Having Ann as a Coach
Ann deserves every bit of my warm and heartfelt thanks for her support earlier this year in helping me to accomplish the Race Across USA races. It was such an enjoyable, fun experience, and is one of my most treasured memories. The core team were running the transcontinental race of 3,100 miles from California to Washington DC at a pace of one marathon a day. I was not a core team member but a guest entrant, and the race leg I participated in was a marathon a day over four consecutive days across the heart of North Carolina. Without the accountability, support and guidance through tough injury patches, and great suggestions for things to do outside of running such as foot exercises, stability exercises, and foam rolling, I would not have got myself to the starting line. Instead, I would have been swept along by other things I’m also passionate about, and this event would have passed me by, gone to languish on the ‘someday’ list. However, I materialized my goal and had so much fun that two weeks later I was back to do another four-day leg across Virginia to Washington, DC, and got to end that leg running to the finish line at the White House with all the core team. Now, I am signed up for my first 100-miler!
“I can barely put into words how amazing it was to be coached by Ann Trason for my first 100 mile race, Rio Del Lago 2014, which I finished in 29 hours and 44 minutes!! I consider myself a new runner, having started just 6 years ago with a 10k. After several marathons, a few ultras, I set my sights on 100 miles. Of course I had read about Ann, was familiar with her incredible accomplishments, but was surprised when I accidentally came across her website offering coaching services. I must admit, at first I felt intimidated. How could I, being a VERY back of the pack runner…ever work with Ann? But I also knew it would be an incredible life experience. So I set aside my fear and emailed her. What do I have to lose I thought? She was immediately humble, comforting and disarming from our very first conversation. I was on board. Ann has an uncanny ability to read exactly what I need. When I experienced a minor injury, she adapted my training, and constantly checked in to see how I was doing. When I finished a discouraging LAST place at Dick Collins Firetrails 50, she provided me with the most perfect reassurance that 100 miles was still within my reach. She also taught me how important it is to assess what you learn from each race, and how to make changes for improvement in the future. Obviously her experience and knowledge allow for expert advice on everything from aid station efficiency to headlamp recommendations. There is absolutely no way I would have finished Rio Del Lago without Ann’s wisdom, support and guidance. In my last live phone call with Ann prior to the race, Ann advised me to “find a friend on the trail”…that advice completely made my race!! I ran 40 miles with a random stranger and I consider him a friend today. Thanks Ann for being a true friend to the sport of ultrarunning and a true friend to all of us on the trails!
Ann is the best, kindest and most caring coach I’ve ever had. She did so much more than get me fit mentally and physically and realize my running goals, it helped me reach goals outside of running and get me through some tough times as well. I grew so much with her coaching.
“Working with Ann has brought my running to entirely new levels!!! We’ve had major breakthrough after major breakthrough!! Ann loves coaching and that love really shows in the attention and care she gives her clients!! Communication and feedback are great which really helps!! She really knows what she’s doing and comes up with a lot of creative/focused workouts which target specific events!! I’ve been incredibly well prepared for races like; Miwok 100k, Western States 100, Tahoe Rim 50, Tahoe 200, TNF Endurance Challenge 50 and HURT 100, all of which have different challenges!!! I’m very proud to be an Ann Trason Coaching client!!
“I came to work with Ann as my coach after a couple seasons of sub-par racing. Who better to learn from than a legend of ultra running?! Given her iconic career, wealth of knowledge, and experience, I was confident that she would get me on the right path.
I found Ann to be not only very personable and down-to-earth, but she also had a way of inspiring and motivating me. As my coach, Ann helped me to realize that I’m capable of much more than I had imagined.
Ann created a complete workout program for me which encompassed not only running, but also included core work, overall fitness and dietary suggestions. I firmly believe that all of these training factors led to an improvement in both my training and racing, as well as helping me to recover more quickly. Through Ann’s intimate knowledge and experience of ultra running, she shared her thoughts on the psychology of training and racing that had a significant impact on the way I approach races. Ann also gave me suggestions for pacing, drop bags and aid station strategies that have proven to be very beneficial.
Having made substantial progress in my training and racing this past season I look forward to becoming a more competitive runner with Ann’s help!”
