In the two months since my last post, I've thought a lot about where I want to go with running. Don't worry, I still love it, but I felt like I was at a bit of a plateau and wasn't improving as much as I'd like. I was unsure if the marathon distance was for me, based on my experience at the Ogden Marathon. The more I thought about it though, the more I didn't want that experience to deter me. I needed to come back and overcome that distance in a time I knew I was capable of.
Some of you know that I have another job at lululemon athletica, which I absolutely love because of the connections I get to make with people on an almost daily basis. That's how I met my run coach, Emily Sanone of Mile At A Time Running.
A few months ago, she came into the store and I began talking to her about how I was planning to run my first marathon (Ogden). We chatted and I learned she was a coach. She gave me her business card and I've kept it ever since. Fast forward to last month when she came back into the store. I remembered her and we talked about how my first marathon went. I was still feeling a little discouraged about my performance and told her I was planning to run another marathon in October (St. George). Turns out she's running the same one and it's one of her favorite courses. She could describe every hill and turn and it was amazing to hear her enthusiasm for it. At this point, I'd been waffling around for months with the idea of hiring a coach. That's part of the reason I still had her card tucked safely in my wallet. However, hiring a coach was a commitment I wasn't sure I could make. In my mind, coaches were for elite runners, not average runners like me who only want to improve and don't really have any plans of running Boston or winning any races. Did I really need a coach? She set my mind at ease and I realized I do have big goals and room to grow. I thought about why I run—to challenge myself and push past my own comfort zone and boundaries. When I told her I wanted to shave down more than thirty minutes off my marathon time, she told me she would love to help me with that. Sometimes you need a super passionate, inspiring person to give you the extra push.
I did some research, looked at her credentials and history and she seemed perfect. So guess what, I have a running coach now. It's been over three weeks in and I can already tell it was a good decision. She has me doing workouts I would rarely do before—more track workouts and tempo runs—and they've helped build my endurance and speed a lot. Even though I feel like I might throw up during a track workout, I can tell it's building my strength. My easy runs feel easier. My tempo pace doesn't seem so hard to hold. She encourages me and monitors my runs to see how I'm doing. She listens and adjusts my plan based on how I'm feeling during training. So far, I've been loving it. The best part is that it's really holding me accountable. I'm really optimistic about this leading to a great experience at St. George and I can't wait to see where the next few months of working with her will take me.
I'm running two half marathons before St. George and I'm feeling really positive about those races. I still think the half marathon is my favorite race distance but who knows how I'll feel after this whole marathon training cycle. I've never been more excited to run and see where I can go from here. I've always wanted to run trail marathons and eventually ultramarathons and for the first time, I don't feel like that's too far out of reach. And that's a wonderful thing.