Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Giving the "Coach Thing" a Shot

Almost exactly one year ago, I met Josh, the coach of Gotham City Runners. Our introduction was purely serendipitous: I was training for the NYC Marathon and was sick of running the same boring routes around Central Park, so I emailed a former coworker, M___, who I knew also trained for marathons and happened to live in Manhattan, to ask if she had any suggestions for alternative routes. She said that she ran with this group of really nice people, and  they were meeting up in the Bronx to run in Palisades Park, and did I want to come? I had--literally--never done a long run with other people before, but I figured "why not?" And so I went.

As it turned out, M___ never showed up to that run at all. However, Josh and the other runners were very inclusive, and they invited me to join their other long runs, since many members of the team were training for the same race I was. I ran one or two more times with the group, and then Hurricane Sandy hit, and that was that.

Fast forward to May of this year. I had just PRed in the Long Branch Half Marathon, and I messaged Josh to hear how the full marathon had gone for his runners. He told me their results and asked how I had done. Proudly, I told him my time of 1:32:42. After congratulating me, he wrote (and I quote), "You could totally torque it down and compete." He went on to say that if I worked with him, I could probably drop 6 minutes off of my half marathon time. Six minutes! That's basically 30 seconds per mile, and I was already running close to 7-minute miles. My initial reaction was, "Yeah right." But told him I'd think about it, and I did. Ultimately I figured I'd give it a shot. Why not try working with a coach? What could it hurt? I'd give it 6 months to a year, and if I hated it or didn't get any faster, then I could just quit. Otherwise, I'd get faster, and who wouldn't want that?

Now, as of Sunday, October 13th, I am proud to say that I not only PRed in the Staten Island Half Marathon, but I dropped almost 3 minutes off of my Long Branch time. I ran the race at a sub-7min/mile pace, which I never thought I would do, ever, in my whole life. And what's more, I placed 3rd in my age group and 6th out of every woman who ran the race!

So a big thanks to Josh  and all of the pain and suffering he's put me through. (Just kidding; I actually sort of like structured workouts now . . . even if they do tend to hurt.) And a second thanks to the team of welcoming, supportive, enthusiastic runners he coaches. I'm grateful to be a part of Gotham City Runners!

A note on the results from this race: While I "officially" came in 2nd in the F25-29 age group, I technically placed 3rd. The top finisher in my age group placed 2nd for all women, so she was removed from the age group award winners. But hey, I'll take 3rd, too. Gladly!

Race Length
Finishing Time
Average Pace
Overall Place
Gender Place
Age Group Place (F25-29)
13.1 miles

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