year… don’t believe your own bulls**t. We all do it. We tell ourselves stories about why we can’t do this or that. It comes out in phrases like “I could hit this goal, but <fill in the blank>.” After nine years, I was resigned to never achieving another marathon PR. The lies I told myself were fair and noble: “I have a wife and 3 kids. I don’t have time. I have my own athletes to coach. I should sacrifice my goals for theirs. I work hard. I can’t train as much as I need to….” And, it went on. Thanks to a goal-setting discussion with some friends from lululemon (thank you Tegra), I recognized the stories in my head were just stories, or excuses as you might call them. I had a choice. I could believe the stories in my head about why I couldn’t, or I could write new ones about how I could. I did that, and then I did it.

3. From the last 10 years… the journey is the destination. Some of you have heard me say this before, and in the context of a six-month training cycle, it sounds trite. As I think about the last 10 years though, this lesson is everything. Ultimately, if this was just about achieving a 35-second personal best, then this was a silly waste of time and energy. 35 seconds or 35 minutes, personal best or not, I have learned that the journey was really the destination all along. The sweat and tears shed, the commitment and discipline learned, the goals achieved, the sunrises and sunsets witnessed, the stress relieved, the fresh air breathed, the limits tested and smashed, the conversations had, and, most importantly, the friendships made and deepened in the miles along the way. That is what it is all about. Those are the reasons why I’ve done this for the last 10 years and will for 10 more!

PS. It takes a village to raise a marathoner. So…. thank you to the Rogue community for the massive tidal wave of support leading up to race weekend. Thank you to coach Steve (and John before him) for getting me to the starting line fit and ready. Thank you to all of my Team Rogue teammates for sharing miles on the road, pushing me in workouts and for showing me what is possible through your own racing breakthroughs. Thank you to my athletes for inspiring me daily as I witness the power of commitment and discipline to achieve big goals. Thank you to my wife and family for the unwavering love and support. Thank you to my friends at lululemon in the Domain for teaching me that big goals are possible if you have the courage to speak them. And, thanks to massage guy Levi and my friend the TriggerPoint Grid for keeping me happy and healthy on the roads.

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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 half marathoners and those taking on the Austin Distance Challenge.

Finding A Team

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By Josh Elliot


What is a team?  According to most dictionaries there are multiple definitions. Generally the first one that comes up is some variation of the following… ”a group of people who compete in a sport, game, etc., against another group”.  This has always been my understanding of what a team is.


I have been training with Rogue for almost two years, and made a big decision this last summer to start training for my first marathon.  I was already strong, already had a good base, and was ready to roll.  I pulled the trigger, joined Allison Macsas’ group, and fired off three registrations to the three major Texas marathons.  Lofty goals, but I was confident in my ability to push myself to complete these and complete them at a high level.  My first long run was a success on the hills of Exposition.  14 miles and hills had my confidence soaring… until the following morning.  1 mile into a recovery run something wasn’t right.  My left knee felt like hell and I knew it.  I walked home, put ice on it, fretted about what it could be, and rested it for the week without understanding what was wrong.  By the next Saturday, I felt better, so I took a chance on another long run (once again hills and trip to Scenic Drive).  Needless to say, it didn’t end well.  I took a long 5 mile walk from West Austin back to Rogue DT and could barely walk by the time I got back.  Allison agreed it was time to see someone about the pain.  The assumption was that is was a cranky IT Band.  First thing I thought when she said this, being new to injury, was “What the fuck is an IT Band and how can I get past it as soon as possible?”.  Verdict, I had raced myself into the ground, made my IT band one giant knot, and beat up all of my stabilizer muscles.  What this meant?  2 months of aqua jogging, stretching, massages, rolling and being good to myself.  It just wouldn’t go away, and just when I thought I could run again, it would flare back up at that magic 3-5 mile mark.


I have never been injured, so the first few weeks were hard on me.  Not knowing when it would get better was killing me.  I was cranky, withdrew and isolated myself from my training partners. I didn’t grace the doors of Rogue for a almost a month, and didn’t want to see any shiny happy people getting to run when I couldn’t. One night, I was looking through Facebook and started realizing how much progression the members of my group were making with their runs. The pictures, the posts, the happiness.  Seeing this development and their growing strength made something click.  I had sense of disconnect and of not being a part of the group.  This is what ultimately made me decide to stop being a child about the whole situation.  Instead of sitting at home and sulking,  it was time to show up at Rogue and do what I could do.  If that meant watching my teammates run, then so be it.  If it meant I would get in 2 miles instead of 6 miles, then great.  This is where the magic began.   I started bonding with people in my group, learning about their running pasts, talking about their tweaks and pains, getting advice about my own issues.  I began using my experiences to help others in the group who were struggling as people did the same for me.  In that short time I learned so much and got to know so many new people.  I began to enjoy watching people’s progress and cheering them on.  I began to accept my injury, and accept the shitty runs that came with it at times.  I was not 100%, but I was back and interacting with running partners past and present.  This is where my definition of “team” and my attitude began to change.


