Let's do this!

22 weeks.

A little less than half a year.

Two seasons.

A good chunk of time, right? Yes, but…how about when you’re training your body to run its longest distance?

When you’ve got a plan, when you’ve got the determination… and someone to help you execute said plan, well, you feel pretty good about it all.

I mentioned in my last post that I had some exciting news to share and here it is: I’m officially working with a coach to train for the Bayshore Marathon, which takes place Memorial Day weekend here in Traverse City. I’m beyond giddy about this.

Why a coach? Simple answer: I want to train right this time around. Longer answer: I figure paying someone – someone who truly knows her stuff and is an accomplished runner herself — will ensure I’ll stay committed to my long-held goal to complete a marathon. And, well, run it really, really well (I hope). This is my Happy-Birthday-&-Merry-Christmas-to-me present.

This fall I began asking around about coaches in my area. Several people mentioned the same person, and then fate intervened in the form of an article I was writing for a regional web site. My main source was the husband of this well-known running coach, and after a series of back-and-forth emails and a phone conversation during which we realized we had mutual acquaintances, I asked if he happened to be related to this woman I’d been hearing about. “She’s my wife,” he replied, to which I asked if she ever did one-on-one marathon training. As it happens, he said, she’s looking to expand her coaching experience into this area.

He put the two of us in touch over email, which led to a coffee meeting during which we decided to work together. I immediately felt like I clicked with Lisa Taylor, a kind, running-passionate woman whose coaching experience and personal running story is impressive to say the least. Along with serving as coach of the girls’ cross country team at one of our city’s high schools for the past 16 years, she also is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health & Fitness Instructor (“I’m especially proud of this,” she tells me of this certification she’s held since 1992. There are only two people in our area with this certification, she believes).

Lisa also created a “Run Again” beginner class through our local running store that’s proved extremely popular, and she is race director for both the National Cherry Festival Festival of Races and the North American Vasa Ski Race.

During our second meeting, when she laid out my 22-week training plan, I learn a few more cool things about Lisa: In her 35 years of running, she estimates she’s clocked 25,000 miles – enough to circle the globe. She’s run six marathons – two Bostons – and ran in high school and at the collegiate level (I’m always a bit jealous when I hear these kinds of runner background stories since I came to running later in life).

Lisa didn’t start running marathons until 31, which I think is interesting – probably because it gives this as-of-tomorrow 36-year-old hope. Also: I’m in awe of her marathon PR of 3:11.

Need I say any more about this amazing coach I’ve been lucky to find??

Perhaps best of all for the sake of you, my wonderful readers, is that Lisa is game for me sharing this adventure. This was, in fact, something I asked early on, if she’d mind me giving the training blow-by-blow on my blog. She thought it was great, and so I am thrilled to share this journey here in the weeks to come. I promise to be forthcoming about all aspects of training — the good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully there won’t be too much of the last two.

Training starts this Monday. I’ll be meeting with Lisa weekly, to talk about how my training is going as well as focus on a key training principle and a specific goal for the week.

I hope you’ll all come along with me for the ride, and I’d REALLY love it if you’d chime in with your own thoughts and training experiences, whether you’re gearing up for a marathon or another race distance.  To give you an idea of my first week of training…I’ll be focusing on adding more days to my current training schedule of about 4x/week. I’ll post more details soon!

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