As I kid, I was on the cross country and road running team at my elementary school. I played softball, swam recreationally, rode bikes, waterskied, rode horses, climbed trees–if it was outdoors and a physical activity I was into it. But as years passed after high school, my days of physical activity started to wane. I became a couch potato, partier, and eventually became overweight.
After losing 30lbs in 2009-2010 through a focus on nutrition, I started running in 2011. I spent the first couple of years of my running career with many stops and starts due to minor injuries. I had lost the weight and was trim, but wasn’t strong enough to run. Even with short runs of under 2 miles just twice a week, I was suffering from knee and IT band issues. It was obvious that I wasn’t fit.
In the beginning of 2013 after the first 5K I was able to run entirely, I decided that running wasn’t something I could do. I started rock climbing, specifically indoor bouldering, and started getting stronger. Rock climbing is a full body workout from fingertips to toes! By mid-2013 I was really missing running and decided to give it another try. Cautiously I built my mileage and ran at an excruciatingly slow pace. I continued bouldering and strength training. By the end of the year I was running 5Ks and eventually able to ditch my knee brace.
In 2014, I started heart rate and Maffetone training. It seemed to work very well to keep me injury free while adding mileage. I decided to run my longest race to date that Summer which was 5 miles. It seemed like such a huge distance at the time. I remember finishing that race and feeling unstoppable. It wasn’t long after that I decided I would try for a 10 miler that Fall. If 5 miles was huge, 10 miles seemed epic. Through consistent training and strengthening I ran that 10 miler and then a half marathon 2 weeks later. The last 5K of the half marathon was a 5K PR for me. It was incredible. I had coached myself to what felt like at the time a miracle.
At the start of 2015, I started to explore trail running and fell in love. But alas, I was registered for the NYC Marathon in the Fall and come Summer my training shifted focus to the marathon. I was all set to continue coaching myself using Jack Daniel’s Running Formula which I had started using at the beginning of the year, but instead decided to engage some professionals. The Run S.M.A.R.T. Project created a customized training plan for me based on Jack Daniel’s VDOT system and I was amazed at the results. I finished my first marathon the 2015 NYC Marathon on November 1st in 4:28:40, feeling great. My last mile was my fastest and I definitely felt like I had more in the tank.
In January 2016, I became a VDOT O2 certified distance running coach and a few months later got my RRCA Level 1 coaching certification. I coached several athletes throughout the year to half marathon and NYC Marathon finishes. It was such a rewarding experience helping a couple of my athletes complete their first marathon! In 2016 I also continued my training and was 40-45 miles a week over the summer. In May 2017, I plan to run the Grand Canyon 50k which will be my first ultramarathon.
I believe a strong base fitness combined with the right training plan incorporating supplemental training is the key to success in running. My coaching knowledge is specific to distance training up to 50K distance and my focus is on mid-to-back of the packers who want to get stronger and go longer.