So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adapt or Die

Lately, my wife has been looking into business plans; big picture strategic stuff which (in the past) used to make my head hurt. Hurt. Bad. Worse than any workout I ever ran under my old coach, or as part of my own training. Bad enough to drive me to that high-end coffee emporium you can find on nearly every corner in a good-sized city. At that point, my business plan was to go in, grab a four-dollar latte, & think pleasant thoughts about long, easy runs on shady, tree-lined lanes with no automobiles, no dogs, & toilet facilities at each mile marker. Silly to think I'd have to resort to fantasy to ease the pain of reality, right? Then I began to think about how they expanded from a few stores in one city to this big, honking, megalithic corporation with stores everywhere...all part of a big, honking, audacious business plan a bunch of smart business-types sat down over their lattes and drafted out years ago.

So, my wife was talking to me in between my workout and my hurried rush to be late for work...again...about things like micropayment & free-riding... I vaguely remembered from my college economics course about free-riding; it's like banditing a road race. For the uninitiated, bandits are unregistered, unofficial race participants. They don't have a bib number so their performances aren't officially recorded. Most of the time, these bandits won't grab drinks at the aid stations or run through the finish chute; the occasional cup of water taken by a bandit might not adversely affect a race promoter's profit margin, but when they run through the chute it causes headaches for the timing crew...especially if their timing system is antiquated.
Of course, the bandit is of the opinion 'hey, the police coverage is going to be out there for everyone else, what's so wrong with me using the race as a fast training event? I'm not drinking the beer or eating the bagels, am I?' Most race directors, at least here, turn a (semi-)blind eye on the banditry because it usually doesn't screw up their event as a whole. However, if the individual participant looked at it as 'dude, someone isn't paying their fair share...' perhaps race directors would be a little less benign about the whole thing. The difference between 300 persons paying for a 350-participant race and 350 persons paying for a 350-participant race, if we're talking a 5,000-meter run with a $20 entry fee is (before the expenses are taken away) $1,000, right on the edge of 15 percent potential additional income. Or, the race director can do something really cool, like keep the registration closer to $18. Imagine what the average, run-of-the-mill race participant would think about a $2 decrease in entry fee?

It's hyperbole, but it's easier to think about the difference when you start tossing big numbers.
Is it crazy to provide content, services, or goods for free? It depends on the provider's intent; if the hope is the (potential) customer will reach for value-added items, available for a small fee, then providing content for free is acceptable. If the seats in the auditorium (to borrow a theater analogy) are filled with non-paying customers, in order to keep up the appearance of a successful business, then you know eventually the business is going to do one of two things in order to survive:

1. Change or discontinue certain content.
2. Charge for content.
Adapt or die, say the business theorists, who borrow from theories of natural selection.

And it appears many on-line coaching services cannot help but agree. You might be able to find cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-most training plans - or parts of them - on the web sites of coaching content providers, but a modicum of your paycheck is going to have to be parted with if you want the entire picture, which may or may not include a coach to answer questions, provide guidance & counsel, & help you to figure out what you need to reach your own athletic performance goals.
And books with coaching advice & training plans? Well, you have to purchase those, too, so you're putting the money out one way or another. A coach who I know performs his craft strictly for love of the sport has written, & sells, a training manual - so a dichotomy can exist in athletic training consisting of altruism & venality...better yet, let's say altruism & capitalism. :)

Any coach who doesn't consider charging a reasonable price for the service they provide:
1. Does not want to place their reputation behind their product (perceived worth), or
2. Is independently wealthy (altruism), or
3. Has no need to make a living from their craft (libertarian ideals), or
3. Does not care enough about developing potential clientele (selectivity).
Simply put, gains in athletic performance, & striving for athletic/fitness goals, costs you in time, in personal committment, & in finances. A good coach can help you get there - better than you can do it on your own - because they've seen the pitfalls from their perspective, & many have made the common mistakes in their own experience. A good coach is like a Sherpa; you pay them to guide you up the mountain, they work hard so you don't have to expend as much effort or risk the chance of dying on the journey.
(POSTSCRIPT - My coach reminded me last night there are coaches who do what they do solely for love of the sport. The statements above sound mercenary, but they are theories, much like the theory of natural selection. Day-to-day practice may or may not align with the above-mentioned theory.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Right Kind of Currency

