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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.


With personal bests of 1:45 in the 800, 3:34 in the 1500 meters and 3:54 in the mile, David Torrence is one of America’s brightest young middle distance talents.   A graduate of Loyola High School in Los Angeles and UC Berkeley, David represents Nike while competing with the Bay Area Track Club, an organization he co-founded.

David was the USATF Junior National 1500 meter champion in 2004, and two months later was a finalist in the IAAF World Junior Championships. As an upperclassman at Cal, David won the Don Bowden Mile, running 3:58.62 to break Don Bowden's school record (Don Bowden was the first American to break the 4:00 barrier).   Since graduation, he has won USATF titles both indoor (3000m) and on the roads (mile), along with anchoring the second fastest 4x1500m relay in American history.  Just last weekend, David won both the 800 and 1500 meter events at the 2011 Stanford Track & Field Invitational.

Coach:   After winning at Stanford in the 1500/ 800, what are you working on?

DT:  After winning those races, I am looking forward to getting really fit and practicing my kick so I can be at my utmost ability for the USA championships.  My main goal is to make the world championship team and go to Daegu [Korea, site of the 2011 IAAF World Track & Field Championships].  I know a lot of athletes went to Australia and other places to get the “A” standard early, but I felt it was better to go the other way, and be prepared later on.

Coach:  What races are on the schedule?

DT: I have a few races lined up, but I am not concerned about time as much this year.  I have run the time I need before, so I just want to continue to compete hard and make top three [top three finishers at the USATF Championships who have achieved the “A” Standard get to represent the US at the World Champs].

I am definitely doing Mt. Sac, probably the 800m.  I am also doing the High Performance meet at Occidental College and hopefully the Diamond League events in Eugene and New York.  I may also do Texas Relays and possibly Penn [Relays].  I might also run at the Brutus Hamilton meet [Cal’s home invitational].

Coach:  Moving from college to the pros, what have you adjusted to your training to make the leap?

DT:  The biggest things that have improved my ability to run and compete are daily post-run exercises.  In college you have school and homework. You just run, come home, have dinner, and go back to class.  Now that I am a professional, I have more time.  Almost every day I do some sort of core or body weight exercises.  I feel it helps with strength as well as recovery.  Sometimes I feel totally trashed after a workout.  Although it is hard to motivate to actually do the exercises, you actually feel better after doing them, sending blood flow back to the areas, and kind of cleaning things out.

Coach: This month, we are talking to our members about the transverse abdominis.  How do you feel core strength helps you as a middle distance athlete?

DT:  As an athlete, I feel like it helps maintain posture.  At the end of the race, you start to crumple – you hunch over your back starts to curve – people are all over the place.  If you really work on your core, it really helps you to maintain good posture and good form.  So instead of working against your body, you keep things going in the right direction.  It also helps during training.  When you are constantly doing these hard workouts, your body gets bent out of shape while doing them too.

Coach:  Tell us a bit about the work of the Bay Area Track Club?

DT:  It is going well for us – we had a fall marathon speaker series for runners in the Bay Area - Q&A sessions for beginners and experienced recreational runners with our Olympian, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, and our other pro marathoner, Peter Gilmore.

In the winter we had the Bay Area Cross Challenge, where we had a number of athletes tuning up for the US cross country championships.  We have been doing a lot of high school clinics where we kind of go over how to go from high school athletics to the next level.  Whether it is a high school athlete or an adult jogger, we want to contribute to the running community.  Hopefully then people will see us in our races and support us, saying,  “Hey, that guy is on Bay Area Track Club!”

The average high school basketball player knows the names of the famous basketball players, but if you ask a high school runner who is the fastest American miler, they probably don’t know.  So we want to bridge that gap.

Rotohstein_tuftsStephanie Rothstein is a 2007 UC Santa Barbara graduate who, after training in Eugene, Oregon after graduation, has enjoyed her best stretch as a pro since moving to the McMillan Elite group in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Capping a two year period in which she was named to the USA teams for the 2009 Chiba Ekiden and the 2010 World Half Marathon Championships after finishing 2nd in the US 20k Championships, she enjoyed an amazing breakthrough this winter, smashing her previous personal best of 2:40 while running 2:29:35 for 3rd place at the 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon.

Like many of our FNF Houston finishers, Stephanie is just coming through a bit of recovery after her race, and took a few minutes out of her schedule to connect with FNF.

