As I kid, I was very active. I started running on the cross country and road running team in elementary school. I also played softball, swam recreationally, rode bikes, waterskiied, rode horses, climbed trees–if it was outdoors, 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 completing the first 5K that I was able to run entirely without walking and subsequently being in pain for several weeks after, I decided that running wasn’t something I could do and quit. I started indoor rock climbing, but 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. Rock climbing is a full body workout from fingertips to toes and to my surprise my new found strength meant that 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 worked very well to keep me injury free while adding mileage. I decided conquer 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. Just 18 months after thinking I could never be a runner and quitting running forever, I had completed a half marathon. It was incredible. I had coached myself to what felt like at the time a miracle and had set my sights on an even bigger goal: a marathon.
At the start of 2015, I started to build my base mileage for the marathon. I was only running 10-15 miles a week and wanted to work up to 20 miles per week before marathon training. It felt so daunting and I was so nervous about getting injured so I decided to engage some professionals that used the same method that I had been coaching myself with–Jack Daniel’s Formula. At the beginning of training my finish time was projected at 4 hours and 54 minutes. During training I was able to build to over 30 miles per week with weekly speed work sessions incorporated and arrived to the start line more fit than I had been in my adult life. I finished 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. After successfully training with Jack Daniel’s Formula for a couple years and crushing my first marathon with it, I was convinced it is the best way to train.
In January 2016, I became a certified distance running coach in Jack Daniel’s Formula (VDOTO2) taking my classes from the Olympian himself, Dr. Jack Daniels. A few months later I got my second coaching certification, the RRCA Level 1 coaching certification which is one of the most recognized coaching certifications in the industry. Since then I have coached so many wonderful athletes to amazing goals including speed personal bests at distances from mile to marathon and new distances from first half to first marathons and 50ks.
I truly believe anyone can be an athlete and anyone can achieve their goals if they put in the right work. In my opinion, building up a strong aerobic and physical fitness base and training with specificity are the keys 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.