It’s not often I write for Ray’s blog…but I thought this would be a good opportunity to say “thank you” to my husband for providing me with an amazing training program for my first Ultramarathon!
I ran my first Ultra 3 weeks ago in Maryland (JFK50 Miler) – it was great! Ray’s training program was perfect for me! Prior to July of this year I had never tried trail running, only ran a couple of marathons on the road. Plagued by injuries from high mileage on asphalt, Ray suggested I try trail running with him, somewhat unwilling I agreed. Wow – what a difference! So much softer under foot, but I found the terrain challenging at first (lots of hills and some technical sections). I also noticed I couldn’t keep the same pace I was used to running on the road which was frustrating in the beginning!
Ray’s first suggestion to me was to stop worrying about my pace and just run based on time…and enjoy it! So every Sunday I would tag along with Ray for an hour or so and I actually started to enjoy myself…and even started to think I’d like to try a trail race! A friend of ours suggested I try the JFK 50 Miler. With encouragement from Ray, I figured I would give it a shot. Now let me put this in perspective for everyone, when you live with one of the best Ultrarunners in the world and whose typical races are in the 250km+ category, 80km does not seem so far or unrealistic! So I set that as my goal and asked Ray to train me for it. Lucky for me, our friend Brian (who also had never ran an Ultra before) somehow let me twist his arm to run the race too! Just like any other client Ray works with we chatted about my goal, the amount of time I could actually commit to training, etc., and Brian followed the same procedure. We had 2 ½ months before race day so Brian and I made sure we followed Ray’s training program diligently!
On race day I thought about all the things Ray taught me over the last few months…stay hydrated, tips on how to stay relaxed while running uphill, and the power of positive thinking! He was certainly my motivation for the race – I kept telling myself “I just have to run 80km for one day, Ray is running 80km for 90 days…go!” Turns out both Brian and I had a great race! Brian finished in a time 7:58 and placed 69th out of over 1000 runners, and I ran 9:04 and was the 13th woman overall and 2nd in my age category. We were both quite pleased considering it was our first Ultra! We give Ray credit for providing a great training program (and I also want to say thanks to my Dad for coming to cheer us on)!
Ray called me from the Sahara Desert the following evening and I told him our results and how much we enjoyed the race – he was so proud of us! It was amazing to hear the excitement and satisfaction in his voice. Ray truly takes pride in seeing his clients do well and knowing his clients are pleased with their performance.
For anyone who wants a motivational, knowledgeable coach to help them achieve their goals – Ray is the BEST (honestly, bias aside!)! Check out Ray’s website for information on his training packages: www.rayzahab.com