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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What A Day In Columbus!

It was a chilly morning in Columbus...to be a spectator!! But my oh my, was it a great day to race!  Nothing gets me more excited, nervous, and on the verge of tears like a marathon!
I have watched Ryan run or joined him for countless miles over the past few months and I believed he was ready to go.  Then again, it is the marathon and so much can happen.  We talked before the race about what I thought he could do.  I gave him what I believed was some pretty solid marathoning advice.  I told him he was in shape to run 5:30 pace, but it would feel easy and he couldn't let himself get carried away and run under 5:30's.  He agreed.

The gun went off and along with a wonderful firework display the streets quickly filled with runners chasing down their goals.  I held back tears and biked to mile one to see the first mile split. I quickly met up with Nicole and Jeffy (Jeff Sigmund), also on bikes to spectate. I was thankful to have them along!  We had 4 people we were really looking to watch, and numerous others to cheer for mixed in there.  Verrelle and Jesse, in the half, Ryan, and Heidi, who was looking for a sub 2:43 and her ticket to the Olympic Trials.  As you may assume they all looked great at the mile.

We watched miles 2 and 3 and still everyone looked awesome.  Then we headed over to mile 8.  While at mile 8 we watched a group of ladies stand in the middle of the road, obstructing the tangent, and despite having an athlete in the lead mens half pack run into one of them, would not get off the road.
Verrelle came through looking good, and on PR pace.  Jesse looked strong and still on pace.  Ryan came through under pace and looking good, but in no mans land, and I wished he was around some other guys.  At this point the ladies still had not moved out of the road, and I can get a little feisty when I am nervous.  I walked over and asked them to move, they informed me I was rude.  I said some choice words that cut to the core of what I believed would get their attention, and they moved. It wasn't my finest moment.  Sometimes the first time I hear the stuff that I am saying is as it comes out of my mouth.  Not pretty. Finally with a clear tangent to run Heidi came through!  She looked like she was on an easy run!  We hopped on our bikes and quickly got to mile 12.

We arrived just in time to see the lead half guys come through.  Shortly there after Verrelle came through and we knew he would be under 1:07!  Jesse was next and he looked tired, but I knew he would still run a respectable race. Ryan came along and he was with Joey, one of his former teammates, and Matt Folk, a good marathoner from ohio. Ryan was still under pace, and this was making me a little nervous.  I started cry/laughing and Nicole assured me that everything would be fine.    Before we knew it Heidi was coming!  She was under pace and looking great!  We cheered and got excited about how well this was going for everyone we were watching!
Heidi making it look easy (photo by Tayler Blake)

Ryan looking good and still enjoying the race! (Photo by Tayler Blake)



We rode along the course and stopped to cheer a few times, then decided to head over to 22.  Ryan came through in 10th place and looked rough.  I would later find out why.  You see he had decided to throw what his coach told him out the window (hehe I am his coach) and just go for it when he felt good...at mile 8.  He started running low 5:20's-mid 5 teens.  It seemed like a good idea, but not anymore.  I left Nicole and Jeffy while trying really hard not to cry.  I was doing a bad job of not crying though.  I get soooo emotional watching others and understanding their pain.  Nicole text me how Heidi was doing and I think I said out loud "Oh my God, hang on Heidi, you are going to do this!".

At mile 24 Ryan was in 12th I followed behind him watching and choking on tears over the next 2 miles.  He stated at 24 that he wanted to walk, his quads were visibly misfiring and I told him no, I don't care how slow you have to run DO NOT WALK!  He hung in there and finished just shy of his goal of breaking 2:30. He ran 2:30:37 and I was a very proud wife and coach!
I rode back to 26 miles and waited to cheer for Heidi.  She looked so tough!  I reminded her to turn those tired legs over, that she was tougher than she thought right now, and she was about to be an Olympic Trials qualifier!

What a day!  Verrelle and Jesse ran well, Ryan got a taste of how fickle the marathon can be, and still ran great, and another one of the ladies I love punched their ticket to the 2016 Olympic Trials!  I felt overwhelmed by how amazing the day went and enjoyed chatting with them both after.

Another inspiring weekend.  I am so proud of all of you!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

It is Ryan's turn!

As many of you know or have gathered from this blog, I was once a D1 college coach and I can say I fully loved that job! Being a part of someone's life like you get the chance to be as a coach is a true privilege!  At Wright State I watched my athletes do things they didn't think they could and grow not only as runners but as people. Being a part of that program really fostered my love for coaching.   Since that time I have helped quite a few people get to the starting line of their goal races more prepared and ready to go than they otherwise would have been.  Each one of those people allowed me a unique opportunity to be a part of their lives and I love every second of it!
My awesome Gals team at WSU
Since I love coaching, I jumped on the "you should race a marathon" train as soon as my husband showed some interest in racing again.  Over the past 6 months I have watched him surprise people with just how great a runner he really is.  He works hard, ALWAYS stays calm, and can execute a race plan like no one's business!  He is one tough cookie.  I have seen him crush workouts, and struggle through some.  But he always did what I asked to the best of his ability on that day.  He never let a great day get him too high or a bad day get him too low.  It was a good learning experience for me and something I hope to emulate in my own training and racing.

This weekend we get to head to Columbus OH. for Ryan's first marathon.  He is as ready to go as he can be and I am extremely excited to spectate, take splits, holler out some encouragement, and watch him be tough!  I may have learned more watching him train in the past 6 months than I have learned from my own training.  I am already very proud of him! He hopes to break 2:30 and I have full faith he is ready to do it! If you are in Columbus this weekend cheer for him!

