Welcome to Feature Friday! Every Friday, CEP Compression shares the personal journey of one our amazing ambassadors. Today, we're proud to introduce Marisol Pastor-Cabrera! 

Hola! 

My name is Marisol Pastor-Cabrera (I go by Sol)!  I am a 36 years old runner and art teacher originally from Chile. My passions for working out and art have been part of my life since I was a child. Today, I live in Oakland, California and I am an elementary school art teacher, avid trail runner and OCR runner (obstacle course racing).    

My racing journey started in 2014 when I participated in my fist OCR event, the Spartan Race in Monterey, California. It was 14 mile race with 38 obstacles. Horacio, my husband, raced the first time in Monterey in 2013.  I joined him at the start line the following year and was really nervous about being able to complete the challenge.

Since then, my training routine changed as we started to compete and race at local 5K, 10K and half marathons to prepare for obstacle course racing. We both come from very active backgrounds and competitive sports as a child. Horacio played football during high school and has played soccer his whole life. I have practice sports since a child and played roller skate hockey during high school and college at the university of Chile.

Horacio and I have been married for 10 years. Our bond has been strong since the beginning, however; when we started racing and training together, our bond became even stronger. We push each other to become better and stronger during our training and that definitely has had an impact in other areas of our lives as well. 

We have competed more than 50 races together and have some accomplishments along the way. I placed in the top 150 in the US series of Spartan Race in 2015. Horacio participated in the Spartan Ultimate team challenge TV show on NBC last year and his team made it to semi finals. 

We have traveled to different cities, and countries including the Caribbean to participate in races. We love to travel, so combining traveling and racing has been a new way of exploring the world for us!

Last year, I tore my left ACL and meniscus during a race. It was definitely an obstacle I did not train for. I had surgery on January 27th, 2017. Since then, I have been working on training while healing my knee and dreaming about the trails. Although I try to stay positive and visualize myself running, it has not been easy at times.

However, I feel this journey has taken me to places I've never been and I have been able to discover a different type of strength and grow mentally and spiritually.  In spite of being on the sidelines I still enjoy and participate in running events supporting my husband and friends. I feel grateful to be part of a wonderful community that gives so much support to each other no matter what type of runner you are. 

As a teacher I strive to teach through art the skills that students can transfer to other areas of their lives and implement beyond the classroom. I always talk to my students about being persistent, not giving up and reaching their goals weather it is in their reading goals, solving a math problem or creating a sculpture.  I always share with them my experience during running and racing and how I go through difficult times, tiredness, and experience feelings that sometimes take my confidence away.

At the end of the day, my resilience and desire to achieve my goals are stronger than any negative thought and always get me to finish line. Even if I don't win the race (because kids always "ask did you win?"), I give my best and that is what matters to me. This is the same expectation I have for them in my classroom. Not everyone has the drawing skills or artistic abilities but as long as they are giving me their best, they get to the finish line. I am not teaching them to become artist or talking to them about running to become runners. I am teaching them to become the best they can be in anything they decide to do in life just like I feel whenever I am competing!