At the beginning of September, I started ramping up mileage again.  First came 10, then 14, and then the test… Six lonely runs while I was on vacation in Portland, including a very cold and wet 18 miler. The runs went wonderfully…  but something was missing…  something didn’t feel right…  my team wasn’t there.  Not my training partners, not my running group, my team, The A-Team. Disclaimer: Somewhere in this period of time the phrase “The A-Team” was coined. We had a team name! Copyright to you know who)


When I got back to Austin, I resumed full time workouts with The A-Team and within a few weeks, was ready to race a conservative Run for the Water.  No knee pain, no aches, no problem.  I was finally back on track!  Run for the Water couldn’t have gone any better and it isn’t the fastest race I have ever run, but it was the smartest race I have run to date.  All was well except for that one minor detail… a sharp pain in my foot after the race.  Something was different this time though.  I was calmer about the injury.  I knew that I had the support of my coach and team and this would be a cinch to get past.  Fast forward two weeks and two trips to the fine folks at Advanced Rehab, I am back on the road.  The difference in between this injury and the last?  I had the support and resources of of the team to not run through the pain and make it worse.  Instead of holing up, I came to Rogue, I got worked on, I limped to the track and supported the crew while they were running.  Mental and physical rehabilitation got me out of an injury I could have drawn out for a lot longer.  Piece of cake!


Fast forward again through a month and a lot of strong runs.  Dallas Marathon race day approaches, and we all know how that story ends.  Cancelled.  I discussed the alternative options for the weekend with several people and ultimately, I opted out of the BCS Marathon as a replacement, and took the attitude “live to fight another day”.  With that, I sent out good luck messages Saturday night to those racing BCS, had dinner, a stiff drink, and went to bed.  What am I doing at 8 am the next morning?  Sitting in bed, refreshing Facebook awaiting the results from my teammates’ 5 months of work (as I did a month before with my teammates running Philly and NYC).  The first results start rolling in… and it was nothing but good news and me screaming with excitement at the computer for the rest of the morning.  Sub 4s, BQs, 35 minute PRs, etc.  All of that hard work I had done was not paying off for me, but instead of being disappointed that it wasn’t my day I was happy that it was my TEAM’S day!


One final fast forward to last night.  The A-Team sits at a local pizza joint, drinking a few beers, and having a nice dinner.  All chatting, exchanging war stories, give congrats, talking about our experiences over the last 5 years, 5 months, and 5 days.  Once again, I realize, this is a team… This is a different definition of team than the definition given earlier in this blog though.  We have picked each other up, we have helped each other out, we have exchanged resources, we have been happy together, frustrated together, hurt together, and strong together.  Without each other, a lot of us wouldn’t have made it this far.  A variation of the definition of team that I found states… “a group of individuals that come together to achieve a common goal”.  This is The A-Team. We have come together to fight ourselves, rather than another team to achieve our common goals, whatever they may be.  Even though we talked of the sadness of the A-Team ending, it won’t.  We will all keep on training, we will all cross paths, and we will all check in and push each other.  Above all, even though there will be breaks in our training, we will all continue to be a part of the larger team we call Rogue.  It is good to remember that you CAN do things on your own, but it is so much better when you don’t HAVE to do them on your own.  Strength truly does come in numbers.  When I walk through the doors at San Marcos Street, or when it comes time for me to walk through the doors at the new Rogue location I will remember one thing and try to pass it on. Whether you are looking for it or not, your team is there for you.  All you have to do is open your eyes and see them.


(this blog is reposted from the

My Dallas Marathon Goal: The Prequel

by Chris McClung

chrisIt’s 3pm on November 21st, exactly 16 days and 16 hours from the start of my “A race” for the season. I am registered to race the Dallas Marathon on December 8th with a big goal, one that I know will require everything I have on that day to achieve it. In the words of my coach (Steve), “it’s going to be a dogfight.” As I sit here with compression socks hiding under my jeans, I am tired from six months of hard, focused training. And, I would be lying if I told you that my mind was free from self-doubt.

Before I delve into my self-diagnosed mental condition, let’s set the context first. I haven’t always been a runner. In fact, my first race, a road 10K in Houston, wasn’t until 3 months before my college graduation nearly 14 years ago. Growing up, my sport was soccer, where running laps was our punishment prescribed after bad games or mistakes in practice. I was essentially taught to hate running as an activity by itself, and I did.

As with so many of us who become consistent runners, a friend showed me a better way.  After my soccer days were done, he convinced me to tag along on some easy runs with him and ultimately to sign up for that first 10K. I was hooked by the opportunity to test myself, and even though it would take several years to actually enjoy running for the sake of running, the constant carrot of the next race became the fuel for my fire.

