Chuck Kistler (Marathon Time 4:40 to 3:50 Personal Record)

Chuck Kistler (Marathon Time 4:40 to 3:50 PR)

Chuck Kistler (Marathon Time 4:40 to 3:50 PR)

Chuck began training with Perfect Pace in 2018, Starting with a marathon time of 4:40:03 and completing his training season with an astonishing Personal Record of 3:50:08. We are super proud of Chuck and all of his accomplishments, here is his story!

In 2018, I met Flavia and Joe in April, as we both had a common friend.  We met at a team relay race at the US White Water Center in Charlotte, NC.  I had for several years ran races, but never had called my self a runner.  I had done various group fitness type activities, but never had fully went out and trained for any sort of race.  Even though I had completed several marathons, countless half marathons, 5ks, and 10ks along the way. 

 I noticed the way they both ran, and it was almost effortless.  The strides, the endurance, the form.  It was all what I had always wanted for myself.  Quickly through various conversations and hanging out at this 24 hour relay race, I felt drawn to both of them.  There was an energy about them, there was a chemistry I felt.  We finished top 10 or something in that race, but did not win.  As soon as we left, Flavia immediately says “We are going to win this next year”.  There was a look in her eye.  A competitive streak that burns within me, but I try to keep it pretty tame.  We part ways at the end of the race, and I knew that I had to train with them.

The next few months go by, and I am working with a personal trainer, but haven’t reached out to Perfect Pace yet.  So I finally do, and we all meet for a 5k run, and this is where I learn of Flavia’s sadist ways….finishing a 5k up a VERY steep hill is just plain chaos.  She will say it is for “proper pace” blah blah blah….You are captain blood and you know it.  I digress.

 As the training goes on, we are all sitting at Charlotte Running Company after a run, just talking, and I mention to Joe I had never really trained for a race before.  His words to me were “You are going to get so fast”.  I heard him, but I honestly didn’t believe it.  I am on the wrong side of 30, and no way I get that much faster.  I don’t really believe in myself at this point.  I think in my mind that I am just going to maintain current speeds, but just be able to run longer distances. 

 Now we are in August, my track workouts are getting faster, but I have never put it together in a race.  So I don’t really have any sort of idea of how fast I am or have gotten.  I just know what I have been running at the track and what I have been doing on other training days.  I run the Charlotte Greek Fest 5k and I start off, and I pass mile 1, and I am at 6:50 something.  And I think holy cow I need to slow down or I will be walking.  I finish mile two at around 13:50 something.  I start to think, what the hell did I eat this morning, I am absolutely going to be gassed out here.  I pass mile three, and finish at 21:33.  That is a 6:55 mile pace.  For the record before this, my fastest 5k was 23:38 and that is a 7:37 mile time.  So I shaved almost 2 mins off of a 5k, which is pretty insane when you think about percentages here.  This is after only a few months.  At this point I am on cloud 9, but this is still weighing in my head, that this is all just short distance stuff and I never really expected to be able to do more. 

 A half marathon that I had been training for had popped up.  The Run Bull City Half Marathon in Durham, NC.  This is an insanely hilly course (right up Captain Blood’s alley).  Every time I had previously done this race, or any race for that matter, I would always get tired, closer to the end.  I was never as good of a runner (or participant) at the end as I was when it started.  Well there is a long straightaway of about 2 miles in this race.  When I turned the corner to be on this straightaway.  I noticed something.  I wasn't tired.  I was running like I had started.  This gave me chills, and honestly made me remember all the times we had ran at the track, or were up at 6:30 AM on a Sunday to run around Charlotte, or running on the greenways, I finally realized it….I was running strong.  It was more than a slogan on a t-shirt, a website or something to say.  I could feel it.  I finished this race at 1:41.  My previous fastest was 1:54.  That is a 13 minute improvement.  A little story regarding Captain Blood:  CB:  Hey Chuck, was following you along, just saw you finished, please send your splits!  Thanks!  Chuck:  Hey Flavia:  I just got a 13 min PR!  Okay here are my splits. (insert splits).  CB:  Awesome, can you send heart rate data too?  Chuck:  Here is heart rate info.  CB:  You could have ran faster, but congrats.      

 About halfway through the season, me and another gentleman that was running an upcoming full marathon decided to run the Kiawah Island races.  We threw it out to the group.  We would all get a house, and everyone could run whatever distance they wanted.  We just thought this would be a good way to end the season.  December is now here, there is a group of us.  I was the only one running the full, but there were many half participants.  Flavia and Joe came with us.  Not as runners, but as coaches, and friends.  As I began this race, I would see Flavia and Joe’s face pop up every so often, at various points on their scooters, taking pictures, and cheering us on.  Asking if we needed something, or telling us to do this or that.  As I hit mile 24, I turn a corner, I am hurting, I am breaking down, and there stands Flavia.  She tells me I am going to finish the race, and she is going to run with me.  I am cramping beyond belief, I have visions of never running again.  Lots of hatred for Flavia at this moment, but they all go away when I see her face.  She runs the last two miles with me.  We didn’t say much other than “I hate you so much Flavia” and “I love you Chuck”.  That was it.  I realized that this was the culmination of what I wanted to become.  I felt at this moment, I was a runner.  No longer a participant in races, I was a runner.  I finished this full marathon at 3:51 which was an improvement of almost 50 minutes over a previous best of 4:40.  We all ran absolutely amazing that weekend, grilled out, drank great wine, and celebrated an amazing year.  All becoming closer as friends, and better, stronger runners. 

 I have mentioned several times in this that I had doubt creep in.  Flavia was ALWAYS willing to answer a quick question in a text message about moving something during a plan, or shoes, or something as random as I can’t get my running clothes to stop stinking.  These random but necessary, obviously, conversations proved to me that this was more than just a business transaction.  That she honestly cared about my wellbeing, and that is more than a friend.  That is family. 

 I can’t say enough about Flavia’s connectedness to this program and it really is driven by her and Joe’s passion to better you, and offer the best program out there.  I came in as a stranger, trained as a runner, but I stayed as family.     

 Flavia and Joe, I love you both dearly, and I look forward to many more PRs, many more stories, and just having you both in my life.  More than coaches….they are family.

 Chuck Kistler

Flavia Coppolino