Monday, March 19, 2012

Becoming a runner all over again

In August of last year, my friend R ran a mile.  

Through a combination of bullying and cheerleading, I convinced her to sign up for the Somerville Homeless Coalition 5K where she crushed her goal and got psyched to do the Jingle Bell 5K.  

In preparation for that race, she allowed me to write her a training program.  I'm not a coach.  But I've read a good deal about training science, and I've executed on more than a few training plans in my time.  I know for me, one of the most important factors in my training is knowing that my coach is paying attention to my workouts.  Accountability is just not something I can enforce on myself.  Where I may lack in the certifications, I can definitely deliver on the accountability for R.  And using a few online plans, I cobbled together a plan that I thought would be enjoyable and would get R to her goal of going faster.

At Jingle Bell, R took 7 minutes off her time from SHC.  And she did some nice descending work, each mile faster than the previous.  Bolstered by her improvement, we embarked on a ~6 month plan to build to a half marathon at the Run to Remember this May.

R's new shoes,
taken, without permission, from her blog

The thing I wasn't expecting is how rewarding it has been to be part of her team.  I mean, I guess it's not totally surprising, that I might like telling some one what to do.  But, it's more than that.  Yesterday, she toed the line at her fifth 5K with a goal of breaking the 30 minute mark.  As I left her at the starting line reminding her to love, respect and then own her goal pace (I'm big into mantras, so far R is still humoring me on this), my heart was pounding.  I was so nervous and excited for her.  This was the first 5K that she was not just running:  she was racing.  

In the end, she ran a new PR by over a minute, but missed the 30 minute mark by 17 seconds.  So close.

I share in her disappointment, but I'm also so proud of the progress she's made.  She has run over 350 miles since last year.  She has run a sub-9 minute mile.  She has confidence in the things her body can achieve and tackles the hell out of her hill workouts.  The way she talks about running has changed.  Her love for running has been kindled:  she is a runner.  It's so amazing to watch this transformation, and I am so grateful that she's allowing me to share in it.


rebekah March 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM  

Awww, yay. Sitting here almost in happy tears. :)

Also: I love the mantras.

Shannon March 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM  

I need a mantra! ha. this made me smile, as i love this kind of thing. congrats to a great race by R!

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