Monday, September 2, 2013

One Year with Coach Caleb

Coach Caleb on the Newton Hills at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Yesterday, I ran 14.5mi with my 9.3lb backpack on at an easy 8:45 min/mi pace. Three and a half hours later, I ran 2 miles in 13:45, finishing the last 0.75mi at a 6:10 min/mi pace. Not super fast, but not too shabby for legs that were feeling pretty fatigued.

And then I started to think, "There's now way I could have done last year at this time."

12 months ago I started working with Coach Caleb Masland of Team Wicked Bonkproof. I was a different runner 12 months ago. A very different runner.

In 2012, I ran 1,300 miles with an additional 300mi in cross-training - or something like that. Through August 2013, I have run 1,100 miles with an additional 750mi in cross-training... and I still have 4 months to go!

In 2012, I couldn't imagine running any faster than a 7:37/pace for a few miles. In fact, that was pace of my first 5k, which I ran May 2012. Fast forward to November 2012 [2 months into working with coach], and I ran a 14 miler at a 7:44/pace. In fact, running at a sub-7min/mi pace feels pretty darn easy now!

Coach pushes me in my training because he believes in I can do it. He pushes me harder than I would push myself!

I haven't raced much over the last 12 months. No. I've done 2 5ks, a 10k, and a half-marathon that I DNF'd due to rolling my ankle on the trail. It's not that I don't like to race; rather, I want to put 110% into anything that I do race.

After 1 year of working with coach, I will be running my first marathon this year on November 2, 2013. The Stonecat Trail Marathon. I am excited, and I am a bit nervous. I decided to wait a year because I wanted to build a base so that I could enjoy my first marathon. Of course, I'll probably throw in a road half marathon and a 5k or 2 this fall, but I am enjoying running faster than I could have anticipated only 12 months ago.

If you're able to, I highly recommend a running coach. I get personalized plans at the beginning of each week, and I email, facebook, and tweet Coach throughout the week to change workouts as needed depending on my schedule, sickness, etc.

A lot of people think that having a coach is too expensive or a luxury, and I am hear to tell you that it really is not. It is a better deal than fitness classes through my university and it sure as heck is not as expensive as some people pay for gym memberships! Make your coffee at home, and you'll be surprised how much money you save. Say no to a few random things, like eating out more than once per week, and you'll see how affordable coaching is.

Finally, I have met and connected with so many wonderful people from around the world since becoming affiliated with Team Wicked Bonkproof. The friendships and acquaintances that I have made over the last 12 months through running is simply fantastic. My teammates are amazing and so encouraging, and it's been great to connect with other bloggers and runners, such as the British Bulldog [Steve Speirs and his wife, Ally]. All of these runners that I now know and communicate with on an almost daily basis are simply inspirational! Watching others accomplish their goals has helped me to reach new heights with my own running.

Did I mention how encouraging and kind all of these people are...? I am willing to say that the running community -- both in person and via social media -- is, perhaps, the most genuine, kind, caring, and positive community that I have ever been a part of.

It's crazy to think that this all started when I read both Peter Larson's blog, Runblogger, and Thomas Neuberger's blog, Believe in the Run.

Thanks, Coach Caleb, for a great year. Thank you for your patience, your help, your kindness, your understanding when the times got tough. I am looking forward to year #2!!!

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