Coach:  After a couple years living in Eugene, Oregon, you elected to move down to Flagstaff.  What were you hoping for with the move and how has it worked out?

SR: I went through a rough period in my running career and health in Eugene for about 2 years. It was simultaneously that my doctors made some discoveries and things were moving in the right direction when I decided to move. I was taking a leap of faith that working with Greg and being in an environment with other athletes would give me the chance to make a comeback. It has worked out better than I could have hoped for.

Coach:  What was your favorite part of your outstanding performance at the 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon?  Least favorite part?

SR: Favorite part was crossing the finish line and having all these moments/thoughts of my road to get there flash through my mind. Also seeing my boyfriend (Ben) run towards me crying (I had to put that in here). I didn't have a least favorite part as I enjoyed the ups and downs of the race that my body and mind went through.

Coach: What has been the single most important factor in your training as you have moved up to the marathon?

SR: Recovery- the key is how quickly you can recover from one workout to the next.

Coach:  What do you plan to work on or change between now and 2012?

SR: We plan on working on my weaknesses-(track speed, finishing kick) This will allow me to be able to run with the best 10,000m runners during the marathon.

Coach:  Five years from now, what are some things you are looking forward to trying to accomplish?

SR: I'd like to have made the 2012 Olympic Team, be a contender to medal in the 2016, won the [ING] NY City Marathon, and be closing in on the American Record in the marathon. Big Goals!

Coach:  This month, we are advising our runners about the importance of avoiding iron deficiency.  Living and training at altitude and running a large amount of miles - how have you made sure to address your nutritional needs while training hard?

SR: My nutritional needs are a bit different than the average person since I have Celiac Disease and that was a big factor in why I didn't absorb iron for several years. Now that I was diagnosed my iron has quadrupled in the last 10 months. For me the key is red meat at least 4 times a week, an iron supplement (liquid or pill) and one that had B vitamins, Vitamin C, and Folic acid to help absorption. I also have a blood profile done every 4 months to monitor my levels.

ed note:  FNF recommends consultation with a physician before embarking on any course of supplements.

Coach:  As a newer marathoner, what is a piece of advice you might give to someone who is thinking of moving from the half marathon to the full distance for the first time?

SR: The marathon is just another race, don't be scared of it or put it on a pedestal. As long as you train consistently, within yourself, and fuel properly you'll nail the marathon.

February 28, 2011

Pumping Iron In Your Diet



romanticlifestyleironrich3Not much frustrates a runner more than putting in a ton of work in training only to find oneself unable to produce the desired result.    Many of us fear this scenario in connection to a potential injury, but another crucial area in which we may fail to give ourselves the best shot is with our diet and nutritional habits.


There are many factors involved in formulating a solid diet and nutrition plan that will power you to your next running goal.  In previous columns, we have touched on the importance of hydration and race weekend fueling.    This month, we wanted to touch on the topic of the role an iron-rich diet can play in helping you succeed in training and on the big day.


Simply put, iron helps carry oxygen to our muscles via the bloodstream.  It is the binding agent that allows the oxygen molecules to go for a ride from our lungs to our arms and legs, our brain, and our immune system.  All that belly breathing we talked about in last month’s column would go for naught if we didn’t have iron to help make the connection between those deep breaths and the cells that need the air to keep you on pace.


A normal day for anyone will include iron loss through bodily fluids (with more for women during menstruation), and the demands avid endurance athletes put on their bodies can hasten these losses.    If you have ever felt repeatedly tired over a length of time, without other explanation and on runs that previously were no problem, or if your hands and eyelids have been noticeably more pale than usual, you might want to consider consulting your physician about the possibility of checking your iron levels with a quick blood test.


However, to give yourself a good chance of avoiding that iron deficient state, or Anemia, in the first place, we encourage you to incorporate foods into your diet that will help you add iron on a regular basis.    Lean red meat, salmon, tuna, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, along with lentils, beans, and nuts, are great sources of iron.  Iron is absorbed very effectively when consumed concurrently with foods rich in vitamin C, so bring on the berries and orange juice.  Calcium makes it tougher for you to absorb iron, so save that glass of milk or slice of cheese for a different time of day if you are actively trying to consume a food for its iron content.  Likewise for coffee and tea, both of which also hinder the absorption process.  We encourage you to consult your physician on any drastic individual dietary choice you make, but the Food and Drug Administration’s Daily Value recommended for dietary iron consumption is 18mg.


