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8K Training Team – Week 6: The Return of Coach Dan

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Hey, y’all! I finally got to meet Coach Dan! Coach Mandy was supposed to be in Prague (yes, Prague), but her trip got cancelled. Smart lady that she is, she didn’t inform the Head Coach of this change of plans, so…

I finally got to meet Coach Dan! Here he is…

You Gotta Breathe Through Your Eyelids

One of the very cool things that comes with being part of a Sports Backers Training Team is that we get a wealth of information from our Coaches. Coach Dan and Coach Mandy had shared with us several important pieces of info previously, including weather-appropriate attire recommendations (down to sub-zero temperatures) and runner’s etiquette.

Coach Dan brought us additional wisdom today:

You gotta breathe through your eyelids. Like the lava lizards of the Galapagos Islands.

Oh, wait. That’s what Susan Sarandon said in Bull Durham.

Coach Dan focused on breathing from the diaphragm. Focused deep breaths that completely fill and empty the lungs oxygenate the muscles much more efficiently which means more energy for you, the runner, and much less huffing and puffing and we-all-fall-down.

Coach Mandy also pointed out that breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is very helpful as the weather turns colder. It’s a whole lot more comfortable for the lungs to deal with warmer air rather than frigid oxygen.

I should also share that, like all of our 8k Training Team coaches, Coach Dan is a peach. It is absolutely unmistakeable how much he loves running and how excited he is to encourage others in getting comfortable with the sport. Runners are, by far, the most welcoming, encouraging and cheerful sports folks you’d ever want to meet. It’s worth giving it a try just for all the wonderful people you’ll meet!

Four Miles with a Fan Club

Dexter and I had done a preview run of the course on Wednesday, and it was another struggle to get through big chunks of it. By the end we were cooking along, but there’s no doubt that we’re stretching out our distances.

Easy, it is not. But it is totally worth it.

Wednesday’s time was a somewhat leisurely 50 minutes to complete the four miles. You can bet that we were both itching to improve that time on Saturday’s run.

We started at the back of the pack because I had dressed for the roof (cold and briskly breezy). I had to stop by the car to drop a layer before we headed out on the run. By the time we were nearing Monument from Mulberry, Coach Mandy was breathing a sigh of relief. She couldn’t figure out where we had gone.

Props to Coach Dan – Great pic of Coach Beth!

We got a treat as we headed down Monument – Coach Beth joined us for a piece of the run. Now, Coach Beth runs marathons, relays and is also a newlywed. She was kind enough to share with the training team some of the yummy wedding cookies from her big day. Thank you, Coach Beth and Congratulations!

It was fun running with Coach Beth and, truth be told, it improved our time. After she had moved on to help with crossing stations and guiding other runners on the course, Dexter and I slowed down a bit. As usual, we were searching for that Goldilocks, Jerome-the-Metronome, All Day Long pace.

Did I mention our run took us through Monroe Park? Good stuff. All uphill. Awesome. At least it was just a little ways.

We emerged from the park cut through back at the corner of Franklin and Laurel (hi, VCU!) then began to make our way back to the starting point. I’m trying to love that gentle swell of Franklin as it morphs into Monument, but I must tell you, it’s taking a while for it to grow on me.

Dexter tells me that our return rout e on race day is actually downhill, and I wish to stop and applaud the race designers for their wisdom. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

Smells Like Team Spirit

Did I happen to mention that we finished this run in 46 minutes, 15 seconds for a pace of 5.2 mph? Can you tell I’m grinning from ear to ear about that? Thanks for pushing us, Coach Beth!

I gotta say, having a group to run with is really motivating. There’s a camaraderie and support that helps me find my positive intentions, my second win, my will to finish. There are so many “firsts” in this group, it’s probably hard to count. This was certainly the first time in my life that I’ve ever run 4 miles without stopping, and without a doubt I’ve gotten a ton of confidence simply by working the process. For many of us, this is the first time running, the first time hitting these distances, the first time moving this far out of our comfort zones.

How cool is that?

Wishing you a most Awesomelicious Day and encouraging you to breathe through your eyelids! …er, from your diaphragm… Thanks, Coach Dan!



We’d like to say a very special THANK YOU to all of our training teammates.  You guys are AWESOME, and we are honored to be part of the crew!! 

Credit to Coach Dan for these amazing pix of the team. What fantastic shots of the run!


























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