Have Venus, Will Run

Running and Venus

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An annual family tradition

I ran my second ever half marathon this past weekend in Houston, TX. It has become an annual family tradition- which I would have thought was crazy and unattainable before I got fit with Venus. It is great to have a fit family but I have never been a fan of running. I have struggled with asthma my whole life and running tended to set it off, so I generally avoided it. I did learn to enjoy lifting weights thanks to Venus though. So when the whole family decided in 2012 to run a half marathon together, I figured I could do it too since I had made an incredible transformation during VT5. So we signed up.

The race expo is heaven for a fitness junkie

The race expo is heaven for a fitness junkie

My first attempt at running a half marathon

I trained for the 2013 Chevron Houston Half Marathon using a typical fourteen week prep schedule which involved cutting way back on lifting to make time for two shorter runs a week and one long run. I got so burned out. I started dreading my runs.

 

There was an added benefit to all the running. My asthma started to lessen over the next few weeks of training; then it disappeared all together. My doctor did a lung function test when I told him about the change. The results were stunning. All the running had increased my vital lung capacity to the point that it basically compensated for my asthma. We were both pleased by the outcome though surprised.

 

The higher levels of running did cause an unintended consequence. My hunger levels went through the roof. Although I was just maintaining my physique at that point, the hunger levels were difficult to deal with. I felt like I was constantly restraining myself just to maintain.

 

But the training was effective. Other than a brief spell of tendonitis that put me out for a couple of weeks, I did very well in the race much to everyone’s surprise- including me. I ran it in two hours and nine minutes.

After shocks

I was done with everything running-related after the race last January. I quit running for about six months and only lifted six days a week. No cardio whatsoever of any kind. I just could not make myself run, or do any cardio for that matter. I just wanted to lift so that is what I did. However, my asthma started to return- although it was better than before.

Best part of the race is what to wear!

Best part of the race is what to wear!

A new plan

About six months into my cardio ban, we found out in June 2013 that we were selected to run in January 2014 half marathon via the race lottery. I knew that I had to do something different this year because my burnout from the previous year was not good.  I decided that I would continue lifting as much as possible. What fit my schedule and my mood was to lift 5 days a week- Monday through Friday. Then on Saturdays, I would do one long run. I scaled my runs up slowly at a mile a week, then dropped it back right before the race.  Within a few weeks of resuming running, my asthma subsided again. My hunger was manageable. I had found my happy place.

My husband & I after the half

My husband & I after the half

I had my doubts with this new plan though. I was honestly just expecting to just finish. Maybe keep my time from the year before (2:09), or maybe slightly slower.  I just really wanted to beat my husband! I knew that lifting weights was beneficial to runners because Coach John had discussed it in both Roberta and Laura’s podcasts.

Race Weekend

On Saturday, we ran a 5K. I blew my previous 5K personal record out of the water, running it in 26:05. Almost a minute faster that my previous PR! And the funny thing was that I pushed it, but tried to hold back so that I would not be sore for the half marathon the next morning.

My running partner & I before the 5K

My running partner & I before the 5K

At that point, I knew if I set my mind to it- I could totally finish the half in under two hours. And so I made a personal goal.

The cool thing is that I beat my previous time by almost 13 minutes, and am proud to say my time was below 2 hours. One hour and fifty six minutes (1:56) to be exact. I even beat my husband and the rest of our family!

Weight lifting makes better runners

Coach John and Liss

Coach John and Liss

After the race, I was so elated and had to let Coach John know! He was happy for me and said that, “Runners don’t get that a stronger muscle has more endurance. They just run and neglect other types of conditioning.” I KNEW this in my head.  John discussed it in detail in Roberta’s podcast. It all made sense.

 

The best part is that I think I might actually enjoy running now. Even though there is no race looming in the future, I plan to keep my lifting and running schedule the same. My hunger is manageable. My asthma is non-existent once again. I found my “for now” happy place!

 

 

About Liss Graham

Liss is the girl next door who juggles a job, a husband, and two young kids. She had a lifelong struggle with her weight from a young age, constantly yo-yo dieting. Even though she would lose weight, she was never able to get beyond average with any workout or diet she tried. The Venus Index is the only thing that took her beyond average, and she now maintains Venus. From her success, she is now piloting Venus Index gym classes and coaching other women to attain the bodies of their dreams.
You can check her out at: Liss Graham’s Venus Index Transformation

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