Some runners enjoy the calorie-burning benefit running provides, allowing them the dietary flexibility of a higher metabolism.  Others incorporate running into an overall weight loss effort that includes a systematic effort to eat less.  Either way, if you are in it for the “long run” or maybe even several “long runs” it is important to include iron rich foods to make sure you are able to take advantage of all your hard work.

February 28, 2011

Jane Langridge

Jane is 47 years old and grew up in London, England.  She has one sister and three brothers.  Her parents, sister and two of her brothers still live in the UK and one brother lives with his family in Australia. Jane moved to San Francisco in 1997 for work-related reasons.  Initially, she was planning on staying for a year or two but soon fell in love with the city and the Bay Area and decided to stay.  Jane finally became an American citizen in May of 2010.  She lives with her spouse, Louise, in the Bernal Heights area of the city with their two dogs, Byron and Poe.

This spring, Jane is gearing up for the 100th Bay to Breakers 12K, in part by attending our group training runs.

Coach: How did you start running?

JL: Running is a very new sport for me. In truth, I only started running this year!

Coach: Who is your running role model?

JL: Unlike many runners, I really don't have a running role model. That said, I was initially inspired to run and continue to be encouraged and supported by Valerie Azinheira, a marathon runner and Boot Camp SF Trainer.

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

JL: My most memorable running experience was actually a training with Focus and Fly. I had just started running and attended the first Crissy Fields Bay to Breakers training session. As a new runner was pretty daunted by the prospect of joining 'real runners'. Within a very short time, Tom and Kate made me feel so comfortable and capable that I was encouraged to run further and at a pace that I had never achieved before.

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

JL: As above. The trainers are completely genuine.

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

JL: I'm definitely particular about how I tie my shoe laces!

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

JL: Yountville, Napa. The scenery and air are spectacular.

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

JL: To complete Bay to Breakers in May and then in the 70 mile Tahoe Relay in June.


Max King is a bio-chemical engineer from Bend, Oregon.  In his spare time, he has also found time to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the steeplechase and marathon, win the Xterra World Trail Championships three times running, compete for the US at the World Cross Country Championships multiple times, win a six day mountain team race, and generally sample and succeed at any racing discipline he has tried.  He is also a husband and a dad.  This month, Max King provides a Pro’s Perspective on a career that has been anything but ordinary.

Coach: After first bursting out on the national scene as a steeplechaser from an Ivy League school, you have made the successful transition to become a multi-time Xterra World Trail Championships winner.  You've been a world class cross country athlete and have competed in Ultra-Marathons as long as 50 miles.   What is your best event and why do you think so?

MK: I don't know if I have a best event. That remains to be seen. I think if we had Tour de France of running, something like Transrockies 6-day stage race, I think that might be my best event, but the event that I put the most time into and probably enjoy the most is probably cross country. No other event gives me goosebumps when I show up at the race venue and look out over the course where hundreds of runners are going to line up on a starting line that I like to imagine goes on and on then all starting at the same time making a run for the same point on the course. Something about that feeling gets me every time.

Coach:  Many people are introduced to running through high school track, or as an adult, their local 5ks or a nudge from a friend to try training for a half marathon for fitness or charity.  How did you get started running and how did you decide to eventually start incorporating some of the less traditional distances into your training and racing goals?

MK: I started the same as a lot of runners.  I was terrible at ball sports, had no hand-eye coordination, but could beat all the kids in the mile in gym class.  I started running track in 7th grade and cross country in 9th. These other events like mountain running, trail running, and ultras have just always appealed to me because they are difficult and “fringe”. For some reason I'm always drawn to whatever's different. I still come back to the basics of track and cross country though because they're the basics, and where the competition is. There are two sides to it for me. Part of doing different running/racing formats is just to do something different and keep running fun, then the other side of it for me is the need for competition, and good competition too. I need to lose and I need to win. It helps make me better.

Coach:  Can you share a little bit about what a few of the different types of races you have done have each taught you, perhaps things that have then translated over into other areas of your running and racing?

MK:  The most important lesson I've learned lately as I started to prepare for the World Mountain Running Championships is that running a lot of hills, even slow hills, gives you immense power and strength for flat races. It was something I'd forgotten but I really believe it was a big key to running a good solid marathon this fall in 2:15.

