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December 01, 2010

Taryn Walker - December Runner of the Month!

Written by Dena Evans
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Taryn grew up in Texas, where she swam competitively from the age of four through college.   At the University of Texas at Austin, she finished as high as 15th in the Mile swim at the 1994 NCAA Championships.  Taryn worked in Houston for several years, where she met her husband, who is originally from England.  They eventually moved to Riverside, Connecticut for her husband’s job as an investment banker. Currently, Taryn is studying for her master’s in Accounting from the City University of New York, looking after their two yorkies, and spending any free time updating their house.   Taryn is currently training with Focus-N-Fly for the 2011 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Coach: How did you start running?

TW:  With swimming, they always had us do dryland activities, but I always tried to do running events in school.   In junior high, for instance, they let us run with the cross country team without being on the actual team. I have always run, but I didn’t really do races until I graduated, and I think I actually enjoy running more than swimming.  You can just get in your shoes and go, rather than get up early and have to get in cold water.  I did triathlons for a while.  Swimming was just such a focus, but I realized I really didn’t like cycling that much.  I took me a while to get back around to just running.

Coach: Who is your running role model?

TW:  My family is not very athletic.  We all swam when we were little - I have three brothers and a sister.  Running wise, my most vivid memory was watching Joan Benoit win the Olympic marathon.  Actually my whole family was watching.  That was the first thing I remember watching where I was like, “Wow this is so cool.”  I wasn’t dreaming of running at the time, but that was really impressive.

Also, my friend Karen, who is the one who told me about Focus-N-Fly, has had tons of injuries and lots of stuff going on, but she has such focus and drive.  She just says, I am going to finish this and I am going to do well.  Karen is the one who really motivates me on a daily basis and keeps me going.

Coach: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

TW: I’d have to say Chicago in 2008.  It was my first marathon, by itself.  I did an Ironman Triathlon in 2004, but had to walk most of the marathon.  So this was my first real marathon, and the crowds were just great.  I started in the open corral, and because I had to work through people the whole way it was a perfect steady run.  My goal was to finish under four and I ran 3:57.  It was one of those days where things couldn’t have been any better.

Coach: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

TW:  I’ve tried to train on my own or use one of the standard programs.  If you train on your own you always second guess yourself, and the set programs, you obviously can’t change.  Focus-N-Fly for me has been so easy because it tells you what you’ve been doing and you can adjust it. Even for Houston, I was originally planning on running in the marathon, but after I had some hip flexor problems, I was able to shift to the half marathon.  I love it!   If I was on my own, I would be likely to do too much, so this keeps me really balanced throughout the whole training.

Coach: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

TW: I don’t really have a superstition, but I have to be in bed and relaxing by nine o’clock the night before, even if I just sit there and watch TV.  If I just know that I have been resting and relaxing, then I’m good.

Coach: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

TW:  Right now, we live near Long Island Sound. There is a place called Tod’s Point, a 2.5 mi loop that juts into the sound.  You can see the water most of the way around and just can kind of let your mind go.

Also, I know it is not the most scenic place, and it is really hot, but Town Lake in Austin.  It is just that I have a soft spot for Austin, and have spent so many hours and hours running around there.  It is the same (as Tod’s Point), that you’re around water, and they have a crushed granite trail.  There are always tons of people with their dogs, etc…just a good atmosphere.

Coach: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

TW:  I would love to be able to qualify for the New York Marathon [for her age group, the automatic half marathon qualifying standard is 1:37].  I went 1:39 in a half a couple years ago.  Next year, it is on my birthday, so that would be a dream to qualify and run it on my birthday.

Last modified on March 31, 2011
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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