“I was a little nervous about hiring a coach as I hadn’t had one since high school, and was worried I wouldn’t find someone that would take into account my specific needs and running history. One conversation with Ann put all of my fears to rest. She was an absolute joy to work with, and made it a partnership from day one. Ann truly listened every time we talked, and I felt like my success was as important to her as it was to me. I felt comfortable bringing up any aches and pains, and what I felt was working well. If I was feeling a little sluggish, Ann would switch up the workouts to keep me fresh. She was always there with kind and encouraging words if any doubts crept into my mind.
Ann takes a holistic approach to training, in addition to logging miles focusing on core strength, nutrition, and especially race day preparation! She will guide you through everything you need to do for race day from visualizations to nutrition strategies. When I toed the line for my first 100 mile race, the Cascade Crest, I could not have felt more ready. Ann acts with a true humility, and does so out of true compassion and caring for everyone she encounters. I could not envision a better coaching experience than working with Ann.”
“Ann gave me excellent guidance, motivation and a big source of inspiration as I prepared for the biggest race of my life, the Headlands 100, my first 100mile race. In the 18 weeks I worked with her as my personal coach, I learned and grew so much as a runner. I was going into uncharted territory; the farthest distance I had done was 50 Miles. I had faith she was going to guide me expertly through it. Her solid experience was going to be my light. In terms of training, she provided me with a schedule that was challenging and tough, something that I really had to step up to. The workouts were focused at getting my body and mind ready for the race. She was mindful in checking my progress, not only to make sure I am getting strong each week but also to keep me injury-free along the way. In terms of planning, she gave me valuable advice and insight on the nitty-gritty logistics of race day fueling and proper race gear. She broke down the race into manageable chunks so I was not overwhelmed by the leap I was taking, from 50 Miles to 100 Miles. She challenged me to use introspection during training; it was during these moments of reflection that I took stock of the lessons I learned and also prepared myself for whatever scenarios might arise during the race. What Ann called “the three P’s” worked together beautifully – planning, preparation, progress—so well that on race day, I felt excited, confident and unafraid of the leap I was going to make. It turned out to be the most amazing race of my life.
Frankly, it took some gumption for me to ask her last March if she’d be my coach for Headlands 100. Knowing who she is and her living legend status, I knew that I am way out of her league. But then I figured, it never hurts to ask. I was pleasantly surprised that a) she took me as a client, 2) that she is down-to-earth and disarming. Every time I talked to her, I felt I was talking to a person, not a superstar. I was talking to someone who really knew her stuff, and who shared it with me. “Your goal is my goal.” was one of the first things she told me. I felt really privileged and honored to have worked with her. I made so many smart decisions about Headlands 100; choosing Ann as my coach was definitely one of them.”
“When I signed up for my first marathon at 55, I was a bit nervous about training. Lucky for me there is Ann Trason! She got me through training, self-doubt and anxiety. Ann helped me focus on how to train for a flat run in Chicago when you live in the hilly East Bay. Her advice ran through my head as I ran my 26.2 miles. I’m not sure I would have made it to the end without her.”
“Never had a coach before in 20 plus years of running. Decided to hire the best female ultra runner of al time to coach me for a 24 hour race. Picked the best runner I knew for it. It was a fantastic learning experience and was very well trained for the race. Ann was so inspiring and I learned so much from her experience. It was a pleasure and an honor to have her as my coach.”
I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy Ann is to work with. Being a mid-pack to back-of-the-pack runner, I was a little intimidated by the legend of Ann Trason as one of the world’s all-time greatest ultra-runners. How could I possibly work with her? But she is so understanding of each person’s individual level that I never felt out gunned with her as my coach. Even though she asked me to do things differently, pushing me to be a better runner, her requests are always reasonable. As a result, I have consistently run more weekly mileage, and have built a stronger base. She also keeps me reigned in so I don’t go crazy and do anything stupid when I’m feeling great. And there’s evidence of my improvement. In the few months I’ve worked with her I’ve run a 50-mile PR, and placed first in my age group in a 50k. That’s something new for me.
She has a unique perspective that possibly no other person alive has. She has won numerous 100-mile races in record times, and recently, in her return to ultra-running, has run a 33-hour finish with the rest of us mere mortals. My favorite quote from her is, “The finish line feels the same.”
Her love of running, knowledge of the sport, and compassionate sharing makes her a great coach and a continued inspiration.~Sandy
I always ran hard holding on as long I could, that type of running is great when you finish races and don’t get injured. After my injuries healed while getting back into shape Ann started encouraging me to run within myself, pace myself, run the hills, among many other suggestions. When I choose to follow her suggestions my fitness level returns, my pace stays consistent, stomach issues are all but gone, and I listen closer now to start with, the future looks bright!
