San Antonio & Weekly Workout Recap

I’ve fallen into a pretty solid workout routine lately but this week it all got messed up due to an impromptu trip to San Antonio.

We left last Sunday morning and came back on Tuesday afternoon with one goal. Eat all the food.

And we did.

The first stop Sunday was lunch in Lockhart at Black’s Barbecue. 1/2 pound of moist brisket, a link of sausage, mac n cheese and peach cobbler. Plate cleaned.

Then dinner at Ruth Chris on the Riverwalk. Look, y’all! I own something other than running shorts!

A loaf of bread, three lump crab cakes, some lobster mac and cheese, a glass of wine, and whiskey bread pudding. Ooof. So much food. 

I woke up Monday morning early, intending to go for a run on the Riverwalk. Unfortunately, the weather hand different plans. Instead, I went downstairs to the most awesome hotel fitness center ever and I ran 6 miles on the treadmill while I watched it rain horizontally outside.

By late morning the rain was tapering off so the Food Tour de San Antonio continued with brunch at Magnolia Pancake Haus. Two eggs over easy, two slices of bacon and two blueberry pancakes. Yum.

That afternoon we walked from the hotel to The Friendly Spot, a really cool icehouse in the King William district.

Then, we went down the street to Rosario’s. I had some amazing soft tacos on corn tortillas (Griselda’s Tacos Callejeros) and drank a Mexican Handshake (I have no idea what was in it) then ate crepes, stuffed with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with housemade Mexican caramel. Yum.

Tuesday morning, I was determined to get the Riverwalk run that I’d missed the day before. So first thing, I tossed on my running clothes and went downstairs.

It took all of 3 steps to figure out that my legs felt like lead weights and I’d rather be in bed. I cringed through a whole mile before going back to the hotel and admitting defeat.

After my run, we headed out to breakfast at The Guenther House.

I ate the most delicious Strawberry Sweet Cream Waffle on the entire planet. After that we got in the car and headed home. Fun over.

The remainder of the week, my workouts all felt a little “off.”

Shocker.

Needless to say, I’ve been slightly more cognizant of my food intake since we got back.

Here’s what the rest of workout week looked like:

Swim Bike Run
Monday 6 miles
Tuesday 1 mile
Wednesday 1900 yards 7 miles
Thursday 2200 yards 6 miles
Friday  600 yards 5 miles
Saturday 8 miles
Sunday 51 miles 4 miles

Swim – 1 hour, 49 minutes
Bike – 3 hours, 2 minutes
Run – 7 hours, 41 minutes
Strength Training – 1 hour

Total – 13 hours, 34 minutes

Triathlon #1: Cypress Triathlon

The road to Ironman started this past Sunday, when I did my first triathlon. Cypress Triathlon was a sprint distance event held in a local neighborhood with about 1000 participants. It was a FUN event and I’m already planning on doing it again next year!

I’m not going into much technical detail here because no one really cares about splits and transition times instead I’ll just let you look at the pictures and talk about the pleathora of things I learned on Sunday.

Because when you do something for the first time it’s nothing, if not a learning experience. Right?

First of all, when they say sprint triathlon, they really mean SPRINT triathlon. There was panting. There was grunting. And expletives. And PAIN. Because me being me, I couldn’t just enjoy it and have a good time while figuring out how to do an entirely new sport, oh no. I had to give it an all out effort – because I don’t have an off button.

I was excited before the race. I met a friend and we ran a warm up mile and just prior to the start I climbed in the lake and did a little open water warm up. Everything felt good. The lake was warm and getting a chance to experience the water before the start helped ease my nerves, of which there were many.

I had done the practice swim the weekend prior so I had an idea of what open water swimming would be like but I’d never done it in a race before. The biggest lesson of the day was that open water swimming does not equal pool swimming. It really is a free for all. No rhyme or reason, no passing on your left, no organization of any kind. Every man for himself. There’s kicking, grabbing, and all sorts of blind inappropriate touching. Yeah.

It kinda resembles this:

It was HARD. I had a tough time finding a rhythm because people kept stopping in front of me. About 100 yards from the swim exit I started feeling tired, slightly claustrophobic, and a little panicky. All I wanted was to get out of the water and fast.

Transition #1 went well. I had practiced in the back yard the week before, so it was not unfamiliar. Wipe grass off feet, put on bike shoes, helmet, glasses, and gloves. Grab bike and go!

