First session with a coach (or: how I almost died on the track)

So 3 weeks ago, this was me:


Look how happy I am! I had just met my bestie Emma Jenkin at the finish line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I had done the half marathon and Emma did the full marathon so I waited to meet her. We were both so proud.

I had aimed to run the half in about 2 hours. In the end I did it in 1:54 and was thrilled. Of course I decided, “I love this! This is totally my new thing. I want to run all of the half marathons.”

So, I hired a coach. Today was our first practice.

It was the worst run of my life.

I digress. Before we get into it, I’ll tell you a bit more about my STWM half-marathon.

Throughout the whole race I actually felt pretty fabulous. I was cold, sure, but once the sun got higher in the sky I started to feel better and better. I had decided that I would stay with the 2:00 pace bunny and did for about the first 6K or so. After that I felt like I was drifting ahead so I just decided to let it happen. I told myself that as long as the 2:00 pace bunny didn’t pass me, I’d be good.

I was doing well until about 18K. I got tired, which was unsurprising, considering this was my first half. I promised myself I wouldn’t walk at all in the race so I tried to power through and power through I did. It was tough, yes, and when I saw that 100m sign I really gave it. As you will see from this gem of a photo (no, I will not pay for it).


But I did finish! Here are my final stats.


So, what happened tonight, you may be wondering?

Well, I had been asking around for a coach and got a wonderful recommendation. Tonight was to be our first session, and our first time meeting. He’s so nice, encouraging and easy-going. It was about 13 degrees tonight and though it was raining slightly, it wasn’t cold. Now, I like to consider myself, as my friend Jen would put it, “one tough bitch.” At least, that’s what I try to aim for. So when we arrived at a nearby school’s track and the rain increased, I was all “Oh yeah? Bring it.” Then I saw the football team practicing on the field and I was even more excited. I was going to train with a coach in the rain and be generally awesome.

That’s when I remembered what I did last night.

It was the Giller Light so obviously I went to the party and indulged, yes, in probably too many beverages on the night before my first meeting with my coach. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it. I’d run after a night of drinking before and I was okay! But this workout was different.

Our workout was to be:
– warm up jog of 2 laps
– 200m at your fast pace, jog for 2 minutes, 400m at your fast pace, jog for 2 minutes, 800m at your fast pace, jog for 2 minutes, 1,200m at your fast pace, jog for 2 minutes, then back down

We started off on the jog and I was doing about 4:50/km and feeling good. Then when we did the first 200m, he was all “wow, you were at 3:30/km! That’s amazing! Great work!” and I’m all “yeah, I feel great, too!”

Then we did the 400m. I have never felt so awful while running. Ever.

I felt like my stomach was going to explode while also sliding out of my body to the ground. I can’t explain it. I made it to the jog after the 400m when I begged off to have a water break (note: not a “tough bitch”). I didn’t know what to do. This was our first session! We were about 15 minutes in! What the hell was wrong with me?

I tried to power through for the 800m and made it to the end, but probably at about a 4:00/km pace and while absolutely dying. I was trying to keep some of my dignity but only then, blondest of moments, did I realize that 1,200m was over a kilometre. There was no way in hell I would be able to sprint a kilometre. Like, no way.

I got honest with my coach and told him about the night before. I asked if we could do a few gentle laps and call it a night. He was so, so nice about it. He didn’t make me feel like an asshole for making him come out in the rain for half an hour, nor did he seem judgmental at all. I still felt 100% the most embarrassed though, of course.

We jogged the last two, talked about his book that’s coming out in January, and then called it a night. He hopped on his bike and as he biked away, I said, “Don’t worry – next time I’ll make it work, I swear,” and he said “Hey look – you’re out here, in the rain. You made it work.”

I’m still colossally embarrassed, but I’ll get over it. I can’t wait to look back at today and laugh. Hopefully that’s something in my future, anyway.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Congrats on the half marathon! And I love the picture. 🙂

  2. JK says:

    Hey, sometimes you have to take a break to become a tougher bitch. Amirite?

    P.S. Like the new blog, spirit animal!

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