One thing I learned pretty quickly about this new hobby of mine is that everyone has an opinion about running, and they are eager to share it with you whether you want to hear it or not. I decided early on in this hobby to tune out the naysayers and critics. They were simply jealous folks who were threatened by someone trying to better themselves while they wallowed in their own misery.
I did however LOVE getting advice from fellow runners. 2 great friends of mine in particular who have really helped me understand things about running are Joy Avery and Jake Wade.
Joy is an ultramarathoner friend of mine who lives in Chicago. She does runs of 50-100 miles at at a time. Ultramarthons are any running event that involves running more than the traditional 26.2 mile marathon. There was one week in particular during my training where I hit a big wall.. no not literally... the figurative kind! I was running myself to death trying to keep up with my schedule so I would be ready for my 26.2. I sent her a long email about what I was experiencing and she offered some great advice to get me through. She closed the email with... "You are a runner!" Those words encouraged me so much. Having never been athletic, those words meant something to me. I hope she reads this to know how much I appreciate her kindness from a far... Maybe one day I will run that 50 miler with her!
Jake was my former RA at North Greenville. Long about our junior year, Jake was quite the "hoss." Not sure how much he weighed, but it was enough that it bothered him, and he decided to do something about it. He got moving and lost tons of weight! He is now Cpt Jake Wade in the Army and lives with his family in Texas. He has been a HUGE help to me explaining the logistics of running. For those who don't run, there is a lot more to training than just putting on your shoes and running. Jake told me about the dreaded "ice bath," negative splits, GPS running watches, and tempo runs. I won't take the time to bore you with those... you have Google. I remember one conversation that we had where he was telling me about "long runs." He asked me about my long run, and then proceeded to tell me that his long run was anything over 12 miles... WHAT?????? Are you kidding me???, I asked. My long run at the time was like 7-8 miles. I thought I would never get to that... Now, thanks to Cpt. Jake's encouraging and pushing from a far, my long run is anything over 15. Maybe one day the captain and I will get to run together. He is probably faster than me though... After all, he is an army man!
Coaches are necessary in any sport. They push, they pull, they stretch, and they guide. A big thanks to these 2 friends who have encouraged and coached me greatly over the last year!!!