In July of this year, I was getting nervous. I had landed a spot in the TC 10-mile. But with only weeks to go before the race, I didn’t seem to be able to make it more than about 6 miles on my own. And I seemed to be running reeeeaaaalllly slowly. I just wanted to finish the TC 10-mile. Preferably under 10:00/mile. I can’t explain why finishing the TC 10-mile had become such a big deal to me. But it had.
That’s when I found Coach Ron. Ron developed a plan that was just for me. It was so different than the one I’d been following. He had me run more. Run different kinds of workouts. And it changed week-to-week, depending on how I was doing and what I needed to work on, both physically and mentally. He helped me get the right shoes. He got me to a performance specialist to help with my balance. He made me run races and do time trials.
Ron also suggested I start working out with the Mile to Marathon team. I’ll admit that even though I had secretly been hoping to find a group to run with, I was not looking forward to team workouts. Visions of sprinting gazelles past me danced through my head. But the team couldn’t have been more welcoming. There was a great mix of speed, distance, age, interest. And while everyone takes their workouts and their goals seriously, there is a lot of laughter. And competition (in the best way). And support. It’s hard to say enough good things about this group.
I also want to mention that my husband Darril has been another important part of my training. Because I had such a clear plan from Coach Ron on what I am supposed to do every day, Darril has been able to help me train. For long runs, when I can’t run with the team, Darril paces me on his bike and hands me water. On race mornings, Darril gets up extra-early and makes me coffee, and he and our dog Walter come to all of the races and cheer on the Mile to Marathon team. Look for Darril and Walter at the TC 10-mile this weekend!
So, results so far? To date, Ron has had me do four races as time trials: a 15K, a 10K, a 10-mile, and a 5K. In every race, I didn’t just get a personal record. I ran faster than I’d ever imagined I would. Remember, on a very good day, I run a 10:00 mile pace. I ran the Victory 10K in an 8:35 mile pace. 8:35!!! For someone whose fastest mile EVER, at any distance, was about 9:30, that was a really, really big deal. In the 5K, I was the 4th female finisher. Oh, yeah, and remember how my goal was to finish the TC 10-mile in under a 10:00 mile? Yeah, I just finished the White Bear Lake 10-mile run in an 8:54 mile. Let me tell you, there is nothing like a little taste of success to make me get a little bit competitive and saucy.
So here we are, the week before the TC 10-mile. I am feeling confident, enthusiastic, excited. No aches or pains. No concerns that maybe I missed doing something I should have. I feel like I’ve done everything that I could do to have a great run and to stay healthy. And I am really excited about running the TC 10-mile, but I’m just as excited to keep running through the winter and into the coming years. I’ve already registered for races in 2016, and I already have a new set of goals. Thanks, Coach Ron! And Thanks, Mile to Marathon team!
My road to the marathon started at the doctor’s office last year. It was my annual physical, and my doctor listed the problems that just kept getting worse. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and I finally crossed the line into clinical obesity. It was time to “get religion.”
I committed to eating better food during the work day, and workout each day I was in the office. My workout of preference was the treadmill, I found it the easiest to get a good sweat going.
The plan worked, the pounds started to come off. But the big surprise was I started to like running. Actually, I loved it. I started to imagine myself crossing the finish line at the marathon when I was struggling to meet my daily goal. Then one day the thought came, could I actually finish a marathon? Everyone starts somewhere, why not me? The question became an obsession until I realized there was only one way to definitively answer it.
I signed up to train with Ron in April and decided I would train as hard as I could for 6 months, to be as strong a runner as I could be to finish the Twin Cities Marathon. The training has been long, at times painful but I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve ran through all kinds of weather, at all hours of the day, on vacation, at work and at home. It’s been exhausting, time consuming, at times hard on my family, but I’m ready.
So game on, Twin Cities Marathon. Take your best shot.
I have enjoyed running since I was a kid. I ran my first race, 5 miles, at age 9 and ran a couple
of years on my high school cross-country team. I wasn’t any good (I came in last more than
once), but I enjoyed it.
After years of running off and on in my adult life, and using the same online training schedules
for several half marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, 10 milers, and one marathon, I decided I was no longer
satisfied with my slow pace and lack of real progress. I wanted to make the commitment to
better, more disciplined training. I knew a running coach was the next step.
