Meet the Athletes: Erin Laverone

This past weekend I took a little business trip to my old home of Austin, TX.  For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been training my friend and old roommate Erin via text message, email and Skype to get her ready for the 2015 Austin Half Marathon.  She’s no stranger to the half distance, completing New Orleans 2014 and San Francisco 2014 with me as well as a couple other before we met.  She’s also no stranger to Austin’s hills and heat as we ran the 2013 Austin Marathon together!

Meet Erin Laverone:

Erin Laverone

Erin Laverone

In the three years I’ve known her, she’s been a mentor, educator and motivation for me as well as an incredible friend.  We’ve shared a lot together and I was honored to be asked to help her hit a huge milestone.

Goal: Run 2015 Austin Half Marathon in sub 2:00

Plan: Run 3 times per week: one track for speed building, one tempo for aerobic training and one long run for mental strength.

Timeline: 11 weeks over the holidays

Erin worked so hard – fighting through illness, injury, cold weather and rain to get her runs in.  I never doubted that she would crush her PR and nail her sub 2-hour goal.  She had no doubts either after she floated through a ten miler at a sub 9 minute pace.

Race weekend was a blast and Austin greeted me with sun and warmth.  We ate (a must in Austin), and relaxed, and ate, and expo-ed, and ate some more.  Erin was a little more careful on her eating than me.  I planned to run the race with her but the knee injury in  November has me sitting at only 3 miles for now.  So I indulged in all my Austin favorites.

I waited for her on the dreaded Enfield hill, cheering runners as they pushed up.  I spotted her bright yellow Team Live Strong shirt and ran down to meet her.  I was greeted with “I’m gonna puke”….”Well that’s fine, just keep running!” I said.

She trudged on, one foot in front of the other with less than a mile to go now.  I decided to run her all the way to the last turn of the race.  Turned a few corners in the neighborhood and were eventually headed back towards the capitol.  She never slowed down – eyes on the prize.  My plans to jump off at the last second were foiled as I found myself trapped on the course with fences on both sides of the street.  So I just kept running her across the finish line and into the chute.  I didn’t have my bib on, but since I was a true registered participant, didn’t feel too bad about it ;).

She nailed it.  1:57:25, beating her previous PR by 5:44.  I couldn’t have been more pleased with her run or the weekend in general.  I know she’s quietly thinking about the next milestone…..1:55 is calling your name!

Erin, you were a committed and dedicated athlete throughout the entire process.  You didn’t let the flu or the cold get in your way or become excuses for not putting in the work.  I am so proud, and inspired by your efforts, and your results.  Congratulations girl, you earned it!



Meet the Athletes: Jen Larkin

Happy Friday everyone!  It’s a big weekend in my world – a fancy fundraising dinner tonight, OU/Texas fight tomorrow, Sunday is the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (and one week from my next race: San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon).

With that, here is a little bit about one of my athletes running in Chicago this weekend!

Meet Jen Larkin


Before one of Jen’s races

I first met Jen when I was living in Memphis through Inside Out Gym.  She took my spinning classes for a while and then joined me with personal training, boot camps and running groups.  I am the most proud of her dedication and relationship with running.

When I moved to Austin, Jen stayed with me and continued to train for various races (St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, Detroit Free Press Half Marathon and shorter Memphis races) via email training with me.  She always had this distant dream of running a full someday.

I am so so excited and proud to say that her someday is THIS SUNDAY!  After helping her through several seasons of half marathons, increasing her consistency and average pace via email training, we had a heart to heart discussion and decided that if she was going to make this dream a goal and then a reality, she needed a local running group to train with.  So we cut off my services and I stayed in touch, eagerly following her training and long runs – shifting from coach mentality to cheerleader.

Good luck Jen!

Good luck Jen!

I chatted with her for a good bit on the phone last night and can’t wait to track her miles on Sunday morning.

Jen – you have worked so hard for so many years to make this dream a goal, and now a reality.  The path to here all started with the Memphis Women Run Walk program and progressed to Road Race Challenges, Half Marathons and now the big sister of them all.  You are so ready – mentally and physically – and I have no doubt that you will rock this run.  Be sure to enjoy it all, check in with your mind and your body each mile and start out slowly 🙂  Most of all have fun and remember CLEAR EYES, FULL HEART, CAN’T LOSE!


Meet the Athletes: BenAnna

Time to introduce you to some new recruits!  Meet BenAnna – the third couple in what seems to be a trend in my Tulsa clientele.  I’ll take it – the couple that sweats together stays together 😉

Meet BenAnna (pronounced like a fancy but silly “banana”)



These kids are fast approaching their wedding (February 7) and are super motivated to not only get in shape but bring some inner-athletes back to life.

