After dropping almost 10 minutes off her 4-mile time, Casey Kovacic wrote one of the best testimonials I’ve ever read about her coach Alicia Shay and how The Run SMART Retreat inspired her to start running. We’ve been granted permission to share her amazing story.
Do you realize how new I was to running when I attended The Run SMART Retreat in the summer of 2009 (I basically started running in April of that year)? As I mentioned at the retreat, my being there was life changing. After I returned home, suddenly, on August 4th, a light went on – I realized I really like running and plan to continue as long as I can.
I signed up to work with Alicia on a nutrition plan in early 2010, and that was a great help because 2010 was a year of much time spent working two jobs and not much time running. Who knows how bad my eating would have been without the plan?! She laid the groundwork for much better nutrition as well as for (finally) getting over my Mountain Dew addiction, although I didn’t kick that habit until 2011 (the habit was long-term – since 1993 I had been drinking the ol’ Dew daily – but only at work).
Before coaching with Alicia, my training was piecemeal at best. I was getting frustrated because I didn’t know how to get better except just by running more, and I wasn’t very succesful with that. I had no clue about how to incorporate stretching, resting or getting the most from the small amount of time I had to devote to running. I felt I had done all I could on my own and contacted The Run SMART Project for private coaching.
I love Alicia’s approach of providing weekly plans that keep in mind my goals and my time schedule. She is always encouraging and I have the plans to keep me pushing toward goals every day. She is sensitive to the fact that I am not tremendously fit (but I’m getting better!), and she still challenges me. She was with me through an injury (I tripped on a root and got what I called an HBI – Ham Butt Injury), through pneumonia, and last, through bronchitis in April. Now that I have been well for awhile, I am amazed at my progress. Her training plans really work and I have learned SO much.
Alicia’s advice to me as far as how to approach the race on Saturday deserves tremendous credit. I would have gone out too fast, had a slow second mile (with lots of walking), then MAY have been able to pick it up again. As it was, I ran pretty darn even miles, getting faster by the end. This is a Big Deal, as I had not yet even run the whole way in a 5K. This race, I didn’t walk until after the 3.1 mile mark, and then hardly at all.
I am so grateful that I saw that little banner ad for the Run SMART Retreat on athlinks.com in 2009. It started me on the road to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I was impressed with the welcoming attitude I received from all of the Run SMART folks. They really did want all ages and abilities and I so appreciate that.
I guess this email got a little long, Brian. I can’t really express how much difference your organization and all you guys have made in my life. Especially, Alicia.
Oh – and the numbers don’t lie:
- My resting heart rate has dropped 18 bpm.
- My body fat percentage has dropped 7% (since January)