How I embraced a traumatic experience by creating a healthy habit, and now a hobby

Ana C!ara Otoni
4 min readMar 14, 2018


When I moved to LA almost three years ago I invited my then boyfriend to run a marathon with me. His dad is a runner. He celebrated his 73rd birthday having run one thousand miles in that year.

I thought my boyfriend would be excited to the challenge I proposed, but…nah! He showed no enthusiasm.

How many times have you seen a girl be obsessed with something after a traumatic break-up?

Well, it’s been almost a year of our break up, and I’m thrilled to announce:

I’ll be running the LA Marathon this Sunday (3/18)!

So that idea of being obsessed about something after a break-up might have some truth to it. But, in my defense, I would say that I’m used to running since my first years of college. Nothing serious though. I would do 5K on my own around the Pampulha lagoon, in Belo Horizonte. Then, when I moved to Rio I trained a bit more consistently. My (ex) boyfriend would even join me sometimes at Aterro do Flamengo. It was a good time.

Now, the LA Marathon represents a combo of my own resilience around my break-up, a personal record, a gift for my 30 year birthday in June and most of all: my mission to empower and inspire women.

By running, I’m helping Girl Up to assist girls to complete their education.

By running, I’m helping Girl Up to assist girls to complete their education.I registered to run half of the race to charity. I’m supporting Girl Up, a United Nation organization, that helps girls to complete their education in countries such as Guatemala, Ethiopia, and India.

I created a fundraising for Girl Up. My goal is $ 1,000. At this moment, I am just $300 shy of my fundraising goal. Hopefully, by the time this article is published, I would have achieved my goal. (You can help, here!)

The training process is being an exciting journey. Like I said, I have never run a professional race before. I was not even familiar with runner’s vocabulary: bib? corral? aid station? altitude training? BQ? Those were Greek words to me. I learned about chafing in the hardest way.

Then, in January I joined the Long Beach Running Club. It’s a free club formed by amazing people. We gather every Sunday by the pier and run together. I got the chance to run every weekend with people who had run many marathons — including Boston.

Oh! By the way, that’s another thing I learned during my training. The Boston Marathon is a special marathon. You have to attend the required standard time to register. Hence, BQ (Boston Qualifying). Your BQ time is a bucket list goal. “It’s marathon nirvana — the ultimate achievement”.

Me at the Golden Gate in SF, when I ran half marathon on my own.

I’ve run 13.3 miles (the equivalent of a half marathon) on my own, twice. Once in Long Beach and another one in San Francisco. Since the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to run #5KEveryDay. That’s the minimum I would consider good enough during my personal training. I was successful for the first month of January, while during my 30 days-cold shower challenge. In February and March, I couldn’t commit #5KEveryDay, but I trained every week.

I learned about the importance of drinking water along the run (every 45 minutes is ideal) — even if I don’t feel thirsty. I also learned that is important to eat every other hour or so. Thanks to Martise Moore, the Green Runner LA coach! She invited me to do the Marathon Recon for her YouTube channel. We ran Mile 15 together, and I got a chance to talk about my fundraising and to learn some tips from a professional running coach.

I ran Mile 15 of the LA Marathon with a professional running coach. Super fun to watch me trying to keep up my breath while running! #WomenSupportingWomen

Anyway, that’s being my saga training for the LA Marathon. In the finish line, I will have my thoughts in all the girls I will be assisting with the Girl Up campaign, all the women that are overcoming hard period in their lives and all my friends who had supported me emotionally and financially during this journey. A special shout-out to Sunita Rao and Julie Willig from Girl Up! You girls, rock it! Thank you for your support and assistance!

How have you embraced a traumatic experience? Have you created something meaningful to you? What were your challenges? Share with us & become Odara daily! See You Next Tuesday! ;-)

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Ana C!ara Otoni

Journalist. Sustainability, Social Justice & Gender Equality. Becoming Odara daily. Passionate about life, sexuality & wine. Mugs lover.