I came home Sunday morning, after my bi-weekly 8-mile jaunt around Bayou Texar, & proceeded to ditch my dripping wet running shorts, socks & shoes on the shoe rack & hangers in my back yard. As I opened the back storm door, there was a whirrr & a blur of feathers off to the left at about the height of my head. A bird house which hung off one of our loblolly pine trees since we moved into the house five years ago had fallen in one of the hurricanes we had in the year after our arrival. Because of the fall, it's structural integrity wasn't the greatest; the floor was about half attached. We had it sitting on a metal outdoor shelf for a while wondering what to do with it. It still kind of looked cute, so we hung it up near our kitchen window about three months ago, about the same time we started putting up our patio roof. After the Close Encounter of the Avian Kind, I realized the birdhouse was no longer just a decoration. The bottom of the birdhouse was crammed with pine needles. Obviously, some bird couple has decided to take up residence there. My wife, ever the cautious one, wondered whether we should try to repair the house and re-hang it. However, I'm more than willing to hold off until I know for certain the house has been vacated. Hey, I wouldn't want someone to come in & redecorate (or screw up) my place while I was out, Home & Garden Network be d*mned.
"Life is a budget." - Patricia Quigley, Ph.D., ARNP, CCRN (during aerobics class, ca. 1993)
The quote above probably has never been used in a book, or directly attributed, but I definitely have to give credit where credit is due. Dr. Q is probably one of the main reasons I went to college, developed an interest in fitness, and began working as a coach. During the mid-1990s she saw me in various states of fatigue, dehydration & under-nourishment, & rescued me during one of my more acute crash-and-burn exercise moments, which turned me on to the benefits of sports nutrition.

It's also a great quote when I think about fatigue, stress, work, training. Especially when I'm laying out training plans for my athletes. Like the first principle of economics says, we have unlimited desires but limited resources. There's only so much you can do given time constraints, energy limitations, & multiple task demands. Professional athletes are blessed with not only the gifts of efficient energy distribution, but with the opportunities to efficiently reacquire the energies previously distributed. The rest of us citizens juggle that 40-hour (or more) work week, (seemingly unlimited) needs of family & home, & in many cases, determine if we can be involved in other activities.
By determining how much time do I have to train, runners can make a simple (well, perhaps not so simple) determination of what race distances to focus on. I've seen more than my share of miserable, beat-up marathoners who probably would be happier half-ers...or 10-kilometer runners. Triathletes are even more budget-constrained than the average runner; hard-won performance gains in one of the three disciplines often come at a cost to the other two...regardless of the distance. Lately, I've started to learn you need the right kind of currency to spend in this market.
Ever spend time in a foreign country but didn't have access to their money, and all you had were dollars? Okay, maybe that's not such a good analogy; flip it around. Ever come back from a foreign country to the States, and all you had in your wallet was their folding money? Especially in this town, where people tend to not think about international travel, going into a Starbucks for a latte and trying to pay with 15 UAE dirhams (1 UAE dirham = $.27) is a very bad idea.
'What's this? Monopoly money?'
Your next cup of coffee will be at the Pensacola Police Department, while you're answering a series of questions. Beginning of a very bad day.
While coffee & pastries might work as good fuel for a 40-year-old 5K/10K specialist, it's not quite as effective when the goal is 70.3, or 140.6 miles. I guess you can do it, but it's not good fuel. From all of the people I've ever talked to who have done long-distance triathlon, they have not agreed with the marketing which states America Runs (or Tris) on Dunkin'. Well, Michael Lovato might be an exception.
That same sort of diet (or rest, or beverage...more on that in the future) discipline - or the lack of - is like having a birdhouse with a half-nailed-in floor; it's a matter of when - not if - the bottom will fall out...and you hope you don't have your eggs in there when it does happen. I approach these currency exchanges of a sort with a little bit of fear & trepidation...some 200-plus days out from Ironman Florida.
So it wasn't too surprising to hear my wife's girlfriend complain about her dietary hassles over the past weeks. She has a love, like I do, for sweet things & junk food. Since my wife is more into savory, salty snacks, the odds of having lots of cookies, cakes, pastries & the like around the house are slim. Not that I don't love pretzels or popcorn, it's just gummi bears are higher on my list of favorite food-like substances which must be avoided like the plague so I can hear Mike Reilly shout my name on November 7, 2009. Blessed be my wife, for she has turned me on to sports nutrition bars, namely CLIF bars.

