Two weekends ago, I went on a run. Not just a casual run around the block on a weekend — but the race that determined whether or not I’d qualify for the US Olympic Team.
One of the greatest things that define us as professional athletes, and as people, is to have the strength to push ourselves when we need to and know when not to. Despite great preparation and high aspirations we face challenges and setbacks. This weekend, I made the difficult choice to stop at mile 17 of the US Olympic Trials Marathon after the lingering effects of stomach bug caught up with me. While I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to cross the finish line, I made an emotionally difficult but practical decision to save my strength for the USA Olympic 10k trials in July rather than pounding away another 9 miles on a weak and weary body and risking injury and having to take several weeks of additional downtime before being recovered enough to begin my 10k preparation. I’m passionate about running specifically because it pushes me to be the best version of myself both in striving to achieve success and in learning to both cope with disappointments and setback and to keeping moving forward.
I’m a runner who thrives in running in the hot conditions that gripped the LA streets on Olympic Trials Marathon morning but for many Olympic Trials competitors these conditions took a toll. Of the 198 women who started the Olympic Trials Marathon 149 women finished; a 25% dropout rate. And the among the men 61 of the 166 who started the race didn’t finish; a 37% dropout rate. These are astounding high numbers for well conditioned elite runners. Racing in heat puts enormous additional demands on the body. When racing in heat blood flow to your working muscles is reduced and blood flow to your skin is increased. This increase of blood flow to your skin enables your body to cool down it’s rising core temperature and keeps your body from dangerously overheating. With increased blood flow to your skin and reduced blood flow to your working muscles, you working muscles receive a reduced amount of oxygen to fuel completion of the task at hand. Therefore your body either is forced to work harder to maintain the same pace that feels comfortable in cooler temperatures or your slow down and except that the proper sustainable intensity for covering the marathon distance will yield a slower racing time.
I started running in the spring of 5th grade after I ran my first timed mile in gym class. My time was 5:55 and it broke the school record for both girls and boys. Within my first month starting to run at my local track, I met Mike Barnow, a running store owner and amazing coach, who I work with to this day. Within 6 months of training with Coach Mike, I broke a national age 11 record for the 5k road race, running 17:44.
When I began running I had a lucky pair of socks I wore to every race. As I grew older (and after my mom accidentally threw out my lucky socks), I came to understand that my racing performance were based on the work ethic and precision I put into trainings and rather than the elusion of luck.
After graduating high school, I ran at Harvard University where I broke the American Junior Record for the 10k and went on to represent team USA at 2 World Cross Country Championships. Following Harvard, I finished out my master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Michigan.
My experience in the sport of running spans from breaking records and representing team USA at World Championships, to coaching NCAA Division III Cross Country at Sarah Lawrence College and coaching high school Track & Field and Riverdale Country School. My experience as both an elite runner and as a coach, paired with my academic background in kinesiology, has brought me to to where I am today.
I recently joined Lumo Bodytech as part of the Product Development team for Lumo Run, and as a sponsored athlete for the company. I could not be more grateful to be a part of the team building a product that brings together my passions for elite running, coaching and kinesiology. I’m excited to go to work each and every morning to be a part of helping develop a product that will guide runners on the path to running faster times and being less plagued by injuries.
Since I’ve been training with Lumo Run, I’ve seen an improvement in my running form – notably my pelvic drop; and I’m now working on my pelvic rotation—I have identified these less than ideal aspects of my running form thanks to Lumo Run. After identifying the weak links in my running from I have been able to get to work improving my pelvic drop with less than 5 minutes per day of daily post run exercises combined with utilizing in-run proprioceptive cueing from Lumo Run’s coaching feature. Often when I’m getting tired during a race, my pelvic drop and pelvic rotation can cause me to run inefficiently — and as a competitive runner, I try to focus on doing everything I can to reach the top of my potential using both knowledge and hard work—and this includes efforts to optimise my running form.
With the help of Lumo’s in-house biomechanist, Dr. Rebecca Shultz, I have developed a series of workouts that build muscle in areas that will reduce my pelvic drop and rotation. Making simple changes and having Lumo Run as both a running coach and data compiler, I have been been gradually making my running form better and better.
Whether I’m running at Bloomsday in Spokane or the Olympic Trials in 10k, my running form has been and always will be a work in progress. There’s always another step to take, another muscle to focus on, and another challenge around the corner. I’m grateful to not only have such incredible coaches, teammates and colleagues, but also fantastic tools like Lumo Run to help me become an even better runner by helping inform me customize my training regimen to address my personalized needs. My training is being optimized, thanks to Lumo Run, and I’m getting more benefits out of each and every moment I spend training when the training is customized specifically for me.
After this weekend’s race, I’m eager to continue training with Lumo Run in preparation for the 10k trials. I intend to come back roaring, with a fighting spirit and perseverance — these, I’ve learned, are the key to success and joy in running and in life.
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