Things were better once I got on the bike. I’ve spent a lot of time on it lately and I’m getting used to it. I’m finally comfortable riding in aero, which honestly is terrifying. No lie.

Transition #2 was uneventful. Drop off bike. Take off helment. Put on running shoes. Done. Onto the run.

Those first few steps were exceptionally painful. Apparently, running after biking leaves me with the flexibility of a steel post. For the first time EVER I hit the magic 180 steps per minute on a run…because it was physically impossible to make my strides longer than two feet. But apparently, I can penguin waddle a 7:40/mile. Pretty impressive.

3.1 miles of torture later and finish! Not too bad for a first attempt! In four weeks, I get another shot. Town Lake Tri is on Labor Day! Until then, you can find me in the pool.

Ironman Training, The Starting Point

This weekend I’m doing my first triathlon, Cypress Tri. It’s a sprint distance (550 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run), which I should be able to complete with no problem. It’s more ceremonial than anything else. Being my first triathlon, it marks the unofficial beginning of Ironman Texas training. I have 10 months to learn how to be a triathlete and it all starts Sunday.

For those of you who don’t know what an Ironman is, let me explain. It’s a triathlon, which begins with a 4,200 yard open water swim, is followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finishes with a 26.2 mile run (yes, a full marathon). As you may imagine with an event of this magnitude, the training is difficult.

Peaking at 18-20 hours per week, for a beginner, it’s an average of three hours per day of training.

Three. Hours. Per. Day.

It’s not to be taken lightly. It takes both physical and emotional energy, and will impact all aspects of my life. Relationships. Energy levels. Appetite. It’s a test of endurance in more ways than one.

I thought it would be fun to document the training, how it impacts my life, my diet, my body and my routine. It’s going to be quite the adventure..

Much like the “before” and “after” photos in weight loss commericals, the journey is best documented when starting at the very beginning. Today’s post is about just that – where I am now.  Training. Food. Body composition. The whole shebang.

So, here we go.

WORKOUT ROUTINE

I run 6 days a week, averaging 40-45 miles total, I bike twice a week and swim once to twice a week. My workout routine looks something like this…

Monday: 6-7 mile run
Tuesday: 6-7 mile run & 2200 yard swim
Wednesday: 20 mile ride & 6-7 mile run
Thursday: 6-7 mile run
Friday: 30+ mile ride
Saturday: 10 mile trail run
Sunday: 6-7 mile run or something else light and fun like mountain biking

Things get switched up every week but this is a good snapshot of how things usually go. It’s not much different than my routine when training for Boston, just without the massive long runs on Saturday and epic weight lifting sessions.

When training for Boston, I peaked at 15 hours per week of cardio and since then it’s dropped down to about 12 hours. The training abyss between 15 and 20 hours is the area of the unknown.

NUTRITION

When it comes to nutrition, for the past several years, I’ve followed the 80/20 rule and it works pretty well for me.

80% of the time I eat a whole food diet that’s high in fat and protein with a few carbs. I generally eat all types of meat but try to limit each kind to once a week so I don’t overdo it.  The carbs I do eat are mostly fruits, vegetables and full fat dairy. I tend to avoid wheat, white rice, grains, refined sugar, syrup, etc. If I’m training for an event and my body needs an additional shot of carbs to recover from a workout I’ll eat rolled oats or brown rice.

The other 20% of the time (mostly on the weekend), I eat whatever strikes my fancy. If we go out for breakfast and a cinnamon roll is staring me in the face saying ,”EAT ME,” you can bet I’m going to eat it.

I drink 2-3 servings of alcohol per week. Most of the time, it’s wine or beer. I also have 2 cups of coffee a day, which I drink black or with a little half and half, depending on my mood.

Because I follow the 80/20 rule, I don’t count calories. I eat until I’m satisfied. If I’m still hungry, I eat a little more, all within the bounds of my “rules.”

Breakfast is usually my biggest meal and also the highest in fat and protein, lunch is the second largest and dinner is the smallest. The carb content of each meal increases as I get closer to the end of the day. I’m not exactly sure why, but it works for me.

I know that as training intensifies, my diet will change significantly. Past experience has taught me that getting enough calories becomes difficult as I get closer to 15 hours per week of exercise. My 80/20, whole food, diet turns into the Michael Phelps diet, so I can only imagine what will happen as the 15 hours turns to 20. The words “moving dumpster” come to mind.

