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Training with Mark

As most of you know, Mark ran a 207 mile relay race called Outback in the Ozarks two weekends ago. I consider myself to be a runner. I run 10 to 20 miles a week on average. Some of my “serious” running friends would consider that their “off season” but I feel good where I’m at. Mark is not really a runner. He consistently does Crossfit, bikes, and lifts weights but running is not something he routinely puts into rotation. But, when Mark does decide to go for a jog, he is a great runner. He can run a sub nine mile pace for five or six miles when he hasn’t run in a month.

As his race approached, he looked at me one day and said “I need to get serious about training for this.”  With about two months till go time, I thought… YEP! Mark consulted a good friend of his who is a triathlete and they came up with a training schedule.

Mark dropped all other forms of workout and just focused on running for those two months. Every day was mapped out, and on some days he ran two or three times a day. I quickly discovered that a considerable amount of time would be taken up by this training and decided that I would train with him. Me training with him soon became a competition in my mind. I started running the assigned miles in the mornings, without him, and texting him about my accomplishments. He then started doing speed work. So, I started doing speed work. Although I never came close to Mark’s time (he could run a sub eight mile for three or four miles) I did get a lot faster.

I am proud of Mark for running the Outback in the Ozarks race. It was challenging for him and it’s cool to watch someone do something, and do it really well, that they normally don’t do. Mark’s commitment to completing this course was inspirational and I became a better runner because of it. Thanks Mark!

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