All I need to do is run.

After New Year’s Race Los Angeles at Night, I absolutely needed a new running program. I considered going back to the one I used for Nike Women’s Marathon SF 2012 but knew I’d quickly get bored of it, so I browsed online until my sister said “Hey, I have a program you can use.” I checked it out and “Yes, this is the program I will use to train for the LA Marathon!”

The LA WHAT?! I’ll get to that in the next post.

This is Brian’s baby girl. I used to be her preschool teacher. Now she’s my personal trainer. Who runs who now?

Welcome to BRIK Fitness. The owner’s name is Brian Nguyen though I knew him before this. One day, BRIK held a fundraiser for Train 4 Autism. “Donate $10 and have some fun working out!” I’m all for donating to causes I believe in and it sounded like a good time, so I went. I’m not saying this because I know him but I had the most fun working out with encouraging coaches and friendly faces! I dislike any sort of strict/mundane/no-pain-no-gain workouts so this caught my eye. I didn’t sign-up with them after this though because I didn’t think I needed it. It came time to train for the LA Marathon and I, coincidentally, received a message from Brian.

“Hey, how’s it going? When are you coming into the gym?”

The what? Yes, even though BRIK had me at first kettle bell I didn’t think it was necessary to join any gym. For what? All I need to do is run.

“You need more than running. You need strength training. You need to build your core before you can be a successful runner.”

To make a super long story short, it took a lot of convincing to get my butt in the gym because I can be that stubborn. He created a program specifically for me: a long distance runner who wants this, this, and this. BRIK’s workouts are super fun but really kick your butt when all is said and done, which was exactly the program he designed for me. This was (is, actually) my daily schedule: go on my fun run and then do my fun workout or vice versa. One day, he told me he’d been watching me run and had some suggestions on how to improve my form (among other things). Every so often he’d hint at reducing my running schedule, too (with good reasons, of course). I’d let the latter slip through one ear and out the other though, and call it a day. Every.single.time. I already agreed to work on my core (which makes sense to me now. Runners, please, work on your core to become a better runner!) but I stop at anyone telling me to reduce one of my great passions in life.

It came time for the LA Marathon and I tried to keep what Brian told me, on the course, in mind. Once I hit mile marker 20, however, I threw everything out the window because I just wanted to cross that dang finish line. I happily finished and felt like a super champ so I was (already) ready to train for my next marathon. I gave my body a week to recover and got right back on that pavement the following week. Familiar pain started making itself apparent right when I took that first stride. Crap. Instead of assuming what it was or guessing how I can relieve it, I texted Brian for some guidance. Would you like to know what he responded with? Here you go:

“Stop f*cking running. You need to…”

I about had it. I threw my phone (gently, of course) and began bursting into tears. Who the *beep* was he to say that to someone who lives to run? Though his following messages included “..your body needs this..please listen to me..I care about you..blah blah blah..”, I never felt such anger towards someone who has never done anything wrong to me or my family. I didn’t talk to him for a while after this. I actually don’t know who contacted whom first but I somehow found myself back in the gym, and we had a nice little pep talk. We have a lot of little pep talks every time I see him in the gym now. I’m pretty sure it’s because I wreak of stubbornness and he knows how much I love running. Through pep talks, trying to understand biomechanics (runners, you know what I’m talking about here), and telling me “I’m not trying to hurt you. I care about you. I know you’re going to run no matter what. I just want you to be a successful runner.”, the one thing that finally stopped me in my tracks was when he said

“As long as you come into the gym, you can continue sticking to your running schedule. But if you get injured, don’t come to me because I’ve been talking to you about this.”

Hearing that brought so many flashes of runners I personally know getting injured, stories of runners who would persist through the pain and end up having to bail on a run because it became unbearable, and professional runners who had to stop running for good because their body just couldn’t take it anymore. To hear a doctor tell me “You can’t run anymore” would be one of the worst moments of my life. I truly want to run for as long as I live. The very next day, I gave Brian my running program to adjust. It’s been a frightening ride but I (finally) trust him. After all, he’s been an athletic coach for years and is the personal trainer of Mark Wahlberg. Yes, that Mark Wahlberg with the funky fresh body.

Meet Brian.

Runners: listen to your body and argue with your strength trainer. It’s been an emotional as well as physical process but I’m seeing results (don’t tell Brian – I don’t want him to think he’s been right all along ;)).

Until the next post..

keep on running (without injuries, of course)!



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