I have learned about the importance of getting into the right shoes, have added regular strength
training, and have really focused on taking care of (and listening to) my body. I have also realized the importance of preparing ahead of time for the next day’s workout. I often used to put off and end up skipping scheduled runs, now I get them done!
I have come to understand the benefits of running with a group, something I never thought I’d enjoy, and was afraid to try. After Coach Ron’s suggestions, I nervously showed up for my first group run, imagining I would struggle to keep up and get discouraged. My experience was completely the opposite. The Mile to Marathon group is great … such friendly, supportive, and encouraging people … and it’s fun!
Since I started working with Ron last winter, I have made progress that I never thought was possible. I go into a race with a plan, and it works.
I have taken 14 minutes off my half marathon time, with three successive PRs this past spring/summer. I have improved my 10K time by 3 minutes. From August 2014-August 2015, I improved my 5K time by over 5 minutes and was third in my age group.
Last night … at age 40 … I just ran the fastest mile I’ve ever run in my life!
This Sunday, I’ll be running the TC 10 Mile. I can’t wait for that PR and to see what the next year of even harder work will bring!
I have never been a runner. I have always wanted to be a one, but never thought it would come to this. I was a swimmer in high school, but soon after got into drinking and smoking. I used to say I would never run a marathon, but secretly I always wanted too. I read an article of a man in recovery that trained for and participated in triathlons. So after 17 years of sobriety and 15 years without a cigarette, I decided this was the time to try. I wanted to run the Twin Cities Marathon. With the support of my fiancé, I met with Ron and began training and working towards the goal of becoming a runner. I began in January when there was snow on the ground and it was cold outside. I rarely let it stop me. I wanted to accomplish this goal, and I wanted the medal at the end of the race. Since I began this journey I have run a couple 5K, a ten mile, and two 1/2 marathons. Having a coach gives you something that an app cannot. An app or online program cannot adjust your program if you are feeling tired after that long run and need to have an extra day off. Ron helped me get through a lot of training days I did not want to go out and do. I gained a lot of confidence with him encouraging me to sign up for races to keep me focused on my training. When I started I could not run a mile without stopping. Now in a few days, I am going to run a marathon. I have no desire to qualify for Boston, I know I will not break a speed record, my goal is to keep moving forward no matter how tired I may be and make it to the capital to get that medal. I want to be part of the 1%. I want to run a marathon.
I have been a runner for most of my life. I started by running track and field in high school and
continued on to run cross country and track at the collegiate level at MSU-Mankato. After graduation, I
slowly started running longer and longer distances until I ran my first marathon in 2005. I also
participated in triathlons. After my first marathon, I was hooked! I had no idea what kind of time I
could run, I did not train properly, and I ended up losing my toenails because I wasn’t in the right shoes
for that long of a race. I decided after running 4:05 in that first marathon that I could and would qualify
for Boston someday. Fast forward to my 4th marathon, after two non-BQ marathons at 3:49 and 3:54, I
ran Grandma’s Marathon in June 2009. I trained better and ran smarter. The weather almost killed me
towards the end of the race (in the 80’s), but I pulled through at 3:36 to BQ for the first time. Off to
Boston I went in 2010, and subsequently 2011 and 2012.
I decided to take some time off from marathoning for my husband and me to try to start a family. In
October 2013, we were blessed with the news that we were expecting a baby, due to arrive in the
summer of 2014. The first trimester was easy and I was able to run lightly and I even did a few 5Ks.
Shortly after entering the second trimester I ran into some issues and was no longer able to run. I tried
to walk as much as I could, but as the pregnancy progressed, I gained more and more fluid weight,
making even walking difficult. Baby ended up being very big as well (9lb10oz).
Landen was born in June 2014, healthy and happy. I had to have an emergency c-section a few weeks
before his due date. C-section meant 6 weeks until I could get the green light to run again. 5 weeks and
6 days after his birth, I laced up and hit the pavement – I just couldn’t wait any longer! I started slowly
with low mileage and it was a real struggle to get back into shape. It took months of running 6 days a
week with 40+ miles a week and I still was not running anywhere near where I ran pre-pregnancy. In
late November I decided I needed to take a little time off and try again later.
