"This training program resulted in a 26 minute improvement from my September 1st race to this race!"
Run Camp Story from fellow run camp participant at Gazelle Sports Northville, Mike Alumbaugh (also known as Texas Mike in the group)
I have PR'd twice this year in the 1/2 marathon. The first PR was in January at the Louisiana Marathon. I am convinced this PR was a result of the summer run camp training program combined with a modified training program that Angela provided for NOV, DEC & JAN. This training program resulted in a 26 minute improvement from my September 1st race to this race! I ran this race by myself and felt good the whole race. Even had a big sprint at the end to fend off another racer. But after the race, I started to wonder how much time I left on the course.
My 2nd PR of the new year occurred a few months later. Again I have been diligently following the training program for the winter run camp. And yes, I have continued to put in the work and develop new friendships along the way. And our coach will always give us the credit for "doing the work." But I have to tell you, the Gazelle run camp community Angela has developed adds accountability to the training program that I don't have if I train by myself. I show up for the dreaded FREEZING long runs on Saturday to support my teammates and I take much encouragement from their efforts and stories along the way. I tell you this because my PR yesterday is a result of this accountability and those relationships.
I show up for the dreaded FREEZING long runs on Saturday to support my teammates and I take much encouragement from their efforts and stories along the way."
— Mike Alumbaugh
It all started at the Plymouth Shamrock 10k & 5k. I pushed fellow Run Camper, Raffaella, all week before the race. I told her we were going to run fast. I wanted an 8 min per mile pace for the 10k and a 5k pace of 7:45. And then guess what happens! Angela texted me Saturday afternoon and asked if I would like her to pace me and Raffaella in our chase for the 8 min pace in the 10k! Are you kidding me? She could have won this race but instead runs with us for encouragement and coaching. And so the stage is set. And then Pam shows up Sunday morning in the 27 degree weather just to cheer us on......and then the race starts and we are out much faster than I want to start - but I'm feeling good and so Angela keeps the pace at sub 8 minutes. But around 4 miles it happens - that one thing you hate to hear from your run buddy - "go ahead without me" - and just like that Raffaella slows down. But Angela keeps pushing me and picks up the pace even more. Mile 5 I am uncomfortable. I consider slowing down. Maybe Raffaella made the better decision. What am I doing? All thoughts running through my head but don't slow down and I finish with a 7:44 pace! NEW 10k PR! Guess what happens next? 5k PR and then I hang around the finish line and cheer for Rob and then we find Kelsey and then we find Sarah and we congratulate each other and share a cold beer in the warm tent!
So what does the St. Patrick's day 10K have to do with my 2nd 1/2 marathon PR this year you ask? Well it's another cold morning and I found myself standing around stretching with some of my "run buddies" - Katie, Angela, Jennifer and Raffaella. Raffaella and I have a pre-race goal of finishing the race in 1 hour 48 minutes. The race starts and we are off! Again much faster than I want to start. 10 k deja vu??? 1 mile down and I call out the pace. 2 miles down and I call out the pace and Raffaella keeps pulling me along. And I mean literally. I think we are going to fast. I am having flashbacks from the 10 k when she slowed up at mile 4 and I thought about doing the same at mile 5. I didn't want that to happen to us in the middle of the 1/2. No we are fine she says. You're doing great Mike, she says. 6.6 in 53 minutes she says!?!?!?! What? Now you give me the race strategy? But she pulls me along. We argue like a married couple at mile 9 about our pace because our watches aren't even close. Mile 10 and the hill is looming large in my mind. The hill! And I pull ahead of Raffaella for the 1st time all day.....and I can hear Angela in my head "short strides, pump your arms, lean into the hill" and I keep going and going. And then Raffaella pulls up along side me and I push the pace some more. We clear the Arb and Raffaella passes me for the last time. I promise not to lose her and push to keep up with her for the rest of the race. I finish the race 9 seconds behind Raffaella and we both finish in under 1:45.
I honestly believe that had I run either race without these two I would not have hit the PR.
I promise you this - I did not hit my 10k PR or my 1/2 PR the following weekend without these two incredible teammates teaching me to be comfortable being uncomfortable and making me accountable to myself. I honestly believe that had I run either race without these two I would not have hit the PR. I would have been to conservative to make sure I could finish the race. The accountability of the group paid off. The relationships we build paid off for me. I believed Raffaella at mile 8 when she said "You're doing great Mike". Even though I questioned this fact myself. I did not question if I left any time on the course after this race.
The personal success and enjoyment - setting new PR's, breaking weekly mileage goals, meeting new friends - I have gained from run camp is a result of the incredible people that make up our run camp team. And I keep coming back because my coach keeps challenging me and holding me accountable to the plan. I love it!