Hive athlete Krystal Roxas is a runner who finds inspiration in family, friends, and the ups and downs of life. She’s quite the inspiration herself, so we caught up with her about her running journey and life wisdom she’s gathered along the way.
Tell us about yourself – where are you from, and how did you get to where you are today?
I am a first-generation Filipina-American, born and raised in the Bay Area. Because basketball is such an integral part of Filipinx culture, I grew up OBSESSED with it. I played basketball in middle school and I must admit, I have a pretty good jumpshot. I tried out for the basketball team in high school and was cut—the coach told me that I was too short. That discouraged me from trying out again and discouraged me from wanting to play any sports. I stopped being active and I developed the habit of always eating too much junk food. I became overweight.
When I got to college, I decided that I needed to make a change, and so I turned to using the elliptical religiously. I had friends that ran and they’d invite me to join them, but I would always say no. I HATED running. Running was always our punishment when I was playing basketball, and that negative association I had with it kind of stayed with me.
When I hit rock bottom in 2014, I decided to do something positive for myself and I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon. I figured that committing myself to train for this would benefit both my physical and mental health—and it did. I became obsessed…obsessed with the runner’s high, obsessed with the feeling of accomplishment. I signed up for more half-marathons and marathons.
In 2017, I ran The Speed Project, a relay race from Santa Monica to Las Vegas with my run crew, Concrete Runners. It was at The Speed Project that I met my significant other, Justin. I moved to Los Angeles in 2018, and now Justin and I live four miles away from The Speed Project start line.
Why did you start running and what do you love about it?
In 2014, in a span of six months, my grandmother passed away, I was laid off from my first full-time job, and I got into my first car accident. Needless to say, 2014 was one of the worst years of my life. I turned to running as a form of meditation and therapy, and it has changed my life in many ways. Running has given me happiness and this unwavering belief in myself. Running is the only thing that makes me feel like I could fly.
Tell us about your mom and how she has inspired you.
My mom, Jennifer, is one of eight children, and the only daughter out of all her siblings. She left the Philippines and came to America when she was 16 years-old in hopes of finding better opportunities and a better life. However, life was made a little more difficult when she had me at the age of 20 and had my brother at the age of 28. She raised us as a single mother. She has sacrificed so much, provided me and my brother things we needed and wanted. Not once has she ever complained. My mom’s hard work has led to her success, but she remains so graceful and humble. If I could be half as incredible as my mom, I’d consider my life a job well done.
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Even though I’m #SoberTilOctober, I’ll still run for the function. Thanks to @nikelosangeles and @keepitrun100 for getting to me run outside of my element…in 90-degree weather! . . . . #mydoublechinthough #concreterunners #crseason2 #nike #nikerunning #nikewomen #nikelosangeles #runner #runlife #marathontraining #chicagomarathon #runlikeagirl #savagenotacabbage #letsgetthisbread
What is the most influential lesson she has taught you?
My mom has taught me that good things don’t come easy, and through everything life throws my way, to remain kind and to continue to work hard.
Why are health and fitness important to you?
Growing up as a Filipina, I ate a lot of delicious Filipino food. Filipino food is so greasy, fatty and decadent. However, I have lost numerous family members due to health concerns like hypertension and diabetes. I also have dealt with being pretty overweight for a good portion of my life. Being overweight not only had physical effects, but emotional effects, as well. People used to make fun of weight, and that led me to feeling worthless. Health and fitness have become such a huge part of my life. They make me feel good about myself, and I want to inspire those I care about to make healthier choices and to show up for themselves.
What is the toughest obstacle you’ve overcome, and has sport played a role in helping you overcome? If so, how?
The toughest obstacle I have overcome definitely has to do with my mental health. I have battled depression all my life and running has been my saving grace in times when I didn’t feel like I was enough. Running lets me be unapologetically me. Running lets me feel free. I feel like I’m flying when I’m running.
2020 has been a stressful year for a lot of people. How has fitness impacted you when you’ve been stressed or going through a difficult time?
I am undoubtedly an extrovert, so this year has been one hell of a ride. Working from home and not being able to be around people, it has been very hard for me to balance work and life. It’s like—how am I supposed to regain energy in the same physical space where I lose my energy? Making sure to take out time in my day to go for a run and strength-train has allowed me to give back to myself. I always feel so much better after exercising; it’s very cathartic for me.
What advice do you have for those struggling to keep a fitness routine right now?
BE PATIENT, DO IT FOR YOURSELF AND DO WHAT YOU LOVE. I remember when I first got into health and fitness, I did it because people called me fat and I tried every diet imaginable to try and shed pounds in a very unhealthy way. I did drop pounds, but they always somehow came back. When I finally decided that I wanted to be healthy for ME, I took my time. Knowing I wouldn’t get to my goal weight in a day, I told myself to be patient and to strive for progress every single day. I also choose to do activities that I genuinely enjoy, so working out never feels like a chore.
If you could tell a future generation one thing, what would it be?
There’s a quote that Conan O’Brien said that still resonates with me to this day — “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”
Krystal’s go-to Honey Stinger Fuel
If you know me well, you know that I love peanut butter more than I love a lot of people. Honey Stinger’s Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Organic Cracker Bars give me the peanut butter I love and the energy I need to get through a run.