Another is that doing ultras really doesn't slow you down like everybody thinks. If you stop doing speed while training for an ultra, then you will lose your speed. Running some longer races also makes the long runs feel a lot shorter, and if you incorporate your long run into an ultra race, then you can buy yourself some friends to run with. Makes it easier.

Coach:  Do you find that there are physical benefits you can identify from doing such a wide variety of training and racing tasks?

MK: I guess I kind of mentioned them above but the gist of it is that running a lot of different events has made me a better runner by identifying my weaknesses and building a lot of strength.

Coach:  What is the toughest race you have ever done?

MK: Toughest, hmm. For me the bad races are always the toughest, like last year at the USATF XC Champs. Ended up 11th. That was a tough race.  But the toughest physically and mentally would have to be Transrockies 2008. It's 6 days of running at a minimum altitude of 9000ft and a high point of 12,500ft. 115mi total with a big climb up over a mountain pass every day.  Oh, and it's a team race. Two people per team, both people run the whole thing and you have to stay together. That was the physical part - the mental part of the race was that the second place team was shadowing us the whole week. Going into day 6 we were only 4 minutes in front. That's nothing in a 24 mile day with two big climbs in it. Somebody hits a rough patch and down goes 10 minutes, easy. So we were stressed out the whole week. It's nerve wracking and something I'd never experienced before. You're always racing someone for one day. Racing for 6 straight days was something totally new.

Coach:  What are your goals for the next year or two?

MK: The immediate goal is to make the World XC Team again on Feb 5th. We'll see how that goes. Next up is the World Mountain Running Team qualifying in June along with some 10ks on the track in the spring. After that, the summer has some Mountain races, Transrockies again, and then the big goal for the year is the Olympic Marathon Trials in January. After that, who knows. I'll probably still just keep doing a little bit of everything. 

Coach:  If someone is a bit nervous to try a trail race or a different type of race than they might usually train for, what advice or encouragement can you give them?

MK: First off, trail races are fun. They have none of the pressure associated with a road race because time really shouldn't matter. An important part of trail running though is to do your homework on the course and make sure that you're not getting in over your head. Many can have a lot of elevation gain and someone that has done a half marathon on a road could find that doing a half marathon trail race can be much different. There are plenty of trail races that have novice courses that are non-technical and fairly flat. The great thing about them is that the next day your legs won't be nearly as sore as after a road race. You can recover so much faster after a trail run than a road run.

And in training, get some practice on a nearby trail. It may not be exactly the same as the race course but it will be similar and it will give you a feel for trails.

For more on Max, check out a podcast he made on trail running for Running Times!

January 31, 2011

Juan Borges


Juan lives in Texas, where he has been working in the Houston area for the past four years as a composite engineer, repairing blades for windmills.   Juan has two kids, and will have been married for 10 years in June. Born in Venezuela, Juan originally came to the United States 13 years ago, first to complete his bachelor’s degree, where he studied aircraft engineering, and then onto a research position in El Paso before moving to the Houston area.

Coach: How did you start running?

JB: I have been running for several years - 17 years on and off.  The last three years, I said, “Ok, let’s make it more serious.”  My main motivation was my dad.  When I was a little kid, I saw him running, and said I want to run with him!  The same thing is happening with my little four year old.  My dad would let me win, and I enjoyed that, but when I was 16 or 17, I decided to start taking it a bit more seriously, and really started training with him….it was my time with him where I could ask questions and have a good conversation  It was very meaningful to share that with him.


Now, the only time I had to run is 4 or 5 in the morning.  I have been trying to keep it for fun, but now am getting a little more serious about the marathon. Now, it is more my personal time and I just disconnect from everything.  So the key for me is to enjoy the activity, but not have it as something forced.  Just for fun.

Coacy: Who is your running role model?

JB:  My dad. Definitely. No doubt.  He never had any serious health problems, so that is also another motivating factor to keep going as I hope to be the same way when I am his age.

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

JB:   Definitely the New York Marathon in 1994, my first marathon.  Now I have expectations for the second marathon, this Sunday [this interview took place prior to Sunday’s race, which he completed in a very even split 3:58].  After 16 years, I have to see how the age affects me!  A couple weeks ago, I did the Sugarland Half Marathon and it went really well.