I tried to explain the benefits of CLIF bars to my wife's girlfriend:
1. There are multiple flavors.
2. They have a cookie-like texture.
3. They are made of mostly-organic stuff.
4. The large bars are 200 calories; the new mini-bars are 100.
So, with items like CLIF bar, a person in need to be wise with their diet, or lose a couple of me, for performance & health reasons...can exchange the unhealthy stuff they love to scarf on at the office (where I can find whatever I am looking for) or at home with what can best be described as an eighty-percent solution. It's not a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie, but it's close enough for government work. The grains, natural fiber, flavor variety & portion control make it the folding money I can use for my own personal fitness & dietary budget.

Monday, April 20, 2009

So Many Nice-Looking Shoes

You want to fall in love with a shoe, go ahead. A shoe can't love you back, but, on the other hand, a shoe can't hurt you too deeply either. And there are so many nice-looking shoes. - Allan Sherman
Half of the fun of coaching new runners is the reminder of how simple the sport of running can be. If you have a good pair of running shoes & a good path on which to run, there's not much else you need to start. Once the new runner gets to transiting the pathway over time is where the troubles begin. As youngsters, we knew we weren't going to get a new pair of shoes until we wore the previous pair out, to the point we had toes sticking out, run down heels, & so on. Runners start having issues with soreness in the feet, small & large weight-bearing joints, & in most extreme cases, low back pain or even the risk of a stress-related injury.
A good case in point is one of my newest runners, Marie. She's young & a relatively new runner, who's been out for a handful of my track workouts. I noticed her shoes on her first Saturday morning workout didn't look all that new, but didn't ask her the 'how old are those shoes?' question until the track workout three days later. What got my attention was her flamingo-like stance in between a few easy-paced repeats, followed by a dead stop in her tracks. At that moment I could tell something was very, very wrong.
I called to Marie across the track to stop and walk across the infield. I then walked through the infield to speak to her. 'What hurts?' Marie told me it was her right knee. 'Okay, what have you done differently over the past few days?' She said she hadn't run any since the workout on Saturday. Now the litmus test: 'How long have you had those shoes?' Marie told me she had owned the New Balance shoes she was running in for approximately a year. 'Okay, most running shoes have a life span of six-to-nine months or 400-to-500 miles, so it looks like you are very overdue for another pair of running shoes.'

'Coach, I bought a pair of Asics running shoes the other day, & tried to run in them, but they hurt my feet,' was the next statement from Marie. She then told me the store from where the shoes were purchased. I then asked her a rhetorical question, 'so, you purchased a pair of running shoes without knowing what type of shoe is best for you, & they hurt your feet. Do you think they are the right shoe for you?' She answered that she didn't think they were.

This, especially with new runners, is where the prescriptive side of coaching begins: 'Okay, Marie. Your workout is over for the day. No running for you, of any type, until you go see the local running proprietor, have them do a gait analysis to see what kind of shoe you need, & get you into a pair of proper shoes...' I then told her, '...I've made the same mistakes in the past. I've purchased discount shoes from an on-line sporting goods seller, without knowing the shoe...I've trained for & raced a marathon in shoes I bought on sale, which didn't provide enough support, & injured me for three months. The right shoes are a pain to get, but the wrong shoes can injure you, & in the case of longer-distance races, will.'

When it comes to running shoes, you definitely get what you pay for. A good running store with knowledgeable staff can make certain you only pay once from your wallet. Good shoes are less expensive than cheap shoes when you look at physical therapist, physician or orthopedic specialist fees, time off from running, & come-back after an extended injury lay-off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post-Race Criticality and Holistic Dieting

I managed to get through one of my target (preparation, really) races with only a few minor aches, pains, & disappointments. The goal was (in reality) to finish in the top 500, which earns you a numbered lithograph poster. When there are 20,000 participants & 3,000 racers, finishing in the 200s isn't so bad. It's when you start getting critical & crunching the performance numbers things appear disappointing: Compared to last year I finished about 70 places farther back in the pack, & 90 seconds slower.
After a disappointing race you have two choices:

1. You can whine & complain about how you're out of shape, you suck bilge, & so on, or
2. You can look at the factors...
a. ...under your control which you could have changed,
b. ...out of your hands which you could not...

