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5ksandcabernets: June 2010


Thursday, June 24, 2010

How's the new coach working out


Just fine.

But he's been more Dr. Gilbert than Gilbert the running coach.

One friggin day before marathon training season started, I was running a slow and easy recovery run around Town Lake with a friend who stopped in from Fort Worth. Karen Payne. We took it really easy. I mean easy easy. Still, somehow, I twisted my knee and its led to an IT Band that screams at me often. And loud.

Even before I got "injured" Gilbert was always telling me that I've got stiff hips and I needed to stretch more, do more core work, stuff like that. I was just starting to do that when IT Band reared his head and said, "Hell-O!"

I saw a PT this morning who twisted me all around and stretched me good and he told me, "you've got weak hips and that's why your IT Band doesn't like you."

So, I'm making sure to stretch more, get this IT Band thingy fixed. I'm still running, though very gingerly and slowly, like 8:45 to 9:15 min/miles and its starting to feel better and better every day. But its still not right, and until it is, Gilbert can't make me a faster marathoner.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Leaving Team Rogue to become a Gazelle: Marathon season is upon me

Its that time of year again. Double-digit mileage in 75-plus degree weather. Worse humidity. Fridays in bed by 11 to be up Saturdays by 4:45.

Marathon training has begun!

My marathon this fall will be Chicago on 10-10-10. I hope to qualify for Boston. To get there, I'll be running the same hills and same trails as I ran last summer while training for Portland.

But my journey this season will be around new people.

In May, I quietly let my membership with Rogue Running expire to join Gilbert's Gazelles.

Don't get me wrong. I loved the people I ran with at Rogue. They are faster than shit. I've never been around so many sub 3-hour marathoners in my life. I hope I can be that fast one day.

And maybe with a different style of coaching, I can get there.

My coach at Rogue, Steve, is a really nice guy. Fun to have a beer with. His style, though, is to just kind of put the training program in front of you, give you (as a group) a few pep talks throughout the season, and then leave you on your own. And really, there is nothing wrong with that. But if I'm paying close $300 to be part of your group, I need just a little  more attention from the coach.

I had a terrible Portland Marathon and my Rogue coach never called to see how I was doing, or emailed me or even spoke to me about the marathon, what went wrong, how I could get better. Nothing. A few months later, I had a PR at the White Rock Marathon in Dallas and, again, nothing from my coach. No "way to get back out there." Nothing.

And again, there is nothing wrong with that style. That is, if you don't need to hear from your coach from time to time.

I, on the other hand, have to admit that it made me feel like a second-class citizen at Rogue sometimes. I am paying you nearly $300 and all I get sometimes is a friggin hello?

I don't remember exactly when I met Gilbert of Gilbert's Gazelles, though I'm pretty sure it was on the Town Lake Trails, with him running by me. One of those times, he slowed from his sub 6 pace to run with me for a half mile or so. We talked - no, better yet, I asked a ton of questions. He gladly answered and didnt make me feel like I was bothering him, or he didnt have time for me. And from then on, I started thinking about making the change from Rogue to Gilbert's Gazelles.

Let me tell, you, though. It was no easy decision. I had a lot of good mornings with my Rogue teammates. Lots of laughs. Lots of memories. And like I said, its not like there is something wrong with Rogue: Drive to Rogue headquarters at 5:45 AM on a Saturday morning and you'll be lucky to find parking. Rogue Running is one of the most popular running teams around and there is a reason. Good people and good, solid marathon program.

But for what I need, the kind of communication I like, Gilbert's Gazelles might just be the fit. Gilbert Tuhabonye, the namesake of Gilbert's Gazelles makes you feel like you are the most important person in the room when he is talking to you, whether you run 5-minute miles or 12-minute miles. He has run a half marathon in 1:04 and a marathon in 2:22, but he is the most humble running superstar I've ever met. And perhaps is roots have much to do with that. A synopsis of his best-selling biograhphy, This Voice in My Heart:

On October 21, 1993, the centuries-old war between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes erupted in horrific reality one afternoon as Gilbert and his classmates were in school. The Hutu classmates at the Kibimba school, their parents, some teachers and other Hutu tribesmen, forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a room where they beat and burned them to death. After nine hours of being buried by the corpses of his beloved friends, and himself on fire, Gilbert used the charred bone of one of his classmates to break through a window. He jumped free of the burning building and ran into the night, on charred feet, surviving one of the most horrible massacres in the long Tutsi-Hutu war. He ran from that horror into a new life.

Folks, this is the guy who will be coaching me to my Boston Qualifying time this fall. I'm humbled that he would even give a shit about me, or the rest of my new teammates.