Photo Credit: Micaela Bernal
As a preschooler, my class of about twenty-five 4 year olds were walked to Gil Park and allowed to race from the side walk to the play ground. At the time it seemed like it was about a half mile, in reality about 50 meters. There were two really fast runners and I would always finish third about 4 or 5 steps behind them. When the three of us turned around at the playground the rest of the class would be about at the half way point, which happened everyday of preschool. That was my intro to running.A few years down the road at high school freshman orientation. Two students, juniors going into their senior year, gave a speech about joining the cross country team. They were kids only a few years older than the rest of us reading off a crumpled up sheet of note book paper but their passion for the sport left an impression on me. I met them after orientation and later that week received a phone call from the coach to show up for practice. I went on to run cross-country and track all four years.After taking a running hiatus for a few years in 1999 I decided to run the Chicago marathon on a whim. With almost no training I was able to run and finish but in a lot of pain. It was then I decided to give the 26.2 mile distance the respect it deserves and work harder. Now after 11 marathons and 2 full Ironman triathlons I’m chasing after the Boston marathon. With the help of the 3Run2 crew it’s just a matter of how soon.
It’s a Family Affair. Javier and Me , have two daughters, both of whom have gradually grown to love running much in the way that we do. Izcalli, my college-aged daughter, is pursuing a degree in Physical therapy, ran track and cross country at Mother McAuley High School, played Lacrosse, is currently a Eucharist Minister and holds a first degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. She tackled the Chicago marathon in 2015. Julieta, my youngest daughter, attends Salazar Bilingual Center and is currently in the 3rd grade. She is part of the Chicago contemporary Dance where she will be competing in tap and ballet. She is also a member of the Brooklyn Beasts at Brooklyn Boulders, a team for competitive young climbers. She is a swimmer, and has ran four 5k’s, winning 1st place girl over all in one of the Fleet Feet Races for kids. They’re both converted runners and I couldn’t be happier to see them running now. Izcalli: “I had to start running because they just wouldn’t stop talking about it”. Javier: “I had to start running because I got tired of getting up early taking your mom to the races and having to hold her bag that carried things she never used!” Julieta: “I run because I just wanna be with you guys.”As I was saying, They have a love for the sport that has really evolved and that’s really rewarding for us. Running keeps us close to each other. It keeps us active it allows for us to have conversations as a family. It’s important to know that at the end of the day it’s not the medals you remember. What you remember is the process you took as a family, what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty that training demands. Those are things nobody can take away from you.It’s a parents journey trying to balance family, faith, fitness, sometimes food and ALWAYS fun! We are just parents trying to make a positive impact in the lives of our children and those we meet. I run because I’m still faster than my first daughter Izcalli, though not for long. I run because I can still run farther than my second daughter Julieta, but she’s quickly closing that gap. I run because Julieta my youngest wants me to run after her, embrace her, and shower her with the kisses and tickles that only a mom can give. I run because my husband knows only one speed... FAST... and it falls on my shoulders to chase him. I run because I’m still out to impress that boy I fell in love with 16 years ago. This is the good stuff that I don’t want to forget.
Moving from Houston, TX, this has been my first ‘real winter’. Two of the many adjustments have been the weather & public transportation. Depending on the day we meet, I either commute from the south or west side of Chicago...and depending on the weather, I will take the bus and/or train or maybe drive from home/work. But it is beyond the joy of running, to be able to push my body through conditions I didn’t think were possible & meeting such a positive, welcoming and high-energy group of people ...’running’, is the icing on the cake.
Want to know my secret of feeling invincible? I head out for a run. No matter how far or how fast I go - finishing a run can make me feel unstoppable. When I run, I push beyond my limits and challenge myself to go further than I ever thought possible - doesn’t matter the conditions. Through snow, rain, or heat, running teaches me that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined. It’s addicting and something I love to share with others.