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

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5ksandcabernets: Leaving Team Rogue to become a Gazelle: Marathon season is upon me


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.


Blogger TRI-james said...

Change is hard but it almost always for the best.

Good luck to you.

June 7, 2010 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Sadie J said...

Good on you, Kevin. You're gonna have a great season!

June 7, 2010 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

@sadie - thanks for the kind words... it was really hard leaving Rogue and if it was free, id stay. but if im gonna pay money, i might as well get "coached" the way i need to get coached. anyway, and this is the honest to god's truth, about once every two or three weeks i send good vibes your way regarding your pregnancy. i know how excited chad and you are... u were the first person that was nice to me when i moved to austin (heck, even before i moved, you gave me your gloves and ran with me around town lake so i wouldnt get lost. i'll never forget that.)

June 7, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Dude, you're gonna get to Boston! And yes, pick the coaching/group style that suits you best. I hope to keep seeing you around town and town lake. Run on.

June 7, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Ruth England said...

Kevin if you would give me a call I would like to talk to you on the phone. Thanks Ruth

June 7, 2010 at 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Team Rogue wasn't the right environment for you Kevin. I'll miss you at weekly happy office meetings and your racing me and the gang on Tuesday mornings :) See you out on the roads and I hope you find what you're looking for and need for your training.

June 7, 2010 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

@Mark --- thanks for the nice words. I need to train more like you - slow and easy and then turn on the speed on race day. ......
@kamran - thanks for letting me run with you on Tuesday mornings...I always knew at anytime you could go from mid to low 7s to low 6s with in no time.

June 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Missychel said...

Kevin, I have been in your shoes and know how difficult of a choice this was for you. Kudos for listening to your heart and making the change.

You will always have the amazing friendship that grew from those grueling early morning long runs and countless brutally hot evening track workouts. Your true running partners come with no labels and those are the ones who will stick by you and cheer you on to Boston regardless of the "colors" you wear.

from one ex-roguer to another......Good luck this season!

Michelle Hittner

June 7, 2010 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Christie said...

Wow! That's some guy. Good luck with your new coach.

June 8, 2010 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Mohammad Yousuf Mulaifi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 9, 2010 at 4:31 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

That's cool about the new coach/group! I definitely would want more interaction... Especially with some post-race breakdown or discussion at least! Gilbert's stats... Incredible.

June 9, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Amazing story about your new coach, Kevin.

June 11, 2010 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger mikeINaustin said...

Dude! A little harsh on steve don't you think?! I distinctly remember him and you talking about your training at several happy offices and several mornings.
Maybe I'm biased because i like training under him, but regardless, you're making him sound like a terrible coach which i think is quite inaccurate. The success the team has had over the last 2 years more than proves that. I personally prove that, as do Jon A, Michael W, Kamran, Larry, Niccole, Nedra, Francie, Jim F. etc. The list of success stories goes on and on and on. Matter of fact, pretty much everyone who stuck it out for more than one 6 month season has seen remarkable gains. Steve listens and offers all the advice you ever might want if you are proactive about it. He will talk to you at Happy Offices, after runs, or even schedule private one on ones... But he can't read people's minds and shouldn't be expected to. Gilbert can't either, so i hope you're proactive and reach out to GT.
And know that i agree... No coach is perfect, including Steve AND Gilbert. (I've run in town for 5 yrs, and I've heard unflattering things about every coach out there, incl your new coach. I'll gladly share those details offline but they're irrelevant)

Anyway, no hate here, you know that. Quite the contrary... i can't wait to see you get to Boston. You had the legs to get you to Boston in Portland and in Dallas, I continuously told you that... but in my opinion, correct adjustments to your nutrition and then fixing what goes on between your ears on race day will make that happen. (I've had both those issues myself)
Can't wait to read the good news race report on the morning of October 11! See you on the roads.

June 13, 2010 at 10:12 PM  

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