SLEEP

My body operates well on 8 hours of sleep a night; ideally, that’s what I shoot for. Lately, stress and a few other factors have caused it dip into the 6-7 hour range. Most of the time I go to bed around 10, fall asleep around 11 and wake up sometime between 5-6 AM.

BODY COMPOSITION

My eating habits keep me pretty lean. I was body fat tested during Boston training and it was 19%. I suspect it’s probably closer to 20-21% now, as I’ve gained a few pounds and lost a bit of muscle since then.

As of this morning, I weigh 128.8 pounds and my current measurements are as follows…

Upper Arms: 10.5″
Chest: 33″
Waist, at smallest: 27.5″
Waist, at largest: 33.5″
Hips: 37″
Thighs, at largest: 22.5″
Thighs, at smallest: 17.75″
Calves: 14″

For the record…because I feel like I need to say this…IRONMAN IS NOT ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. It’s not about loosing inches, or changing my body shape in any way. It’s not about looking better in a swimsuit or looking skinner in pictures.

Much like Boston, I’m doing it to challenge myself and to test the limits of my physical and mental endurance. BUT, I recognize as I take my body into the unknown, that it will change and adapt and I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the starting point…

…which includes a picture. I’m not exactly modest and I’m no stranger to posting swimsuit pictures on the internet, but that doesn’t make me any more comfortable with being scantily clad in front of the world. Regardless, here it is, in all it’s running-tan-line glory.

That’s it! Let the training begin!

Listen To Your Body

Listen to your body.

You hear experienced athletes say this all the time. But what does it mean?

A few weeks ago I went through something which is all too common. I felt off. You know when you can just tell that something isn’t quite right?

I hadn’t been sleeping well. I fought bouts of acid reflux. I had a hard time concentrating. I didn’t want to meet my friends for our Saturday morning trail run.

On top of that, I lost my running shoes. I lost my running shoes.

I. Lost. Them.

They were gone for two days before I finally found them.

I was texting my running partner about my epic case of scatterbrain and you know what he told me?

Listen to your body!

I hadn’t thought about that. He was right.

Something wasn’t right and my body was telling me about it. It was my job to listen.

I am constantly telling my clients to “listen to your body,” and it’s true. Your body is constantly communicating with you. You can learn a lot about yourself if you tune into its cues. I listen to my body a lot – especially when it comes to random aches and pains but I hadn’t thought that the other random symptoms I’d been experiencing were my body’s subtle way of telling me that something was wrong.

Listening to your body means knowing what is normal for you and what isn’t. It means getting to know your body on an intimate level. Is that slight ache below your knee new, or has it been there for a while?  Is it normal for you to have a tightness in your hip after a run?

How has your sleep been? Have you been overly tired? Cranky? Are you unusally forgetful? Craving carbs? Do you normally struggle to get out the door?

Listening to your body, means reading your body’s subtle cues and actually taking action. Yes, it’s hard to take time off but it’s easier to recover from a injury if you catch it early. It’s always better to take a few days off now than being forced to take a few weeks off later.

In my case, I wasn’t fighting a physical injury but I WAS fighting a mental one. Some significant stress in my personal life, in addition to maintaining my hefty weekly base mileage, was enough to send my body into the early phases of Overtraining Syndrome.

That next weekend, I let my Saturday morning trail crew go alone. Instead of waking up at 4:00 am, I woke up at 6:30 am. Instead of running, I sat on my back patio and drank a cup of coffee – and I was totally okay with it.

coffee on patio

I took THREE DAYS off. I normally run six days a week, often times twice a day, so taking three days off is a big deal.

Instead of running I caught up on my sleep, spent the extra time with my family, took my kids to the playground and to the pool at the Y. I cleaned the house and did the laundry.

By the next Monday I was ready to run again. I wanted to run again. My energy level was higher, my reflux was gone, I was able to concentrate on my trail runs. I was happier. My poor body needed the break.

As runners, we all love our hobby, and it’s easy to let that passion overshadow the very real possibility of injury. The next time something feels off take a step back and ask yourself what your body is saying. It’s your job to listen.

Ironman Texas!

Y’all I registered for Ironman Texas. Not sure what I was thinking.

An Ironman has been on my radar for several years. The idea was planted shortly after my son was born. We bought a BOB Ironman branded running stroller and my husband made some comment in passing about needing to do an Ironman since we had the stroller. My immediate response was, “Have you lost your mind?!”

