Friday, June 19, 2009

A Second Coach

While my main source of training, tips and inspiration remains my teammates, led by Coach Jack, I recently have found myself seeking the advice of a sort-of second coach.

I met Geno while taking his Spin Class at the YMCA a few times this winter. He's definitely a motivating person -- high-energy, enthusiastic and positive.

More than a few times, he made a note of when I missed a few classes -- which made me sure to get back to the cross-training. Exactly the kind of nudge I need sometimes.

He seemed to take a particular interest in my training, asking me about upcoming races, my goals and my plans. Along the way, I've updated him about my progress and he's offered his advice.

Let me preface this by noting that Geno is an ultra-marathoner. That means he runs races that are 50 or 100 miles long. Yes, you're reading that correctly. I know people who complain about driving 100 miles -- and he runs it.

I'm sure it takes a different kind of person to be an ultra-marathoner. Without even mentioning the physical strains it must put on one's body (although Geno assures me the body will do anything you mind tells it to do), I can't imagine how one mentally takes on those miles and training.

I figure if he can get his body to survive a 100 miles on foot, he can certainly help me get a mere 26.2 run out of the way.

Sometimes I feel silly complaining to him or telling him that I feel nervous about taking on the marathon in the fall. I mean, 26 miles barely registers as a training run for this guy.

Yesterday, I sent him my "official" marathon training schedule -- which I put together with the help of Runner's World -- to see if he thought I was going in the right direction.

On paper, it seems do-able. But I've watched enough marathons to know to expect the unexpected.

It's the unknowns that worry me the most. What exactly is going to happen to me, mentally and physically, somewhere after Mile 18 or so?

I was quickly brought back to reality with Geno's short email reply:

1) Forget the unknowns... Focus on what you can do right.

2) Remain consistent in your training.

3) Drink before you get thirsty and eat when you are hungry.

4) Listen to your body.

5) Believe in yourself!

Sounds simple enough, right?


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