I was in my mid-sixties when I thought up a new goal for my running: “run a 10k in fewer minutes than my age at least until I’m 80.” My first injury happened pretty quickly. It was a nasty one, and I missed 4 months of training and could not even try to run the 10k that year. After another injury, I realized I needed a coach who would keep me injury free or pretty close.
I found Lesley on the internet; she agreed to take me on, and that’s how my experiences with her started. At that time my only expectation was that she would help me keep running so I could achieve my goal.
She started off by examining the mechanics of my stride and helping me adjust my it. She gave me daily workouts: 3 days a week running; strength and stretching; and 2 days completely off. I was OK with that if it was necessary to keep me going. I was injury free for two years.
Soon I was running faster and winning age-group medals. I hadn’t expected that at all!
Sixty-something-year-olds often have pains in the legs. I asked Lesley about this. She suggested that I get regular massages. I told her that I already had a good masseur. She said, try this other one I know. I never went back to my former one.
For several years I raced the 10k and was well under my age in minutes. Then came an unexpected injury presenting itself as a literal pain in my butt. I went to the sports medicine doctor at my regular clinic; he said rest. I did, but it persisted anyway. Lesley then recommended a doctor at the Univ. of Washington sports medicine clinic. She diagnosed an entrapped nerve and treated it with a procedure called “hydro-dissection.” It worked, and soon I was back on the road.
This experience is another part of Lesley’s expertise that I hadn’t anticipated. She has this really good network of doctors and other professionals. Now Lesley’s network is my network too.
Then came the dreaded plantar fasciitis, painful and very hard to treat. First, I balked at Leslie’s cross training/elliptical/stationary bike workouts. This is when I learned that Lesley could be tough, but in a gentle way. She wasn’t harsh or critical, she simply said, “you will run longer if you cross train and do exercises.” I took this to mean: if you don’t do this cross-training, you might not achieve your long-term goal. She knew how to motivate me.
The plantar fasciitis lasted a long time during which I got to experience another aspect of Lesley’s expertise: sports psychology. Being an athlete is not just all about running. It’s about realizing that injuries do happen and learning how to work/live through them. I learned to how to maintain my fitness in ways other than running. But mostly I learned that dealing with long-lasting injuries is a fundamental part of being an athlete. We have to put as much effort, physical and mental, into our training during injury periods as we do when we are healthy.
I’m 70 now. I ran my 10k this year in 5 minutes under my age. That’s the best I’ve ever done. I believe that without Lesley’s coaching, I would I probably not have run that race that fast, and more importantly I probably wouldn’t be running at all now.
As a coach...
Peter has been challenging and inspiring! Peter always wants to know the "why" behind what he is doing and is very data-focused. Helping Peter understand the "why" is a part of coaching I love. His love of data helps keep the challenges associated with aging athletes fun for him, and I really enjoy seeing how he approaches the goals and challenges he has set for himself.
Even more impressive, Peter has often chosen to run his races as solo efforts.
After achieving his 10k goal, he set off to Europe and didn't even bring his running shoes. What a great demonstration of achieving those goals and then balancing that with recovery and rest.
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