...and then go back out & train. I prefer to do the latter. Of course, you can always blame factors which had nothing to do with a bad day. Lots of folks do. But if you look realistically at the things which can be improved & do something about it, y'know...things might improve.

It's like, for example, someone who complains about their weight. My wife & I had a great chat about this during our Sunday morning stroll. She knows people who complain about the need to lose a few pounds. When she recommends they get out to walk or jog more often than twenty minutes a day, three times a week, most of them look at her as though she had an eggplant growing out of her head. Or, she'll receive what might be better known as the litany of obstacles. It's the 'I can't do that because...' song.
Hey, we all know the tune. We just need to stop singing it.

We had a perfectly decent fitness gym membership until a couple of months ago, but couldn't get our workouts to fit within their operating hours. My wife was visiting a tanning salon near our house which had a 24-hour gym facility; she said, 'I like the other gym, but it's too far from the house for me to go before or after work. If we transferred to this one I could walk or bike over during the work day, or the middle of the evening.'
Personally, I don't care how she gets her exercise; I know she's happier when she gets it. Well worth the extra dollars in my humble opinion. Bottom line: You will spend your time, money & energy on what takes your highest priority.
We also talked about diet. For me, it's an athlete's equation:

Calories Out - Calories In = Change In Weight.

However, I came to a revelation this weekend. Diet is a holistic thing. Dealing with what calories you take in is not the only part of the equation; you also have to look at the mental & spiritual "thing." If you are happy with your body habitus - if your doctor has not said you are at risk for all those things which can hurt you indirectly caused by having too much weight on your body - you don't have to be so anal about what you take into your body. Get out & do something active every day; don't eat to excess.

But, if you're not happy with the way you look, I suggest you take a closer look at the magazines you read, the people with whom you spend your time, the television programs you watch. I would make a wager the persons who are the least happy with their body are the ones who spend the most time/effort/income purchasing & reading tabloid magazines like People, Us, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan (okay, there are dude versions of those rags, too...), watching Lifetime, E!, & so on. The more time you spend pumping mental & emotional junk food into your brain & psyche, the more likely you are to compare yourself to the people who pay fitness trainers & coaches to help them stay in shape because they want to remain in their careers & make money. These are people who, if you spent enough time with them, you would find out are more screwed up than you could ever be on a bad day.

And if you don't believe me, I have one word for you: Brangelina.

Now, think about the amount of time you spend reading the mags & watching the programs. I bet if you took the time/money per week pushing that garbage into yourself you could get in one extra good workout or pay for that trainer/coach, who will give you the (gentle, but often necessary) kick in the butt your training regimen needs.

I remember reading an interview with Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers some time back. He was talking about how he prepared to go into the studio & record, or write music (okay, you might not like their opus, but their cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground is nearly as funky as the original), saying something to the extent of: '...if there are people out there who are going to wear down my spirit or cause me to be upset, I'll avoid them. I learned about it from Robert DeNiro, who did the same thing when he prepared for a movie role. So now, if I know there's a billboard ahead I don't want to see, I'll make certain to avoid it on the drive.' The very same thing is necessary in our own lives; negative people will cause you to look at yourself in light of your failures, your shortcomings, & what they see needs to be changed...which, in many cases, is perfectly fine, thankyouverymuch.

We are not only what we eat, but what we take in & who we let in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Outside Looking In

