This past weekend I took a little business trip to my old home of Austin, TX. For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been training my friend and old roommate Erin via text message, email and Skype to get her ready for the 2015 Austin Half Marathon. She’s no stranger to the half distance, completing New Orleans 2014 and San Francisco 2014 with me as well as a couple other before we met. She’s also no stranger to Austin’s hills and heat as we ran the 2013 Austin Marathon together!
Meet Erin Laverone:
In the three years I’ve known her, she’s been a mentor, educator and motivation for me as well as an incredible friend. We’ve shared a lot together and I was honored to be asked to help her hit a huge milestone.
Goal: Run 2015 Austin Half Marathon in sub 2:00
Plan: Run 3 times per week: one track for speed building, one tempo for aerobic training and one long run for mental strength.
Timeline: 11 weeks over the holidays
Erin worked so hard – fighting through illness, injury, cold weather and rain to get her runs in. I never doubted that she would crush her PR and nail her sub 2-hour goal. She had no doubts either after she floated through a ten miler at a sub 9 minute pace.
Race weekend was a blast and Austin greeted me with sun and warmth. We ate (a must in Austin), and relaxed, and ate, and expo-ed, and ate some more. Erin was a little more careful on her eating than me. I planned to run the race with her but the knee injury in November has me sitting at only 3 miles for now. So I indulged in all my Austin favorites.
I waited for her on the dreaded Enfield hill, cheering runners as they pushed up. I spotted her bright yellow Team Live Strong shirt and ran down to meet her. I was greeted with “I’m gonna puke”….”Well that’s fine, just keep running!” I said.
She trudged on, one foot in front of the other with less than a mile to go now. I decided to run her all the way to the last turn of the race. Turned a few corners in the neighborhood and were eventually headed back towards the capitol. She never slowed down – eyes on the prize. My plans to jump off at the last second were foiled as I found myself trapped on the course with fences on both sides of the street. So I just kept running her across the finish line and into the chute. I didn’t have my bib on, but since I was a true registered participant, didn’t feel too bad about it ;).
She nailed it. 1:57:25, beating her previous PR by 5:44. I couldn’t have been more pleased with her run or the weekend in general. I know she’s quietly thinking about the next milestone…..1:55 is calling your name!
Erin, you were a committed and dedicated athlete throughout the entire process. You didn’t let the flu or the cold get in your way or become excuses for not putting in the work. I am so proud, and inspired by your efforts, and your results. Congratulations girl, you earned it!