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Getting to the Finish Line - A Lesson Learned

As I’ve grown and matured in my running, I’ve learned a valuable lesson.  I will get out of it what I put into it.  That’s an apparently obvious statement but it’s one of those that might be easier said than done.  I’ve grown a lot over the past several years of running and even more so within the past three years.  When I lived in Colorado, I was a part of the Colorado Columbine’s Women’s Running Club and actively participated with them.  They were a big influence on me and there was always someone to turn to for advice, guidance, and accountability.  None of us were professionals so we relied on each other’s accumulated knowledge to run, train, and race together.  It was one of the most impactful and wonderful times of my life.  Then, nearly three years ago my husband and I moved to Northern Idaho and I found myself without my running companions.  I had never trained for anything beyond a 10K by myself before.  I knew I still wanted to run, and I still wanted to do ultras but I was not sure that I could do it by myself.

I sought out Michele and to be honest was not the best client.  I was not very communicative and without a goal race in mind I lacked the drive to apply myself to her workouts.  It was not until sometime later that I realized what went wrong.  I had not had a Coach before and I expected her to somehow instill in me the drive I was missing.  I realized that she can only take her clients as far as they’re willing to apply themselves. She cannot do the workouts for me.  She provides the tools and it’s up to me and me alone to put in the work.  And you have to put in the work in order to get results.  Period.

With this newfound epiphany I reached out to Michele one cold winter evening to see if she’d be willing to take me on as her client again. I had signed up for the Sean O’Brien 50K and without my CO running group, I needed someone to guide me through the training.  I didn’t think I could do it on my own. Michele agreed and I threw myself into the training.  I decided to fully dive in.  Whatever she said I would do it and I would trust her knowledge as my Coach.  I trained for that 50K doing every single run entirely by myself. But I did them.  I made sure to communicate with her at a minimum weekly but usually more than that.  I took full advantage of having her as my Coach and asked her lots and lots and lots of questions.  She always responded and responded usually pretty darn quick.

The race was in February and I flew out to CA to meet my CO friends who were doing the race as well.  They had trained together and had benefits I did not.  Nearly all of my runs were on the treadmill because of training through the Northern Idaho winter.  I relied on strength training, the treadmill, and snow shoeing to take me to the finish line. I was pretty nervous for that race.  Even though I had done a 50K before, it had been almost two years previous and I had never trained this way for a race.  This would be the test to see if it really was going to work.  And it did.  I won’t tell you that the race was easy breezy because I had my struggles (it was 80 degrees that day!).  But I finished and I finished strong.  Since then I’ve done four more 50Ks, a marathon, a 30K, and a double crossing of the Grand Canyon.  I am human, I still have lapses where I don’t get the training in 100% as it’s written in my plan (ahem last week…) but in those instances I offer myself grace because life happens and gets in the way sometimes.

Even though Michele is my Coach, she can’t do the work for me and she can’t run the race for me.  She can give me the tools and I can choose to apply myself and take full advantage of all that she offers her clients (camps, regular communication, the videos, etc.).  It seems like a no-brainer to me now but it was a lesson that I had to learn and I’m glad that I did.

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