Four years later (in 2004) while running my fourth marathon, I set a personal best for the marathon in Austin, a mark that still stands for me today. Since then, I have run relatively consistently and toed the line for 7 other marathons. But, with life and various personal transitions (like having three kids!), I have only attempted to break that personal best three other times, striking out each time.

Dallas will be my fourth attempt and, on paper, I am ready. I have done every workout as prescribed. I have hit every target pace given to me. But, as anyone who has faced the marathon knows, 26.2 miles with a big goal on the line is downright scary. It is especially scary at the end of a tough training cycle, constructed specifically to take your body to its absolute limit. By design, you are tired and beat up leading into those final few taper weeks. The fatigue, which should be evidence that you have done the work and are ready, serves only to cast longer shadows of doubt over your confidence.

A small seed of doubt breeds more doubt, and before you know it, taper madness is in full effect. As an experienced marathoner and coach, you would think I would be immune to this, but I’m not. No one is. My mind rattles with questions just like yours might before a race. Have I done enough? Are these last runs and workouts feeling hard because I’m tired or because I am not ready? Will my [insert nagging pain/issue] prevent me from doing it? Is my race plan right? Will I have what it takes to gut it out when the race gets hard? Is it worth it at all to face this suffering? Am I mentally strong enough to do this? What if I fail? What will people think if I fail? Will the weight of three previous, failed PR attempts sink me, or will I rise above?

I always face questions like these, but over time, I have learned better ways to cope with the mental noise. I trust my coach and find strength in the work I have done, all of the miles, the workouts, the track sessions, the long runs, in the heat, and in the cold (once!). I am inspired by my Team Rogue teammates who have raced with tenacity before me this fall and demonstrated that the work we have done together is not in vain. The athletes I coach drive me when they show me every week and in every race what it means to test and push beyond their perceived limits.

I have learned that a little fear and anxiety before a big race is not a sign of weakness, but rather an indication that you respect the distance and that your goal is big enough. I no longer fear failure, and I know that the true measure of a race isn’t just the outcome in minutes and seconds but whether or not you left it all on the course. I am comforted by the power of community to propel me to results that would not be possible alone, whether they are with me on the sideline directly or behind a computer screen screaming at the tracking page on auto-refresh.

Even though I feel an obligation to perform not just for me but for my teammates and this community, I don’t carry it as a weight or burden but rather as motivation to fight like crazy for this goal. I also know with certainty felt in my bones that, no matter what happens on December 8th, 5:30 am runs will go on and you and my teammates will surround me with the same love that makes the journey as fulfilling as the destinations along the way.

So why am I telling you all of this? Two reasons.

First, plenty of blog space is dedicated to the post-race smiles and tears, and not enough is written about what we feel pre-race – the worries, jitters, insecurities, and fears.

Second, when the 34-year-old me, lines up against the 24-year-old me on December 8th for a 26.2-mile race against the clock, I need you with me. I need the power of your collective energy, and I thrive on the accountability that comes with it.

Let’s do this!

PS. For those who want to follow along, my current marathon PR is 2:46:23. My race goal for Dallas is 2:45 with a plan to pass through the half in 1:23. You can track the race at www.dallasmarathon.com/runner-tracking/.

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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 half marathoners and those taking on the Austin Distance Challenge.

Meet the Coach: Amy Anderson

At Rogue, we believe that the success of our training programs rests not just upon expertly designed schedules and the huge network of resources and support on offer, but also upon our incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated coaches. These people put heart and soul (and a lot of time!) into helping you reach your full potential, and we thought you might like to learn more about them.

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amybostonHow did you get into coaching?

In 2000 or 2001 (I forget) there was an all-call for coaches for the Capital 10k and people said I’d be good at it.  I haven’t quit since.

Why Rogue?

I’m an “Original Rogue Coach”.  When Steve, Ruth and Carolyn formed Rogue, I was already coaching for them and I’d never go anywhere else.

What is your trademark coaching philosophy and/or style?

Well, I’ll be honest.  I’m not much of a cheerleader, and I don’t think everyone deserves a gold star.  That said, I tend to invest in the athletes – whether experienced or inexperienced – who invest in me.  There’s a saying, “When all else fails, try doing what your coach told you to.”  I know absolutely that when a runner puts their trust in me, is honest with me, and we’ve worked together to come up with a plan, then they’re going to be successful.  I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen.

Most memorable run?

Boston 2010 when I ran my personal best marathon.  It was magical. A close 2nd in magical memories would have to be the New York City marathon, where I finished up my first ever 70-mile week (i.e. “no taper”) closing in Central Park with a 15-minute BQ and a huge smile.

Favorite post-run meal?

Coffee. I know I’m supposed to say something all carb-y and protein-y, but please.  Give me coffee.

