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Hard Times

Training With Sam Roecker

Sam Roecker hates the cold. Despite growing up in Charlton, NY, a region of the country where the “snowy period” lasts from November until April, she never learned to love the sting of winter air. Today, she lives and trains in Philadelphia, a city that – while not quite as snowy as her hometown – still sees its fair share of dark and frigid days. Harder still, her demanding nursing schedule means rarely running in the sunlight: early morning sessions before her 7:30 a.m. shift begins, and doubles after it ends at 6 p.m. Sometimes she squeezes in her double during lunch, but often work gets in the way of even her best laid plans.

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Winter 2020 will require more resolve than ever before. Seventy-nine days away from the Olympic Marathon Trials, she joined us for training. Just off of a 110 mile week, she felt aerobically fit, if not totally fast. Yet nagging pain was making workouts challenging, so the focus for the time being was mileage.

But so it goes. No stranger to the Marathon build-up, she knows that each cycle comes with its own challenges. Before CIM in 2018, where she ran 2:30, it was a new full-time nursing job. Before the 2019 Pan-Am Games Marathon this June, she spent months waiting to hear if she’d make the team, followed by a hurried training cycle before the race in Peru. For 2020, it means long runs in layers, workouts on treadmills and some nagging pain, yet to be resolved. But who likes easy, anyway?

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