Physical therapy, runner and marathoner

What is your sport and why? 

My primary sport is running. It’s my moving meditation. I love that I can run on trails, the track or the road. I love that I can push the pace when I have a little extra in the tank, or I can run easy. I love community that comes with it and the friendships I have made. 

Tell me about your athletic history?

I was never very agile or athletic growing up. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I began my journey with running. I watched my older brother finish a marathon and I remember thinking that it was pretty epic and inspiring. I professed to my brother that I too would be a marathon finisher. He laughed at me and said “you’re a girl, you’re too weak”. Little did I know he only said those words to me to motivate me. Well, motivate me he did! I started training for the LA marathon that same spring. I finished my first marathon at age 16! It was only then that I felt the spark of joy from finishing something hard that I had to work towards. While I wasn’t necessarily agile, I could run. Running gave me the confidence I needed to get through the rest of high school, college and life. While I don’t do marathons anymore, I still run, train and coach others to be successful. I found a passion for helping others succeed and creating a better quality of life through physical health. I now work in physical therapy. The joy of crossing a finish line is only second to seeing others succeed and knowing you had a small hand in their success. I want to share with others that regardless of your age, athletic ability, or current situation that there is always another door open. That one can always improve their quality of life by making small changes on a consistent basis.

List your top 5 athletic achievements so far in your life:

1- One of my biggest athletic achievements is finishing my first marathon. I was 16, I still remember the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line. 

2-Finishing the “mount Ashland Hill Climb”. This is a half marathon with the elevation of a vertical mile. It was grueling, but I was so excited when I finished because I did not think I could do it. 

3-Breaking 6:00 in the mile. I have tried for years to break 6:00 and have come as close as 6:01. Last year I finally did it with the help of my husband and running partners and reached 5:56 for the mile. 

4-Coaching a client through a marathon training cycle and seeing them take 20 minutes off their marathon time. It was so inspiring for me and also so rewarding. 

5-Being able to return to the sport of running after a meniscus repair surgery in my early 20’s. I was very unsure if I would even be able to go back to the sport I loved, but with a lot of cross-training, patience and consistency with rehab I was able to run again and even set all my PR’s after the surgery. 

Who inspires or has inspired you?

The person that inspired me early in life was my next door neighbor when I was growing up. She was living with type 1 diabetes and lupus. She knew her time on earth would be short and she lived everyday with a purpose. She made sure to take the trips, spend time with the people she loved and pushed herself to get the most out of life. After she passed, I remember wanting to live a life that would honor her. I pursued a career in physical therapy as I wanted to directly work with people to achieve a greater quality of life. 

Why did you want to participate in this Female Athlete Project?

I saw the Female Athlete Project as an opportunity to demonstrate that one can be active and healthy at any age while still managing life. I love that it showcases many aspects of sport, family life, careers and relationships and how there is joy in the process. 

Why do you think it is important to keep active as we age?

I feel it’s incredibly important to stay active as we age because it allows us to live to our greatest potential. I’ve had the opportunity to see doors open for people once they took action on their health. Now they can keep up with their kids or grandkids or they no longer need blood pressure medication, etc. Investing in one’s health is an investment in their future and also quality of life. 

What obstacles have you faced over the years trying to stay active in your sport/compete in your sport? 

The biggest obstacle I have faced is having to have knee surgery in my early 20’s. I tore my meniscus running too many marathons in a short amount of time. I most likely did not train well for them and I know I did not do any supplemental training. It was a big lesson for me once I rehabbed from the surgery and learned the importance of moderation as well as strength training to keep my weaker areas from becoming an issue. I now actually enjoy cross training and strength training. I also no longer do marathons, but I still enjoy anything from the 5K distance to the half marathon distance. 

What would you tell the younger version of yourself?

I would tell the younger version of myself to stop comparing myself to others. I often found myself in the comparison trap and never felt “good enough” in terms of sports and athletics. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to honor the body I was given for what it has done for me and continues to do for me. I am also grateful to those around me as I have learned from their success’. 

What keeps you going?

My patients that I work with keep me going as I want to lead by example. If I ask them to do something I’d better be able to do it as well. The clients I coach also keep me going because I need to be able to assist with workouts and pacing. My friends and husband keep me going as well because I enjoy the time we share the laughs we have during runs and the camaraderie we have for one another.

Advice to other women about staying active as we age?

Keep moving. “Motion is lotion”. This is a quote I say most everyday when I work. I am not sure who said it first, but I love the concept. If we work at something everyday on a consistent basis, we will often see improvement. Whether it be from stamina from increasing walking distance or balance from brushing your teeth standing on one leg. Find something you love doing and do it.

Best memories in your sport?

Crossing the finish line at my first marathon. I was in tears as I was in complete disbelief that I had done it. 

Training and running a marathon with my dad when I was 19. 

Walking a 5K with my mom and sharing laughs along the way.

Breaking 6:00 in the mile with the help of my husband and friends. 

What do you hope you never forget as you grow older?

I hope I never forget to be grateful to what my body has allowed me to do and to not take for granted what it continues to do for me. I hope I never forget the 16 year old me that found such joy in the sport of running regardless of the pace. 

Anything else you want to say about your experience with this project?

I am so grateful for this project and for the message it sends. I am so blessed to be part of the project and to help others see their potential through it.