Having Ann as a Pacer
“I had the fortunate privilege to be paced by Ann on 38 miles of my first 100 mile run last summer during the San Diego 100. It was a tough race and by the time I got to mile 62, I was in need of a lift! Ann provided wonderful, cheery company and was a steady hand as we ran (hobbled) along for several hours during the night. She was able to keep me on a schedule of eating so I didn’t run out of gas, talked me out of bad decisions (like wanting to go back to the last intersection to make sure we were still on-course) and motivated me through the final aid station when the chair started looking awfully appealing. Everyone knows Ann is an incredible runner, but Ann also has a rare combination of maternal care and tenacity – those qualities make her an incredible pacer and coach. We had so much fun in San Diego, a few months later she paced me at Rio Del Lago for another 100 miler where I finished almost six hours faster – in large part due to her assistance managing pace and encouraging me to hustle through aid stations.”
Crewing for Ann
“In October of 2013, I had the incredible experience of crewing for Ann as she made her return to running 100′s after more than a decade off. She was running the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 in honor of her friend, Ian Torrance’s, inaugural event.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Ann and I would talk on the phone to discuss logistics and crewing plans. She was surprisingly low key in her hydration and fuel requests. Sprite, Coke and Plain Gu. A couple pieces of hard candy to suck on. That was about it. (Although don’t get me started on her two headlamps and two flashlights that EACH required different batteries and battery packs!) My favorite piece of her running equipment was not a fancy running watch, but rather a kitchen timer that she sets as a reminder to fuel on the run. Who knew? While everyone else was out buying the latest and greatest gadgets, Ann Trason was setting world records with a kitchen timer.
She arrived two nights before her race. We had a nice hotel room just outside Flagstaff and would stay up late into the night talking to each other across our beds. There in the dark, she told some of the best “Tales from the Trails” a new runner like me could ever dream to hear. No famous authors of books, no magazine interviews or pod casts. Just the good post race campfire kind of stories that runners live for.
The race morning was fun and started off well. So well in fact, that she was a full hour ahead of her fastest pace on her race plan. But as the high desert mountains dropped below freezing during the night, Ann suffered from her worst race experience ever. After a grueling night out there alone, she arrived to our aid station pre-dawn with severe vision loss in her right eye from hypothermia. Working together with the other crew members and the medical team, we layered her in additional clothing and a sleeping bag around her shoulders. We placed her in front of a propane heater, and removed her shoes to use our hands to briskly warm her feet. The freezing temperatures had made ice out of her water bottles, leaving her dehydrated. As I melted chapstick on the heater to try to repair her bleeding and cracked lips, she asked when the aid station cut off was. I told her. She asked me again thirty minutes later. And I lied. Sometimes, a lie IS the right thing to do.
In the weeks leading up to this moment, Ann would often tell me, “I am running this for you. You are a new runner, and I know one day you will do a 100 miler. Come out on the trail with me.” As she sat there in so much pain, frozen to her core, I wanted her to stop. Go back to our room. Be warm and eat. She cried. I cried. And she decided to go on. Watching her get up and leave the aid station in that moment was one of the most courageous things I have ever witnessed.
I wish I could say the day got easier. It didn’t. Ann ended up finishing second to last that next day. We had the car running at the finish line and medical sitting in the back seat to tend to her as soon as she crossed. When I could finally see her small frame coming towards us, I cheered as if she had just won. She crossed the finish line and immediately got in the warm car. She looked over at me, and we laughed quietly at how insanely difficult the past 30 hours had been. She said, “You were cheering like I won the race.” I was cheering harder than if she won the race. What I just witnessed her fight through was bigger than first place in my eyes. After medical had left the car, and Ian had awarded her the finishers buckle through the car window, we sat there in silence before driving away. She finally quietly said, “as I walked to the finish line, I wondered what it would be like. To finish at the very end. But you know what? It’s no different. You finish. And the feeling of that, it’s exactly the same.”
When I met Ann, she would say to me at least once during every conversation, “I am going to pace you at your first 100.” And I would blush in my mind and think to myself, “I can’t have Ann Trason pace me at my first 100!” But after this day…. I couldn’t imagine anyone else at my side.