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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THIS is why people pay for running coaches...

last night, i was invited to a TFK A-Team (alumni) run led by none other than my favorite Coach Skinny Vinny!  i've been invited before but this was the first run i actually attended.  to be honest, i've been invited once (or is it twice?) a month since before marathon training began last year and i've been a total idiot and haven't gone to any until yesterday.

i missed my scheduled 5 mile run on monday so once i saw the e-mail about tuesday's run, i immediately responded with my rsvp.  how could i turn down a run with coach skinny vinny?

not gonna lie, i was nervous pretty much all day.  why? because everyone who showed up to run was probably going to be faster than me.  and in fact, when i showed up, this was exactly the case.  i was the slow poke.

coach explained the workout and how it would be a great predictor of how we would run the nyc half coming up in 3 weeks.  i wanted to see if my race goal was realistic so i was excited about the workout.

the workout was as followed:

  • warm-up from engineer's gate to the top of harlem hill
  • 2 mile pick-up at "half-marathon pace"
  • recovery jog (2x the 72nd st transverse)
  • 2 mile pick-up at "10k pace" or slightly faster than "half-marathon" pace (whichever was possible as this pick up would be harder because it was later in the workout and primarily all uphill)
  • cool down from harlem hill back to engineer's gate
Total Mileage: 7.4

the group ran the warm up together.  i enjoyed the conversation of other TFK alum and listened to coach skinny vinny give tips about the NYC half and the new course.  as we ran up the base of harlem hill, i found myself thinking of lululemon run club coach gia's advice to "eat the hill."  i ate the hill.  i leaned forward.  i pushed off from my toes.  i own you, harlem hill.

once at the top, it was time for our first two mile pick-up.  everyone else pushed ahead and i found myself in a rhythm beside coach vinny.  we chatted for most of the two miles and as we neared the 72nd st transverse where we would begin our recovery, he commented that we were running at about an 8:50 pace.


i had a mini-panic attack.  i don't run sub-9 on longer runs! how am i going to run back up the hill faster than that?! huh?! huhhhhh?!?!?!

we recovered across the transverse and turned back around.  coach vinny and i agreed that there would be no talking for the next 2 miles (probably because he knew i'd keel over and die if i tried to speak) and he also told me that he wasn't going to tell me my splits so as to avoid another anxiety rant.  

so i ran.  for 2 miles.  uphill.  

it sucked.  i hated life.  i wanted to stop.  i wanted to throw up.  i also wanted to be done.. so i kept running.

every once in a while, coach vinny would give me some encouragement or offer a tip for getting up the next hill.  i tried to listen to his encouragement but it's hard to believe that you're "doing great" when you feel like at any moment your entire body is going to collapse and your lungs are going to explode.

then i saw it: my finish line.  the traffic light at the top of what felt like the most massive hill on the planet.  i got about 3/4 up before having to slow down.  i'm sorry but i just did not have any more left in me to give.  reaching the top, i slowed and caught my breath and gave vinny a huge high 5.  my 2 mile split? 8:27. BEAST MODE.

coach looked at me and said, "you're faster than you think you are." yea, maybe i am. 

we jogged back down to the 102 transverse to meet the rest of the group where we could brag about my negative split and my 8:27 to people whose easy runs are probably at an 8:27 pace.  but it's tfk.  and everyone is awesome.  dare i say it, even the fast ones.  

we did a nice cool down jog back to nyrr, grabbed our bags, and did a quick stretch outside.  

i'll definitely be going to more A-Team runs from now on.  having a coach is a HUGE advantage and i'm sorry that i haven't taken TFK up on this incredible opportunity before.  i definitely don't push myself to my max the way i did last night when i run alone.  and just maaaybe my uncomfortable pace of 8:27 today will be my comfortable pace of the future.  

until next time, perhaps i should reconsider my nyc half goal based on yesterdays run? thoughts?

how many of you have running coaches? life coaches? coach pocketbooks? 



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