When I mentioned my 2009 goal of completing an Ironman 70.3 & an Ironman event to my running friends, one of the first questions with which they responded came down to 'so, what time do you think it will take for you to complete the Ironman?' 'Frankly,' I told them, 'all I want to do is finish, but it would be nice to complete it in...'
At that point I stopped, partly because I was trying to calculate what would pass for a good day doing 140.6 miles by taking my crappy day of 70.3 & multiplying times two. But, remembering my hubris, I also told them I'd take the entire 17 hours if I had to, all that mattered was to finish & hear Mike Reilly bellow out the affirmation: "You Are An Ironman!" After that I can have a beer, take the time to determine which set of muscles hurt the least; those muscles will the ones over which tattoo number two will be placed. Hubris hurt me worse during my past two marathons than the tattoo I got to remind me to respect the distance. I'm not counting my first marathon; I knew nothing about running a marathon & it showed on race day. But I survived, & that's what was important on the day:
- I participated in my second marathon against the advice & counsel of my own coach. I spoke very lightly about my chances of qualifying for Boston, based on the (5K/10K racing-focused) training I accomplished that autumn. I did two long (16-mile) runs which left me susceptible to the worst case of flu I had ever experienced...two weeks out from race day. I ran (I think) a 7:00-15/mile pace for the first 13.1 miles, which put me 5-7 minutes ahead of Boston Marathon qualifying pace. The next five miles were where the wheels began to fall off, with the game over moment coming at mile 19. I screwed up the hydration plan & was passed by the 3:20 pace group six miles out from the finish. The 40-mile drive was painful, as well as the ilitibial band friction syndrome I suffered from over the next year. Brought a whole new meaning to the term walk of shame.
- My most recent marathon experience saw smarter training; I followed an adapted Brooks-Hanson's plan & focused on the hydration/nutrition necessary to make the marathon a good day. However, a poor choice of training shoes (when a running store owner/sub-3:00 marathoner tells you he wouldn't run a marathon in the shoes you chose, you made a poor choice) brought on overuse injuries which never really went away come race morning. I followed my heart rate monitor for the first 13.1 miles, hydrated religiously every 15-20 minutes, & had eight minutes to play with at that point, when the training injuries came back to haunt me. My achilles' tendon began to swell because I adjusted my stride to deal with bilateral calf cramps which hobbled me. I lost the eight-minute cushion bymile 20 & had to make a Hobson's Choice of three options:
- - Push the pace to make Boston qualifying time, & risk serious/permanent injury.
- - Walk the last ten kilometers to the finish, & live to fight another day.
- - Drop out, take the did not finish, & live to fight another day.
I say all that to write this Memo to Self: If the marathon is a humbling distance, then triathlon of nearly any distance is even more humbling due to the breadth of disciplines. Performance gains in one discipline often come at the expense of hard-earned gains of one or both of the other two. If the sprint distance hurts X much at the end, the intermediate distance do not hurt X-times-two; the half-iron distance do not hurt X-times-four, & the iron distance sure as hell does not hurt X-times-eight. It's probably more than that. coaches Paul Huddle & Roch Frey said it best this month in their article in Triathlete magazine, from which I (shamelessly) quote (emphases are mine):
"...Madam Pele....hears & sees everything. She doesn't take kindly to overconfidence & disrespect....Ironman was born in Hawai'i &, therefore, the rules of aloha & kapu extend globally....we encourage all first-time Ironman approach their first attempt at the distance with a healthy heaping of humility."
"...The No. 1 goal that every athlete should have when toeing the line for an Ironman is to finish. What are some other goals worth shooting for? Let's list a few: 2. Finish while still standing. 3. Finish while still standing & smiling. 4. Finish while still standing & smiling & in good enough physical condition to bypass the medical tent for food & a massage. 5. Finish while still standing, smiling, bypassing the medical tent & remaining gainfully employed. Finish while still standing, smiling, bypassing the medical tent, remaining gainfully employed & married."
"Look, we're already at No. 6 & there's been no mention of times and/or placing..."
Hardest part about the preparation for Ironman so far isn't so much the distances necessary to be accomplished in training, but partly of getting one's head wrapped around the big, honking numbers of distance & time that will be traversed. I have several friends (male & female) who are Ironmen; several provide sea stories about what they did/do in training, what worked & what failed. But, with very few exceptions, many Ironmen don't tell everyone they've done one. There might be a discreet M-Dot sticker on the back of their car, or they might wear a polo or fleece. Some have the M-Dot tattoo, which may or may not be revealed in the throes of tipping back a few adult beverages. (I still love the explanation to the kids, Jean. For the religious at heart, I would call it an outward manifestation of an inward process.)
At this point in time I feel like a kid in an orphanage or foster care who wants so badly to be accepted into the family. And family is so much a part of the training experience, from what my closest IM friends have said: they serve as domestiques, soigneurs, cheerleaders, name it. That explains the family member boogie down the last few hundred yards with the participant, which to me seems pretty cool. But, like every adoptive child, we're all unique, on the outside looking in. We want to know from the other kids what they did to get into the family.
I don't care how long it takes to get into the family. I just want to be a part.

