Coach Megan Warzecha

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My Running Story

My dad was a runner for a really long time.  Ran in high school and kept running until very recently.  I still remember him taking me to volunteer with him at the Olympic Track and Field Trials when they were in New Orleans, where I grew up, in 1992.  He's also worked for the YMCA since I was five years old.  Because of these examples, health and fitness have always been a natural part of life.  I didn't grow up involved in sports; I was a musician.  I just started working out in middle school and trying to stay healthy.  I feel lucky that I grew up in this environment.  Learning these habits when I was younger made it a lot easier to maintain them when life got difficult, and to challenge myself to push my limits.


I started running in high school.  I ran track and cross country for a couple of years for Livonia Stevenson.  I was lucky enough to run with some amazing girls, some of whom even went on to run at big universities.  I got to be part of a team of fun, strong, brave women.  I also learned a lot about myself as a person.  Running was the hardest thing I'd ever done.  It didn't come easy, like school or music.  It hurt and it was hard and I had to practice a LOT to see any improvement.  I quit once and DNFed a couple of times.  I got a stress fracture.  In the end, I quit so I could spend more time pursuing music and drama.  But I'd gained enough confidence and knowledge to lace up and get out and run on my own, and I did.


Through college, I ran for weight loss and stress management.  I earned a Bachelors from the University of Michigan in music education.  I taught elementary school general music and choir for 10.5 years.  I was the administrator for the Michigan Opera Theatre Children's Chorus for six years.  Somewhere in there, I earned a Masters (also UofM, also music ed.).  I ran and worked out at the Y, with varying levels of consistency.  I probably didn't workout out for three years straight while working on my masters degree and thesis.


Of course, I put on weight.  In the past, when this would happen, I'd head to the Y and start running and lifting weights.  My weight would fluctuate.  Eventually, I'd find myself too busy and would stop exercising.  I was never "a runner;" I was just working out.  Finally, in the summer of 2013, my husband and I were on a cruise and nothing I'd packed to wear to dinner fit.  I got on a treadmill in the ship fitness center the next morning and ran a slow (for me) three miles.  In retrospect, I know many people wouldn't have made it through a mile.  I know my history gave me the strength and belief that I could do it.


I don't know what happened that summer. I don't know what was different than other times I'd started running again.  But this time, running stuck.  My husband and I registered for the Detroit Turkey Trot 5k.  And then, on New years Eve, we registered for the Detroit Free Press International 13.1.  Again, I have NO idea what made me think I could run a half marathon, but every time I saw the race billboard, something inside me knew it was time for a new journey.


Since that 2013 Turkey Trot, I've raced everything from 5ks to marathons.  I've consistently run 5k times faster than I ever ran in high school.  I've qualified for the BOSTON MARATHON.  In high school, 10 miles seemed INSANE.  I was selected as an inaugural race Ambassador for the Free Press Marathon, the race that started it all.  I run with my husband.  I have a whole new family of running friends.  And I've found new strength, confidence, grit, passion, and bravery.

My Coaching Story

I was a music teacher for 10.5 years.  I have two degrees in my field, I'm published, and I conducted and presented research.  It's hard to consider leaving a career in which you've invested so much time and money.  But every year, I realized more and more that teaching wasn't the right career for me.  In addition to the elements of the job I just didn't care for, it wasn't my passion.


In the Fall of 2014, I started working with my former coach, a former pro triathlete, Terra Castro.  She believed in me as a runner, and occasionally would ask me to coach Mechanics classes for our Detroit endurance team, the Be Bold Crew.  As the team grew, she saw how much I loved running and encouraged myself and my best friend, Amanda, to attend the RRCA coaching certification program.  I continued to occasionally coach for the Crew, and she started recommending me as a coach to runners.  My friend, Justin, the owner of RUNdetroit, asked me to help coach their beginner's program, 3.101.  All of this was while I was still teaching full time.


Finally, in the summer of 2017, I decided I couldn't waste another minute in a career that wasn't right for me.  I left my full time teaching job.  I continued to sub while looking for a full time job.  Finally I realized it was time to pursue coaching more actively.  I left a career for which I had no passion to pursue something that fills me with joy and excitement, something I can't wait to talk about, something I love to learn more about, read and write about, listen to podcasts about, and share with others.  I've felt this way about running and fitness for a long time, but it was scary to think about making such a drastic change.  But I'd rather take a chance pursuing something I love, even if it might be a difficult path, than settling for something less.

Specifics

  • Road Runners Club of America certified distance run coach, Level 1
    • Currently enrolled in Level 2 certification course and have completed:
      • Anatomy Overview for Running Coaches
      • Applied Physiology for Coaches
      • Coaching Running Form
      • Coaching Using the Galloway Method
      • Injury Prevention and Recovery
      • Strength Training for Runners
  • First Aid/CPR/AED certified
  • RUNdetroit and Be Bold Crew running coach
  • Experience coaching adults to successfully reach their running goals, from 5k-26.2
  • Expansive personal race history, from 5k-26.2