When I started running it wasn’t something I thought much about. It all sort of happened organically as I joined a hiking club to get in shape. From there I began to add running into my life regularly.
One thing I realized right away was there was so much that I didn’t know. For example, I didn’t know about the type of shoes to wear. Was I someone who pronates or was I a neutral runner? I picked shoes by what looked good. Because of course, if you know me, when I started running I quickly decided if I couldn’t be fast, I could at least look good. I did a fair share of 5k’s, 10k’s and half marathons leading up to running a marathon.
What I didn’t plan was that I would enjoy it so much. I not only enjoyed running but I also enjoyed the whole training process. I met friends and found running partners to train with.
It was really when I ran my first trail marathon a short time later that I knew immediately that was my true happy place. Being outside and out in nature was always part of my childhood. We didn’t watch much TV or play indoors; I spent my youth outdoors and in the mountains at on our large family property. I had enjoyed hiking and training on the trails and now I’d found a place where the two intersected. Welcome to the world of trail and ultrarunning!
One small step or one race later, I ran an ultramarathon on trails. The idea of “one and done” is not in my DNA! I very quickly learned that ultrarunning leads to running 100-mile races for some people. I couldn’t even wrap my head around that thought. I mean really, most people “don’t even like to drive that far” as the expression goes, which we hear all the time from everyone who isn’t an ultrarunner.
But just as my outlook with running began, my attitude was to Embrace the Journey. It was all an unknown, but I am also the type of person that wants to figure it all out. I launched my blog http://www.TrailRunning100.com so I could share all the things that I learned along the way. I knew nothing and didn’t know how many others knew nothing like me. I wanted to share all the ups and all the downs. What worked for me and what didn’t. I wanted to share the good, the bad and the really ugly of our sport.
After a couple years of running and sharing my journey on my blog, an online running magazine reached out to me asking if I’d write a regular article for them. For nearly two years I wrote articles for them on things like getting redemption after a DNF and how to overcome the post race blues and more. I have also written pieces for several other online sites such as the Human Potential Running Series Elevating Your Run Experience – Human Potential Running Series . I have written and shared my personal journey to healing with Trail Sisters Running Towards Healing | Trail Sisters® as well as sharing my story on the Ten Junk Miles podcast.
So I guess the simple answer to “Why Coaching” is that I love to share with others and encourage them. I am naturally a person who likes to help and see others achieve great things.
Now after about 10 years of running and after many ultramarathon of all distances including over 20 different 100-mile races, I’m still continuing to learn things. I’ve run races in a lot of different states and made lots of friends across the US and in Canada. In the last six months or so I’ve had many random friends and people I’ve met running ask me if I coach or would I coach them. I’m always happy to share everything I’ve learned, and I guess it’s a natural question at this point for people to ask me. But it also tends to send me down a road of the reasons I don’t coach. Well, basically that was because I wasn’t sure I could create a plan to really help train someone else. End of story.
Well maybe that was the end of the story, or so I thought it should be. But, then I started to think about why couldn’t I coach. What do I need to know beyond my experience as a seasoned ultrarunner? How do I learn? I spent some time talking to other coaches I knew on how they learned or what courses they took to be certified and started doing research on becoming a certified running coach. The one program and certification that stood out to me was the one by UESCA (United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy) which is the only program that actually offers an Ultrarunning specific certification. It’s a Certification that is the result of a joint partnership between renowned ultrarunning coach, Jason Koop and UESCA. The content of this certification was the highest quality training program in all areas including those that are unique to ultrarunning and based off of science. They had me at Jason Koop! Just the reputation of Jason Koop alone was enough to let me know that this was the certification that I wanted and the information that would best teach me how to coach others.
I don’t believe that a certification alone makes someone a good coach. I’m going to combine what I’ve learned along my journey, my experiences as an ultra runner, what I learned from using professional coaches myself along with my certification program to coach and guide others to success. I’m naturally a very encouraging person. I love to talk to other runners and share with them.
I’ve talked to many of my friends who know me both from running and others who don’t know me at all as a runner. I’ve asked them the question about me coaching. Could I do it? Would I be good at it? It seems like a big scary step but one thing I’ve always been doing is to “Embrace the Journey”. It’s part of my motto or my mantra so to speak. So now I’m going to embrace the next step in my journey. I’m going forward so I’m “Embracing Your Journey”! Allow me to combine my experience as an ultra runner and the knowledge I’ve gained along the way as well as through my certification to help you reach your goals and dreams! So why not?