Sunday, December 18, 2011


What: USA Men and Women Olympic Trials
Where: Downtown, Houston Texas
When: January 14th, 2012 8:00a.m.
Distance: 26.2 miles
Top 3 men and women will qualify to represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in the Marathon.

I am currently in the city where the Olympic Trials will take place. Yes, I am in Houston, Texas. Winters in Alamosa, Colorado can be quite chilly (Just this week the highest calls for 25 and lows -23) Two months ago, me and my Coach agreed that it would be best for me to head to Houston 6 weeks before the marathon trials to avoid the low temperatures.

This decision was an easy one as I had the most amazing people to support me. At home my older sister Norma and Immigrant Resource Center agreed on taking care of the tutoring program and in Houston the Coach and members of the Rice University Cross Country and Track Team whom I met back in 2008 at the Houston Half offered a place for me to stay.

Its been already two weeks since I arrived in Houston and quite honest I could not ask for a better setting. Becky Wade, who send me an open invitation to come and stay at her place in Houston has been amazingly supportive. She made sure I was well situated before she left for vacation. She showed me around and let me borrowed her bike. Also, she introduced me to the most wonderful hosts, Lennie Waite and Allyson Pye. They offered for me to stay in their place as they had an extra guest room I could use.

Im so amazed of how accommodating all of them have been. The location is amazing, I can get to the Olympic trials course either by running (3 miles) or by bus. It only takes 10 minutes to get there by bus and the bus stop is just around the corner. Also, I can run from home to run around the loop at rice university and Hermann park.

Thanks to Rice Cross Country Coach, Jim Beven, I am allow to use to the Rice University's training room facilities.

Most days I have to train on my own. Sunday has been my lucky day as Ive been having company for the past 3 Sundays.

Im excited and confident about the upcoming trials. As long as I follow the training schedule, take care of the little things, and believe my best marathon is yet to come I know the trials are going to be amazing.

Today, after the 22 miler, I can tell my training is coming around and my body is feeling stronger as the days go by.

I am so greatful and thankful for all the love and support given. By far, the best Christmas present one could ever ask for.

Happy Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Great news! 12 kids from Club Penguin made it to the 2011 USATF Cross Country Junior Olympics. The race will take place on December 10, 2011 in Myrtle Beach, SC at the Whispering Pines Golf Course. So if you live there or know someone from the area please invite them to come and cheer for our youth. I can not express how happy and excited I am for this group of kids. I have seen them train hard for the past two months. I have heard heartbreaking and successful stories along the way. Stories that they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

For many of them, this will be their first trip to a national meet. Perhaps, the first time they get to leave. the valley, the state of Colorado, get on a plane, or be in a beach town. As many of us know, it takes time, money, dedication, effort and a group of people to make wonderful things happen. This would not be possible if it was not for the penguins club coaches, (Peter DeLaCerda and his wife Ronda DeLa Cerda), parents and volunteers. They all have work hard to keep this group of kids motivated and in shape to get to where they are now. A a wonderful example of team effort.

If you want to be part of this kids journey and contribute to this program, you can do so by making a donation to the club. All the kids are currently raising money to pay for their expenses to this meet. So, if you are interested please send me an e-mail and I can provide you with the necessary information of how you can send the club your contribution.

Anything you can donate will help. My e-mail address is

Let's help this kids have the experience of their lives and be part of something GREAT!

The very best to all the kids that will be representing us in Myrtle Beach, SC.


Joseph Borup
Derek VanBerkum
Olivia Hayden
Luke Haefeli
John Haefeli
Karlee Smith
Olivia Hayden


Brayan Flores Gomez
Christopher Blinzinger
Dallas Hackett
Elijah DeLaCerda
Kason Smith
Kolten Hillis

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Please meet Brayan Flores and Oscar Martinez.They are two young men full of energy, dreams, and aspirations. Both fun and wonderful to be around. They were members of the Ortega Middle School Cross Country team. Both are active members of the after school ITA tutoring program and now members of local running club "The Penguins". Brayan and Oscar are currently getting ready for the Regional Cross Country Junior Olympics that will be held in Denver next Saturday, November 19th. Oscar is looking to qualify as an individual for the national meet on December 10th in South Carolina. On the other hand, Brayan is excited to secure an individual spot and help his new team,"The Penguins" qualify to national Junior Olympics.

Brayan and Oscar have made a significant impact in the sport of cross country and the lives of those around them. This is the very first time both of them join a cross country and a running club. In a short period of time,their love and dedication to the sport has taken them a long ways. They have learned and shared experiences with other runners all over the state.
Both made it to the first ever State Middle School Championship in Denver. Two days after both of them thought the season was over, they got invited to join "The Penguin Club" so that they could participate in the Colorado USATF Cross Country Junior Olympics. On November 5th,both them finished 18th in their respective races at the Colorado USATF State Junior Olympics. Top 25 qualified for regionals. Brayan not only secure his spot as individual, but his team finish first and also advanced.