But the more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me. I put it on my bucket list, along with running Boston and completing an ultra.

Last fall, I started to think about life after Boston. I’d dedicated a large chunk of physical and emotional energy to that race, and I knew I’d be battling some severe post-marathon blues. Having another goal was important to get me through the inevitable post-race let down.

Around that time Ironman came up in a conversation with a friend and it made me think about it again. Perhaps that’s what I needed to focus on after Boston? I’ve been batting the idea around since then – thinking it over in my head, and talking to friends about it. No commitment. Just talk.

I talked to several friends who have completed the half and full Ironman distance. They know me, they know my fitness level, they know my training schedule…they all said I could do it with no problem.

I would love to say I have all the confidence in the world but I’m truly terrified and that’s what kept me from registering when it opened the week prior.

On Monday afternoon, I drank a beer (liquid courage!), and pulled up the IMTX registration page. I slowly started filling out the form telling myself that nothing was official until I entered my credit card information…

…when I got to the payment screen I just stared at my computer. Did I really want to do this? I’ve never done a triathlon so clearly an Ironman is a good place to start, right?

Staring at that payment screen, my heart raced and my hands shook. Knowing there’s no better time than the present, I typed in my credit card info and hit submit before I had a chance to change my mind.

Holy. Crap.

 

 

 

 

 

BOSTON MARATHON!

I’ve been working on this post for nearly two weeks and have found the task of writing about my trip to Boston daunting. It was emotionally overwhelming, so much so that I can’t find the words to describe how I felt. The entire trip I fought tears. On the plane up there. Driving around Boston. All that work and I was finally getting my reward. I couldn’t believe I was actually there. I couldn’t believe I actually did it.

I don’t know of a word that can properly describe the overwhelming emotions of what it’s like to tackle a seemingly impossible goal and be successful.

It all started on October 29, 2013. Yes, I remember the exact day. That day, I ran the Houston Half, it was my fourth half marathon. In the three previous races I’d finished in 2:13 and 2:10…twice. For some reason, I decided during this race to actually race instead of just run, to give it everything I had and finish with nothing in the tank. It was an experiment of sorts, to see what I could do if I endured a little pain. So, I pushed myself. I ran as hard as I could for 13 miles. And it hurt. But for the first time, I broke two hours. 1:56.

Woah. 

I went home that day feeling like I’d won the Olympics.

That evening as we sat around talking about the race I wondered out loud, “If I can break 2 hours with no real training…what happens if I actually try? Do you think I could qualify for Boston?”

December 2014. Rock n Roll San Antonio Half Marathon, Time 1:48

My husband, who has never been known to sugar coat things, responded with a very matter of fact, “Of course you can.”

And so it began.

You have to know, I wasn’t the person I am now. I was every ounce an average runner who hated the act of running but loved having run. I’m wasn’t one of those people. You know, the passionate, super talented, fast kind? Not me. My one and only marathon was a 4:36. To qualify I had to shave off an entire hour.

An hour, y’all.

Do you know how long that is?

In marathon time that’s practically centuries.

In the three years it took to qualify and then train for Boston I became a different person. I learned a lot about what it’s like to take risks and not let my life be dictated by fear. I learned other stuff too…

…that not trying yields the same result as failure.

…and you don’t have to be special to do something special.

I’ll be the first to tell you. I’m not special. I’m not especially talented. I’m a normal, average person who dedicated herself to achieving an almost impossible goal and was successful.

Which is how I found myself in Boston last weekend doing all the things Boston Marathoners do. Walking amongst all the people at the expo and waiting in line at the pre-race dinner, I felt almost like I was a trespasser, except I wasn’t.

I was there because I literally worked my ass off. I was there because I earned it.

I had to keep reminding myself of that as I stood at the starting line. I was in the first corral of my wave so I was right up front, a place I’ve been in many other races, except this time all the signage said, 121st Boston Marathon.

2017 Boston Marathon Start in Hopkinton

In the words of my husband, holy balls.

The race was incredible. It was HOT that day, so any dreams of a PR were pretty much gone before I started but I went in with the intention to do as well as I could while still soaking in the experience.

And I did.

I enjoyed every second of that race. The spectators in the first six miles of the race from Hopkinton to Framingham where awesome. They were having parties in their yards, blaring music, singing, showering athletes with water hoses.

