Well, I am now 27 years old. I am an obsessed runner, adventure seeker, spontaneous traveler and lover of all things dark chocolate. I am also a daughter, an older AND younger sister (yup, I have middle child syndrome), a fiance and soon to be wife to my sweet Anthony, and a friend to many. Occupationally, I am a school psychologist, but not for long (that's a story for a different time). But, I wasn't always these things and it was a long road to get here!
Rewind the tapes back to when I was a little tyke. Well, my little tyke self was quite the tom boy. Like, if you think you were a tomboy growing up... think again. I took it to a whole other level!! I'll have to dig through some photo albums to show you guys just how much of a boy I really was. I have carried some of these tom boyish characteristics with me through my 27 years. Most of them I have buried, but the refusal to brush or blow dry my hair still stands. Along with the preference for no make up, athletic attire and running shoes.
Let's just skip the awkward stages of middle school and move right along into high school. I played volleyball and swam on the swim team. Volleyball was a new thing that I decided to try out as a Freshman because of the cute spandex shorts (should have known then I was going to be a runner!) and swimming I did because I knew I would get tan during the season. As you can see, my priorities were in order. I played volleyball all 4 years of high school. I was never an all star (even though my mom told me I was - thanks mom!). I was always just mediocre. Athleticism was not exactly my strong suit. I was (still am) clumsy and accident prone, which both didn't allow me to stand a chance in sports. Whenever the coach would even so much as mumble the words "conditioning," "running" or "suicides," I was that girl faking asthma (I know this is not funny now, but it was the best excuse I had at the time and I was an EXCELLENT wheezer) to get out of it. So, to answer the question many of you might be wondering... No, I was absolutely NOT always a runner.
After high school, I went to CU Boulder. This is where I really fell in love with running, but to a dangerously unhealthy level. I first started with alternating running 1/4 mile, walking 1/4 mile. Until soon, I was able to run 1 mile straight. Then 2, then 5, then 10, and soon enough I was doing 20 mile runs. But, this wasn't just one 20 mile run a week. It became an unhealthy addiction where I was running 20 miles everyday. Even if it meant that I was finishing those runs at midnight. Thinking back on it now, I was mentally in a whole different state. I was running to burn calories, which is great for some people! But, for me... I had no calories to burn. Somewhere along the way, I also developed a disordered eating mindset. I would basically eat the same meals every single day and restricted all fat intake (which is opposite of what I do now - my fat intake now is about 50% of my macros). I was already very thin and restrictive eating was only hurting me more. My weight dropped down to 100 pounds and I lost my menstrual cycle. I began isolating myself from social settings, I shut out all of my friends and lost some really good friendships along the way. It was a downward spiral and the road back to normalcy was a long one.
During my junior year in college, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Our family was told that he had, at best, 6 months. Those 6 months passed and he was still fighting. Learning of his diagnosis made me shut out even more of my friends and I buried myself deeper into running and exercising.
After graduating college, I moved back to California mostly to be with family. My dad was still fighting the cancer, but going to work everyday and cycling on the weekends with his buddies. You would have never known that this guy was going through chemotherapy. Meanwhile, I started to become less obsessive about how much I was running and eventually my menstrual cycle returned.
In September of 2013, I moved to Thailand. I lived in and taught English in Thailand for 7-8 months. This very short period of my life has been one that has made the biggest impact on my life. The obsessive running started to transform into something I did because it made me happy. Running in the Thailand humidity every day was tough, but it made me feel alive. I left Thailand with a full heart and improved perspective on living and moved back to California in April of 2014.
In June of 2014, I signed up for my first marathon, the Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon. My little sister said she was signed up to do it and I spontaneously signed up for it too. I had NO idea what I was doing. I showed up to the start line with a powerbar in my sports bra and no game plan. I didn't take in a single ounce of water during the race (like I said, I was a newb to this whole racing thing). It was the most miserable race EVER!! I bonked at mile 17. My left IT band blew out at mile 20 and I alternated walking, running and crying all the way to the finish line. My finishing time was slightly over 4 hours and I hobbled away with ice packs wrapped around every inch of my left leg. However, I walked away with so much curiosity as to how to do training and racing the right way.
After recovering, I started using Hal Higdon's free training programs online. They were pretty basic and easy to understand. I started researching everything from fueling, strength training for runners, mobility exercises, form exercises, improving cadence techniques... you name it, I was researching it! I wanted to learn everything there was to know about running. I am still this way today. They call us, "Run Nerds." I wear that name proudly.
I didn't race again until a very small Get Your Rear In Gear Colon Cancer 5k race in November 2014 for my dad. I somehow won for my age division with something like a 23 minute finishing time. The next distance race I did was the OC half marathon in May 2016. I self trained for this using Hal Higdon's training program and various strength routines. I ran a 1:52 and was seriously STOKED!! I didn't have a watch or any kind of gadgets to guide me here, I just ran by feel. After this race is when I really started dreaming and got the itch for bigger running goals!
My next race was the Surf City Half Marathon in February of 2017. I finally bit the bullet on this one and invested in a coach to train me to a PR. In this training process I learned ALOT!! I had never done a speed workout, a tempo, fartlek, etc. I had been running all of my runs at the same distance and at the same pace for as long as I could remember. Getting a coach was a GAME CHANGER! I fueled with gels and water for the first time during a race. I finished in 1:35 - a 17 minute PR.
Next up - the OC Marathon in May 2017. My primary goal was to qualify for Boston. My secondary goal was to run a 3:17. I did qualify for my FIRST Boston marathon (i'll be running in April), but did not get a 3:17. I finished in 3:20:30 - a 40 minute PR from the RNRSD Marathon. After I finished this race, I set the goal for myself to run a sub-3 hour marathon. I am still on that journey. My current PR was run at CIM 2017 (3:05:23) - a 15 minute PR just 6 months after the OC Marathon. You can physically do anything you want you guys!!!!! Set a goal, believe in yourself and commit your mind.
I will be running Boston in April 2018. I only believe in big crazy goals, so I will be going for a 2:57. This blog is serving as a place for me to track my journey and for you to follow along as you please.