I started this blog at the beginning of 2011 to chronicle my journey through training for my first marathon and also completing my first 90 days of P90X. However, it turned into much more than a 90 day reflection and it now serves to document my experiences as I train for half marathons, marathons, and triathlons as well as complete Beachbody programs like P90X, P90X2, and Insanity.
I am a 29-year-old woman born and raised in Southern California. I grew up in Huntington Beach, an Orange County town nicknamed “Surf City,” yet I didn’t get on a surfboard til I was 26. Although I live one block from the beach in Encinitas, a suburb of San Diego, I prefer to run and bike next to the ocean rather than surf in it.
My Fitness Background
Fitness has always been a part of my life. As a kid, I couldn’t decide which sport I wanted to do. I tried dance, gymnastics, softball, and even ice skating in elementary school. However, I was never a runner. In 6th grade we had to run the mile for time and I couldn’t even run one loop without walking. I achieved excellence in every other category on the state physical exam ( I could even do a pull-up!) but I couldn’t run the mile fast enough to be considered excellent in all categories. I literally despised running and believed that I just wasn’t built to run.
However, in 7th grade I started to run a little more and built up my endurance. I joined the track and field team and competed in the 100 meter dash, long jump and high jump. I also played on the junior high basketball team and joined a league outside of school. I liked basketball more than any sport I had ever tried. However, in high school I joined the swim team after not even trying out for the basketball team because I heard a rumor that no one makes the high school basketball team without having played on an expensive club team. Swimming turned out to work pretty well for me and I won first place in the breast stroke at the league championship my freshman year. I continued swimming throughout high school and also played on the field hockey team my junior and senior years. I learned to lift weights while on the swim team and continued to implement the moves I learned into my own routine at the gym.
Staying in shape in college was a challenge for me at first since I no longer had a sport to keep me busy. My freshman year I found a Paula Abdul workout video and used it and a very strict diet to help me lose some of the weight I packed on from cafeteria food and too much partying. I was a regular at the gym throughout college and also discovered I could run more than a mile at a time my sophomore year. Although running wasn’t my primary focus (I found it boring), it came in and out of my routine for years. About a year after college I discovered workout classes at the gym – specifically Turbo Kickboxing and 24 SET, a mix of cardio and weight lifting.
When I was 24 years old I decided to sign up for my first half marathon. I tried to find someone to train with but everyone thought I was crazy. I trained all on my own, mostly on the treadmill in my condo building’s gym, and finished the 2009 Carlsbad Half Marathon in 2 hours 13 minutes. I was incredibly proud of my accomplishment but didn’t think I would do another race since it wasn’t much fun to train all alone. However, a little over a year later my friend Asia and I decided to train for another half marathon, but this time we’d run together. I set a goal for myself to break the 2 hour mark and at the 2010 AFC half marathon in 2010 I came 1 minute 59 second shy of my goal. I was determined to achieve it and signed up for 2011 Carlsbad Half Marathon and finally achieved my goal (and started this blog!). Soon after, Jeremy, Asia, Mike and I made a pact to run the 2011 Rock n Roll Marathon together. It would the first marathon for all of us.
For some crazy reason, Mike and I decided to complete P90X as we trained for our first marathon. This blog was actually inspired by the fact that there was little information online about how to do this. P90X changed everything for me- I lost the 10 lbs I’d been struggling to lose for years, dropped 5 minutes off my half marathon PR, and gained a ton of muscle and even more confidence.
After completing the marathon in June 2011, my sights then turned to triathlon. I borrowed my Dad’s road bike, bought a wet suit, tri-suit, bathing suit, and all the other necessary gear, and completed a practice triathlon put on by my local Triathlon Club. After only 6 weeks of training, I completed my first sprint triathlon and loved it. It was a good thing that I liked it because Asia, Jeremy, Mike and I, dubbing ourselves Team WODS, signed up for Ironman Couer D’Alene and the Oceanside Half Ironman the night before. In August I raced the AFC Half Marathon and took nearly 10 minutes off my previous year’s time. In September I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon, coming in 3rd in my age group. I was happy to know that not only was triathlon something I was passionate about, I was actually pretty good at it too!
In June 2012, after a year of non-stop training, countless bike rides, swims & runs, early mornings, late afternoon post-training feasts, I crossed the finish line at Ironman Coeur D’Alene. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Post Ironman, I focused on friends and family and then in the Fall began ramping up my training to achieve my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2013. Also immediately following the Ironman I decided to change my diet to mostly plant based. I consider myself a “flexatarian,” eating primarily a vegan diet at home, often a vegetarian at restaurants and a meat-eater on rare occasion.
There’s More to Me Than Working Out!
Outside of my obsession with all things fitness, I do have a life! My two main passions outside of fitness are cooking and travel. I love to find new recipes and try them out and luckily Mike is more than happy to try them out. I especially love any food with avocado, onion, mushrooms and red peppers! Each month a group of my good girlfriends and I have a dinner party. We take turns hosting and making the main dish but we all bring a dish to share. It is one of my favorite days of the month.
I’m also quite in love with travel. I went to Europe (London, Paris and Munich) for the first time in high school and then went back for 4 1/2 more months when I studied abroad in Madrid during my junior year of college. A good friend and I lived with a host family and were fortunate enough to travel to several other European countries and many other Spanish cities during our stay. I returned to Europe for a 3rd time in early 2007, this time focusing on Eastern Europe (including Poland where my last name originates). I quit my job at a large public accounting firm (ie never seeing the light of day) after 1.5 years and went on a 4 month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos). It was a life changing trip and really put a lot of things in perspective for me.
When I returned from my trip, I met Mike, and we have been together since February of 2010. When he told me that he had done an Ironman I thought he was crazy, never thinking that we’d train for one together. I have truly met my match with Mike – we compliment each other perfectly and I’ve never had so much fun with someone before.
In college I joined the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta and for two years I served as an advisor for another local chapter of Theta in San Diego. I started with the chapter as the scholarship advisor and I then held the position of marketing advisor before deciding instead to focus my time on Girls on the Run. I have coached for three seasons and serve on the Marketing Committee for this wonderful organization.
I hope that you enjoy reading about my journey and I thank you for visiting my blog. I love hearing feedback and I don’t mind answering questions so please don’t hesitate to ask them!