In 2006 I weighed 270 pounds. I was always someone who was overweight, as long as I can remember. I never really thought that I would ever be someone who was thin, and in shape. After losing both my parents in 2006 I decided it was time to get healthy, grief is motivating that way. I was 28 years old.
I started out on my quest to get in shape with simply walking and hiking, and eventually I joined a gym. it started out as just losing weight and somewhere along the way it became a totally different journey. Once I lost 130 pounds I realized I wanted to help other people who felt lost, unhealthy and completely discouraged like I used to feel.
I obtained my first two certifications through The National Academy of Sports Medicine, and soon became a Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist. I started working with clients shortly after passing my exam.
I now have over 13 years of experience and over the years I have obtained many new fitness Certifications along the way. I am also fully Certified in Pre-Post Natal Fitness and Nutrition, and have trained several women throughout their pregnancies.
I also am Senior Fitness Certified. After years of having an outdoor boot camp and training people in my garage I am finally training clients out of a fitness studio.
As the onsite health and fitness leader at Clearwater Senior Living in RiverPark, I not only train the employees and residents, but my outside clients of all ages and abilities. From ultra marathon runners to my oldest client of 96.
In 2018 I became a fully Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, in The Biomechanics Method. I realized over the years that people tend to end up with the same injuries to their feet, knees, back, hips, shoulders, and other areas of the body. Exasperated by sitting all day, and made worse by exercising improperly.
As a fully Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, in The Biomechanics Method I am able to help my clients not only prevent injury, but also rehab old injuries that may be preventing them from reaching their health and fitness goals.
Over the years my personal fitness journey has changed and evolved. I lost 130 pounds without running a single mile. I use to say the words, "I hate running. I am not a runner...I just don't have the body for it.." Excuses, fears. So I didn't run, I would hike and climb mountains but I have this constant need to continue to challenge myself. To do things that scare me, so 8 years ago I became a runner, and it changed my life.
I did not became a runner until after I lost all the weight. I didn't think I could do it. It always seemed so hard to me. I knew I had to overcome this fear. I started with a 5k, then half marathons. I raced half marathons for a couple years, and got relatively fast with my best time a 1:49. Then I started training for distance, and worked my way up to several full marathons on the road including running the LA marathon twice with a 4:10.
As a race Ambassador I run the Ventura marathon every year with a group of my clients, most of them new marathoners. I love to create new runners each year.
In September of 2018 I lost a dear friend to breast Cancer. I was again motivated by grief and the FCANCER! race was born. An annual 5k /10k to honor my friend Rebecca Dahl, 100% of proceeds go to The Rebecca Dahl Foundation. A non profit I set up for Rebecca's four surviving children Ephraim, Tobias, Daphne, and Ezekiel. Its become a beautiful way to keep her memory alive, while helping her family. Rebecca and I were friends since high school, over 20 years. Her light still shines bright through me.
Putting on the charity race catapulted me into becoming a race director, and The Mary Jane Run Series was also born. The first ever cannanbis themed road race. Supporting both natural HEMP products legal in all 50 states as well as the medical benefits of THC and CBD. Specifically in relation to both athlete performance, and recovery. Cancer treatment and recovery, along with many other chronic physical and mental illnesses.
Finally, I get to talk about what I feel has truly shaped me the most. Trail running, my true love. Ultra running specifically and this is the running that has really transformed me. When I am on the trails, I am free. Running is my therapy, and I can run forever. The mental strength that is required is one of my favorite parts. There is nothing better than overcoming that voice in your head that says, "I Can't" It carries over to all aspects of life.
I am an ultra marathon runner now, and I have completed over 20 ultra marathons, of all different distances. I started with short 25k's and half marathon trail runs and quickly moved up to 50k's, (30 miles) to 50 milers, 100Ks and all the way up to 100 miles. In 2017 I ran my first 100 mile race, San Diego 100. I finished in 26 hours and 25 minutes, and landed as the fifth female overall. I have since had a couple podium finished. Second Female overall at Chimera 100K, and Third Female overall at Old Goat 50 miler. My biggest accomplishment so far is winning first place Female at Chimera 100 miler, 4th overall for men and women.
It is now 2019 and I just completed my 3rd 100 mile race. AC100; Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run on 8/3/19 in 30:37:37.
I’m starting to line up my race calendar now for 2020. I do these crazy distances to show my clients that anything is possible. I never dreamed I could run at all. I used to weigh 270 pounds, and would struggle to walk a mile. Now my body can do amazing feats!!
I run these races not only to become a stronger better human, but to show my clients that anything is truly possible if you really want it. You just have to be willing to put in the work, the body is capable; it is the mind you have to convince. Over the years I have learned all most people need is someone to guide them, and to believe in them. I love encouraging people to accomplish things they never dreamed they could do. Thats the best part of my job, and I’m always encouraging my clients to push themselves to new challenges. Sometimes scary goals are good for the soul!
Never stop challenging yourself. That is just good advice for life. I try to teach my clients this by leading by example, while continuing to grow and evolve both professionally and personally myself. I truly love what I do and I believe that passion fuels my success.