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Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting To Know CED Kelsi Style

Meet Kelsi Nutter

Kelsi, being a goofball with boyfriend Michael

Kelsi started running in 7th grade when she joined the track team in her hometown of Painesville Ohio, where she ran for Gilmour Academy. When asked about her early days running Kelsi says "I thought I was going to be an Olympian in the 200 because I was the only 7th grader on the 4x200 meter relay! I joined the cross country team the following spring to "stay in shape for track".  I'm not convinced I loved distance running at the time, but I liked being good at something so I kept at it!"
She continued running in college at Wright State University.  While at Wright State fate intervened and brought Kelsi and I together.   I became her coach her senior year of college. Kelsi tested me, and was the first athlete on the team I would have to yell at. When I arrived at Wright State, Kelsi was struggling to run under 22 minutes for 5k. I knew she was much better than that, and tried to instill confidence in her ability.  One year later when she won her heat of the 5k at All-Ohio in 18:41, I cried like a fool. Kelsi is currently in her first year of podiatry school, loves beer, coffee, and hanging out with her "awesome nieces".

Since Wright State, Kelsi has continued running and joined CED in 2013.  Since joining, she has run a PR for every distance, and has qualified to the 2016 Olympic Trials in the marathon. 

Kelsi's PR's
3k- 9:49
8k- 27:30
Half Marathon- 1:17:05
Marathon- 2:41:28

Kelsi Breaking 3 hours for the first time at the Boston Marathon. 

I asked Kelsi a few questions about where she is now, how she got there, and her goals. 

Q. Kelsi, what brought you to join CED?

"It's actually a small world! Becki Spellman was my coach in college and is legitimately the only reason I am still running today.  She somehow encouraged me to stick with it despite having only broken 19 minutes in the 5k one time!

When I moved back to Ohio after 2 years in Boston, I wanted to take running a little more seriously so I reached out to Becki to see if she happened to know anyone I could train with. Little did I know, she was living in Cleveland and said I should check out CED!

After talking with all of the girls about Glenn's coaching and their experience with CED, I knew I had a big decision.  They ALL were faster now than in college, something I never thought was possible.  I had to ask myself if I wanted to continue as a mediocre runner, or if I wanted to take a chance to try to be my best.  Since glenn and becki had faith in me, I knew I should have a little faith in myself, so I joined!"

Q. How do you think being a member of CED is beneficial in helping you to meet your goals?
"Every single athlete on CED is an inspiration to me and motivates me to be my best.  Additionally, Glenn pushes us to our limits and never lets us settle.  Without them, I would have no idea what potential I had and I would have no idea how to push myself and dig down deep.

Glenn and these ladies strive for greatness on a daily basis and it's contagious! You can't be around them and not want to be a better runner."

Q. What are those goals?  

"I never thought in a zillion years I would be competing in the Olympic Trials. With the trials in February 2016, my short term goal is to stay healthy and happy in training so I can run a sizable PR in February!

Long term - Keep on loving the sport!  The sustainability in this sport makes me really nervous.  When you compete at a certain level and experience certain successes, you want those feelings to last forever. Sadly, they don't.  As you age, there's a natural regression in race results.  I'm 26 so I know I have a little while, but a long term goal is not to be selfish and be grateful for all of the opportunities I've had.  When the improvements stop (and hopefully they never do ;)) I want to still love running and all it has done for me."

Q. What types of workouts are your favorite and why?

"Oh gosh! It depends on the training cycle I am in.  My last big training cycle I loved the long (10 mile) unbroken tempos.  If I was going to race a marathon, I knew I had to build strength- mentally and physically.  Fortunately, Glenn is a genius coach and knew that to build that strength weekly 10 milers at marathon pace were a necessity.

Each week I felt stronger and more confident.  When I finally got on the line at Grandmas, I knew that I was the strongest I had been from those tempos. It's really hard to focus that long! So it was good to practice focusing and working hard for extended periods of time."