Near mile 10 in Natick my dear friend, Jenn, with whom I was staying, had staged some of her friends along the route.  As I was running through town I saw posters in Jenn’s handwriting, with my name on them, held by strangers who became ecstatic when they realized that I was the “Go Joni, Go” they were rooting for.

“Hey, that’s me!” <jumps up and down>

When I finally found Jenn and my hubby close to mile 11, I stopped to give them both sweaty, nasty, genuinely happy hugs.

It was amazing.

I was extra cautious managing my pace early on and properly fueled so I never hit the wall. By the time I made it to Heartbreak Hill at mile 20, my quads, though tired, were still functioning well. They didn’t start to complain about the hills until mile 23 and by that time I was cruising on adrenaline. The last few miles from Brookline into Boston were beyond memorable. Yes my quads had checked out and I was waddling more than running but the turn onto Boylston Street made it all worth it. As I ran that last quarter of a mile to the finish I couldn’t help but think about what it took to get there.

Three years. Three years of spending two hours a day at the gym. Three years of foam rolling. Strength training. Stretching. Speedwork. Long runs. Icing. Injuries. Three years of not knowing if I’d be successful. Three years of imagining what that day would be like when I achieved my goal. Three years of daydreaming.

When I turned onto Boylston and watched my dream turn into a reality it was surreal. That thing I’d thought about for so long, that I wasn’t sure I could do…it was actually happening right in front of me. Unbelievable.

Finishing time. 3:35.

No, I didn’t PR but I don’t think anyone did that day, the conditions just weren’t there. BUT I was only 6 minutes off my PR, which I ran in nearly perfect conditions on a flat course. AND I missed part of peak training due to a lapse in judgement which found me mountain biking in the rain and later in a doctor’s office barely able to walk with a grade 3 quad contusion only three weeks before the race. (Yes, I realize how stupid that was.)

I raced the Boston marathon, never hit the wall and I qualified for Boston next year. I can’t ask for anything more than that.

After the race a couple of people asked me how I did, relative to the rest of the runners. Truthfully, I hadn’t even thought about it. I consistently win my age group or at least place when I run, but I knew running the Boston Freakin’ Marathon I wasn’t going place in my division so I never even bothered looking.

Much to my surprise, I finished in the top third, nearly the top quarter, of all females under 40…and I’m almost 38.

Best of all, I did it without injury.

Yesterday, only 10 days post Boston, I ran a casual 10 miles. Not because it was on a training plan or because it was a stepping stone to achieve some impossible goal…but because it was a nice day. Because I wanted to. Because I could.

From average to awesome, right?

 

 

2016 Year in Review

The year started with two goals: to qualify for Boston and do a one pull up. Two completely different things, both of which would be very challenging. I’d come into the year well trained for Houston in January so I had a feeling a BQ would happen but the pull up was a different story. My upper body has always been weak so it would be a challenge.

January 17 – I ran the Houston Marathon got a massive PR (3:29) and as expected qualified for Boston! Unfortunately, I came away with a horrible case of shin splints which left me swimming, rowing and biking instead of running. It was my second major injury in as many years and left me wondering what I was doing wrong. Internet research commenced. I read article after article about overuse injuries but couldn’t find any concrete causes. In the process though, I stumbled on a class called Healthy Running which would be coming to Galveston the following month, after a little consideration I realized I didn’t have anything to loose other than the registration fee and a weekend. I registered, ordered the textbook off Amazon and spent every spare second reading and learning.

February 27-28 – Healthy Running Class. It was two days of relatively intense medical classroom instruction, plus running lessons and drills – the goal is to teach you how to run safely without injury so that you can help others do the same. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my running life! Suddenly everything that had happened to me made sense. Though 10 months later I still haven’t completed the last step to become a Certified Healthy Running Coach (I still have to make an instructional video, ack!).

I started incorporating core and balance into workouts by doing things like box jumps, planks, jump rope, single leg balance on a Bosu ball, kneeling on a swiss ball, skips and lunges. I still wasn’t running because of the shin splints but at least now I knew why they happened and what to do about it.

March 5The Woodlands Marathon. It didn’t end well (4:07). Though my shins behaved my IT band didn’t. My body needed more work. What I was doing was working but it would take some time.

