Annica Lin loves a challenge.
The Queens woman auditioned to be part of the TEDxAsburyPark slate of speakers on May 19. When Lin earned a spot and then found out it was on the same day as the Brooklyn Half Marathon, she begged organizers to keep her on the schedule.
“I told them not to panic, I got this,” said Lin, who lives in Elmhurst. “I’ll get there by noon. Just let me run the half marathon.”
The idea of running a half marathon and then racing to the Jersey shore via Uber doesn’t faze the energetic Lin. She came to the United States from Taiwan in 2005, earned a master’s degree from New York University and now works in digital and mobile marketing.
“I felt like I had a passion for digital media, it’s fun,” said Lin. “I help companies get users on all kind of digital platforms.”
Her road to running was a winding one. As a child in Taiwan, Lin said she was taunted by schoolmates and called “elephant” because she was considered “chunky.”
That eventually led to an eating disorder and a “very unhealthy relationship with myself,” she said.
When she finally arrived in the United States, Lin said she was stunned at the difference in what was perceived to be overweight. Everything changed for her after she reluctantly accompanied a friend to be a spectator at the New York City Marathon in 2011.
“Before that I had no interest in running,” Lin said. “But I saw all these people, all sizes and they all looked so satisfied. It was very intriguing to me.”
She started running immediately, beginning with short distances and eventually exploring all the neighborhoods around Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. She was even able to sign up for the 2012 marathon, only to have it canceled because of superstorm Sandy.
“I had been running almost every day in 2012,” she said. “I was devastated.”
She did participate in 2013 and continued with other competitions around the country. After connecting with experts and running clubs, Lin learned about proper training and the importance of cross training to prepare for runs. Just as important is what you put in your stomach the night before a race, as well as sleeping someplace peaceful and quiet. (As opposed to a hotel room next to a raucous party — something she learned the hard way in Hartford.)
Lin has now ran in four NYC marathons, and posted a personal best of 3:30 at the California International Marathon in December. The time earned her a spot in next year’s Boston Marathon.
She is looking forward to sharing her story with the TEDxAsburyPark audience, an independently organized TED event at the Paramount Theater. More than 20 speakers, including former model and activist Paulina Porizkova, will participate in the forum focused on “Passion.”
“Every time I make mistakes, I write it down,” Lin said. “Every marathon I learned something and I improved.”
She believes everyone can experience the joy of running.
“It’s so simple, so fundamental,” Lin said. “You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars. It’s about you and yourself.”