It’s not every day you meet someone who can pronounce Kyrgyzstan, much less who grew up there! Meet Anna (Anya): with a Korean smile, a Russian accent, and a heart to push past her own limits! We love getting to know more about the people who choose to go the distance; not only on our Good Neighbors USA LA marathon team, but to provide clean water for our friends in Zambia as well! Take a look…
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
Originally born in Uzbekistan, I grew up in Kyrgyzstan since I was two. When I was 17, my family moved to Los Angeles and I’ve been living here ever since. Although I am fully Korean, Russian is my first language. Hence, my name in Russian is pronounced Anya. I graduated from Pepperdine (Go Waves!) and currently work as a senior healthcare analyst. My life motto is Gandhi’s quote “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Have you always enjoyed running? What made you start?
I believe I started running in college. Running became a good way for me to release stress and give me some energy boost. I like running outside – it helps me to take my mind off of things.
What’s your favorite pump-up song?
I don’t think I have a favorite one, I like to mix it up. I listen to anything from R&B to hip hop to reggaeton.
Have you ever tackled something as big as a marathon before?
Running a full marathon has been my goal for many years, but I was always hesitant and worried I wouldn’t be ready. My former coworker Kayley -who ran the LA Marathon last year- encouraged me and told me I could do it. I don’t think I will ever be fully ready (both mentally and physically) to run 26.2 miles, so I just decided to do it this year. I learned about Good Neighbors from my friends Esther and Kohyun who work for Good Neighbors, and I also ran a 5k with Good Neighbors last year.
What does a day of training look like for you?
It really depends but I try to mix up my training routine. I go running outside and hit the gym a few times a week.
Have you had any “I hope no one saw that” moments during your training?
One day I went for a run even though I was uber tired- never going to do it again! As I was running, I tripped over something, plummeted on the ground, and pretty much kissed the pavement. That was quite painful aaand embarrassing. Haha!
Do you have a mental strategy to combat thoughts of quitting if the marathon gets tough?
I think the faith that people have in me- including my family, friends and coworkers- will give me strength to finish. I don’t want to let them down. I promised my friend Esther that I will finish the race (she is one of my biggest supporters!). Also, knowing that I am running for a good cause will be my motivation.
Have you uncovered any parallels between your training journey and your life journey?
After I ran a half marathon last August, I realized that I will never know how far I can go until I give it a try and step out of my comfort zone. The same principle applies in life: we will never achieve our dreams and goals unless we push ourselves and take risk. I had been telling myself I wouldn’t be able to run a half marathon- much less a full marathon- in the near future because it just seemed unattainable. Some people have even tried to talk me out of it. But here I am daring to challenge myself. I know that both a marathon and life journey won’t be easy- there will be roadblocks on the way. But I am willing to take a leap of faith, and dream big!
What’s your favorite cheat day snack?
Donuts of all shapes and kinds.
Most important of all, what do you want your finish line hashtag to be?
I know it sounds very cliche, but I would say… #ididit
If you’d like to donate to Anna’s cause- the Good Neighbors USA water well project in Zambia- click below!!