I started running again in January, very easy miles on the treadmill, gradually increasing my mileage and
paces. I decided to run the Get Lucky 7K in March and surprised myself with a 29:47 finish time. My
confidence boosted, I decided to sign up for Goldy’s 10 mile Run in April. I felt like things were finally
turning around. I just didn’t realized how long it would take! Going into Goldy’s I felt good, and I told
myself that if I ran under 1:10 I would get in contact with Coach Ron (who I knew from a friend) so that I
could seriously train for a few more races, including TCM, before baby #2. Goldy’s went very well (other
than the hill in mile 9) and I finished in 1:08. I emailed Coach Ron that following Monday.
Since then I have been working with Coach Ron, and I honestly feel like I am in the best running shape I
have been in since high school. My training has helped me PR a few times this summer while training
for TCM; in June I ran 1:28 at Grandma’s in the half and recently 1:07 at Bear Water in the 10 mile.
Some of the workouts have been tough; sometimes my legs feel dead. The workouts and long-runs with
the team have been helpful and so much fun. I am trusting in the process and in the training that all of
this hard work will pay off at TCM!
I never thought I’d be where I am running-wise going into TCM. After last Fall I thought that my days of
running fast and PR-ing were over. Training with Coach Ron has been just what I needed. I’ve gotten
faster, my confidence has increased, and I’ve made new friends. CANNOT WAIT FOR RACE DAY!!!
I'm pleased to introduce you to Michyla Kielo - Coach Ron
I began running in 2010 and did fine on my own for the first few years. Living in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, 99% of my runs were planned and carried out alone. However, last summer I realized I had come to a point in my running where generic running plans were no longer enough for me, but I wasn’t sure how to alter them properly to set myself up for the results I wanted.
After a Twitter friend tweeted about a huge PR, I tweeted back my congratulations. She credited her coach, saying “I should have hired him years ago!” That was how I got introduced to Ron’s online coaching option, and within days I was completing my first run under his direction.
Just nine weeks later, I took 1:03 off my 10K PR, and I spent two and a half of those weeks waiting for, and then recovering from, surgical removal of a toenail following a non-running-related injury. I was thrilled with the results from Ron’s coaching after such a short time, and have now set my sights on beating my two year old half marathon PR. I truly feel that Ron has helped me move up to a new level of running, power and strength that I could not have accomplished alone.
I have appreciated Ron’s quick communication and personalized approach right from the beginning. We’ve had phone conversations leading up to target races, and then usually again afterwards to re-cap. Emails are promptly returned and training plans modified when necessary. He’s encouraging and not afraid to challenge his runners. I don’t know how many times I’ve been sure I’d never complete a work-out that looked impossible, only to feel triumphant when I do! I’ve also really appreciated those pre-race phone calls, and find myself more confident at the start line because of them. Rather than just running and hoping I can maintain the pace I need, I now begin a race with a firm plan and pacing strategy.
I've been barrel racing since 1991, when I was not quite eight years old! It's an absolute blast, but definitely takes a lot of work to do properly
See you on the roads!
I am excited to start a new monthly "Testimonial Tuesdays" post. Each month I will be highlighting one of our Mile To Marathon or MNRED runners on their accomplishments.
This month I am pleased to introduce you to Melissa Gacek. While those of us in the Midwest are probably familiar with her name as she is a fixture on the local Midwest running scene, having won many local and national races, what stands out to me is what a amazing role model she is to those that follow her...or should follow her.
Melissa is a outstanding wife, mother of 2 beautiful young girls, an amazing artist, sings in her church choir and runs her own graphic design business...wow, I get tired writing this, and did I mention that she is a 2 time Olympic Trials Marathoner! And yet she is always upbeat and ready for whatever workouts I throw at her...all with a smile on her face.
Over the years I have met so many people that have told me they don't have time to accomplish "xyz", spend five minutes with Melissa and I promise you you'll have a completely different perspective into what you do.
Working with Melissa has been a truly special time, as her coach, I'm very pleased to be able to call Melissa my friend.
