Winter Series

An annual tradition in Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter series had several Thelen Coaching Athletes racing. It's a four race series at a variety of venues around town - from the hilly Cheyenne Mountain State Park course to the flat Pikes Peak Greenway race. Sometimes weather shows up for the fun, sometimes it's more summer like conditions. This year had both, adding to the challenges.

Race 1 - Cheyenne Mountain State Park. This is one of the hilliest of the courses, especially for the long series, with the climb up to the top of South Talon. Even the short series race isn't easy, climbing up Sundance and returning to the finish via Talon. Dianna and Brenda tackled the 3(ish) mile course and came away with decent times for the challenging course. Dianna set a new PR for the course, running 38:45 - taking over two minutes off her time. Brenda finished in 45:59, making a good benchmark for her return to running. In the long series, Dawn battled through som…

Arrowhead 135

Judd headed up to Minnesota again for the Arrowhead 135 at the end of January. After setting a single speed record last year of 21:05, Judd opted to race in the new unsupported class. It would be great prep for the Iditarod Trail Invitational and a new challenge. Conditions at the start looked like it could be another fast year, with cold temperatures and light snow falling. The teperatrue was supposed to stay cold, but not super cold - in the 0-10*s range. Perfect for racing.

The race stuck together to the first checkpoint, with Judd only a few minutes off his time from 2017. Conditions were still good, but starting to deteriorate. It was getting colder, the humidity was high for winter riding. Judd kept pushing through, but his pace was slowing. Given that he was carrying twice as much weight as last year, that was expected. Matching the fast time from 2017 while racing self supported was a tall order. With the cold weather (dropping into the mid -30s) some unexpected issues with…

Rescue Run and Game Day 5k Results

Thelen Coaching athletes started the year off right at the Rescue Run, with athletes in both the 5k and 10k races. It's one of the harder races in town, with the first mile all up hill in both races, rolling hills from miles 1-5 in the 10k and then a downhill final mile. The 5k is uphill to the turn around, then downhill back to the finish, making pacing challenging. In the 10k, Dianna finished in 1:14:12, a huge PR for her. Not a bad way to start the year out! Dawn ran 1:10:36, setting a bench mark time for her 10k. That should be easy to beat given how hard the Rescue Run course is... And Jen decided to take on the challenge during her visit from NC, running 1:17:10 and as she said "not finishing dead last!" Not bad for someone from sea level. Brenda was the only athlete in the 5k, finishing in 44:39 - a little slower the previous years, but she's just now getting back into consistent running.

At the Game Day 5k a month later, it was another solid day of racing. T…

October Results

Busy month in October! The cumulation of months of hard work, long runs and speed workouts lead to some great results for Thelen Coaching Athletes. PRs were set, goals were accomplished and challenges met head on.

 First up was Merideth. Her end of season race was the Marine Corps Marathon, with an aggressive finishing goal of 5:15. We geared the training towards that goal, with all of the long runs and intervals suggesting that it was not only do-able, but she had the potential of going faster. We set out the plan - start her watch when she crossed the line and keep the pace steady for the first few miles while the course was crowded. Then we would gradually increase the pace every few miles until she not only made up the the time from the slower start, but was actually faster. I was tracking her day while at work and she did fantastic with the pacing. Smart and steady, moving efficiently through the race. Until about the 35km, then things started slowing down. One of the hazards of…

Pikes Peak Ascent

Pikes Peak. The mountain looms over the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs - dominating the skyline. And for past 62 years, the mountain has hosted "America's Ultimate Challenge" The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. The Ascent is hard enough - about a half marathon that climbs almost 8,000 feet from the base of the Mountain in Manitou Springs to the Summit at 14,115 feet. The Marathon also treks to the summit, but then turns around and retraces the course back down to Manitou Springs. I've competed in both many years ago and have nothing but respect for the mountain and the runners that choose to take on the challenge of racing to the summit and back down.

Three Thelen Coaching Athletes took on America's Ultimate Challenge this year - setting their sites on the Ascent. Merideth and Shana were both competing in the Triple Crown of running, have raced in the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler and the Summer Trail Round Up earlier this year. Kendall was focusing…

July Athlete Results

July had some busy weekends for Thelen Coaching Athletes, with some great performances. On the 4th of July, three athletes headed up to Palmer Lake for the Four on the Fourth run for some holiday fun; the real goal for all three was only a few days later at the Summer Trail Round Up - Race #2 in the Triple Crown of Running. So I'd scheduled the Four on the Fourth as a workout race. Run hard, but it's not all out pace for the distance. Even so, Merideth still set a new PR at that even, slashing over 8:30 from her time the year before. Just goes to show what consistent focus and training can do! Both Shana and Kendall also had good races, setting new marks to shoot for next year.

A few days later, it was down to the Norris Penrose Event Center for the Summer Trail Roundup. This was the second leg of the Triple Crown of Running, so was the target race for Shana, Merideth and Kendall. None of them had raced it before, so they were going out hard for a solid time. Shana wanted a st…


At some point with every athlete, the question arises - why? Why am I putting myself through all of this hard work, devoting all my free time to this endeavor? It doesn't matter what sport or level of competition, if you don't have a clearly defined goal for the event or race, it's going to be difficult to see the point of all the training. That's only part of answering the Why. Without understanding the reasons behind your goals - your motivation - it's easy to give up and tell yourself that the goals are meaningless and there's really no point in trying anymore. Questioning the Why can happen after a bad workout, when time limits ability to train or even when friends and family start asking about the events. It can happen after a race when comparing finish times. It doesn't take much bring out the "why I am I doing this?" and it can quickly become a downward spiral as more workouts get missed, esteem drops and so on.

At this point, I ask my athl…