Saturday, November 2, 2013

Learning to Run: a mile to a marathon.

By Lavon Medlock

In the Fall of 2010, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and sign up for the Learn to Run (LTR) program through FootZone. A variety of factors brought me to this decision, but the main one was a desire to shed the baby weight of three consecutive pregnancies.   I found myself sitting on the floor of the FootZone one Wednesday evening in late September feeling the support and encouragement of a room full of people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels.  Connie Austin was going around the room asking participants to share their goals for the program and the reason why they specifically wanted to learn to run.  When my turn came I simply said that I wished to be able to wear my engagement ring again.  Secretly, I also wanted to be able to run 3.1 miles without stopping, but that goal seemed too lofty to be worth mentioning out loud.

Fast forward 6 weeks and I distinctly remember the overwhelming joy of having met that goal – I had just run 3.1 miles without stopping!!  Never mind that I finished second to last; the point is that I had met my secret goal.  Who knew that I had that kind of drive and athleticism in me?  Apparently, we all do but some of us just need a little guidance and help finding our way.  Coach Connie has a natural gift for doing precisely that – offering just the right amount of support balanced with just the right amount of knowledge and sprinkled with the perfect touch of prodding.  There are many tips that I learned during those six weeks that I still find myself revisiting to this day.  One of my favorite lessons was how “char-don-nay” can help you breathe more effectively when running.

Fueled by my new found confidence, I committed to 2011 being the year of weight loss and health gain.  By exercising a few times a week and tracking my food, I was able to work off 25 pounds in about 9 months.  I wasn’t running consistently that year in part due to a bout with pneumonia that had set my endurance back significantly.  It was demoralizing to be back to square one unable to run a mile.  After sulking about it for a bit, I started putting in the work and slowly getting my cardiovascular system built back up.  If I wanted to be a runner, I had to put in the work.  Another lesson from LTR: consistency is key. 

2012 was a year of discovery for me as a runner.  I ran a total of 12 races that year ranging from 5ks to an 8k, a few 10ks and my first half marathon.  All along the way, I constantly drew from knowledge I gained in the LTR program, everything from measuring my cadence to monitoring my breathing to making sure I was wearing the right gear.  It was also nice to see many familiar faces during the various races as many of the other runners were LTR participants or mentors.

Two weeks ago I accomplished a goal that I have secretly held in my heart for over a decade but didn’t dare breathe out loud: I completed my first marathon.  26.2 miles of awesome.  Well, some miles were more awesome than others but when things got tough, I went back to the basics from LTR.  At mile 12, my kids handed me some Ritz crackers to nibble on.  I saved one and decided to hold it between my thumb and index finger to make sure my arms and hands were relaxed.  That’s just one of the numerous form tips that I gained from LTR that come in handy (pardon the pun) to this day.  Having completed a 26.2 mile race, I may be a “marathoner” but in my heart I will always to be a “Learn to Run(ner)” first and foremost.

Oh, and the engagement ring fits.  In fact, I’ve almost lost it twice recently because it spins off my finger so easily thanks to all the running.

Lavon learned to run in 2010 and hasn’t stopped since.  Living in Redmond, she is an on-the-go mom to her four and six year kids.  Squeezing in week day runs between preschool drop off and errands, she isn’t afraid to sport a running skirt on the trail or in the grocery store.  Find her on twitter @mizpinto00.

C.O.R.K. XC Race Results

Well done racers! We hope you had fun and enjoyed the race series. A big thanks to Max King for putting these on! It takes a lot of time and we feel lucky to have such a cool race series right here in Bend.

Race #1
1 Ryan McLaughlin 12:46
2 Andrew Jensen 13:06
3 Michael Dennis 13:16
4 Brandon Drake 13:21
5 JJ Howard 13:35
6 Rob Russell 13:38
7 John Craft 14:06
8 Ryan Ness 14:19
9 Easton Curtis 14:21
10 Sather Ekblad 14:22
11 Jeff Jones 14:36
12 Laurel Manville 14:41
13 Danny Harris 14:49
14 Brendan Layden 14:50
15 Dean Dilday 14:53
16 Katie Caba 15:01
17 Andy Flemming 15:02
18 Kaitlin Greene 15:04
19 Dave Webster 15:46
20 Mike Mosley 16:07
21 Amy Albrecht 16:16
22 Courtney Braun 16:17
23 Alisa Jeffries 16:23
24 John Wienshiem 16:49
25 Rob Thompson 16:50
26 Kari Strang 17:01
27 Ellen Kramer 17:21
28 Jenny Mishler 17:22
29 Suzy Jones 17:36
30 Jane Cleavenger 18:10
31 Steve Crozier 18:43
32 Rick Saenz 18:49
33 Alec Laydon 19:05
34 Demitri Zeloots 19:26
35 Cheryl Younger 20:15
36 Maureen Schlerf 20:19
37 Ian Brown 21:26
38 Mike Brown 21:27
39 Laura Kantor 22:26
40 Jill Duncan 22:43
41 Elisa Cheng 22:59
42 Amber Peterson 23:16

Race #2
1 Ryan Bak 23:07
2 Ryan McLaughlin 24:42
3 Frans Alajoki 24:51
4 Jeff Browning 25:34
5 Brandon Drake 25:45
6 Michael Dennis 26:12
7 JJ Howard 26:20
8 John Craft 26:31
9 Andrew Jensen 26:45
10 Rob Russell 26:49
11 Stephen Redfield 26:55
12 Monte Gregg 27:13
13 Derek Hayner 28:20
14 Mike Brown 28:37
15 Sylain Bauge 28:39
16 Teague Hatfield 28:43
17 Sather Ekblad 28:52
18 Gary Timms 28:55
19 Danny Harris 29:00
20 Kaitlin Greene 29:07
21 Jeff Jones 29:23
22 Mike O'Halloran 29:58
23 Amy Albrecht 31:41
24 Courtney Drewsen 31:49
25 Courtney Braun 32:09
26 John Wienshiem 32:19
27 Kari Strang 32:40
28 Meredith Brandt 33:17
29 Jenny Mishler 33:18
30 Kris Denney 34:04
31 Eliza Jaffreys 34:13
32 Susie Jones 34:18
33 Jane Cleavenger 35:01
34 Caroline Daubeny 35:27
35 Steven Chrozier 35:32
36 Rick Saenz 37:21
37 Devon Gaines 37:57
38 Matt Denney 38:07
39 Mike Conrads 38:28
40 Maureen Schlerf 39:18
41 Laura Kantor 42:48
42 Isata Sibley 44:00
43 Jill Duncan 44:17
44 Jack Strang (2) 22:13
45 Demetri (2) 24:45
46 Ian Brown (2) 25:47
47 Benjamin Browning (2) 28:53
48 Elisa Cheng (2) 30:21