bikegoofyI never in a million years, did I think I would feel bad after running 16 miles from Incline Village past Tahoe City and back. I’m not referring to the achy legs, sore back, and drained feeling.  I actually felt like I got in trouble for running so much. Here’s the deal… two weeks after the Edible Pedal 100 I am running the Triple Tahoe. Thats 3 marathons in 3 days. I’ve always wanted to do this at 33 years old because frankly, it has a nice ring to it… 3 in 3 at 33. See – it sounds cool, doesn’t it?!

I know, so silly but if I say I’m going to do it, there’s no backing out now.

What I didn’t quite fully grasp is that Coach Julie really cares about me. I should’ve told her about my ridiculous run far in advance. Instead, I had to confess to being on a 16 mile run because I was supposed to meet her for a long ride near Northstar but I couldn’t make it because my darn run took too long. I thought I had to run 14,16,18 miles in a row every week until September 27-29 when I will be running 26.2, 26.2, and 26.2 around Lake Tahoe.

Coach Julie had a very honest heart to heart with me that day. She said the idea of just racking up the miles is very “old school.” It’s not about going out and running and riding forever, its about training with quality workouts and quality recovery (something I also have a problem with.) She said she would help me train for both of these events. She also said because they are so close together in timing, it will be like training for a duathlon. Something she apparently, also helps people with. She’s told me before that she helps all kinds of athletes at Silver Sage Performance Center but I didn’t want to burden her with my goals. I guess she’d rather be burdened with my goals than deal with my injuries if I train incorrectly.

So the next thing I know, my training consists of a balance of running and riding. Instead of feeling the overwhelmed by having to run for hours on top of the cycling workouts, I am now able to run one or two days then get into a hardcore cycling workout the next. She also has me sprinting – something I definitely always thought of as torture. (As I have learned – even if I don’t ever imagine myself sprinting for a finish line it is a valuable training tool to institute efficient mechanics. But like everything else – its all about doing it well with understanding and purpose as opposed to ticking off the box.)

I needed my boyfriend to actually go with me to the track the first few times because I was scared of it! I know, silliness again. But I’m slow. I mean real slow. I can jog alongside tall people who are walking and be at a nice comfortable pace. I’m happy with that. I never wanted to be fast at running, I only want to be fast at cycling – isn’t that enough of a goal?

But I promised to follow my Coach no matter what. So I sucked it up and wheezed my way through the track workouts. My boyfriend would constantly tell me to “push it,” “c’mon you can go for it,” “go faster.” I obeyed but for the first time in our relationship, I hated him for brief spurts.

And of course after the workout I would thank him, while trying to hold back the puke. I needed the nudge.

And guess what?! The more I sprinted and went outside my comfort zone… the faster I got on longer endurance days. I feel stronger now when I run, my back doesn’t hurt and my legs want to go faster, instead of settling into a comfy trot.

Coach Julie is a genius, a life saver, a truly wise athlete, and any other word I can think of for my HERO!

She has really helped me understand the concept of quality workouts and recovery days. Here’s one week in my world: Monday – complete rest or active recovery with focus on off-aerobic foundational work of hip, trunk and single leg stability as well as range of motion, ie yoga; Tuesday – running with speed and power track workout; Wednesday – quality hill intervals on the bike; Thursday running endurance day, with diligence to stay in the endurance zone; Friday – rest, same as Monday. This is then followed by another two to three day training block.

I just completed a four week build of training – and now she wants me to take the next five days easy – complete and active recovery, my mental and physical hall pass from structure to regroup to keep that love of it. Rest, I have learned, is vital – its where I build and take steps forward in fitness, and helps me pace my training to be a lifestyle as opposed to cram session, bucket list-type training approach. I will rest, I promise. I don’t want to have to apologize again for doing something silly that could hurt my body.

Thanks Coach Julie for showing me the way!