Everyone's Heard the Stories About Silicon Valley...

The crazy hours people work, the stressful lives they lead. I was one of them. Back in 2004 I was working insane hours, eating takeout and convenience meals as I could grab them, and spending what free time I had horizontal on a sofa like a couch potato.

I pushed myself to the absolute limits of what a person can do in the working world - I was achieving amazing things, day in and day out... let's be honest; that's the way it works in a place like Silicon Valley. No such thing as half measure.

I was also tired, stressed and more than 40 lbs. overweight. I needed a change, and when I found running, I embraced it with both arms and threw myself into it full speed.

The First Mile

That first day on the track was hell. I ran one lap and thought I was going to die, right there, on a high school sports field. What a way to go! But I didn't die. I recovered and felt a burning desire to do that again. Soon, I was running not just laps, but miles and building up my distance slowly but surely.

That drive pushed me at work, that determination to do better than anyone else, pushed me on the track as well. I made myself do the most I could, and I felt how good it was to achieve something new and amazing.

The Next Mile

2010Portland.png

After a couple of years of running, friends invited me to join them in a 5km race. Man, I tell you, the high from crossing that finish line was greater than any feeling I'd ever had, so I did it again - 5, 10, 12 km and further. I was unstoppable, and I was going to run every race.

In six years, I ran over twenty half-marathons and four full marathons. I made friends with people who got it, who understood what running meant to me. We trained and competed together, compared notes on shoes and form, and of course, diet.

I'd never been so disciplined in my entire life - and I'm a pretty disciplined person. Whatever happened, I would not miss a workout, no matter what... and eventually, "what" included work, family, friends, everything. It wasn't enough to work out every day, so I stepped it up to twice a day, every day, some days even more.

The Broken Mile

With all this passionate dedication to running, I was missing - or maybe just ignoring - the signs that my body couldn't take it anymore. Crippling insomnia, middle-of-the-night hunger pains, and the injuries... boy the injuries. I was a regular at my physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist and massage therapist, all just to deal with the pain and injuries - and I was jamming those into my schedule AROUND my training. My mind refused to acknowledge that the thousands of dollars I was shelling out to deal with the pain had anything to do with the constant, unstoppable training.

The worst part? I wasn't even progressing anymore. I couldn't go faster or further; I couldn't achieve new goals. I was starting to fail to finish races.

And let's not even talk about my relationship with food. I grew up with an unhealthy relationship with food and I never managed to fix that, even during all this training. For me, it was strictly calories in, calories out. After all, that helped me drop 40 lbs and four dress sizes, so clearly it worked! Sure, I could eat "healthy" sweet potato fries after a workout, I'd earned it! Brownie? Why not, as long as it's gluten free! A good long run was a great excuse to recover on the couch with my favorite bag of chips.

And Then Came The Real Problems

Debilitating gut cramps on a run are not normal. Common, maybe, but not normal. They are a sure sign that there's something wrong, and there certainly was. IBS was the first diagnosis, followed by adrenal fatigue and hypoglycemia. Did I give up? Of course not! I just cut back to 10 miles instead of 16. So next came SIBO, then a sluggish thyroid and then the last straw - leaky gut syndrome.

The Last Mile (Almost)

I'd hit the wall. I had to take a break, now! And that was the most difficult thing to do. Like it had before - when I became my work, when everything was about my achievements at work - my entire sense of self-worth and accomplishment had become wrapped up in running and not being able to do it was killing me. I couldn't go back to being 40 or more lbs. overweight and mindlessly watching TV to relax - I'd come too far! I had to do something!

So I started working my brain again. I wanted answers to the problems I was experiencing, and I wanted to know how to fix them. I wanted answers, and I was going to get them.

  • How did overtraining affect me so badly? Was it due to my age?
  • Why was I eating the recommended Standard American Diet and still unhealthy?
  • How were IBS, adrenal fatigue, SIBO, leaky gut syndrome and a low thyroid related, as the experts say?
  • What could I have done differently to avoid these issues and still enjoy my sport?

My Next Step

I joined the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and spent a year studying with Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Mark Hyman, Deepak Chopra, Walter Willett, Gabrielle Bernstein, Geneen Roth, David Wolfe, Marion Nestle, and more. I learned about dietary theories and lifestyle coaching. I discovered how food could be medicine, that rest and recovery are as important as exercise, that emotions and values are essential to our bodily health.

I qualified as a Holistic Health coach, am a member of the International Association for Health Coaches (IAHC).

I've continued my education with the following programs:

  • Holistic Nutrition Lab Digestive Intensive + Full Body Systems (a 10-month intensive on functional nutrition) 
  • The Balance Bites Masterclass (real food nutrition practitioners track)
  • Blueprint for A Healthy Life (environmental health)
 
 

I realized I have something to share with others who push themselves too hard, too far, too fast. My natural curiosity was the perfect starting point in helping others discover their own health issues, the best ways to get around and through them, and give themselves the exercise, rest and nutrition to support a whole-body-mind healthy lifestyle.

Your Next Step

If you are searching for ease from overwhelm, support from someone who understands the nitty-gritty of being a woman striving for success in the tech world, and you are eager to learn how to repair your health and take action today.

You deserve it, you don't have to do it alone.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the opportunity to be heard.