Ben: Ben used to be able to dunk a basketball.  Ben would like to do that again.  He’s also working towards looking and feeling great in that tux on his wedding day.

Anna:  This bride-to-be doesn’t have any weight to lose but wants to strengthen her arms for the big day.  Instead of setting that as a goal though, she’s decided she’d like to walk on her hands across the coffee shop where she works.

Goals:  Look and feel so great throughout the stress of wedding planning, and on the big day.  Make it to those challenging (and so interesting) fitness goals.  Anna is also very interested in the nutrition side of health (as everyone should be) and we’ll be incorporating some cooking and planning ahead into her routine.

Timeline: For life.  But quickly for February.

Action Plan:  It’s a challenge because Anna’s in school for half the week just north of Tulsa.  And when she is here, she’s working most of the days.

  • 2-3 days of at home workouts each per week
  • One “love birds” couple workout with me per week
  • One group workout per week

As time gets closer to the big day, right around the holidays, we’ll ramp up the intensity and nutrition focus.  For now we’re mostly focused on frequency and making it a routine habit.

They’re loving it:




Meet the Athletes: The Carpenters

I’ve talked about the Carpenters a lot on this blog.  I give them credit for moving me to Tulsa.  It sure didn’t take long for me to recruit them to the team!

Meet Katie and Justin Carpenter:


Justin and Katie on a visit to ATX

J. Carp – Justin is owner of Foolish Things Coffee Company and spends 12+ hours a day making sure it operates in the perfect way.  He promised his sister he would have a six-pack by the time she gets married in February.

Katie Carp – Katie co-owns two companies, the coffee shop and Ever Something, a beautiful event styling company.  She doesn’t have any weight to lose but wants to feel stronger and I even talked her into training for the Route 66 half marathon!

Goals:  Justin – lose weight, have a six pack, increase running speed.  Katie – gain strength, run the Route 66 half marathon, reduce knee pain.

Timeline: For life.  But a more immediate date of sister Anna’s wedding in February.

Action Plan:  Since these two put so much time and sweat into their small businesses, they don’t have a lot of time for fitness sweat.  I design workouts they can do at home or at work and keep it short and intense.

  • One private session per week each tailored to their individual goals
  • One coached run per week
  • 2 written running workouts per week
  • One group workout on the weekend

It’s been fun seeing JK (as they call themselves) bring their inner athletes back to life – Justin played football for Wheaton College and Katie was a high school basketballer with me, as well as on Wheaton’s golf team.

Sprenk does a great job of individualizing my workouts for my goals and takes the pressure off of the numbers, encouraging me to focus on other kinds of progress gains.  I like that she’s encouraging but let’s me bitch through the hard workouts


Coffeehouse workouts

Coach Sprenk is the best trainer I’ve had.  I’m seeing results really quickly and love that I get the same amount of sweat and challenge that I used to have in football.  She’s knowledgable and patiently answers all of my questions about diet and why we’re doing what we’re doing.


Meet the Athletes: Kate

Except for the fact that it’s Friday, it’s a pretty dreary day in Tulsa.  Foggy and mid-50s (temps I haven’t seen since March!) with a sort of sneezy feel to the air.  I’m spending the morning running all the necessary errands for becoming an official resident of Oklahoma – wish me luck!  (I’ll do a post later with all the boring but necessary details in hopes it’s a little easier for someone else to have all the info in one place!)

It’s time to meet more of the team 🙂

This is Kate:

Kate: Fashionista Extraordinaire

Kate: Fashionista Extraordinaire

Our journey began when I lived in Austin and she and one or two other girlfriends would come to my house for group training sessions.  She’s a leader in the workoutfit fashion industry (see above).

Goals: Kate is quickly approaching her walk down the aisle and came to me for help to feel stronger and more confident in her dress.  She wants to stay focused on her goals even though I’m not in town anymore and during all the stress of the final weeks leading up to her big day!

Kate and Jake

Kate and Jake

Timeline: Less than 2 months!

Action Plan:  When I lived in Austin we met two to three times a week doing anything from sprints on the track to boxing style workouts (to the tunes of the Disney Princesses) at my house.  I helped develop an eating plan for her to supplement her Weight Watchers membership.  We had to shift our strategy when I moved and now meet once a week via FaceTime for a weight workout.  I also check in on her daily to make sure she’s done her workout for the day.

Jess has made the transition really easy by figuring out ways to stay connected.  Whether it’s a text or a FaceTime workout or sending homework, I still feel her accountability even though she’s a state away.

