It’s 7:02am on Sunday morning and the parking lot is near empty. Toward the back is a green truck with its lights on and a couple of Subarus near by. I had sent a text message a few moments ago to the group that I was on my way. Figures that the guy that organized this would be the last one to arrive. I backed my little red civic into a parking spot close to the others, but far enough away that nobody will notice the many layers of running clothes tossed about in the back seat. It’s still dark out thanks to daylight savings time and it is still cold and of course there is a 15 mph wind ... because … well ... South Dakota. Sunday mornings are for long runs and today I’ve got 16 miles on the docket, but thankfully I won’t be alone.
Greg Koch here General Manger/Co-Owner of 605 Running Company and I’m training for the Fargo Marathon. This will be my third marathon. My previous efforts were the 2016 Lincoln Marathon and the 2017 Houston Marathon.
For my first trip into marathoning at Lincoln I was a very green runner. I was very prideful and chose to write my own training plan. I often wrote on this blog about my experiences. Looking back is almost comical when I exam my current approach to this distance.
We traveled as a staff for my second effort in Houston and also documented that experience a ton for Skechers Performance who graciously provided us entry. For those of you that remember this is when the bromance between Grant Watley and I started as we trained together for 3/4 of the cycle (until his hip crapped out) and limped to the finish line in the Texas heat 5 minutes apart.
For this effort I was initially hesitant to once again share so much of myself and my experiences, but I’ve had a lot of people ask for this. So today I’m going to share how things are going, praise the heck out of this wonderful community, hype up my coach and speculate a little on my future in marathoning.
The other day a friend asked me what my weekly mileage was up to. I couldn’t provide him with an answer. For this race I’m working with Coach Jacqui Meadors. While I am by no means an elite athlete I have become a huge believer in working with a coach when training for goal races. Jacqui and I have been friends for awhile. She is one of my running idols and getting an opportunity to work with her has been a dream come true. When looking for a coach I wanted somebody willing to put me in my place and to boss me around when needed. Coach Jacqui is perfectly capable in this capacity. She is a great listener and we organize my training weekly. We often share text messages and emails about workouts and she is always available for questions. Most importantly when we met to discuss my goals she did not laugh me out of the room. When working with a coach it is important to respect their time and talent, trust the training process and to communicate often.
During my first marathon I very much approached training as a very personal journey. I did most of my running solo and treated the experience as some sort of growth opportunity. Think Luke Skywalker entering the cave on Dagobah. Only I didn’t have a Yoda and when I saw Darth Vader I crumbled. As I previously mentioned I got a little more social, training for Houston. Together Grant and I made some serious gains quickly. I ironically told him I wanted to train just like Jacqui Meadors did for the Chicago Marathon.
For this go around I’ve gotten much more social. I started a Facebook group called Sioux Falls Racing in Fargo and begged my friends to help me with my long runs either as support crew or running with me. Building a support group and sharing the journey has been tremendously rewarding and humbling. We live in an incredible community and I’m so thankful for my family and friends that make long runs fun. The process is going well. I’m not where I want to be in terms of speed or endurance, but things are trending in the right direction.
Is this the end or is it just the beginning? That is the question I often contemplate during my longer runs. Training for a marathon is no joke. Beyond the pace and time goals of the actual race, training for this distance takes a huge commitment. Running way too early in the morning, making wise food choices and endless amounts of core work add up. If I’m being completely honest, my run in Fargo will have a huge influence on whether or not I want to continue to train for the marathon distance.
The race is May 19th. You can follow my updates on Instagram @gregrun605. I cannot thank this community enough for all of the support and encouragement. If you are running Fargo or any spring race for that matter and need a social support group or want to join in on a long run checkout our groups on Facebook: Sioux Falls Racing in Fargo and 605 Running Community. And as always if you have running related questions feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Koch is the General Manager/Co-Owner of the 605 Running Company. When he is not at the store he volunteers on the Sioux Falls Marathon Board and Co-Coaches his church softball co-ed team. Greg is an avid runner and enjoys being outdoors whenever possible. Follow Greg on Instagram @gregrun605