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This original blog was written in August of 2013. Yesterday Michele ran the Wine Glass Marathon in 4:11, after 5 years of struggling to beat her former PR, she crushed it by 20 minutes. No easy task for a 46 yr-old single mom with 2 young children, and full-time job with travel. Here is her story.

 

My goal is to train smarter and become stronger, and every day I do just that.

Years ago I trained with Mark (back in the bodybuilding style lifting days) before, during and a couple of years after I had my first and second son. I ran my first ½ marathon when I was pregnant with my second son and became hooked on running. I eventually started running longer distances, and the more I ran, the less I weight trained until I eventually quit resistance training completely.

Many of my running friends keep track of their mileage on websites where all runners, cyclists or swimmers gather to log their workouts and motivate each other. However, the motivation slowly became an “unhealthy” competition. Many of us would run just so we could post longer mileages each day and before I knew it I was running 45-60 miles a week trying to keep up with the next person.

The problem was that none of my runs were considered quality runs. They were becoming slower but longer and my race times were not getting better. I was plagued by hip pain and would limp for a couple of days after a long run. The most depressing part of all was that I started to gain weight and it wasn’t muscle.

Two years ago I started back with MM Team Fitness mainly to add some CrossFit based training to my routine and strengthen my core. Six months into training, after finishing a long run I realized that I no longer had hip pain! I also lost some weight without changing my diet and started to see a positive change in my shape. The CrossFit style training also reduced my race recovery time. Instead of taking 5- 7 days off after a marathon, I am usually back on the road within 2-3 days.

Although Mark had been on me to run less but more productive miles, psychologically it was difficult to let go of the traditional “more is better” runner mentality. In what may have been a blessing in disguise, because of some time constraint issues in my life, the high mileage routine had to stop a few months ago. There just wasn’t time for miles of long, slow distance.

Needing to cut back the “time on feet” meant I had to cut back mileage and make each run count. I was practically forced to become a more efficient runner. I now run an average of 4-5 miles vs. 8-10 miles and each minute and mile “counts.” No more junk miles.

Speed workouts with my running coach Peter Arbogast now have a different meaning. They are not just an uncomfortable run where I huff and puff and sweat a little. They are intense enough to give me “Jell-O legs” for at least 24 hours. I am running 38-40 miles a week to train for a marathon which may still be a bit high (if you ask Myhal) but a considerable improvement compared to 45-60 weekly miles. Best of all I feel stronger, training pace and endurance has improved considerably and I have more time in my life, for life.

The true test will come in October with the Wine Glass Marathon in NY. I have been a distance runner for the past 9 years and have had my share of bad races despite good training seasons, so I am a little nervous about the change in training style. If I have a chance to beat my old PR from 5 years ago, this is the season to give it a shot. I plan to give it my all and leave no mile behind.

 


If anything, the CrossFit based workouts have conditioned me mentally and physically to push past the limits I once set for myself.


 

I am by far a tougher and more competitive endurance athlete because of it and it definitely helped me run the Big Sur this year under 4:36. Quite an accomplishment for me.

- Michele

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