Profile: Asst Coach Tracey

This is Red AC Tracey Spencer’s twelfth year as a coach for Portland Fit. We are excited to cheer her through what will be a remarkable year; she’ll achieve her goal of running 20 marathons in time for her 40th birthday!

Favorite marathon:
My favorite Marathon is the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s so patriotic and the course is beautiful. People are very encouraging along the course as well. Plus its not an easy race so you get an extra sense of accomplishment for finishing it… on the UPHILL!

Biggest obstacle you face in training:
I think the biggest obstacle we all face is time and inertia.

Favorite race day musician/song:
Toby Mac

A PR you care to share?
My PR came at Eugene. May 2010. I had been diligently doing speedwork (for the first time really) over the Pfit training season as well as over the winter. I had my best Portland Marathon that October and I continued to log loads of long miles leading up to the Eugene Marathon. I had done weight watchers that year and lost like 25lbs or so, which I am sure helped. On race day I felt so nervous, it was my 14th or 15th marathon but it was the first one in a few years that I really trained hard for a time goal. I started out freezing cold and by mile 6 I logged my fastest mile all race. I kept telling myself to slow down, that was too fast to sustain, but eventually I just gave up remaining in the low 9’s. Out along the only boring stretch of the race there was this woman in front of me; I can’t stand having someone directly in front of me. I kept moving to one side or the other behind her and she continuously blocked me. It was like she knew I was there and was afraid I would pass her. Eventually out of frustration I did pass her. I lost a few minutes in the final miles, but hung on for better than I expected (my target was 4:15) for a 4:08:08 finish. I am very proud of that. 

What motivates you to keep going when the going gets tough?
When I feel REALLY crappy and disappointed in myself, I think of my mommy. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter how poorly I am doing, she will always still be proud of me no matter what.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
Do not be discouraged if your 21 miler (or any other long run) goes horribly. We all have bad days and that doesn’t mean your races plans are derailed. Keep your chin up and keep going!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen while out on a run?
My very first marathon (1998 Portland) it was incredibly disturbing to see men AND WOMEN peeing on the side of the road.

Favorite running gear:
Tough question. My initial answer is shoes, nothing like new shoes, but actually it’s my gloves. My hubby bought me the most amazing pair of gloves at the end of cold season last year, so I didn’t use them until this year. They saved me from freezing so many times this winter! They are fabulous, there are reflective bits on the fingers – jazz hands!! – then they have this sleeve in bright yellow that can get tucked in a pocket on the top of the hand or stretched all around the fingers for a mitten effect when it’s really cold or windy. Like I said, they are amazing!

Sharing the love:
I am so thankful for my running family. Some years it’s been very small (one person), some years large, until eventually I had my best friends and husband out there with me. When you run (or walk) long distances and do not give up you can inspire those around you with out even knowing it.

Words of wisdom:
My running pal for many years, Laura D has taught me that training runs are just that and sticking with a struggling pal rather than watching your time makes all the difference in the world sometimes.