Q. What types of workouts are the hardest to you, and why do you still suffer through them?

"Long runs! Even easy day long runs have always been a challenge for me.  I would venture to say it's the monotony of the long run that I struggle with.  I suffer through them because I've never heard of someone being a successful distance runner without the weekly long run.  Doing things you find challenging builds character.  That's at least what I tell myself when I'm lacking motivation."

Q. If you could go back and meet yourself your sophomore year in HS, what wisdom would you impart on yourself as an athlete?

"Probably something along the lines of "SUCK IT UP", compliments of Ellie. But seriously,  the daily grind can sometimes seem like "too much" or a "waste of time" but the daily grind is what makes the difference between good and great. I would tell myself to "run hard and run long.  But never outrun your love for running"."

Q. What is your favorite race?  Why?  What mental tips can you offer for racing this distance well?  Any specific training workouts or block of workouts that you think make you well prepared to tackle this distance fast?

"I might be a little bias, but I would have to say the marathon is my favorite because my best training and racing experience came during the marathon.  I learned so much about myself and mental toughness during training.  Glenn had us do 10 mile unbroken tempos week after week after week to really get into the groove of longer efforts at marathon pace.  This made me mentally and physically stronger each week. I got to the starting line ready to zone out and focus for 26.2 mile."

Q. What do you think about when you run?  Everyone asks, so we might as well share!

"People do love this question! High mileage = lots of time to think. I think that's what makes runners so special.  We think A LOT and I like to tell myself that's what makes us so insightful ;) My boyfriend gets nervous when I get home from a run and say, "you know what I was thinking?!".  He knows something really silly or crazy is about to come out of my mouth.

Since I am in podiatry school, I spend a lot of time studying.  When I get out for a run I like to review the things I studied that day.

I also like to reflect on workouts and recent races.  Sometimes when I'm having a bad stretch of training, I like to think about the moment I felt after I reached a goal.  It helps remind me why I do this (sometimes) tortuous sport and give me perspective.

I also like to think about ways to save and rule the world... Although I'm still working on the details of that."

Kelsi (3rd from left) a member of the 3200m State Championship team in 2007 (9:13 for a state record at the time)

Kelsi Racing as a Wright State Raider

Kelsi racing XC along side CED teammate Beth Herndon

Kelsi moments after becoming a 2016 Olympic Trials Qualifier

I know I speak for all of CED in saying that Kelsi has helped us to reach our goals and have no excuses!  She has come so far in the past 2 years despite having full plate outside of training. She keeps us laughing, and hands us our butts if were not ready to go in a workout or race. Kelsi, I couldn't be more proud of you! CED is lucky to have you as a member!  I can't wait to watch you chase down another PR in Los Angeles this February!   

Follow Kelsi on Social Media
Facebook- Kelsi Nutter
Twitter- @kelsimarie13
Instagram- Kelsi_marie1

Check out my blog soon for the next edition of "Getting To Know CED" next time it will be Ellison Style! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Getting To Know CED Beth Style

Meet Beth Herndon

Beth and husband Greg

Cleveland Elite Development, "CED", is a group from the greater Cleveland area that was set up by Glenn Andrews a number of years ago. This is the group I run for, and love every step I have shared with them. Glenn is our coach and in the upcoming weeks I want to give you all a chance to meet the wonderful, weird, strong, passionate ladies and gentlemen that comprise our incredible group.  We laugh, we have fun, and we work hard to reach some pretty ambitious goals. "Misery loves company" holds very true to our hearts as we chase down PR's, Olympic Trials qualifying times, and even a World Record.  Speaking of world records, I would like to introduce you all to our World Record the Beer Mile, Beth Herndon.

Beth winning the "Beer Mile World Championships" in a world record 6:17
Beth grew up in a place called "Fort Fun" undoubtedly named after her.  It is more commonly known as Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Beth started running in 6th grade for the social aspect, Beth grew up around running with her parents both running and coaching. She played soccer her freshman and sophomore years in high school, but found her talents really lied in running. I am very glad she did because CED wouldn't be the same without her! She went on from Snider High School to compete for Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a two time UAA Conference Champion, and a 2 time All American placing 11th and 5th in the National XC Championship in '05 and '06 respectively. Beth is currently a professor in the Geology Department at Kent State University.  When there is time for some fun she says her and her husband, Greg, love to eat good food, drink good beer, and they enjoy biking, hiking, and canoeing. 