It has been an honor to be able to be there for Brayan and Oscar. I am happy to know they are making the best of the opportunity. I publicly, want to thank their parents, coaches, and network of support for helping these kids get where they are now. From experience, I can tell you that whether they pursue running or not, the experience they are living now will shape their lives forever.

Oscar and Brayan, I am very proud of you and wish you accomplish your goal of making it to Nationals. Thank you so much for making your family, friends, school, club, and all around you proud. Most of all, thank you for giving yourself a chance to overcome new challenges.

I had the opportunity to chat with Oscar and Brayan and this is what they had to say about their experience.

Brayan Flores running for Ortega Middle School (September 2011)

Name: Brayan Emanuel Flores Gomez
Favorite Movie: Fast and Furious 5
Hobbie: Playing Black Ops with friends
Favorite Food: Pasta Alfredo
Age: 12

Hi Brayan, how did you get involved in Cross Country?

I got a message from the Coach at Ortega Middle School, Mr. Lavier,
asking me if I wanted to join the Cross Country team.

Why did you join?

To get better at running.

How was your season, tell us about your experience?

My season went good. I got to know more people. I got to experience running on a team. This is the first time I get to travel with a team on my own. It was so much fun. Practice sometimes was hard, but it helped me get better. There were days I did not wanted to go, but knowing that my teammates were going to be there motivated me. It was fun hanging out with my teammates at practice. It felt like I knew all of them from a long time. We all got really close.

What are your goals?

My goal is to help my new team "Penguin Club" to make it to USATF National Junior Olympics.

Anything that you want to add?

Yes, that I love my family and I thank them for supporting me and helping me be where I am. So far, I got to run for Ortega Middle School, make it to State and try for USATF National Junior Olympics. Also, thank you to my coaches and teammates.

Happy!!! Celebrating with their mentor, Alicia Zapata, that they made it to Regional

Oscar Martnez running for Ortega Middle School (September 2011)

Name: Oscar Isay Martinez Verela
Favorite Movie: Resident Evil.
Hobbie: Playing Black Ops
Favorite Food: Rice with Milk Aka Arroz con Leche
Age: 13

Hi Oscar, how did you get involved in Cross Country?

I got a good place in a mile fun run when I was in 2nd grade and I actually liked it. After that I always wanted to run or join a club, but never happened. It was not until the beginning of the year a Ortega middle School that my history teacher, Mr. DelaCerda, asked me if I wanted to join cross country. I gave all the excuses I could find not to join, but he insisted. Then, I finally said: "Yes, I will join"

Why did you join?

I wanted to do something productive after school instead of going home and just play Black Ops.

How was your season? Tell us about the experience.

Individually , I did okay. I learned in order for us to enjoy the competition, running has to be fun. I enjoyed being nervous before a race. Practice is easy except for hard days when we do intervals. I liked playing and messing around with my teammates. It was so much fun playing the nervous game with Emily on the bus. I really enjoyed running for a team at Ortega Middle School. Now, for Junior Olympics I don't have a team and I am having to run individually. Its nice to be part of Club Penguin.

What are your goals?

My goal for Junior Olympics is to make it to nationals. My goal in life is to become a better runner and one day beat Usain Bolts time in the 100m.

Anything that you want to say?

I feel everyone is a good runner in their own way. Everybody can achieve their dreams. Thanks to my mommy for letting me join the sport and my dad for coming to my races. Thank you to Alicia Zapata (such a good person) for driving us to Denver for our races and Norma Gomez for feeding us. To my coaches and friends Thank You. To Zoila Gomez for making sure to be there for us in some of the workouts and for our sure2endure, the cool gear, and motivation.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Thank you Alamosa Parks and Recreation for making this events happen!

I have always encouraged my kids to ask. Ask for a favor, advise, a hug, food, or simply ask out of curiosity.

Kids from ITA tutoring protogram 10 and under ready to get the fun started.

I guess that has been something I have never been hesitant to do as I've learn to ask at a very early age. I clearly remember when I was 6 yars old when one morning I had to stay with one of my neighbors and I asked if she could prepare some homemade red chilakiles. Make story short, the wonderful lady did. She prepared them from scratch. sUntil this day, those are the best red chilakiles and lesson of caring I have ever had.

