COACH MEGAN BAKER
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Megan has been running since the 4th grade. She ran the 50 and 100 meter in an elementary school track meet and placed first in both. From that moment on, she has been hooked on running.
After moving to Austin in 2001, Megan decided to fulfill a lifelong goal of completing a marathon. She ran with a charity organization in 2003, raising nearly $4000 in funds and traveling to Walt Disney World to complete the marathon with her team. The experience was so rewarding (and addicting!) that Megan has now completed 12 marathons, countless half marathons, and is returning as Team Challenge Coach for her fourth season.
During the day, Megan is a business analyst with a desk job. But, her true love is running and her commitment to the Austin running community. She served on the board of the Austin Runners Club (ARC) for over 3 years and was the previous President. She also is a group run leader with ARC and the Austin Runners meetup.com group. And just this past February, Megan was a Senior Team Lead volunteering behind the scenes for LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon.
Aside from her running activities, Megan cheers for the Steelers, fosters 4-legged furry friends for Austin Pets Alive!, and visits the dog park with her favorite running buddy, Veronica Corningstone.
COACH PAUL TINDALL
Originally from Louisville, KY, Paul started running the occasional 5K & 10K race just for fun starting in 2008. During a particularly bad flare up in early 2011 (Paul has had UC since age 14), he vowed to get into shape and work his way back off the medications and rid himself of their side effects. His first race in the fall of 2011 was a simple 10K that just happened to be the first race of the Austin Distance Challenge. Paul signed up, not having any idea of where this simple act would lead. A 10 miler and 3 Half Marathons later, he was hooked and couldn’t get enough, which led him to seek out as many half marathons as he could. This brought him to the 2012 Napa To Sonoma ½ Marathon and Team Challenge.
In full remission and off medications (which he attributes to the Specific Carb Diet), Paul was excited to join Team Austin as assistant coach for the 2012 Vegas ½ Marathon season and is now returning for his second season with Team Challenge.
During the day, Paul is a software engineer for his own startup company. Paul and his wife donate regularly to multiple national and local charitable organizations (including CCFA). Paul is also working on a new type of fundraising software that he hopes will make supporting charities more efficient and cost effective.
Paul is married, has two children and a rescue pit bull. Unfortunately, husband, kids and the dog aren’t really into the “whole running thing” (even though many of his wife’s friends are). He tries to find as many excuses to go down to the trail for a run, and Team Challenge is one of the greatest motivators to do so.
With the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon fast approaching, for runners eager to get into the thick of night time racing, here are 4 tips to help you prepare to take on the night:
Q: I’m not currently running or walking more than a mile or two at a time a few days per week. How will I be able to finish a half-marathon?
A: Your coach will design a program for you based on your current level of fitness, whatever it may be. You’ll gradually build your mileage over the course of the coming months until you can walk or run (or with a combination of walking and running) a ten-mile workout. From there, well over 99% of our participants complete their half-marathons.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need?
A: Everyone has different feet and biomechanics. The staff at your local running/walking specialty store will be able to fit you for these needs, as well as your mileage level, and the surfaces on which you train. To find a local specialty store, head to www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Q: What’s a “GU”?!
A: “Gu” and other sports gels (PowerGels, Cliff Shots, Hammer Gels, etc.) are concentrated forms of carbohydrate about the consistency of honey. They are an alternative to sports drinks and are designed to provide athletes with energy for endurance activities. Each gel contains about 100- 110 of concentrated carbohydrate. Many half-marathons will provide gels in the later stages (around mile 10) to give runners and walkers an energy boost for the last few miles. Although they are generally pretty easy on the stomach, especially when taken with water, it’s always a good idea to try gels several times in training first before using them on race day.
Q: I had to miss three days of training. How do I make up the lost days?
A: You don’t! If you’ve missed anything less than a full week of training, just jump right back into the schedule. If you missed more than a week, talk to your coach about modifying your schedule to get you back on track.
Q: My fingers swell during my training walks. What’s going on?
A: Your heart beats harder and faster when you train, so blood is sent more forcefully to the extremities. Muscle action helps to return blood back to the heart, but many walkers don’t pump their arms very much when they walk (they should!), so blood pools in the fingers. Swollen fingers are more common with changes in temperature, during pregnancy, and when electrolytes are out of whack. Clenching and unclenching your hands, or shaking them over your head will help to pump the blood out of your swollen fingers.