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

JB:  It was a really nice experience, and the reason is that when I started training a while ago, I used a simple formula my dad gave me:  do a third of the [race] distance a day, or double the distance in a week.  When I started training with FNF, I noticed that the dynamic was different, with different paces.  It makes it more fun as it was not always the same thing.  It really was a different approach and really good!

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

JB:  for the long ones, normally, I get a bagel with peanut butter two hours before the race and get some sports drink to make sure I am well hydrated.  I stretch to make sure I feel comfortable; for me the most important part is to feel relaxed.  I like all the adrenaline you have right before the race.

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

JB:  Really I enjoy whatever place I go to run.  I pay little attention to the outside actually.  I just concentrate on my run and don’t pay too much attention to the scenery.  Although, back home, my dad has a special route and I did that during my training as we were home for Christmas.  It was very hilly (it is really flat in Houston), and when I came back, my times really came down.  I live in a subdivision and run mostly in the dark, so I can’t really see much.  The route back home is 4 miles so you can even do it twice or whatever you need.

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

JB:  To be honest, I want to just keep running, and stay in good shape, and see if I get in the lottery for the [ING] New York City Marathon.  But to be honest with you, I just want to keep going and stay healthy


Jodi grew up in Long Beach, California, and is married with two sons, 9 and 3.   After attending  Golden West College she has been working in medical billing for a heart monitoring company.  In her free time, she runs and goes to nine year old’s soccer games.

Jodi is currently training with us in preparation for the Surf City USA Half Marathon on February 7.


Coach: How did you start running?

JD: I gained 65 lbs with first son, and a co-worker asked me to train for a 5K in 2006.  I started walking with her at lunch and then running on a treadmill, a 5k every time.  Once you start, then you see people doing a 10k, then a half, and then you find yourself saying hey, what’s that full!  When I had my three year old, I came back and started with a half.  I did the Huntington Beach [Surf City USA] half, then did Long Beach, then did Surf City full, then the San Francisco full!  I wanted to finish the California Dreamin’ series [promotion offering a commemorative jacket for those who participate at Surf City, Long Beach and San Francisco]. Now my husband is like,  “You’re wearing that jacket again!”

Coach: Who is your running role model?

JD: I have to say it is my mother-in-law.  When I told her I was going to try for the 5K all those years ago, she was like, “ Oh, I run!”  She has been running for years. Now, every year we do the 10K together at the Long Beach Turkey Trot.  I don’t want to say how old she is, but she looks 20!  So my goal every year is to try and beat her!

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

JD: It has to be the San Francisco Marathon.  It wasn’t my best time, but so many times you would turn a corner and you had to go uphill again! I couldn’t believe it. It was really cool to run across the bridge, though.  My nine-year old thought that would be really cool.  I would love to do a sub 4 and thought I was going to pr on this course, but there was no way.  Too hilly.

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

JD:  I email questions to Kate and I love checking the forum to see what questions people are asking and how they get answers.  At work, I have a couple people who ask me questions and I I have no idea.  So I email Kate or ask it on the forum.  I also like if you enter on your training and haven’t done exactly what you were supposed to, the color of the day changes, so you can kind of see where you were off.  I wish I could see blue the whole month!

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

JD:  I always have a bowl of cereal for dinner the night before, cereal and an apple or a banana.  I can’t eat the morning of or drink, I drink during, but I have to be completely empty when I start.  I just get the worst stomachaches.  When I wake up early in the morning and go running those are the best runs. Ed note:  this interchange prompted a longer conversation about the benefits of pre and mid-race fueling, and Jodi energetically agreed to embrace some suggested ideas for ways to introduce fueling into her pre-race routine.

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

JD:  It has to be this place by my work, Newport’s Back Bay.  It is so hilly, and there are routes that are 3 miles or 7 miles.   You don’t have any stoplights.  It is asphalt, then it moves into San Joaquin hills which have dirt and trails.

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

JD: I was in a car accident in august of 2009 with a fractured foot [among other serious injuries] and it was kind of like starting over for me, where 3 miles I was sweating.   So, I would like to get back to where I was previously I feel like it is starting completely over again, So, I would just like to get back to where I was, maybe to do a sub 2 half marathon, but that is not anywhere near in my future.  My son comes and runs with me for 2 miles, and I force my husband to come out with me.  I would like to keep them involved and get into a good steady running routine again.  I would also love to do a triathlon!