A windy and cold afternoon did not stop them from showing up to race

This past week, I had plenty of events to attend. Two of them were the High Altitude challenge races for kids sponsored by the Alamosa recreational center. An event, that has become a tradition for all kids from tutoring program. To my luck my vehicle was at the mechanic and the van I used in the past to transport my kids to this events broke down several months ago. For the first race, Mayra one of the neighbors came to my rescue. She let me borrow her van and helped me bring some kids on her other vehicle.

Magi and Tayler partner up for second race.

For the second race, I decided to simply look into my contact list and call people to see who could help. Then surprise, surprise! My Coach, Damon Martin, came to the rescue and agreed to partner up with ITA. Coach Martin provided me with a 15 seat passenger van to bring the kids to the last two races of the series.

Amazing how one thing led to another, at the race a mother of 2 year old, Tyler Dokon, asked me if one of my kids could pace her son. Here is when Magi one of my girls from the program volunteered to pace the little kid. Magi was one of the girls that initially needed a ride to the race.

Magi and Tayler

For the third and last race, without anyone asking, voluntarily Magi joined Tyler 400m into the race to pace him. After the race, the little kid gave Magi a handmade Thank You note and an invitation for her and all ITA kids to a Halloween party on the 28th.I guess that is what I would call socializing, making friends, meeting people, being a community, helping others, you name it.

Tayler crosing the mile finish line in personal best of 14:13.42

Tayler's dad happens to be a professor at Adams State and told me he would love to help me get some students to come and help with tutoring. If that works out.. What a bonus!

Its amazing how the power of asking works. One thing led to another one. The personal memories and experiences we all take from the high altitude challenge will be ones to remember.

To all the kids that participated and all people involved THANK YOU!


Results from High Altitude Challenge Races can be found here:

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Im a very proud Athlete, Tutor, and Mentor for In the Arena. An ordinary day for me would be an AM Workout followed with breakfast, errands, nap, lunch, 2nd workout, weights, tutoring, dinner, then free time to mentor.

The nicest thing about working for In the Arena is that I get to develop and design my programs and own working schedule. My job is so rewarding and motivating that there are days when without thinking about it I have already spend 5 to 6 hours of tutoring and mentoring.

Just last week one of my girls from the tutoring program came by my apartment and asked me if I happen to have an action picture of her. She needed a copy for an assignment they were working on her 6th period class. So I had her come in and help me find some pictures of her on my computer. After a couple of hours of laughing and sharing stories about all the pictures we found she finally chose one. I did not have a printer at home and it was already 9:00p.m for us to go to the store and print a copy. So, I told her I would make sure she would have a copy of that picture before her 6th period class. That night I went to bed with a mission. Next day after my A.M. workout and breakfast, I trully enjoyed seeing my girl, Karen Aguilar, smiling and feeling supported when I came to her school with a copy of the action picture she needed. That morning, I felt accomplished as I knew I was doing exactly what IN THE ARENA strives for. Then, once again I realized I was at "work", I was "In the Arena"

That day the fun and excitement did not end there. After my second workout, I had plan to take my kids from the tutoring program to a local XC race. The support I had from kids and parents was overwhelming. Parents came along to help me monitor and cheer on the kids and the kids response to the opportunity was amazing as all of them raced their hearts out.

After the race, we hustle back to the apartments to take advantage of the last 30 minutes of tutoring. Fortunately, we were able to stay in the office longer. So, my kids did not only had the opportunity to experience a cross country race for the first or second time, but they were able to finish their homework for next day.

So if you were to ask me what is it that I do for a job besides being and athlete? My answer would be: "On my free time I trully ENJOY and LOVE tutoring and mentoring kids"

Sunday, September 18, 2011


With Kim Bum-il, Mayor, Daegu

During my stay in Daegu, South Korea, I had the opportunity to live many of my dreams while experiencing the beauty of frienship,compassion, honesty,teamwork,trust,and love.

I want to take the oppportunity to thank TEAM USA Staff members and ATHLETES for all the care and support.

To my roomates, Maria, Tera, Kathy, Alyssa and Collen; Thank You all for evry detail, smile, laugh, joke, cheer, and hug given. I love you gals!!

To all volunteers~ Thank you for your endless hours of volunteer work. You all made us feel at home.

To all all the people who stop to give us a hand, take a picture, or give as a treat at the metro, market, temple, stadium, or downtown. THANK YOU!

To the new friends made, doctors, journalist, athletes, coaches. THANK YOU!

A Special message to our
YOUTH from Lewis Jhonson

To Amory Rowe founder of In The Arena and In The Arena. THANK YOU for helping me make my 3rd World Championship TEAM.


To all my Family and Friends, THANK YOU for your endless LOVE and moral SUPPORT!

To President of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Mr, Lamine Diack, THANK YOU for willing to stop to listen and take a picture at Busan Airport.