Post-FaceTime Sesh

Post-FaceTime Sesh


New Athletes: The Dalys

Happy Friday everyone!  In lieu of another vacation post today, I want to introduce you to Team Sprenkel’s newest athletes today!

Meet Ashley and Ryan Daly:




A.Daly: Co-Owner of Retro Den Tulsa – a fabulous retro furniture store.  She considers herself an expert on retro trend setting.

Ry.Daly:  Band member in the Fabulous Minx and marketing genius

Goals: Ashley and Ryan are fast approaching their 5 year anniversary (in November) and have been talking about getting in shape their whole marriage.  They’ve both gone through bouts of healthy routines (Ashely was a big yogi for a while and Ryan has serious powerlifting genes) but the demands of being in a band and owning a furniture store have taken over.  After discussing a few approaches, they were all in on the action plan below and have been crushing their self-dubbed #beastmode workouts since Day 1!

Timeline: 3 months – mid-August through November.

Action Plan:  As a fellow business owner, I certainly understand budget constraints.  The Dalys gave me a monthly budget and from there I proposed the following action plan.

  • Weekly workouts shared via Google Drive
  • Daily check-ins
  • One personalized private session per month
  • One group session per month

It’s been a pleasure on my end so far, can’t wait to see these two continue to make progress!

Screen shot 2014-09-05 at 10.53.40 AM



Success: Relinquishing the Battle

Hi y’all!  I’d like to introduce my friend and client Sharon, author of the first installment of my Success: Client Defined series, where I will post original writings and thoughts from my clients about their journey with me.  (You can read more of her spunky and honest thoughts on midlife, dating, life in Baton Rouge and football on her blog Midlife Moments).

Sharon and me before a race

I first started training with Jessica in person when we were both in Memphis TN. I hesitated a little because I wondered what this 20 something would know about a 50ish woman’s needs. I was afraid she’d be this drill sergeant personal trainer that would wear me out and not personalize my program. At the time, I had paid for a gym membership a year prior but couldn’t make myself go to the gym. I had been marathon running but had lost interest. The biggest motivation I had was that I had gained a good deal of weight, and I felt frumpy and old. I had lost interest in any kind of exercise, and I knew had to get re-energized.

We did the typical 30 minute weight-training sessions, and immediately I knew I would like her. She wanted to know about my life and my interests and my struggles with regular exercise. While I was working out, we would talk about diet, dating, overeating and my weekly issues surrounding getting to the gym. I got on track again, and I started to lose weight.

After awhile, we stopped the personal training, but we remained friends. I’d hook up with her running group every now and then, and we talked infrequently. When she moved to Austin, I hired her for her email program. I have to say I like this system even better than in-person training. At first she sent me an email every week with all of my workouts on it. Over time, it became evident that my needs changed too much, so we are now on a system where she sends my workouts every day or every other day. After every workout, I check in with her to tell her how it went.

I feel like I have a health advocate working with me. She “gets” emotional eating. She “gets” mood swings and distractions to exercise. And, although she gently pushes me to stay engaged in what I want to do with my program, she allows me space to take breaks and get disillusioned with the process.

I’ve been participating in Jessica’s email program for over a year now … maybe two. When I compare before I started with where I am today, these are the results I’ve seen:

  1. My weight has been maintained without a lot of fluctuation.

  2. I feel much better about my emotional eating. I still do it on occasion, but I don’t beat myself up over it as much because I have shared it with her. It just doesn’t seem to have as much power or attraction to me anymore.

  3. I have been more consistent with working out than ever. I used to get bored and take 3-4 week breaks a couple of times a year, but I haven’t done that since I started the email training. I may take a week but it’s usually a day or two before I’m back at it. The consistency helps.

  4. My workouts are shorter in duration but produce better results.

  5. I have variety in my workouts now. I think that’s why I don’t get bored. I also have a bank of workouts in my email folders in case I want to try something different.

  6. I finally feel in charge of my health and habits.

  7. In the last 3 months, I got off my anti-depressant medication due to my healthier, saner lifestyle.

  8. Most of all, I have a friend in my court. No matter what is going on, I can call Jessica and talk to her. She knows how to listen in a non-judgmental way. And she’s really, really smart.

My worries about this young girl not being able to coach me were unfounded. I’m so glad I let them slide. One of the best things I’ve ever done is hire Jessica for my coach. It’s about so much more than exercise.

For the future, I’m looking forward to Jessica building her flexible training empire. I envision her having a web presence and serving clients all over the country … maybe even the world. She will never lose that personal touch because that’s who she is, but I think she will discover efficiencies to help her create her own “space” in this market. I actually think that when you look up coach in the dictionary, you’ll find her picture. She’s that good.

Thank you Sharon, you’ve been a joy to work with!