"Working with coach Ron Byland (Mile to Marathon) has strategically increased my ability to run targeted speed, hill and endurance work loads. As I train this year towards achieving my 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, Ron is my trusted advisor, partner, coach, sounding board. We share ideas and input and ultimately he puts together a program that challenges me but I walk away feeling challenged to reach new levels. I've won or placed in top 5% of all of the races I ran in 2014."
2 time OT Qualifier, Marathon, Winner of Lakefront Marathon 2014, Winner of Tampa Marathon,
MN Runner of the Year 2013
See you on the roads
This is why I coach! Thanks for the letter Melissa.
See you on the roads
It's not just about the destination, but finding the joy in the journey.
Tonight I wanted to thank you, my amazing support team, as I train for my 2:40 marathoner club card this fall and Olympic Trials qualifier by next year. Just did my first Ragnar event after being on winning/record setting Hood to Coast teams. I've never felt this good after any relay. This was a very humid hot weekend, ran well over 26 miles, and had some crazy hard technical, hilly and long legs and I'm totally a fair weather girl, so prob could have run much faster in temps of 45's/50's. Nevertheless, I want to thank all of you for your part in this. While I honestly suffered moments of the legs, I gained some valuable mental and physical training to really toughen me for the fall marathon, and also love the bring it at the end, ramp it up, find a new gear, go even harder and finish strong, beast mode.
1) Ron Byland: Intense, smart, proven coaching program from Mile to Marathon, has been mentally and physically tough, but paying off for being able to bounce back, can't wait to see what could happen in Oct with cooler temps and a taper. Always there to help, great advice, sounding board. Great, wise partner in this journey!
2) Luke Carlson/Discover Strength: Lifting at DS, working thru Project Discover, esp on tough workout days. After yucky injuries in my early years, you have been my healthy safety net for 2 Olympic Trials, 5 pregnancies and hundreds of races, thousands of miles. I might feel awful at failure during workouts esp after hard runs, but finding that extra gear to bring it pays off. And it helps me be a strong mom who can lift boat anchors, toddlers, baby joggers, groceries, whatever it takes.
3) CarboPro: Following protocol during race from Carbo Pro: Meta Salt, Recovery, VO2 Max, Stamina, carboPro mixed with HydraC5. Great products can't wait to try the new green stuff! Always using Interphase during training too, yummo. And sending product just in time before big event this week. TY!!!
4) Oiselle: I've raced (and train) wearing amazing performance apparel and finding beast mode during some dark moments! Plus I wear these clothes everywhere bc they are that beautiful. Oiselle to me is sisterhood, passion, fem fierce, girl power, helps my channel my purpose.
5) Feetures (socks): Going thru 7 pairs of socks for Ragnar and ending with no blisters, feet felt amazing/compression socks so helpful btwn legs. Love the fabric, ultra thin weight and technical design and amazing colors. Happy feet are very important.
6) Run n Fun. For always having the gear I need, and being so supportive for 2 decades! I have worn Dozens+ of Asics Gel Kayanos, Asics DS Racers, reflective vests, LD lights, Gels, GU's...I've counted on RNF since my college days for my shoes and have always had major success. Staff knows their stuff.
And last, Luke, you for the invite to Ragnar and Liz Martin for driving a huge majority and still running like a badass, keeping team stats, handling the details and totally spoiling me (us) so I (we) could focus on going as hard as I could.
Guess I need to start blogging cause I just can't say all this on FB or twitter....
Thank you and think it's so important that you know you are all loved and appreciated.
If you are looking to start a running/walking program and trying to figure out the how's and why's of where to start or if you are part of a corporation that is looking to start a run club for their employees, let me know as I work with 100's of individuals on their personal training programs and major corporate run programs for companies like, Allianz Corporation of MN, Cummin's Power Generation Corporation of MN, Accenture (333) Tower Fitness Center of MN, Children's Hospitals of MN, LuluLemon on MN, Advantage Health Corporation to name a few .
See you on the roads
For a little more than 2 months now I have had a very unique time experiencing Acupuncture for the 1st time in my life. Now for the disclaimers:
1. I am not afraid of needles
2. I have been skeptical about acupuncture
3. Most importantly, I was diagnosed with Asthma approx. 10 years ago and have been on various medications for it since then.
