My fitness journey began before I took my first steps, so I’m told. My Mom claims I was “running” before I could walk. I grew up as the tiny string bean of my group of friends and was always the smallest of any sports team I joined. Mom had me eating things like spinach and black eyed peas, attesting I’d be strong like Pop-eye. As a five year old, I was appalled. Despite my size, what I realized was, no one could catch me; my little legs apparently had some turnover speed. It helped that, though they were “little legs”, my torso was even smaller, making my legs the strong point for my fitness endeavors. Therefore, I began competitively running when I was nine, but still delving into other sports. By sixth grade, I was a six-sport athlete trying to decide which sports to concentrate on as I entered the new world of Middle School. All of my friends were playing volleyball the coming fall, most people had never even heard of cross-country. Luckily, I had some great advisors throughout my running career, starting with my elementary PE teacher. I’ll never forget her advice, “You’d be good at volleyball, but you’d be great at Cross Country”. And so it began. I broke high school records while in middle school and was enjoying every second. I had found my calling.
Our small high school didn’t have fancy classes like anatomy and physiology so everything I learned about the body came from biology. I began questioning why I was faster than others, what mechanisms in my body helped push me to victories here and there and why others didn’t enjoy running so much or being active in general. I enjoyed the team aspect that came with cross country and track and pushed people to train with me and meet higher goals than they had set for themselves. This led to my declared major in Biology as I entered college. I quickly found out the only pieces of biology I was interested in was human physiology and anatomy. My passion was in helping others so my Major changed almost immediately to Kinesiology: Fitness Specialist. I started working with clients through class assignments sophomore year and began my first personal training job at our student rec center, training students, student-athletes, deans etc. I knew I was in the right place. Though I went to state in numerous events in high school, I had decided to focus on studies in college and join the IU Run Club instead of trying to walk on to a D1 team. I participated in nationals and Little 50 where we placed relatively well, but I realized it was just another group to party with; still feeling the need for a more structured and serious running environment, I decided to turn to marathon training, something I had always wanted to try, and began to coach myself, with a bit of input from some close friends.
I ran my first marathon in the Fall of 2010. I was hooked. Though I had run it just for fun, I had missed qualifying for Boston by a mere 12 minutes. I had my eyes on Boston since I was ten, but had kind of felt it was an unrealistic goal. However, around mile 15 or so of that first marathon, my next goal became qualifying. After my next few marathons, missing the cut off by 6, 3 and 18 minutes, I knew my fourth would be the one. I qualified in the early spring of 2014, a fifteen year goal in the making, and had the honor of running Boston Strong in the Spring of 2015. It was freezing and raining, I had no one there with me and I had only gotten to cross train for the six months prior due to injury; obviously, it was one of the best days of my life. Before Boston, I decided an ultra sounded cool so I did a 50k in the Virginia mountains and it was also, one of the most fun things I had ever done. I would like to continue that ultra trek here in Colorado soon.
My marathoning and ultra racing mostly happened during my time right after undergrad, in which I was selected by my professor to carry out her health program on a Joint Forces Staff College Base in Norfolk, Virginia. There, for two years, I trained active duty military personnel, providing them with classes ranging from high intensity boot camp style to corrective exercises to functional training that led to injury prevention, better fitness and even rank promotion. The experience was beyond any hopes and dreams I’d had of utilizing my degree to help others. However, I was still not a huge fan of the system and the overall lack training and injury prevention the military lacked. Therefore, I decided to go back to school for my Masters in Public Health to figure out how I could improve things. I graduated in the Spring of 2016 with my MPH, ready to change the world. I worked at an “agency on aging” and personal training studios during my Master’s degree, continuing my experience with program design and assessments and expanding my knowledge of different populations all while learning how to build and implement physical activity programs for communities via my Masters classes.
All of the above is simply background story and though it made me who I am today, I am beyond excited to look to the future, beginning with initiating my own business, TO Health, LLC, in partnership with Surge! I love that we all share the common goal of helping people and improving the health of the community in any and all ways that we can. Once you join us, we’re not going to let you get away super easily without first reaching your goals and succeeding, feeling better and learning how to improve your life. Join us for any or all of our classes to begin your journey “to health”!
“You only get out of it what you put into it (YOGOIWYPII)” aka, if you put in the work, you WILL see results!
I believe being healthy can be SIMPLE; No need to make health harder than it is. I emphasize health as a behavior, merely something we do, a way of life and a “diet” is simply what you eat. Function and prevention come first and, above all, I want you to enjoy your experience!
When you work with me, you have just as much input toward your journey “to health” as I will. I believe in empowering clients to achieve goals, not telling them what they “should” attain. I will find what works for YOU and YOU will take charge of your positive change and accomplishments! Together there is no barrier we cannot work through and there is no end to the motivation I will offer to help you reach your goals!
Cheers “to health”!!
- Master’s in Public Health (MPH), concentration in Physical Activity
- Bachelor’s in Kinesiology; Minors in Coaching and Public Health
- American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer and Weight Management Specialist
- Functional Movement Scree (FMS)
- Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS)