CC Coach- Introducing Matt Newsom

Oh do I have a treat for all of you! A New Coach!

Matt Newsom is a mentor, friend, a running partner and amazing athlete.  He has endeavored not only running races, he has fought the biggest battle- the battle to beat Lukemia

Team Newsom after the Myrtle Beach Half Marathonbeat Hairy Cell Leukemia. Matt is Lukemia free now and is representing his fight with Team and Training.  Not only was he nationally recognized as a key note speaker at Team in Training but Matt is a GREAT running partner as he ran me into the finish line during my first half marathon at Thunder Road.  Matt is an amazing person with a moving and motivating story. His story has made many others stand up and start running as well.

Thank you to Matt for allowing me this honor to feature you on Chocolate Covered Crunches, I hope all of you enjoy this treat!

I am NOT a runner. I’m a long distance, endurance athlete.

Your Motto: Together, we train to beat cancer. (The LLS’ Team in Training motto)

Why did you decide to start training?

Two years ago this month a family friend in Flordia who was training with Team in Training (TNT) for the Nation’s Triathlon contacted me to ask if she could use my story of beating Hairy Cell Leukemia in her fundraising.  I was flattered, humbled, and deeply touched.  As I learned more about TNT, I called the Charlotte office to see how I could get involved.

Matt during his first Marathon

I was invited to speak at that fall’s kickoff meeting in Charlotte for the Kiawah South Carolina Marathon in December. I was honored to be able to share my story with people who were about to embark on the great adventure of training for a long distance event.  But very quickly I became amazed that they could be that dedicated to a cause that has such personal meaning to me.  They were committed to running and raising money through TNT for blood cancer patients like me.  That really impressed me, I knew that I had to be a part of that commitment.

So… I signed up on the spot!  I bounced out of that room that morning, and I was all fired up.  I got in my car and got about half-way home, and I thought, “Matt, what the heck did you just do.”  You see, I was not much of a runner.  I had run a 10K on a dare at age 17. And I had run another 10K at age 34 on a bet.  I wasn’t scheduled to run again until I was 51 years old!

That Saturday we met at 6:30AM for a 3 mile run. I gotta tell you, I was scared to death.  And I had no idea if I could do it.  But, with the help of my teammates, I did it. And I ran 4 miles the next week.  And 5 the next week.  And our team runs became one of the highlights of my week.

Four months after that kickoff meeting, with the help of my teammates and coaches, I ran the Kiawah Marathon in 4 hours and 48 minutes… Truly one of greatest accomplishments of my life…  And I’ve kept on running and completed 10 half marathons in the last year and a half to go with that full.  It’s almost been like an out of body experience.  Quite frankly I have no idea who this person is that I’ve become!  Some of my friends have even dared to call me a “runner.”  But I am quick to correct them… I am NOT a runner. I’m a long distance, endurance athlete.

Did you think you “weren’t going to make it”? 

Every time I run by myself, I question whether or not I can make it.  Whenever I run with someone else, I have no doubt whatsoever.  That’s why I always try to run with someone!

How did you get to the start line? Through TNT I had a 4-month training before my full marathon that included 2 group runs per week: Tuesdays consisted of intervals, hills, drills and Saturdays when we built up distance.  I seldom missed any of those group trainings as the accountability and peer pressure (in a good way) were tremendously motivating.

What kept you going during your training? I enjoyed the social aspect of meeting my new teammates who came all walks of life, yet were aligned in training for a long-distance race while raising money for leukemia research and patience services.  I was blown away by everybody else’s commitment to curing blood cancers, and I took it very personally.

After the Rock and Roll Half in San Diego!

What was your first thought after crossing the finish line?

I had several things running through my head:

  1. Don’t look down to stop your watch and look like a moron in the all-important finish line photo.
  2. Cool! Now I can go an buy a 26.2 sticker! (I had carried $5 in my running belt, and I did buy the sticker before doing anything else! True story!)
  3. Keep running for an addition 10 yards or so. Because the definition of an ultra-marathon is any distance over 26.2 and maybe that would qualify me as an “ultra-marathoner.”
  4. I need to get my finisher’s medal.
  5. Wow! We just did this!

After completing your marathon, would you ever regret what you did? No regrets.  It was definitely worth it, and I like my new-found running swagger. (Except when I pull up at a stoplight next to a car that has a 70.3 or 140.6 Ironman sticker!) Haha!

Thank you Matt for your contribution! Your story inspires so many! Congratulations!

Come back tomorrow to hear Matt’s Three Tips!

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