Laurie was beginning to realize her potential and needed some structure for a pre-competitive routine. In addition, Laurie was just beginning to compete at high levels and had not experienced competitive anxiety in her past. We also had unexpected injuries occur that required an approach that allowed Laurie to continue training without being able to run.
When I started working with Eric I had been running for a couple years and I wanted to take it to another level. I was slightly hesitant at first to work on my mental game, there are a lot of people out there offering solutions and immediate results. Eric explained how mental training is much like physical training and I have found that the more work I put in, the better results I get. I really admired Eric’s willingness to listen and figure out how he was going to help me. To get to the root of the problem with my mental preparation, my emotional awareness, my physical awareness was very positive and helpful. This experience helped me understand how runners and probably with most sports, it is not the physical capability per say, but the mental approach. You can psyche yourself up or you can talk yourself out. It’s the attitude that you walk in with. It’s learning how to act and respond to an upcoming event. Eric really helped me learn to respond rather than react. That may seem subtle but it was very profound in our work together.
In 2013, I completed my 1st marathon. I was told not to setup time frame’s for each leg of my run because if you fall behind, it’s very hard to dig yourself out of it. I did (3) time frames just to gauge myself, how my training miles went and how I thought this race was going to evolve. Eric and I work on a schedule and pre-competitive routine for the race. This race was a huge challenge for me but the routine helped me walk into the race with a clear head of, “I am doing this”. The biggest race of my life. I gauged worst case scenario of 5 hours, happy with 4:45 but we set our goal for 4:30. I was an inexperienced distance runner other than a 30K race (18.6 miles) earlier that year. I finished that in 3:12, but to tack on an additional 8 miles was a lot. Eric and I worked on positive self-talk so when I got to the race with my best friend and we lined up together and we kept repeating to ourselves, “we got this, we trained for this.” Either way it was going to be a PR (personal record). I ran my race and it was the most physically challenging run of my life. I had to talk to myself, I had to keep my spirits up and keep telling myself, “you got this.” I finished the race with a time of 4:23:06, I met my goal. Better than I ever dreamed. Learning how to get present by calm breathing and bringing the focus to my goal for the run. To clear my head before a race was helpful for me to perform my best. Eric helped me understand that I was running for me. I sometimes was trying to prove something to others but we made another subtle shift that completely changed my attitude and now I run not to prove anything to anyone.
The following year was my 2nd marathon and an Ultra Marathon – 50K (31 Miles). Eric and I started working on the preparation. I was also in the running for Runner of the year for my age group. I was on my A-game but was getting stressed out. I had to be the best, I had to run my hardest, every time, every race. I was getting over-whelmed and discouraged when I didn’t produce the times. I was starting to become negative. I wasn’t sleeping because I was having races continually go through my head. Eric gave me exercises to work on at night. We developed some breathing exercises to help clear my head, to lower my anxiety. To start to use when I would get to a race. I would sit in my car and breath, clear my head and close my eyes and get present. The mindfulness work we did was huge in my preparation. Throughout the summer I began hitting PR’s consistently first a 5K of 24:22, then a 4-mile PR of 31:35 and then another 4-mile PR of 31:30 on a hilly course. I ended the summer with a 5K PR of 24:20!
I ended up with Planter Fasciitis that cut part of my season short. Now I was stressing about running distance in preparation for my 2nd marathon and ultra. I had to take (3) weeks off of running at the tail end of my training. I was getting panicky again. So, I reset and the mindfulness training really helped. I cleared my head, calmed my breathing and regrouped. I rested, and came back to running. I completed my 2nd marathon and 2 weeks later, an ultra-marathon!! Neither were time frames to brag about, but I have learned to look at the big picture. What I overcame and with breathing, clearing my head, toning down the voices and look at what I accomplished with very little training! What I have done, nobody could take away from me. It was amazing how my attitude and mental preparation propelled me through those races.
After my ultra, I was hit by a car while out running. Once I got my boot off, I was in physical therapy for 3 months with an ankle injury. I had to start over from scratch. It was an entire year of ups and downs. Injury after injury. I finally became healthy in the fall. I was tacking on miles and becoming okay with my times. I had to look at the big picture and understand, what I had been through. Because I remained positive and kept positive I was learning to enjoy running and not to be stressed by it. With everything Eric taught me on how to read myself, how to correct the bad thoughts, to clear my head, and to acknowledge everything around me I was starting to be a different runner. By the end of the year I started getting my speed back. I was becoming more confident; I didn’t feel stressed at the start line. I got up to the line and was in the present, “I am running my race, for me. I have nothing to prove to anyone”. I was getting my speed back. By January 2016, I hit 24:50. I went out with the goal, “I’m just gonna run my race.” We worked on deep listening in the body and it helped me remain focused. I found that I was picking people off and that made me go faster. I haven’t been in the 24’s since the car accident. I was on my way back.
Eric really helped me to race for me and enjoy the competition. I am not going to be at my best every single race. But I know how to get through it when I don’t have my best stuff. Every race is not going to be a PR and not every race is going to be horrible. You can hit a PR and not medal or you can run a horrible race and medal you just never know. The many tools I have learned from working with Eric have assisted me in all facets of my life. I have learned to run for me and it has brought a whole new experience of joy to my running. I would highly recommend Eric if you want to bring your game to the next level. His training is deep and he knows how to implement the tools as an athlete himself. He knows what works and he knows how to train. There is a ton of value in working with him and it’s a great investment in yourself!