Meet Susan Otto
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!
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