Why Not You?

Posted on in Health + Lifestyle, Sports + Training by Danielle Villarreal

My goal is to inspire…not because I have won awards, not because I am special, but because I am just like you.


Running with the best in college.

I have felt the many different struggles at a young age, things that were very tough experiences for a kid in high school to go through.  My home life was fractured to say the least.  In my situation, the way out of my small town was to earn a scholarship and nothing less.  So when I was a junior, I started running.  I immediately took to running… I enjoyed the feeling of knowing that no matter what was going on in my personal life, running was something I could control.  I knew that no matter what, running is something I can control. There are no players; it’s no ones fault if I didn’t perform or train.  Just me. I convinced myself into thinking I was the best and I had not even ran a race yet.  My senior year, I finished second in the mile and third in the 800m at the Oregon state meet. Everyone was pleasantly surprised… except for me.  I was disappointed.  I thought I could have won.  However, as a result, I received a scholarship to the University Of Idaho where I went on to become a two time All-American.

First run as a mother ...feeling unwilling to settle with my new body.

Fast forward past a full scholarship to the University of Idaho and All-American honors to a year ago and I am finding myself overweight, depressed, and confused.  “Where did I go?  Where did my internal motivation run off to?”  I felt too far gone.  “I have a baby now and no time. I went back to work, so now I really have no time.”  I felt discouraged and disheartened.

In March 2012, I had both upper and lower jaw surgery and, needless to say, had lots of down time.  Bored, I bought a bunch of fitness magazines and started downloading new music to my Ipod. I started reading fitness articles looking at the pictures and listening to new music… and it happened.  I felt an unexpected spark to get out of my funk and get back to being an athlete.  I started to get inspired again. Three days after jaw surgery even though I still looked like hell, I went outside and ran.  Due to the surgery, I would get a bloody nose easily.  So, I would stuff tissue up both nostrils when I ran.  I was a little embarrassed but it didn’t matter, I felt great. I looked crazy but I felt great. I ran everyday and when I saw my doctor a week later, he was stunned that my swelling was almost gone. He said I was healing at record pace and he gave me the good to go on running full time.

Double jaw surgery (March 2012).



The point of my story is the first step to getting inspired can be the easiest.  Despite what some might say, it may be as simple as going out and getting fitness literature, downloading some new tunes, investigating new recipes, or buying some new workout gear.  I guarantee you will get inspired.  That voice saying “Why not?  Why can’t I be happy and healthy?”  That is the first step.  My coach told me in high school, when I was too young to appreciate it, “You are the books you read, the places you go and the people you see.”  I finally get it; the message was to surround one’s self with things that are empowering, motivating, and positive.  They ultimately affect you and your actions will define you.

If… as a trainer, a mother, and an athlete, I were to write your New Years Resolutions, they would be this:

  1. Get an inspirational book: Read at least one page a day. Yep that’s all, but I bet you read more.
  1. Cut out toxins: Whether it’s bad relationships, fast-food, or watching hours of TV. It’s not beneficial to your goal and is energy sucking.
  1. Drink more water:  It helps flush out toxins, lubricates muscles and joints and helps with normal bowel function (now I am getting less inspirational and more real).
  1. Plan ahead:  Eat every 2-3 hours a 200-300 calories.  I always stock my car, work, and home with Nature’s Bakery bars so my blood sugar doesn’t drop and cause poor eating choices later on.  I also make multiple meals at once to have on hand during the busy week.
  1. Get a resistance band: It’s affordable, easy to store away, and can fit in a suitcase.
  1. Sign up for a fitness goal and tell friends about it: It is time-specific and putting your friends on notice will keep you accountable.  Hey, it’s scary, I get it… but I am shouting to the world, “I want to run an Olympic marathon qualifying time!!” You have one life.  Why not make it a little interesting, challenging, and a lot of fun?

Good Luck! I wish you all the best and a happy, healthy New Year.

Back at last!!




Danielle Villarreal

I am a mother working towards goal of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. With the many hats I have to wear, my daily challenge is to just get outside everyday and train, no excuses. I ultimately want my daughter to see the benefits of being active and going after your dreams. I hope to share my enthusiasm for health and fitness in hopes that it can create a positive change in someone’s life.

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