By my sophomore year in college, I had my entire life planned out. I was going to grad school for public health, I would continue researching women’s health, specifically, the societal impact on women’s body image and food choices. I would have a successful career, climbing the ladder, eventually leading the organization.
Until one day, shortly after graduation, I met someone who completely changed the trajectory of my career. That someone was an entrepreneur, president of a small startup company in software, software for the endurance industry. At the time I had no idea what I was getting into, It was like God knew, endurance, through and through, would be a monumental part of my story.
Within days I was working side by side with race directors, some of the largest in the United States, for races I participated in. I was starstruck, I felt like I was living a dream, there was no way this was real life. A few weeks later, I found a crack and it shattered me.
I was two weeks out from a marathon I had been training hard for. I had been working with the race director for a few weeks, I was 100% involved now, emotionally, mentally, physically. On an 18-mile training run, my last long run before race weekend, I broke, physically, a fractured pelvis; From doing what I loved the most, running.
No accident, no fall, just sidewalk running. I vividly remember the moment, like it was yesterday. The pain I felt deep in my soul for the following weeks scarred me more than anything.
When I heard the words, “ Running isn’t the cards, a 5K, 3.1 miles, is the longest distance you should ever run. Have you considered weightlifting?” it felt like my life shattered before me. The heaviest weight I’d held in my hand was a 5 lb dumbbell when I used to do my mom’s 80’s strong leg tapes with her in our playroom. Heck no, I haven’t considered weight lifting. Running or bust.
I came to a hard realization in the weeks to follow, my entire life revolved around running, I used it to cope, I used it to exercise, I used it to hide, I idolized it beyond anything else. It was in moments of reflection like this, I was and still am growing, yet all I could feel was pain. I was broken, mentally, physically, emotionally, not only could I not run, I had to face the truth, and that truth was dark. I never developed myself as a person outside of running, and I had no idea how to.
Fast forward a few months later, hours of testing, and several specialist later, the verdict was in, I was diagnosed with osteopenia, low bone density; beginning stages of osteoporosis, and a myriad of hormonal imbalances, which eventually led to a diagnosis of premature ovarian failure, at 23. I was 23 years old going on 80 and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. What I did know, I could not accept the future that was projected for me, there had to be another solution other than prescription drugs and low impact exercise.
My health journey blossomed from that point on. I dug deep into my work, research, and all things wellness. I focused on fitness first, it’s where this whole thing began and it’s felt the most comfortable exploring. I started swimming, the only thing I was able to do without pain, to eventually road cycling, within a year I was running again, short and slow but running none the less.
Oh hey, triathlons! The multi-sport approach, specifically including more swimming helped reduce the load of running, a weight-bearing exercise, that can be detrimental to bone longevity. Finally! Fitness was feeling good again, up next, nutrition. Nutrition is something you never stop learning about. Each failure was a new experience, one step closer to understanding my body, one step closer to learning what not to do when it comes to racing, recovery, and training.
And then I found CrossFit, which naturally led me to weightlifting, a pivotal point in my fitness and nutrition journey, the beginning of a career I’d only thought existed in my dreams. Through mentors, experience, and all the educational articles I could and still research on the daily, I developed a unique awareness for the women’s body. Specifically, Dr. Stacy Sims, I realized I had been training wrong most of my adult life, we are not men, so why are we following guidelines written for them?
After years of building a gaining experience, insight, and creating a solid foundation for my health mentally, physically, and relationally, I had finally regained confidence in myself and my body. I walked out of my bone density scan four years after a diagnosis with normal bone mass for my age and some solid muscle to prove it.
Today, you’ll find a little bit of everything in my workout routines. I’ve transitioned from road to trail, living in Colorado, it’s hard not to. In the winter months, I’m usually chasing a strength program while maintaining some type of cardio and when it gets a touch warmer, I start to really mix things up; trail running, mountain biking, swimming, strength training, with a few CrossFit workouts thrown in the mix.
My nutrition ebbs and flows with the training or season of life I’m in. It’s been years since I have tracked macronutrients consistently, however, I will jump back on the wagon if I feel I’m leaning way too far to the wine and peanut butter M&M’s. I’ve also gone through some intense hormonal changes over the past two years, you will learn more about that in my blog. This has helped me grow personally and as a nutrition coach.
I’m excited to continue to share my journey with you! My hope is that you find comfort and value in this blog. There is no better time than right now to understand your body, to regain that confidence, and OWN YOUR HEALTH!