Thank you for taking the time to visit Valley to Peak Endurance and consider me as your coach! I believe that one of the most important aspects of successful coaching is building a solid athlete-to-coach relationship through honest and frequent communication.
In an attempt to begin this process and allow you to get to know me and Valley to Peak Endurance before making the big decision to hire a personal coach, I would like to share my story, give you insight into why I became a coach, and teach you a little bit about my coaching style. Thank you for reading!
Meet your Coach
I didn’t start out as a naturally fit or talented runner.
My story as a runner begins with struggle, frustration and plenty of pain and discomfort to go around. I began running recreationally in my early high school years, and didn’t realize at the time that there is actually a way of running that is beneficial and healthy, just like learning swim technique or how to throw a football correctly.
Almost as soon as my running began, my injuries began too. I was slightly knock-kneed and pigeon-toed, and struggled through various forms of knee pain, chronic shin splints, ankle instability, and more. Unfortunately, I was told by several professionals that I just didn’t have a runner’s body, and that I should stop before I wreck my knees and my body for good. Regardless of what others told me, I had a deep passion and love for running that I couldn’t shake, as well as a sense and some sort of understanding that knew there was more- injuries don’t just “appear” for no reason, and if there is a reason for them, there must be a way to fix them as well.
After becoming nearly obsessive about trying to solve my running mystery, I switched my major in college from Nutrition to Exercise and Sports Science. While I wasn’t working, studying, or trying to run, all of my extra energy went into self-study and reading on the subjects of running, form and biomechanics, mindfulness in movement, and more. That’s when I discovered the ultra-marathon, and vowed to myself and others that I would run one someday.
With the passion that I already had and the knowledge that I was gaining of “how” to run properly, as well as with the help of a few professionals who were key to my journey, I was able to build up to the half-marathon distance with less injury, and sustain that fitness level from thereon out. In 2011 I also began backpacking, and set my sights on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Over the next several years I prepared by running in the off seasons, hiking and backpacking longer and longer trails in the summers, testing out gear and food until I found my “style”, and becoming a total nerd with online research of all the ins and outs of backpacking and long-distance hiking, until 2015 when my dreams came true and I hiked the Arizona Trail and Pacific Crest Trail consecutively, totaling 3,400 miles in 5 months.
During those months I pushed my mind body to the limits, making it my goal to hike a “fast” hike and to test my physical and mental strength more than anything. I hiked countless 30+ mile days, several 40+ mile days and one 52 mile day, as well as some huge weeks with 235 miles being my biggest mileage week (and still is to date!).
When I returned, I knew I finally “had” the endurance piece that I had been dreaming of, so I quickly transitioned my hiking endurance into running endurance, running my first 50k race in early 2016. From that point on I was hooked, and have since run 2-3 ultra-distance races per year including a 100 miler, as well as countless unsupported 30-50 mile days through the mountains, many of them solo, which remains my true passion and area of expertise.
The best part of it all is that I have remained injury free since 2015 amidst running 5-6 days/week year around, and continuously pushing my limits to find my peak potential. Outside of running a business and coaching, I reside in Winthrop, WA with my life partner and two step daughters, and we are excited to be welcoming my first baby into the family in April of 2019. I am still running, hiking, skiing and yogi’ing my way through pregnancy!
How I became a coach
As mentioned in my bio, I’ve always had some sort of intuition that told me that there was more to running than just getting out there and running (although thats a big part of it!).
I believe that I wouldn’t be a coach if it wasn’t for my own story of going from injury-prone to injury-free; it took many years of help from professionals, schooling, self-study and research, trial and error, and loads of practice to get to a place where I am not only successful in my own running, but have a great deal of knowledge and passion to offer to others who may have a similar story or who may be struggling in another way with their fitness journey.
Countless times I have thought and even said out loud “If only I had someone like myself now to help my struggling self 10+ years ago, I could have been saved a lot of time, pain and effort.” That being said, I cannot be thankful enough for my struggle and journey along the way, as I would not be where I am now as a runner and coach without each step in the process!
In 2017, some wonderful coaches and the owners of Cascade Endurance (and who now coach through Uphill Athlete) saw my passion and took me under their wings to become a coach for Cascade Endurance. Over the course of several months, I was given an apprenticeship-like opportunity to work alongside them, learn from them, and ask unlimited questions in the area of endurance physiology, which was the last component of training I really needed to understand better to become an outstanding coach.
I ran the group training programs for CE in 2017 and 2018, led group runs, helped teach technique clinics, and co-coached individual athletes until early 2018 when I became an “official” coach through Cascade Endurance and began training my own athletes. Because of some business changes at the end of 2018, I was given the opportunity to start my own coaching practice; I’m incredibly excited and grateful to be taking all the passion, experience, and education that I’ve gained throughout the years and funneling it all into one place with my own personal touch and style.
I am confident that I can help you reach a new peak in your fitness journey!
The coaching philosophy that I believe in and practice is scientifically based and backed by loads of research showing that it is the best way to train for longevity in your sport, injury prevention, and radical gains. I teach my athletes to “slow down” and train within their aerobic zone for much of the time, and save the harder, higher heart rate workouts for specific and purposeful speed trainings.
My goal is to never give an athlete a workout that doesn’t have a purpose and where I can’t define “why” I am assigning it to them. I also whole-heartedly believe in strength training to help with whole body alignment and symmetry, injury prevention, and overall strength, and give every single athlete that I coach at least one sport-specific strength session per week.
Lastly, I believe that I am exceptionally good at helping my athletes learn how to balance fitness and training with recovery, and to find the appropriate work/life/training balance that works for them so that we never run into overtraining issues.
When I make training plans, I take into account personal responsibilities, family life, work schedules, weather, life stressors that could affect training and recovery ability, and anything else specific to that athlete and/or training period.
Credentials & Accomplishments
• 12+ years recreational and competitive running experience
• Completed thru-hikes of the John Muir Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, Colorado Trail, Arizona Trail and Pacific Crest Trail
• Completion of many races 10k and up including 1st place in a 15k, several top 10 finishes, 7 ultra-marathon finishes, and a 100 mile finish.
• Completion of many unsupported and/or solo mountain runs of 26-43 miles, including Grand Canyon r2r2r.
• Completion of many solo, overnight trips including several fast-packing trips of 20-30 mpd for 2-3 days at a time.
• 2 years study in Exercise and Sports science at Linn Benton Community college and Oregon State University
• 8+ years of self study and research in running science, biomechanics and other areas
• 6+ months working directly for/under a PT with learning opportunities throughout
• 3+ months “apprenticeship” through Cascade Endurance learning endurance physiology, coaching styles and techniques, how to build training plans, training modalities, and much more
• 1.5 years coaching experience through Cascade Endurance including remote and face-to-face individualized coaching for a variety of sports, creating custom and race-specific training plans, leading group runs, teaching technique clinics, helping with retreats and races, and more.
• Currently enrolled in United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA) Running Coach Certification course for certification credential and continuing education purposes.
• Currently enrolled in International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Personal Training certification program for strength-specific training and continuing education purposes.
• Currently enrolled in ISSA’s Sports Nutrition Certification program with the goal of gaining a strong base in sports nutrition understanding for nutritional consulting and to better help athletes add a nutritional component to training and racing.