Running is Mental

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to run a half marathon.

I’ve never been a runner. When I used to think about running, I would flashback to 12 year old me who dreaded the physical fitness test because I had to run a mile in 11 minutes. I was on the heavier side and although I was somewhat athletic (I played softball), running was more like torture to me than something athletic. When I did have to run a mile, I would jog the first two laps and then walk the rest of the way and feel satisfied that it was the best that I could do.

This middle school thinking followed me to high school. Even though I’d lost the baby weight and started playing more sports (softball AND tennis), I still hated running. We would have to run around the tennis courts or circle the bases before practice and I would always phone it in– coming in somewhere at the tailend of the pack. In college, I would never run unless I had to, and even then, 1 mile was my max limit.

Yesterday, I ran 10 miles. It’s the longest distance I’ve run to date.

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 9.55.20 AM


It has taken me a long time to figure out that running has very little to do with athletic ability and very much to do with mental strength. When I made up my mind at 12 that I wasn’t a runner, I never gave myself the chance to become one. But I’m changing that. 2018 is shaping up to be the year of personal accountability and re-invention. I’m taking ownership of my own past negativity about myself, and letting go of what was limiting and never really true.


Los Leones to Parker Mesa Overlook

Here is a quick write up of the hike I discussed in my first post. It’s Los Leones (near the Pacific Palisades) to Parker Mesa Overlook which is part of Topanga State Park.

Distance: about 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 468 meters/ 1,535 feet
Duration: 2-3 hours
Parking: Yes- Lots and street
Cost: Free!
Type: Out and back
Permits: None needed
Restrooms: Yes- At the trailhead and one near the overlook.

Tips: Get there early, it’s a popular trail (~ 6am). If you can’t get there early, make sure you bring a hat since a majority of the trail is exposed.




Being in my thirties, I’m a fairly late bloomer when it comes to hiking, camping, and all things outdoorsy. I really only started taking hiking seriously in 2016 when, after having my photo taken for the company website, I saw what four years of working behind a desk (and free snacks) had done to me. Since I couldn’t stand the thought of being on an elliptical or treadmill for an hour and I was too self-conscious of my body to join a yoga class,  I chose hiking as the thing that would bring me back to life from my 9-5 coma.

My thinking, at the time, was that I had done a few hikes here and there which I didn’t remember being too difficult, hiking would get me outside and away from the internet which I needed, and it was basically just walking except uphill which I felt I could definitely do– easy enough right?


One of the first hikes I did was 7.3 miles and normally completed between 2-3 hours. It took me almost 8 hours to finish. I was out of breath almost the entire time. I needed a break every few minutes. I complained… a lot. At some point, I even felt as though I’d forgotten how to walk. By the end of it, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Actually, the better word is defeated. I was defeated.

And that’s how I fell in love with hiking.

Like those rom-coms where Protagonist A and Protagonist B bring out such a fiery and unexpected reaction from one another that they ultimately can’t stay away from each other– that’s what hiking did to me. That first hike, and the roller coaster of emotions that I experienced, was uncomfortable, and invigorating, and revealing.

Looking in the mirror, it was easy to see what a sedentary lifestyle had done to me physically. But climbing up that mountain, I realized what a sedentary lifestyle had done to me mentally. As the hike became more and more difficult , my first thoughts were not to keep going that I got this, my thoughts were, why am I doing this? this is hard, I could be watching Netflix and eating cheese puffs right now.

After taking a few days to ruminate on the entire experience, I made the active decision not to be the person I was on that hike. I didn’t want to be someone who gave up when things got difficult. I didn’t want defeat to be my default setting in the face of obstacles. So not only did I resolve to keep at it, I set a goal for myself that year. The goal was to complete the SoCal Six Pack of Peaks. Climb six mountains of increasing elevation gain and difficulty around Southern California.

I bagged 5 of the 6 peaks that summer. I went backpacking for the first time. I saw views of California that I had never seen before. I met people on the trail that were kind and encouraging. I got braver. I got stronger. I felt grateful for my body. I surprised myself time and time again.