Ry running Akron Half 
So stay tuned to my twitter feed (@beckimichael9) for race day updates on how things are going!  I will also be posting update for Heidi Greenwood (check out here blog here) on her quest for a new PR in Columbus!
Good luck to every one in Columbus! I will be cheering!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blindly Follow

About one year ago I went to the track as a member of Cleveland Elite Development (CED) for the first time.  I knew a number of people at the track that day since we had run together some and raced over quite a few years. A few weeks prior, after an epic fail at the Akron Marathon, I had decided I needed something different.  After a few conversations I decided that being coached by Glenn Andrews would be a good step.  I doubt I will ever forget the conversation I had with Nicole Camp about what I needed to do to become the athlete I wanted to be.  Glenn had forwardly informed me that I would not be running my usual 100-110 mile weeks under him.  I made a comment about 80 miles a week feeling like I didn't quite know what to do with myself.
Sorta like this! lol!
Nicole quickly pipped up and told me to blindly follow.  I promised her that I would and I meant it with all my heart.

Glenn has helped some ladies become some pretty fast, and I believed he could do the same for me.  Every time over think something I remind myself of the promise I made at the track that night, and remember all Glenn has done for us.  Glenn is a mild tempered, easy going coach.  While he isn't afraid to look at me and tell me to pull myself together,  work harder, and that my goals require specific work, he also offers us encouragement and little tie bits of praise for the things we do well.  I think it is safe to say that we as a collective group love and respect Glenn.

We love Glenn!

Since being under Glenn, I have run PR's for 2 miles, 5k, 8k and 5 miles.  I have run my fastest half in 3 years, and I have finally dealt with a hamstring issue that I had only assumed I would have to deal with for the remainder of my running. I haven't cheated by doing more than I am told to,  and I have hit workouts as Glenn has asked us to. I have watched Jess grab her first Olympic Trials qualifier,  and Nicole grab her second.  I have witnessed Lizzie come back from an injury, Aubrey run PR's I don't know she thought she was capable of, and Barb run a couple national age group records!  Nicole and I have become the sort of friends where you assume if one of us is there the other must be, and Aubrey makes me laugh so hard I have tears running down my face often.  We have given Hanson's ladies a run for their money at a club championship, and we have watched each other struggle on some rough days. Having someone to struggle with is sooo much better than doing it alone!

I am still not the athlete I want to be, but I am taking steps in the right direction!  As my first year with CED comes to an end I eagerly look forward to what we can do individually and collectively in 2014!  After a race tomorrow we have some "active rest" which Glenn says is like "pulling teeth" with me, and then I get to get ready for some TRACK!  I hate cross country, I love the roads, and I am in love with the track, so I can't wait to lace my spikes up this winter and spring and chase down some times from the mile through the 10k! As we go through 2014 I know what I have to do and it is simple, put one foot in front of the other and keep my promise!

My favorite place on earth. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nicole and Jess did it!

Just 2 weeks ago Jessica and I raced the Akron Half. Jess had high hopes for getting her first Olympic trials qualifier and it was no surprise when she did! She ran 1:14:21 to win the race! I was a pretty proud teammate. While I can't lie it was hard to know that prior to my injury my goal had been the same. None the less, I was stoked to learn of her and Ryan's PR's when I crossed the line in 2nd in 1:18:35 (see my race recap on Salty Running)!

Then last week I drove to one of my college roommates place in Madison Wisconsin and spent a few days pretending like we were 23 again, complete with early morning runs and staying out too late!  We had a ton of fun!

Carol and I at 'The Library' a Madison bar.


Friday I drove another 4 hours to Minneapolis to cheer on another teammate, Nicole, as she ran the Twin Cities Marathon with dreams of the Olympic Trials 'A' standard.

Beautiful views while driving!


"Minnesota Nice"



The day of the race came and Eric Finan, a good friend and an Ohio member of Team USA Minnesota, and I hopped on our bikes to watch the race unfold. We were all over the course and were able to see Nicole at mile 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, 19, 21, 24 and the finish. She looked solid the whole race! Smiled every time we saw her, never lost good turn over and slowly moved from 10th-ish  at 2 miles to 7th at the finish! No One passed her during the race! She finished in 2:37:26 just shy of the 2:37:00  Olympic Trials 'A' standard. But top 10 and a new PR made for a lot of smiles after the race.
Nicole making it look easy at half way!



Finan and I rode back to Minneapolis (about 40 miles round trip) and  got in a 10 mile run with one of his teammates, Jonathan Peterson,  who had won the 10 mile that morning in mowhawk/uncommitted duces fashion!
Finally around 2 pm we had some food and water! I was so so so thirsty! Then we headed to the after party for some more fun! This was really a good 4 days of running, being inspired and goofing off for me! I fell in LOVE with Minneapolis in my few short days there.  It is a wonderful, and beautiful city!  I am so excited for Finan to be there and to be surrounded by so many fantastic people, in such a great place!
Watching my teammates get the standard really made me eager to get healthy and back to racing!  I am so proud of them both! I can't wait for my turn in June or the fall of next year! 

But for now, that will have to wait I have some unfinished business on the track!! Jessica, Aubrey, Barb, Mel and I are going to race Peace Race in Youngstown this weekend, and then it is time to get in a good training block and get back to the track, where my love for this sport began.  Then it is back to the roads for me with hopes of getting into my 3rd Olympic Trials!

Eric Finan and I