Monday, April 6, 2009

When It's Out Of Your Hands

I've talked on one or two occasions about the challenge of remote-control coaching. My first reaction to the idea of having a coach who's not at the beck & call has always been, 'on-line or remote coaching is less than effective because coach so-and-so is not going to be available to you at 6:38p.m. on a Saturday one week out from your goal race.'
However, I also have had to be pragmatic about the whole d*mned coaching thing. I have friends in outlying areas (like Alberta, Canada) who developed a trust in what I knew about training & coaching from my own mistakes...okay, it's taken them seven years to know...and figure I might be able to help them achieve their running goals. Even with the trust factor nailed down, there's still a language takes a few months of running workouts with me to know exactly what I mean when I use a particular term. Some of it has to do with my inability to communicate, some of it has to do with what I consider a mild speech impediment - after 30 seconds, the Charlie Brown filter of most people turns on.
What's the Charlie Brown filter? Remember the old Peanuts cartoons (A Charlie Brown Christmas, He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown, etc.), where the teacher or principal, or some adult is talking & everything is Wah wah, wa-wa-wa wah wah, wah, wah...? That's the Charlie Brown Filter.
It's nothing that surprises me. I do the same thing when people are yammering on & on & on...
Once I can get the basic language of coaching & training figured out between the remotely-coached athlete & me, usually limited to intensities & feedback structure, things seem to go well. I've been rewarded with knowing I was responsible for the successful completion of several half-iron & iron-distance triathlon events, a couple of Boston Marathon qualifications, & the like. It's the kind of stuff that, as Mark Twain said, allows me to exist for two weeks.
This weekend has me taken care of for the next month:
My friend Betsy completed her first Ironman 70.3 in New Orleans yesterday. I remember one of my first triathlons just up the road in Perdido Key, near the Alabama state line; we both succeeded in getting ourselves hung up in the same marker buoy on the swim portion of the triathlon. I slowed to a stop, took a look back to shore and proceeded to freak out for ten seconds, thinking 'OMG, I am SO freaking far from shore this is not funny.' Betsy, on the other hand, was so seriously hung up in the line she needed assistance from one of the water safety guys. Swimming has been her most difficult discipline, and I've been close at hand to watch her progress.
What impressed me most was not so much that she finished the 1.2-mile swim in Lake Ponchartrain - which would have been a major accomplishment in and of itself - in an hour & 30-something minutes (CORRECTION: One hour, thirteen minutes. MB). It was the fact she took the time during that particular swim to help a woman who was in a panic over her own personal wardrobe (okay, wetsuit) malfunction.
From what Betsy mentioned, the woman's Velcro tab at the neckline had either come off or been taken off or had failed altogether, leaving her with the risk of having a lot of Lake Ponchartrain come into her suit. So, Betsy assisted in getting this woman to a safety kayak & helped her work the issue through. Sometimes it's the comfort by which we are comforted we are most able to provide to others. Even I don't think I would have done anything like that, not on the day. Well, perhaps. I'd like to think I would. Well, perhaps it was passing forward what I did last October on Santa Rosa Island, when I stayed close by during the swim because of her foot cramp. I then passed her along to another kayaker to shepherd to shore as I went back to watch for others.
I was more impressed at the fact she ran her half-marathon only a few minutes slower than I did mine during my half-iron last year. Kudos to you, Betsy! I told you you'd have a good day if you got the nutrition down pat.
Cheryl is working on a 22K/half-marathon training program after having baby number two (cutest little girls; something to be said about genetics). Rather than pushing her out onto a track to hammer out intervals & tempo pieces, I've adapted my workout to let her do them on treadmill so she can be mama & train. Yesterday was her first long run outdoors in a long time, in which she did 7.5 miles at right around 10-minute pace. She said there were no worries, no discomfort, & she was planning to do more long days on the road rather than the treadmill. She's got a few more months to her goal events, but the start is auspicious...and her coach is stoked.
Sometimes the genius lies within the athlete, not the coach. We only try to pull it out. Kind of like Glenda, the Good Witch from The Wizard of OZ. And if any of you ever call me Glenda...