On Nov. 7, I ended Eric’s 20-week trail marathon-training program, which culminated in running the Rocky Raccoon 50k trail race and I wanted to say THANKS Eric! The course was much tougher than I had anticipated, more hills with sandy trails and LOTS of roots. Most of my training was done on less hilly gravel and asphalt roads and trails, so my training runs were quite different than the racecourse. That said I am very happy with my results.

I finished the race in 5:45, which placed me in the 34th percentile of race finishers and 4th among those my age (55) and older for my first trail race and my first 50k, which is the longest I have ever run. But what I am equally proud of is that I didn’t fall during the race and that I felt remarkably good at the end. People were falling throughout the race due to the sandy, root-laden trail, but Eric’s training plan apparently gave me the skills to stay upright during the race and end the race with both feet in good shape - no stubbed toes - in spite of having no experience on a similar course.

I have been running since I was about 30, “peaked” speed-wise at about 37, and began to get progressively slower and run less thereafter. The downward progression ended when at 53 I quit running completely due a torn meniscus and knee surgery, which left me believing that my goal of running a 50k was over. Reading “Born to Run” made me want to be a “runner” again and helped me believe that it was possible, and Eric’s training plan gave me the tools. My previously diagnosed arthritic knees have never felt better, even after running a hard 50k.

I hope that this encourages at least one aspiring runner out there to believe in yourself and your training and go for your goals.

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Comment by Robert Wagner on November 15, 2009 at 3:01pm
Vanessa, prior to starting Eric's 20 marathon training program, I was only running a couple of 30-60 min runs during the week and a 90 min run on the weekends, so, a pretty light running schedule. I was also lifting weights about 2-3 times a week then, which gave me a good strength base. I only found the 20-week program really tough during the last week of the build phase prior to the pre-race taper (week 17 maybe?). Throughout the program, I tried to keep Eric's "train don't strain" and "stay within yourself" mottos in mind, which I think really helped. Best of luck.
Comment by Vanessa Crittenden on November 13, 2009 at 3:13pm
Congratulations Robert! That course sounds very hard - very impressive!It's very encouraging to hear your story.I am just about to start the marathon program and have a similar knee history. How much were you running before you started the marathon package? I just did the 8 week package and am realizing that the running time will increase by a couple hours a week -- I hope I'm ready for it. Thanks again and nice job!

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