With excitement a few hours later i Googled Mr. Diack to find out that we are born on the same month and day (June 7)~ I have 15 sibblings and he has 15 Children~ Both love athletics~No wonder why his 10+ bodyguards were cool~ It was meant for us to meet!


Sunday, August 28, 2011


This is how the crowd reacted during and after 100m World record holder, World and Olympic Champion Usain Bolt gets Disqualified in the 100m finals at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea due to a false start~ Heartbreaking!

Usain Bolt being able to control himself and continue with his cool down routine after being Disqualified at the 2011 World Chapionships in Daegu South Korea. This is at the Warm up area as people were leaving the stadium and reporters patiently waited until he was ready to talk. Amazing!

Friday, August 26, 2011

IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011

Im in Daegu, South Korea for my 3rd World Championships. Thank You In The Arena for believing in me. Thank you for you endless financial and moral support. Thanks for giving me the wonderful opportunity to not only reach out to our youth, but to reach out for my dreams. Being here in Daeugu is a DREAM come true. Putting on the USA uniform and representing the country in the sport I love the most is way more than I could ask for. Im enjoying my experience here. Im honor and delighted to represent every single one of the kids I have worked or come accross in the past 4 years. I am a dreamer, a believer, I am so proud to be who I am, and I thank you for that~

Me encuentro en Daegu, Corea del Sur para mi tercer parcipacion en el Campeonato del Mundo. Gracias a In The Arena por creer en mi. Gracias por su interminable apoyo moral y financiero. Gracias por la maravillosa oportunidad que me dan de no solo trabajar a alcanzar a nuestra la juventud, pero a alcanzar mis propois suenos. El estar aqui en Daegu es un sueno hecho realidad. El ponerme el uniforme Estadounidense (USA)y poder representar a el pais en el deporte que amo es mas de lo que pudiera pedir.Estoy disfrutando al maximo la experiecia. Es un honor y una dicha el representar a cada nino y joven con el cual he trabajado o encontrado en el camino en los ultimos 4 anos. Creo, sueno y estoy muy orgullosa de ser quien soy y les agradezco por eso.

My race will be on August 27th 2011 @ 4:00p.m Easter time 6:00p.m Mountain Time.

August 17th 20011. Alamosa Colorado:

4 flights in 16 hours 15 minutes~5 hours and 15 minutes of lay overs~6658 miles~ Right now on my way to Daegu, South Korea for World Champs!!!

4 vuelos en 16 horas 15 minutos~ 5 horas de espera y traspaso~ 10,715km~Ahorita, rumbo a el Campeonato del Mundode atletismo en Daegu, Corea del Sur!!!
My partner during my flight from Busan to Daegu~

August 20th, 2001 Daegu, Korea
El idioma del atletismo es universal~ Hoy 2 minutos para terminar con mi entreno fuerte a la orilla del rio un koreano se pone a la par a igualarme el paso y a correr conmigo. Al terminar nos dimos la mano yo baje mi cabeza y le dije Gracias, el con una sonrisa gigante en su rostro hizo lo mismo y prosiguio su camino. Aun continuo sonriendo!

The running language is universal. Today during the last two minutes of my hard session along the river path, a Korean man tags along and starts running with me. When the time was up, we grabbed eachothers hands. I bowed and said "Thank You". With a huge smile in his face he did the same thing and kept going. I am still smiling!

August 21st, 2011. Daegu, South Korea

Moving into the Athletes Village today in a 3 hours~ Bus departs the hotel at 9:00a.m. Mos mudamos a la villa de los atletas en 3 horas- El camion sale del hotel a las 9:00a.m

August 22nd, 2001

Had a solid last hard workout under the rain/ Heading out to lunch, laundry then to the beauty salon located in the champions plaza here in the village. Tuve ultima sesion de entreno solida fuerte bajo la lluvia~ Al lonche, lavanderia y luego a el salon de belleza localizado en la plaza de campeones aqui en la villa.

Wonderful experience at the Beauty Salon at the Village today! Una experiencia maravillosa en el salon de belleza hoy en la villa!! To the ladies at the beauty shop I am their Pocahontas~ Para las damas en el salon de belleza yo soy su pocahontas.

August 26,2011

Talked to my Coach Damon Martin. I loveand appreciate him very, very much!!! Our 3rd world championship participation will be in a few hours~ Acabo de hablar con mi entrenador (Damon Martin) Lo quiero y aprecio mucho, mucho! Nuestra 3er participacion en el campeonato mundial sera en unas horas~

I worked on my water bottles. I dedicate one of them to all the kids and youth I have reached in the past 4 years through in the arena and another one to my family.
Trabaje en la decoracion de mis botes de agua. Le dedico uno a todos los ninos y jovenes a los cuales he conocido por medio de in the arena. Y otro especial para mi familia.