Just a couple of weeks later I was back to running slowly but only three miles once a week and it wasn’t pain free. After each run I was massaging a massive knot on the inside of my right shin and using a heating pad to loosen it up at night. Every day it got a little better. One morning I woke up, stepped out of the bed and onto the floor without shin pain and had a little party in my head. I might have even done a little early morning dance in the bedroom.

April 3 – After nearly three months of injury, I finally had a completely pain free run! Yes! I was back and made it a goal to never have it happen again.

April 15 – The Healthy Running class taught me that the primary cause of my injuries was weak supporting muscles in my core and hips (specifically gluteus medius and minimus). Faster pace equals higher impact and my core and hips weren’t strong or smart enough to properly stabilize the higher impact of speed work.

The drills and balance work I was doing made a big difference, I was now running slowly without pain but every time I tried to add speed the shin splints returned. Realizing that I needed help, I hired a personal trainer and started working with him 1-2 times a week. I also shared with him my pull up goal and we’ve worked on them weekly since.

May 7 – My husband’s employer sponsored a 5k so we packed up the kids and went downtown for the event. Jason walked/ran with the kids in the stroller and for the first time I actually raced a 5k. I had no expectations since I wasn’t doing any speedwork but I did win my age group (22:53). Unfortunately, it didn’t mean much because the entire race was only 100 people, most of whom worked with my husband and walked the whole thing so in my mind it didn’t count as a real podium finish but it was fun anyway and it gave me a confidence boost. It also made me particularly popular with the hubby’s coworkers. And as a bonus, speedy running with no pain!

June 1 – After 5 years of being an anti-social runner I finally joined my local running club. I’m pretty introverted and somewhat standoffish so this was a big deal for me. It’s easily been one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself. In the months since I’ve met a handful of people who have quickly gone from being friends to family. I don’t know if I’ve ever bonded with a group as quickly as I have my running friends and I couldn’t be more thankful I found them.

September 2 – We went on a week long vacation starting in Virginia Beach and then to Maine. In Virginia we got to see my husband’s family and run Rock N Roll Virginia Beach. Then onto Maine where we stayed with my sister-in-law’s family who are generational lobster fishermen. What a beautiful place for a morning run! Also, I’ve never eaten so much lobster.

September 16 – I got accepted into the Boston Marathon! I knew I would get in because I qualified by more than 10 minutes so I was surprised at how emotional I became when I got the email. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I sobbed almost uncontrollably for a half hour.

My 5 year old daughter asked me what was wrong and I told her, “Mommy gets to run a race, I’m crying because I’m happy.” Explaining it to her in that way made the whole thing sound trivial and I could see her little brain trying to figure out exactly why this was a big deal.

Just after I stopped crying my husband’s brother called to congratulate me. Tears started flowing all over again. It was like that on and off the rest of the day.

October 19 – My husband was laid off. He came home from work two hours early with a 6 pack of beer and a severance package. He wasn’t the only one they let go that day. They also let go the comptroller, the head of IT, an accountant and a guy who was a partial owner and served on the board. That week I ran 52 miles, simply trying to relieve stress. My weekly mileage hasn’t come down since.

November 19 – I ran the Shiner Beer Run Half Marathon. I got a PR (1:38) and won my age group! My first bonafide podium finish! Yeah!

The race was hilly and I had an unexpectedly hard time with it. The hills made me realize how truly unprepared for Boston I am. I started doing research on how to train for a hilly race when you live somewhere flat and started writing a training plan.

December 10 – First and definitely not last trail race! Brazos Bend 100 – full marathon distance, which really ended up being a baby ultra at 28 miles (4:10). It was a tough race and I learned a lot of lessons.

December 26 – Boston training officially began! The first workout was the first of many hill sessions. 9 miles total. 1 mile at 0% grade to warm up, 1 mile at 1% to get used to the idea of running uphill, 6 miles at 2% and one mile cool down at 1%.

The results of working with the trainer since April have been phenomonal. I am stronger, leaner and healthier than I have ever been. I’m faster and running higher mileage than I was before training for Houston and all of it is pain free. No shin problems. No IT band problems. Occasionally I feel tightness in my knees toward the end of a long run when I get tired but I know it’s due to tightness in the hips. A little light stretching. Problem solved.

For the first time in my running career, I feel like I actually know what I’m doing and it’s a great feeling!

This past Tuesday when I met with my trainer I had him take a video to document the progress I made on my pull up goal. Here for you, not one but THREE wide grip pull ups! An entire year of work summarized in 20 seconds.

What did you do this year?