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

I was always told I was not capable of completing certain things.

"Oh, you can't be a runner, you're too slow."

"Oh, you can't be a boxer, you're too nice."  

I was told to give it up and stop trying.  But it opened up another side of me that have I always had inside of me.

Aloha! I'm Mary Ann, better known as MJ, also known as Wonder Woman. I am a boxer, I am a runner, a personal trainer, a pacer, a hiker, a snowboarder, a wake boarder, I ride motorcycles, I play golf and volleyball, and I also like to crochet.

I am a natural born athlete. Athleticism flows through my body and anything I want to try or do, I can successfully do it with ease.  But it all takes work. 

I started running events ten years ago. My very first was the San Francisco Marathon, but I chose to just run the 2nd half of it, to ease into things. 

I trained and also fund raised for the SF Aids Foundation. My pace then was a 12:30/minute mile.  I now run 7:00-8:00/minute miles, half marathons and full marathons.

After running my first half marathon, I decided this was what I was born to do. I was born to run.  It's not only therapeutic; it is the most gratifying feeling ever. 

Running takes me away to the world where I am free to be me. No judgment, no one telling me otherwise. I never worried about the times I finished, but I realized, for me, I wanted to step up my game. 

Enter boxing.  I've always been a fan, and I have always wanted to try it so after years of contemplating, I finally jumped the gun! After all, you cannot beat $3 a day to do an hour of boxing. 

At age 32, my very first day of trying the sport of boxing, I fell in love.  Then, all of a sudden, boxing stole my heart. For the first time, running was not my only love! While I never stopped running as it great cross training for both sports,  I boxed and I ran my heart out. 

Running made me stronger, physically, and boxing made me stronger mentally. Put two and two together, and fireworks arose!

My half marathon times skyrocketed, my boxing skills improved and my speed developed faster than I imagined! From there, I went on to compete in boxing but little did I know fate was not on my side. 

I ended up with a rib fracture after my very first boxing match! There was a chest pain I could not shake. I sat on it for days, thinking I was just sore from throwing so many jabs. I ran to forget about the pain. 

When it would not subside, I went to the doctor’s office and he told me that while I recovered from the rib fracture, I was not allowed to do anything! My heart dropped out of my chest. How can I not run?  How can I not box?  How can I not be active?

Despite his advice, I kept running! My doctor did not understand how I did it but for me, it is all about mind over matter.  I also strongly believe, what you believe, you can achieve.

The rib fracture turned out to be a Godsend. I greatly increased my running to the point that I was able to finally give in and run my very first full marathon in March of 2015.

I ran the Oakland Running Festival and ended up Boston Qualifying without trying, or without even being aware it was a BQ course! The rest is history.

Since then, I have ran NYC, Boston, Chicago, and so much more! I now pace events every month now too!  I prefer helping others reach their goals over focusing on my own.  It brings so much joy to my heart to help others. 

This desire to help people is also why I am now a personal trainer. If you should you ever need to step up your running game, come see me, boxing is a great cross training for running, believe me!

I hope my story helps others.  I wanted to share how one can start at the beginning from nothing and work to overcome obstacles to become more successful for you!

Whether your goal is to be it be to faster, or complete a marathon, or perhaps learn about yourself, everything takes hard work, time and effort!  The activities I done and still do have shaped me into the person I am today.

I am happy, I am healthy, I am grateful, I am Wonder Woman. Keep breathing everyone!