Beth's PR's
Mile- 5:03
Beer Mile -6:17
3k -9:52
10k- 35:34
Half Marathon- 1:15:43
Marathon- 2:39:43

I asked Beth some questions, and here is what she had to say.

Q.What Brought you to join CED?

A. "I moved to northeast Ohio in August 2014 to start a faculty position at Kent State University. Before moving, my husband and I visited the area and stopped by a local running store (Second Sole - Akron) to get the inside scoop on the running scene. We had the incredible fortune of meeting the one and only Becki Spellman there, who immediately asked me my marathon PR and then told me to join CED. Needless to say, I did!"

Q. How do you think being a member of CED is beneficial in helping you to meet your goals?

A. "CED has really benefited my training in three ways. First, weekly track workouts hold me accountable. No matter how busy things are at work, I drop everything and go to the track on Tuesday - no excuses. Second, I haven't had such a large group of equally-fit people to train with since college. Our workouts have pushed me to go faster than I thought possible. Finally, CED is just such an incredible group of people, and being around them has bolstered my attitude during what could have been a tough transition to a new home." 

Q. What are those goals?

A. "I am always striving to be a better runner. I don't know what that limit is, but I will chip away at my PRs for as long as I can. Short-term, I'm training for the Olympic marathon trials and would love to run 2:37 or faster, but ultimately I'm going out there to compete."

Q. What types of workouts are your favorite and why?

A. "I have a soft spot for long, half-marathon paced workouts. Something like 6 x mile or 4 x 2 mi that gets you in that steady zone of effort without dropping into 5k-10k pace (which I consider to be very speedy). Just not on the track, please."

Q. What types of workouts are the hardest for you, and why do you suffer through them?

A.  "I suffer through the 1k-2k length repeats at 5k pace. If my teammates were slower, maybe I wouldn't suffer so much. 400 m repeats I can wrap my head around...even 800 m is okay, but there's a sweet spot of agony before I reach my slow/long comfort zone." 

Q. Do you have a favorite running quote and if so what is it?

A. " 'From now on, I'll connect the dots my own way.'
Not a running quote, but a good philosophy for life. I can be pretty obstinate at times." 

Q. If you could go back and meet yourself your sophomore year in HS what wisdom would your impart on yourself as an athlete?

A . "You are capable of more than you think right now! Also, stop eating that low-calorie crap food. Just eat good food." 

Q. What is your favorite race? Why? What mental tips can you offer for racing this distance well?

A.  "I love the half-marathon. It suits my long-distance inclinations, but I can still walk afterwards. I think consistent 2 hour long runs are a key component of being race ready for the half. Add to that a weekly track session (e.g., 5 x 1200 m is a killer) and tempo (3 or 4 x 10 min) and you'll be good to go! During the race, it helps to key into a pace and stay consistent through the first half. Then I like to push the pace down as far as I can go..."turning the screws" if you will."

Q. What do you think about during all those 90+ mile weeks while running?

A. "I think through problems, but I'm not sure I reach any solutions. It's easy to let your mind wander through a run, but hard to get it to do anything useful." 

Beth competing for Washington University in St. Louis 

Look at that smile!  What's not to love?!

Beth competing for CED at USA Club National XC 2014

Beth has become an integral part of our team in more ways than I can count.  She keeps us in line, makes us laugh, is good at reminding us to be smart, and has crushed some new PR's along the way.  I am glad my creepy questioning brought you to see the true beauty that is Cleveland Elite Development. Look for Beth, one of CED's four athletes, competing in the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles this February!  We can't wait to watch her chase down that 2:37!  We love you Beth. 

Follow Beth on social media
Twitter - emh824