When we read Sawna’s application, her energy was literally bouncing off the form. We immediately felt like we could be friends with this awesome girl. What really appealed to us was she wrote that one of her proudest achievements was being happy. Everyone meet Sawna!
My name is Suzanna but please call me Sawna. I’m a firm hand shaker so please don’t be frightened. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California I have called Hollywood my home these last seven years. Many people have a misconception of Los Angeles- don’t get me wrong I was once one of them.
If you asked me ten years ago this would be my life now- I would’ve never believe you.
At the time fashion school was my everyday life, never having camping, backpacking or 100 mile footraces ever crossing my radar. Yet fate had something different in store for me.
In 2010 my father, my best friend was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic sydnrome (MDS) which is a group of diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood. At the time my world was caving in, I leaned on running to de stress from what I believed was the end of world. A year after my dads successful stem cell transplant I signed up for my first marathon with Team In training, while fundraising for the Leukemia Lymphoma society.
With receiving the front seat view of my fathers sickness, I felt as though my life was going through a roller coaster and all I could do was buckle my seatbelt and hold on tight. My wants, desires and needs shifted dramatically from what they were a mere year ago. Being at my fathers side during the (almost daily) blood/platelet transfusions, chemo and the act of him writing his “bucket list” when we didn’t know he had a bone marrow match- it makes you realize the importance of life and invaluable gift family are to you. I believe this is when the true Sawna began to form.
After completing my first marathon, I was invited back to train with Team in Training for their first “Ultra” team. The art of running had stolen my heart and this idea of doing it while experiencing some of natures greatest gifts was a new experience for me.
Fast forward to today.
Yes, I still live in the same apartment in Hollywood but it’s as though the occupant is completely different. I’ve ran over 14 ultra marathons since that one marathon six years ago.
Most of these races being far from home.
As I have grown these last few years I have dug deeper into many of these activities as the begin to define me. Not only did I run many ultra marathons but I found exploring in the mountains, whether backpacking, camping or cycling become more of a lifestyle for me. I found my physical home, yes, in Hollywood but my true home being in the mountains. They were calling and I, happily, answered.
It’s rather difficult for me to put into words what I consider accomplishments. I am very proud of how far I’ve gotten in my idea of what’s important in life, my passions and what I prioritize on what fuels my day to day life.
Some major accomplishments that strike out at me from over the years:
• Adopting my partner in crime, best friend and fur child Juniper
• Spending time in Colorado (running in mountains and meeting new people)
• Climbing my first 14’er with my dog Juniper
• Making camping/backpacking more of a priority with Juniper on a monthly basis
• Finishing my first 100 mile footrace under 24 hours.
• Finishing Javelina Jundred 100 mile footrace in 5th place female while runnning in 100+ degree weather.
• Running several 50k mountain training runs with my favorite partner Juniper
• Opening myself more to traveling monthly and meeting new people with like minded interests.
• Getting Scuba diving certified and traveling around Mexico as well as Thailand to explore.
Goals for 2017.
I feel as though I’ve been building for this year for quite some time. Each year I begin with new goals that reflect similar ideas of the last few years, a lifestyle I’d like to continue if not improve on. I’d like to become a bit more vulnerable, to be more open to new ideas and experiences outside my comfort zone. I would like to continue to be more present in the moment, because everything is temporary- moments, feelings, experiences, relationships are constantly changing. I want to continue waking up in the morning with a goal, a goal that will inspire me to do more good, train harder, eat healthier, be nicer, smile bigger, laugh more, hug harder, and just be the best version of myself constantly.
Some of my more mountainous goals for 2017 include:
• Participating in my first 120 mile footrace and first race outside of the US
• Mountain running adventure/fastpacking in Colorado with Juniper
• Being more proactive with cross training and injury prevention
• Sharing my enthusiasm for the mountains and having a healthy lifestyle with others
One of my favorite things I’ve learned and continue to learn is how much fun it is to share what make you happy with others. In 2017 I want to share my experiences, my happiness, my moments with others in hopes to inspire them to find what makes them smile more, laugh more, body ache a little bit more. I’d like to seek out opportunities to participate in several communities of active, healthy, happy and outdoor people. I am thrilled to be apart of RLAG and share my experiences and learn from such a wonderful community of like minded individuals that I hope to meet one day!