I met Kelly at a “Triathlon 101” free class at TrySports in 2012. I was searching for a coach that could take me to the next level. I’d messed around in a few half iron distances and few sprints, but never been coached. I simply relied on my fitness to grunt through it. After several referrals kept pointing me towards Kelly Fillnow, I decided to sit down and get serious and hired Kelly. So, in May of 2013, at our first meeting I told her, “I want to see what I can do in a half Ironman”. I knew how to run, but needed a lot of work in the other two areas.
I signed up for Augusta 70.3 that took place on September 29, 2013. Kelly coached me for 4 months from June 1st until the race date last week. She created a customized plan with each workout clearly written out.
I am the president of a startup business, married, and have two teenage kids. Life is busy and I only had the mornings to fit in any plan she had for me. She worked with me on the plan. Most of my workouts were done back to back in the morning before work. She continually checked in with me about fatigue and made sure the mix was working for my lifestyle. The schedule was adjusted on out of town days.
She gave me daily feedback on every workout that I did. She quickly got me focused on proper fueling so that running off the bike could be maximized. She knew I could run, but the question was could I run close to my potential after bike and swim? She provided positive encouragement throughout which really helped on those days when I was disappointed with my efforts. I learned that some things can’t be controlled. The encouragement kept me in a positive mindset during my training. There were no junk miles and every workout had a purpose. I loved it! Sometimes, I had to read the workout 4 or five times to make sure I had it in my head what she wanted.
Kelly introduced me to core workouts and strength training which were two areas I’ve never done before. She also had me swimming 4 days a week on most weeks so that I became more comfortable in the water. I was not comfortable in the water when we started in June. She got me practicing in a few open water practices in Lake Norman and Cane Creek. These were huge confidence builders for me.
My favorite part of the training was the long brick workouts. The brick always included running at race pace. It became a challenge to me and she pushed me into running harder than I would have without her.
As I stood on the starting pier at the Augusta 70.3 starting line, looking downstream, I recalled her telling me “you go for it on the swim, don’t hold back, you have the endurance”. She knew me, and knew that I probably would have held back on the swim for no good reason. The gun went off, and it became race time for me instead of waiting until my favorite leg, the run. Lastly, she told me “run the first mile controlled” and then go for it. The rest is now history. I set personal bests in all three events. I came away with a 45 minutes personal best at the 70.3 distance….4:55:45. I PRed by 21 minutes in the swim (and swam 95% freestyle which I swam most breast stroke in prior races), 6 minutes better on the bike, and ran 14 minutes faster than my prior best.
Yes, the weeks got tough, but I’d do it again. I’d definitely recommend Kelly as a coach and attribute my recent 45 minutes PR to her coaching and customized coaching for my lifestyle. She was always willing of her time and answered all my questions. I have now revised my triathlon goals and we are strategizing how to get there. I look forward to the journey and hope it is as fun as my Augusta 70.3 journey.
– Jason Philbin, PermaTrak President