Anna Bretan, Nurse, Runner, Mom on the Move

 Anna Bretan, nurse, runner and young mother from Berkeley, CA. She has won three times in a row in The San Francisco Marathon, women's division. (Photo courtesy of Anna Bretan)

Anna Bretan, nurse, runner and young mother from Berkeley, CA. She has won three times in a row in The San Francisco Marathon, women's division. (Photo courtesy of Anna Bretan)

Her approach to life is holistic, and this is how she can do it all. “My job is fast paced, unpredictable, emotionally and physically challenging yet incredibly fulfilling,” said Anna Bretan, describing her nursing career. Yet it seemed she was talking about running as an athlete, or even being a mom, as by far one of the most difficult job roles in life. Anna Bretan, 30 years old is all three -- she runs, she’s a nurse and is mom to Mason, Preston and Tatum, all under 10 years old.

Anna, from Berkeley, California, is a labor and delivery nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco. When she’s not working, she runs a few big races a year.

“I love that as an athlete I just step out and run.” One of her biggest running moments was breaking the San Francisco Marathon’s women’s course record in 2013. “I ran over six minutes faster than the previous year,” Anna gushed.

“My lifestyle of running and eating healthy has become my children’s way of life.” Together with two trail running dogs, she runs daily. “My race mornings are like any other. Breakfast is three to five cups green tea, fruit with granola, whole grain toast with almond butter, jam and sometimes scrambled eggs,” Anna said.

After a nursing degree in her early twenties, Anna helped pioneer the San Francisco State University holistic health certificate program as her health initiative. “The program teaches different health modalities like meditation, yoga, eastern medicine. “

Anna comes from a family that values health: Dad is a doctor, mom was a nurse, husband John Mullen and three brothers run like her.

 Anna Bretan, SF Marathon runner, nurse and mother with her children Mason, Preston and Tatum. (Photo courtesy of Anna Bretan)

Anna Bretan, SF Marathon runner, nurse and mother with her children Mason, Preston and Tatum. (Photo courtesy of Anna Bretan)

She prepares for a marathon the way she approaches life. Anna eats well, stays physically active, provides the healing touch to the patients she nurses, cares for her family – all a part of a balanced, holistic approach to wellness.

“My family eats organic home cooked meals, tons of fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes are a staple. We don’t eat processed carbs.”

There have been low moments for Anna. “I’ve been sidelined from running by injury.” But that did not stop her. When she recovered and ran again, she was stronger.

The Filipina in Anna loves being a nurse: "It takes a special group of people to do the job."
She enjoys the warm, friendly vibe of her Filipino co-workers.

Her roles in life are distinct from each other yet intersect and blend at a common point -- in caring for herself, she is making herself strong enough to care for her patients, community, husband, John, and their children, by far her most important role.

To Anna, good health is a matter of strength and keeping a balance of her roles in life. She makes reasonable choices for her wellbeing. The finish line for her is to achieve a life of overall wellness. It’s a prize better than perfection.


 Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site AsianInAmericamag.com.


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