Living: Suck it Up


Jessica, my coach

I set a goal to be ready for the Austin Half Marathon on February 17. I ran a couple of half marathons last year, but I was barely trained. That’s fine. I just ran them for fun, and they were really a great time. But, I wanted to get in shape again after slacking off for awhile, and I know that an upcoming race date and goal will help get me there without all the restrictions of dieting.

Because I laid off last year even though I had races planned, I knew I had to do something different. I called in Jessica “the bitch” Sprenkel to hold me accountable. She lives in Austin now, so I can’t count on her counting my paces, but she does an email training program that will at least set the pace. And, it’s more budget-friendly than an in-person trainer. There have been times when I’ve used a personal trainer, though, because I wasn’t showing up. Sometimes I have to do what I have to do, and my health is very important to me.


She does these workouts, too!

Jessica sends me an email on Sunday night that gives me my marching orders. I’ve never trained like this with an email coach. I’ve loved it! She gives me workouts that are full of variety, and I never do the same workout twice in a week. In fact, in the 5 weeks I’ve been doing this, I’ve rarely ever done the same workout more than twice. I run 3-4 times per week, but the runs are all different. Sometimes I do them on treadmills for interval training. The intervals keep it interesting. I’ve always hated treadmill running, but this has been fun. Other times, I run up and down a bridge in Downtown Memphis for hill work. Austin will be a hilly race.

She also has me focused on strength training, core building and muscle endurance. So, I cross train with weights, a TRX class at my gym and planks. And, there are always a couple of rest days. This week, I’m doing a spin class. I actually don’t like spinning, but, since I’m only doing it occasionally, it’s fun to do something different.


In a matter of 5 weeks, I feel better than I have in a long time. I’ve lost the weight I gained last year at the end of the year without even focusing on food. I am eating better because I have to keep my energy up. If I know I have a workout in the evening, I can’t eat a bunch of junk because I won’t have the energy to complete it. I’m sleeping well. My clothes fit. And, I’m getting faster!

I have had to make the time for it, but it’s not been too bad. Most workouts are an hour or less. Last night’s core workout lasted about 12 minutes. The longest one so far was Wednesday night. It was almost two hours because it included 5 miles of interval running and then a long-winded muscle endurance workout. But, the race will be a little over two hours. She’s conditioning my body to work for the length of time I will be running on the 17th. I get it. But, I texted her and told her I hated her. She texted me back and said, “this is the peak of the training.” No excuses here, I guess, and that’s makes sense. It’s what I’m paying her to do….hold me accountable for reaching my goal.

The nice thing about doing training with Jessica is that she knows more than I do about this stuff. I would have run and done some strength work, but I wouldn’t have known all of these different types of workouts. She has a lot of different ideas on how to train. It’s her job. She also has an overall plan. Mine would have been to run the distance and run three times a week. Her training has a “peak” time, an overall plan for building all the elements of endurance, speed and strength into my body a the precise time I’ll need it. It’s not about staying the course. Her plan is about performing well for a specific event. And, along the way, I learned a few things and got into great shape.

I don’t know how my race will go on the 17th. Weather, health, nutrition, sleep and energy will all have to come together to make it my best race ever, but I know I’m as prepared as I can be at this point. Today, I have spinning and TRX. It will be a tough one. I run Saturday and Sunday this weekend – which is unusual – because the goal is for me to run the 13.1 miles in a 24 hour period. Gotta get my mind around that and just do it.

4 thoughts on “Living: Suck it Up

  1. Sharon! Free publicity, I love it 🙂 You are progressing so well and I’m looking forward to both the last few weeks of your training, and a really wonderful race weekend here! I may have to steal your phrase about counting and setting paces for future marketing……

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