enduraLAB Member Spotlight: Lee Long
I come from a long line of runners. My athletic background is in weight lifting, but deep down I really wanted to be a runner.
Ten years ago when I registered for my first marathon, I walked in to buy a pair of Newton shoes and was told that my run form needed significant improvement. That's when I was referred to run expert Coach Lee and became part of his first marathon training group. I couldn’t even run around the block at that time. Talk about a challenge.
Coach Lee believes that everyone can be a runner. His dynamic run program focuses on form, speed work, distance running, nutrition coaching, mobility and injury prevention.
I followed the prescribed programming to the letter and successfully completed the New York Marathon. From there, I didn’t want to stop. I ran eight more marathons, an ultra marathon, and dozens of half marathons all under the direction of Coach Lee. In December of 2011, enduraLAB opened its first brick and mortar location on W. 7th Street, which allowed me to incorporate strength training into my run program. This combination made me a faster more resilient runner by enhancing my endurance and increasing muscular efficiency.
Then it Happened
I fell during an off-site run jarring my back and slipping a disk that hit my sciatic nerve. Ultimately I tore my glute muscles trying to guard the nerve. Bottom line: I was out of commission for a while, and my doctor said I wouldn’t be able to run again. Watch me, I thought. I brought the diagnosis to Coach Lee and together we set a plan into motion. The first step was to get my nutrition under control with an anti-inflammatory diet. That was a big piece of the puzzle. My workouts were designed specifically so that I could recover from my injury and still meet my fitness objectives.
Coach Lee was with me every step of the way. He acted as a motivator as well as governor throughout the entire process. If there was a question, he did the research to find the right answer. His goal was always the same as mine: maintain my fitness and achieve a healthy recovery. During that 12 month period I ran three marathons: the New York Marathon, Missoula and the Marine Corps Marathon. I also completed the Cowtown Ultra Marathon.
Giving Up is Not in My Nature
During a follow-up visit with my doctor, we discovered that a bone spur had grown into my sciatic nerve. Surgery was inevitable, and the prognosis was grim. I was told that if I put a bar on my back, I could compress my spine causing further injury. Another blow was that it looked like long distance running was a thing of the past. Doctor after doctor relayed the same news; my spirit started to take a dive.
I’ve known Coach Lee for almost a decade, and he knows how driven I am. When I shared this news with my friend, instead of throwing in the towel, we sat down together and devised another game plan. Once I received the “all clear” from my doctor, it was time to get to work.
The workouts Coach Lee designed for me during my recovery utilized Plyometrics, which are incredibly fun. These exercises simultaneously stimulate multiple muscle groups to improve athletic performance. After just three months, I was feeling stronger.
Giving up is not in my nature. If I am presented with a challenge, I find a way to prevail. I don’t want to be limited, and I am grateful for Coach Lee's experience and expertise. He has always been there to create a path forward.
It’s been a year since my surgery and today I am pain free. My legs are also stronger than ever. I hated to give up running and leg day, but I trusted the process and the results are magnificent. Today I have a new normal, which is awesome. My next goal is to get into shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m in Process 50 which is a great program because it’s a place where you don’t have to be limited. I’m also really enjoying the enduraLAB Ruck Group.
Going forward, I know I will get back into running. I’ll just need to change my mindset because I’m limited to 10K races, but my attitude in the gym has changed so much. When I walk through the doors of enduraLAB, I am immediately energized and excited about the workout in front of me. I feel tremendous. I can’t wait to see what’s next.