Favorite Rogue long run route?

Any long run with Team Rogue and my chickens (team-mates).

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

Join Rogue!  You can run further and faster than you ever dreamed you could.

What are you coaching next?

Winter Marathon.  A big group of my repeat offenders… err, returning runners… are registered for the Philadelphia Marathon.  But I also expect to have folks who stay closer to home and run something in Texas.

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

I am so happy in my kitchen.  I love to cook. I love to bake.  Honestly, I don’t even mind cleaning up. I’m that happy in my kitchen.

Any pets?

A little kitty recently adopted me.  I’m calling her Gattini, which I think is Italian for “little kitty”. She’s very petite.

What’s the last book you read?

The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar.  It’s set in contemporary India and tells the stories of Bhima, who lives in a slum and Sera, the upper-middle class woman that Bhima works for.  Their lives almost couldn’t be closer or further apart.

What is one item that is ALWAYS in your refrigerator?

Veuve Clicquot.  You never know when you might need to celebrate something.

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?

I eat A. Lot. of vegetables, but I don’t want to be one!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Goa.  I nicknamed one of my savings accounts “GoaFund”.

What is one to-do on your bucket list?

I’d like to run 10 consecutive Boston Marathons. I’ve run it 6 times, 5 years consecutively so far.

Favorite quote?

“Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”

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Amy’s next program is Winter Marathon, which will prepare runners for any November/December marathon (ie San Antonio, Philly, Dallas, CIM). The group began on July 10 – details here!

Meet the coach: Allison Macsas

At Rogue, we believe that the success of our training programs rests not just upon expertly designed schedules and the huge network of resources and support on offer, but also upon our incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated coaches. These people put heart and soul (and a lot of time!) into helping you reach your full potential, and we thought you might like to learn more about them.

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passWhen and why did you start running?

I began running as a sophomore in high school, when a basketball teammate wouldn’t quit asking me to attend a cross country workout. I finally did, intending it to be a one-time thing, but it quickly spiraled into two practices, then three, then a race, until finally I quit basketball altogether and became a runner. The coaches didn’t yell nearly so much! That led to a competitive running career at the University of Tampa, a post-collegiate spot with Rogue Athletic Club and the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.

How did you get into coaching?

I fell into a job with Rogue after returning from a year of traveling around Southeast Asia – this was another endeavor that I expected to be short-term, but instead has led to over four years of employment (I handle all of our graphic design, marketing and communications, among other things) and an extremely rewarding role as a coach.

Why Rogue?

The community! At the core we are a very local, very grassroots organization, but the community of runners is incredible and HUGE! It doesn’t just feel like family around here, it is – I love being part of such a unique, positive and passionate group.

What is your trademark coaching philosophy and/or style?

I think that I do really well in the mentor role. I’ve been able to race at a very high level, but I’m also relatively new to the marathon and I find that I’m able to relate really well to all levels of marathoners – first-timers and those working to take it to the next level. I provide a lot of individual attention, REALLY wordy emails and truly care about everyone that I coach. I think that clear communication is key to success in a coach/athlete relationship, and I take the time for it. I also think that the process – the training – has to be enjoyable to be sustainable, so I try to keep the atmosphere lighthearted and fun (even during the toughest workouts). My runners are great and make that part easy!

Most memorable run?

That’s tough! The Olympic Trials was by far the most incredible race experience I’ve ever had – everything went right that day, and the crowd support was fantastic!

Otherwise, I’d have to pick a run in Morocco. I led a running trip there this past March (the first of many!), and the beautiful scenery combined with the realization of seeing this crazy idea take shape made it something I’ll never forget!

Favorite post-run meal?

Pho.

Favorite Rogue long run route?

South Austin Ramble!

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

Consistency is everything! No matter how small the first steps are, keep taking them…they’ll get bigger. And don’t forget to enjoy the process!

What are you coaching next?

Winter Marathon – all November/December races. We just began this week, and I’m so excited about this group of people!

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

Napping and eating! Just kidding…sort of. I’m a huge traveler, and it’s the one obsession that rivals running. I love gardening, cooking, photography,…anything outdoors.

Any pets?

Nope! See note on traveling above.

What’s the last book you read?

A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz (thanks to Steve Sisson for the loan!)

What is one item that is ALWAYS in your refrigerator?

Lots and lots and lots of veggies. A gallon jar of Vietnamese chili/garlic sauce. And usually beer.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Impossible to pick one. Patagonia is high on the list, as are Bhutan and Nepal. And New Zealand! Everywhere I go just results in new additions to the list. I’ve been very lucky in that I usually get to fulfill my travel dreams.

Favorite quote?

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”

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Allison’s next program is Winter Marathon, which will prepare runners for any November/December marathon (ie San Antonio, Philly, Dallas, CIM). The group began on July 9 – details here!