In early May my friend Kelly Brinkman had been going to Minnesota Community Acupuncture and invited me along to check it out. So off I went for my 1st visit.
The clinic is based on an Eastern treatment center, so it's communal meaning that there are lots of comfy "lazy boy" recliners to relax in during the treatment. After my initial consultation with Rob on my issues he proceeded to apply the needles in the appropriate areas. He then asked me how long I wanted to relax (sleep) and if I'd like a blanket...this is going to rock! In goes my earphones and within minutes I'm sound asleep and approx. 45:00 later my session is done.
As I mentioned above, I was diagnosed with Asthma over 10 years ago and honestly I have NEVER bought into that diagnosis. At the time I do remember have issues with my breathing, so I'm sure my airways were constricted...asthma, I doubt, but I was prescribed a steroid based inhaler and used it (not exactly as prescribed) morning and night. I've never had an asthma attack in my life or at least in my opinion, I haven't. I have however had sinus issues for what seems like forever. I would always take some sort of over the counter decongestant to be able to breathe. Constantly blowing my nose....and of course being a runner...the farmers blow! I have been tested for allergies and nothing ever came back positive.
So when Rob and later when working with Kerri and the rest of her staff, told me that acupuncture would/could greatly help with these 2 issues I decided to keep going back to get it a shot. They suggested that I come in twice a week for approx. 4 weeks and then down to once a week for maintenance...which is what I'm currently doing.
Now, for the good part after about the 2 or 3 visit:
1. I have not taken any over the counter meds for my sinus' and blowing my nose has been reduced by 90%
2. I am breathing better than I have in years!
3. Most impressive to me is that I am now down to taking my steroid inhaler once every other day now with the goal of being off of it in another month or so.
As I've gotten more into the treatments I've been reading more about Acupuncture and the benefits of it. And while I'm the 1st to say I don't understand it, I'm smart enough to say that in my case, it works. Besides the above issues I'm dealing with, being a runner I have the normal aches and pains and fatigue, and I can say that after a treatment my legs will recover faster due to the increase in blood flow to the areas.
I asked Kerri from Minnesota Community Acupuncture if she would write a brief article on the benefits to runners and you can read that below. For those of you in the Twin Cities area I highly recommend Kerri and her staff to help you out with any of your issue that might be holding you back from a great run or from achieving your new PR's.
Have a great weekend and I’ll…
See you on the roads
Acupuncture for runners
Kerri Casey, L.Ac of MN Community Acupuncture
Runners at all levels will benefit from adding acupuncture to their running program. Acupuncture stimulates the immune function for maintaining general health, it is very effective in relaxing the muscles and tendons in the body reducing pain and stiffness, and aids in reducing inflammation in the nervous system and joints. This is useful in keeping you running, but it is also necessary when you experience an injury.
Many runners look to acupuncture after they’ve sustained an injury, however, acupuncture should be part of your regular training routine to avoid injuries. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Most of us are more familiar with the sympathetic nervous system often referred to as the “flight or fight” response stimulating the adrenals and other stress hormones. The parasympathetic nervous system is the “rest and digest” response of the body. This system is the “off” switch to the other’s “on” switch. Therefore acupuncture helps to reset the body to a more balanced state to maintain good health.
If an injury does occur it is best to receive acupuncture as quickly as possible so we can interrupt the body’s injury response and stop the over production of lactic acid, and inflammation and swelling, thereby getting you back running with fewer residual issues.
Acupuncture works well on soft tissue; muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves which are most of the issues that plague runners. We treat back injuries, hips, knees and leg issues such as plantar fasciitis, pulled hamstrings, shin splints and ankle pain.
Consider adding acupuncture to your running program in order to maintain the good health that you’ve worked so hard to get, when starting a running program to avoid injuries, or before your event to get you ready and after to re-balance your system. Usually it is best to have acupuncture two times a month as regular maintenance, and once to twice a week when training for an event or just beginning a program. If you are injured you will need treatments two to three times a week until your pain decreases and then move to once a week until gone.
Acupuncture should be a part of your regular routine. Just as you need to perform regular maintenance on your car, you can get the most out of your body if you are taking care of it.
Lifelong runner. Professional and passionate coach helping to make running goals a reality for 30+ years. Let's get started making your running dreams come true!