Lessons Learned: Why I Chose the Coach I Chose

I want to share with you some things that I was reminded of recently. I picked my coach, Abby, for several reasons. They were all factors in what made me finally decide to go with her and absolutely none of the decision was made by cost or look or anything else.  

I was coming off of extensive foot surgery and rebuilding of cartilage and I needed a coach to get me safely to the starting line of my first marathon. I spoke (via email) with several people, 3 in the DC area and Abby, and all were excellent and very qualified. They had all run several marathons and knew their stuff. All of them were faster than me. All of them knew more than me (as hard as that is for me to admit) and all of them were willing to help. I follow all of their blogs and their running stories and had been keeping up with their goings-ons via their blogs.

Why I picked Abby:

  1. She is studying to be a Physical Therapist and is presently working through a PhD program. She knew/knows her stuff as far as anatomy is concerned. More on this and how I have abused her knowledge below…
  2. She is no nonsense — and wasn’t in to taking my whining about x, y, or z and even via email was having none of my nonsense.
  3. All of my interactions with her, via social media and her blog, have been amazing and I genuinely liked her as a human being 


Why I am glad I picked Abby: 

In the past 8 months that Abby and I have been in a coach-runner relationship, I have done several stupid things. Most of them have affected or impacted my training in one way or another. I have made some smart decisions to, like not running a 10 mile trail race three weeks before my first marathon for fear of rolling an ankle… but let’s focus on the DUMB decisions. For example, a month after being cleared to run (and a month after Abby began coaching me), I went ahead and captained and ran my ragnar team that I had been planning since February. It was an amazing experience, but I promised that I would get clearance from my PT (that was local… a requirement of working with Abby: if I was going to be running, I had to be in PT for the foot). I got a hesitant clearance from my PT and I was in constant contact with Abby throughout the race. Everything turned out ok. I completed, unscathed, but it could be seen as my first dumb decision… I am a stubborn idiot, afterall.

As time has passed, and I completed my first marathon, I asked Abby to coach me to a sub-2 half. During this training cycle, with my goal race being Nike (in less than two weeks), I have made what I would call one MONUMENTAL stupid decision and a few other little ones along the way. At one point, in February, I took a coaching course for running. I thought I knew some stuff, although not as much as my coach, but still… someone got cocky and stopped communicating as much with her coach as she should have and that someone is me… my emails and my communication on our running plan/chart were less frequent… not good. 

The monumental mistake came when I was determined to fix my leg issues (knee pain, hip tightness, etc) with new shoes and getting properly fitted when I ended up w the beginnings of Plantar Fasciitis. I emailed Abby, she gave me stretches. I did them, but I also decided, like an idiot (you should be seeing a theme here), that now would be a great time to go see a new foot doc… NOTHING was wrong with the last foot doc (guy who did surgery) and in three weeks, this new foot doc and my own stupidity have derailed everything I have been working towards. I saw him, he said the shoes I had been running in since surgery were too severe for me… I was supposed to be in neutral shoes. So I went to the running store… tried NUMEROUS pairs of shoes on short runs. Finally picked a pair I liked. Ran two short runs in them and then decided to run the Cherry Blossom ten miler in them 10 days ago…. all the while, never informing my coach who I am 99.7% sure would have talked me out of being such an idiot. I ended up PRing, sure… but I also ended up with lasting achilles pain for a number of reasons that I can only guess at… not used to neutral shoes, no achilles dip in the back of the new shoe like there was in the old, etc…. So I emailed Abby. I started doing the stretches she told me to do, and have been praying I will be able to just run Nike…. not even gonna try and PR at this point. 

I also went and saw the podiatrist… he suggested heel lifts and other stretches…. i wore those heel lifts for 20 minutes WALKING before taking them out and tossing them due to knee pain (which lasted for an hour… heel lifts are always a bad idea in my opinion… for me anyway)…. I also had set up an appt with the PT that fixed my back and my foot. I am seeing her Friday. I am no longer seeing the idiot who recommended the heel lifts or the new shoes, although, I do think if I phased in neutral trainers in the long run, my knees would thank me… my achilles is unsure of a switch at this time. 

Long story short, I picked my coach for a reason. She knows her shit. I am an idiot and I need to not be an idiot anymore and continue to listen to her, especially if I want to keep running marathons, injury free. She hasn’t steered me wrong and I was reminded of all of these things and more this past week and a half. hehe. <sigh> I will report back later.

Happy wednesday… and remember to be grateful today (and every day)! Obviously, I am grateful for my coach.

Stay tuned for big changes!



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