In this edition of ‘In the Spotlight,’ let’s talk with Mary Lynn Griffin. Mary Lynn attended one of my webinars in the Summer of 2020 to understand ways to resolve piriformis/hip pain and improve her running. I have had the absolute pleasure of working with her ever since.
A few of my favorite things (there are actually so many!!) about Mary Lynn is her attention to detail, ability to communicate exceptionally well in our remote relationship, and understanding how the short-term objectives align with her long-term goals. Some areas of the body respond more slowly then others. And this was the case with her hip pain that slowly and surely improved over the last 4-6 months. Luckily, her hard work and determination were the biggest factors which allowed her to take control of the injury to now run on her terms.
While running longer distances without walking, incorporating speed work, and doing so with minimal issues, Mary Lynn has become growingly more committed to the process of getting stronger, improving stability, and increasing her resilience to injury. All of this will set her up well for a strong running future and marathon PR (right, Mary Lynn?)!
Without further ado, let’s shine the spotlight on…
Mary Lynn Griffin
Q: Where are you from?
A: “Midlothian, IL (a suburb of Chicago). In fact my current address is within three miles of my childhood home. Acorn doesn’t fall from the tree!”
Q: What do you do for work?
A: “I am a graphic designer, which I love. I’ve worked on lots of fun and interesting projects over the course of my career.”
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “I’m a hardcore nature enthusiast, so I spend a lot of time in the woods–running, biking, hiking, birding. I tried my hand at snowshoeing recently, and it was super fun!”
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?
A: “A 12’ x 12’ cabin in the woods! This is my little joke when I need to get away from everyone, but any place near natural beauty will do.”
Q: Is there something unique about you that most people don’t know?
A: “In my past life, I spent a lot of time in the alternative music scene, which included some unusual encounters with semi-famous musicians.”
Q: You describe yourself as a ‘book worm…’ What is your favorite book of all time and the best book you’ve read within the last year?
A: “So many books! I’ll try to narrow it down. As a lifelong horse lover, I’ve always been a huge fan of Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion” series. Most recently, I was captivated by Jane Harper’s “The Lost Man”. She’s great at weaving in unexpected plot details that keep you guessing.”
Q: Tell us about your running and exercise background and what is your favorite moment to date?
A: “I was never any sort of athlete, and I picked up running kind of randomly in my adult years. But turns out, I love it so much.
My favorite moment was definitely at the finish line of the 2018 Chicago Marathon. I was exhilarated and exhausted. As I fell in line to receive my medal, I saw what looked like a beautiful angel dressed in white handing out the hardware. Turned out it was then-world-record-holder Paula Radcliffe. It was such an honor!”
Q: If you had to choose between the trail or road running, which is your favorite?
A: “Trail running, no question. It makes me feel like a wild animal. (My husband told me not to say that part!)”
Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what were the goals you wanted to achieve?
A: “First and foremost was to resolve pain in my glute and hip. It had completely sidelined my running, which was not good for my physical OR mental health!”
Q: Over the last 6-months, how would you describe the process of addressing the piriformis injury? And, how did your strength training and running program change while working with Garrett?
A: “As far as strength, I was like most people. When I actually got around to it, it was all about the old standy-bys–squats, curls, some non-specific cardio, etc. But one of the things I’ve loved about training with Garrett is working a program that is totally customized to my issues. He identified and continues to monitor my weak links, and prescribes very specific exercises to address those. I’m certain this has been key to my injury recovery. Also, the running progression has been very methodical (a new concept for me!), which encourages me to run smarter.”
Q: What are the most noticeable improvements you’ve seen so far with your running?
A: “Aside from almost total pain resolution, the biggest thing has been my endurance! Even though I’ve run full marathons, walk breaks always came into play for me. However, after working with Garrett, I was recently able to run eight miles with no walks. I never thought that possible. Also, my pace, cadence, and running economy are better. Actually, so many things are better.”
Q: What is that one thing you dislike the most but continue to work on because you know it will help?
A: “OMG balance exercises! I’m so wobbly! But I know that it will not only make me a better runner, but it will hopefully prevent me from being a “fall risk” as an old lady.”
Q: Some areas of the body respond quickly, while others are an ongoing process. Are there certain movements that you feel still require your full attention to become more proficient with?
A: “I have to really concentrate on single-leg exercise to make sure my knees don’t collapse inward, while I’m also trying to maintain a level pelvis, and…not fall over. Lol. I try to stay really focused on core exercises, too, so I don’t lose correct position. Even though this stuff is tough, I’m really optimistic about future gains.”
Q: You’re a very detail-oriented person. What would you say are the 1-2 finer points which have made the biggest difference?
A: “I run with a metronome now! I know lots of people hate it, but I might actually love it. I’m able to stay super-steady as far as proper cadence, which begets proper pace. It’s kind of Zen, and it really helps me get in the zone. That’s when I’m able to mentally run through all Garrett’s pointers, and try to execute them. The whole process is confidence-building, and fun, too.”
Q: Looking ahead, do you have any new goals/races you are working towards?
A: “Six months ago, I thought the window for more marathon running was closed for me. But now, I’m looking ahead to another 26.2, post-pandemic. And I’d love to crush my PR for the half marathon this year.”
Thank you for reading this ‘In the Spotlight’ segment. And, a big shout out to Mary Lynn Griffin. To learn more about the Healthy Running Program, please click here!