I had achieved what I wanted and so much more working the aid station at Foresthill. The owners of Reno Running and Fitness facebooked me and asked if I could meet them after work one day to go over some marketing ideas. I was glad to help, but a bit weary of what I may be getting into…..again the word social is generally not used to describe me in a lot of situations, running being one of them. Even when I am running in a group of friends, I often find myself taking as much “me” time as I can and run alone.
I met them at a local pizza place and gave them the rundown on what I thought of the company they had going. It is not your standard running group, there is a fee for each session but they provide all the aid for the runs, they bring in local runners for lectures, and customized training plans for the events that you are doing. They also meet Tuesdays and Saturdays at some local spots in town for their runs. All in all it is a pretty great deal, especially if you are new to running.
I’d been on the couch for so long with my injury (about 6 months or so) I’d gained a fair bit of weight but did not know it at the time. I was so nervous the first day I ran with the new group, I do not think I talked to a single person. I came home and told my girlfriend that I was not sure it was for me but I’d give it an entire session since I was training for the California International Marathon (C.I.M.) in early December, and they were sending a group down there as well.
It probably took me a month before I got up the nerve to be friendly. It had nothing to do with the group, I am just like that. Many people tried to coax me along, but like usual, it just took some time for me to get comfortable. Once I got to that point though, I found some amazing people and stories to motivate me.
They taught me to build weekly miles slowly, how to pace myself (well I’m still working on that one), and they introduced me to some of their motivational lectures they have each session. The first one I attended had a great panel of runners. The eventual president of the Western States board was there speaking as well. I got to hear many stories about races I had only dreamed about since I started running ultras. The other benefit was they run mostly on the flat stuff, so theoretically I should not have problems with the foot. I figured I'd build up a good base and get my foot strong before I subjected it to the hills again.
I got to C.I.M. and I was entered into the Clydesdale division, that’s basically anyone over 200lbs. I hoped on the scale and saw a horrifying number…..221lbs. What the F%$K? How did this happen, I’d been a steady 205lbs since I graduated high school. I’d been training for a marathon for 2.5 months and I lost no weight. The answer is quite simple, sitting on your ass for 6 months with a bum leg will do that to you. Especially when you keep eating like you are running daily. Once I started training again I kept on eating, clearly the calories in equaled or were greater than the calories out…hence no weight loss.
I ran the race and did quite well for the amount of time I had been back running. I finished right around the 4:20 mark and enjoyed the day immensely. I actually enjoyed running on the road. I also learned there might be something to this coaching/advice thing. I was injury free so far, enjoyed both the training and the race and was once again motivated to get back on track with my journey to Western States.
In my down time with the injury I had been studying a lot of past results for Western States. I looked up the people who finished high in the standings and searched to see if they had blogs. I found a couple and had been following them for months. About 2 weeks after CIM, one blogger posted that he was taking a couple of new clients to coach for Western States. I’ll call him Mr. Consistent (Mr. C), mainly because the guy had finished in the top 10 at Western States every year he’d run the race. I immediately emailed him and told him this was my dream. Though I was not entered this year for the race, I was entered into the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 that coming July.
He replied back to me and said he would be happy to be my coach. Wow, I had a near legend of the race I have been dreaming about now coaching me. I was so delighted and enthused, then he sent me my first weeks schedule and I about crapped myself. 7 days a week running? What, who does that? I had less than a month to go from a casual 30 mile 3-4 day a week runner to an uber serious 7 day a week runner. I was so scared my body, particularly my foot, would not hold up. I was heavier than I’d ever been and now I had to run more than I ever had.