BR_rnrBlake Russell is a former University of North Carolina All-American who has gotten better and better as her chosen distance has gotten longer.  She even has traversed one of the most difficult chasms in sports - after finishing a heartbreaking 4th in the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials, she succeeded in making the team in 2008, where she was the United States' highest placing finisher in 27th. 

After becoming a mom for the first time in 2009, Blake steadily returned to form in 2010, winning the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in a personal best 1:11:57.  A calf strain derailed her plans to contest the ING New York City Marathon in November, but she plans to be ready to go for 2011 and beyond.  Read on to hear about her goal setting for the year ahead.

Coach:  In January, many FNF trainees are going to be setting new training goals and picking a goal race or two for 2011.  How does your goal setting process work?

BR: Since moving the the marathon, I have found that it is hard to target track and cross country as well. The last few years I have been aiming for one or two marathons a year, so that usually means deciding on what marathon I want to run and working backwards a few months to see how other races will fit into a marathon training block. This past year, my goal was to run the NYC marathon because I wanted to run an interesting course and practice tactical racing. I had also never run that marathon, so I was looking for a fun race back since I had not run a marathon since the Olympics. Unfortunately, I had a minor injury that kept me out of the race, so I was not able to reach that particular goal.

After weighing a few options for 2011, I decided I want to run a spring marathon verses aim for some fast track times since the Olympic Trials are just over a year away. The most important thing for me is to take a few weeks, particularly after a disappointing end to 2010, and look at all my options and goals. I usually rely heavily on my coach's input, because he is the best at seeing the big picture and getting me to my goal of being as fit as possible for the Olympic Trials marathon. He is not big in setting time goals because sometimes that can lead to disappointment or even limitations. Rather, his main goal is to put in really consistent training blocks knowing that confidence is always built  with consistency.

Coach: How have your goals (both short and long term) changed after experiencing the Olympics, the grand stage, etc?

BR: Once you have been to the Olympics, you see why everyone wants to keep getting back there. It is such and honor to wear the USA uniform and know that you are one of three people to represent the United States in that particular event.  My goals, however, have not changed too much. I took a planned pregnancy break and have always been planning to try and make the marathon team again in 2012. I have always had aspirations of running a mid-2:20s marathon, but there are not that many more opportunities to do it. If I can make the team again, I know that I will need to be a mid-2:20 marathoner to be competitive.

Coach: With the Olympic Marathon Trials basically in about a year, you have a significant task to look forward to (assuming this race is on your radar screen).  Do you find it important to have intermediate goals so you can build confidence on the way to huge task like that looming on the calendar, but far away?

BR: In 2008, I was the only athlete that used the 10k to qualify for the Trials because I was not healthy enough to run a full marathon thanks to a broken metatarsal bone. This time, things have still been a little difficult after a baby, but I do plan on running one marathon before the Trials. I would like one more marathon as a confidence boost, not to mention training for a marathon is a great way to get in a huge base of work and get really fit. I do not usually race much before a marathon, so I don't need to have a race to let me know I am fit. I have been running long enough to have certain key workouts to tell me what I am ready to run. My coach is also good at predicting my fitness level based on years of formulating charts.

Coach: Do you find that you actively use the motivation of your long term goals while taking on tough daily workouts?  If so, how?

BR: Yes, plenty. On the cold, rainy and wind days when I don't want to get our the door, my long-term goals are usually the only think getting me out the door. I know that missing just one day will effect my training and confidence. Often, when I am facing a particularly hard marathon workout, I try and remember that the more hard workout I do, the better I will feel on race day. Knowing I am building confidence and putting hay in the barn for race day always gets me through.

Coach: What are some things you tell yourself when you get temporarily off track with training (injury, pregnancy, sickness)?

BR: My coach always says running well is all about getting on a roll and picking up momentum. You never remember how hard it was to get in shape once you are there, but once you loose momentum, sometimes it is hard to pick up steam again. If I have been sick or getting over a injury, I usually give myself about a week or two to get back into a routine and then pick a day where I know I officially need to start training hard again. Sometimes a little mental downtime is good as well, but I usually need to give myself a drop-dead date of when I am going to be back into full training mode both physically and mentally. I usually start on a Monday which the first day in my mileage week.
Coach: Who are some people you look up to as athletes or individuals who set goals and follow through.   Why?

BR: I have to confess I don't have any athlete mentors or idols. I have found running to be such an individual sport that I seem to do better if I am motivated to beat myself and my own PRs.

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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.

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