Sunday, December 30, 2012


“There Is No Shortcut to Success, not even when it comes to 
the temptations of chocolate or the songs of the Beatles”.

This time around  I'm sharing with all of you all the information related the 2012 Adams State University Commencement Speech. Truly an honor. Recap HERE

As I write this I am in a small village in Central Mexico, Ocuitico Morelos, reconnecting with my roots, heritage, culture, but most importantly with the person I owe my life, My Mother.  Happy Holidays to all the In The Arena members: founder, donors, athletes, supporters and friends. 

Message from the Trustees - Mary Griffin 0:57
Message from the Class of 2012, Matthew Martinez 11:15
Commencement Address, Zoila Gomez 14:30
Presentation of Candidates for Degrees 38:30
Honor Graduates 56:58

The title of this speech is “There Is No Shortcut to Success, not even when it comes to the temptations of chocolate or the songs of the Beatles”. I know that’s a long title, but if you do me the kind favor of giving me your attention for fifteen minutes, I will explain.

Here is a thought: A lot of us tend to think that events that happened in the past were sort of inevitable, that they were bound to happen the way they happened. And this applies to all kinds of situations both in our own lives and also in the lives of others. And we think this way at times because we often don’t get to hear the details of each story--the setbacks, the decisions, the unexpected turn of events that changed the course of history and the course of people’s lives. 

Everything from the Allied victory in World War II, to the cultural resonance of the Beatles or the pervasive success of Apple products like the ipod and the ipad—these events were not inevitable, and, oftentimes, they did not seem altogether likely either.

I’ll tell you one thing, I never thought, when I was a little girl in a small town in central Mexico, that I would ever be giving a speech to the graduates of a college in the United States of America.  What I did know, at an early age, was that I wanted to be the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college, but here I am, not only a college graduate, but I’m now giving a speech at a commencement ceremony.  And so, the events of my own life, of all our lives, often mirror the improbable course of history itself. 

I want to take a few moments and answer the question all of us, including me, are asking: How did it happen? What events led me to the place, to the situation I find myself in today.

My story, like so many other American stories, is an immigrant story. I came to this country for a better life and for the chance to help my family.  I moved to California at the age of 16.  I couldn’t speak a word of English when I arrived, and although I had already graduated from high school in Mexico, I enrolled in high school for a second time because I wanted to continue my education. At this point in my life, I played basketball and had dreams of being a journalist. I knew I wanted to make an impact in other people’s lives, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

 Then I discovered running. And for the next fifteen years, my life was to take a number of twists and turns not so different from those I have experienced on the track or during the Minneapolis, Boston or New York Marathons.
Now, I know what all of you are thinking. You are expecting to hear a list of running accomplishments. A story of natural talent and first place finishes, and while there are elements of both of these in my story, I want to tell you about a few of my setbacks, my unexpected events. Yes, from the start I showed a lot of promise when it came to running, but my experience at Costa Mesa High School was bittersweet. 
On the one hand, my discovery of running kept me busy. The sport gave me something to dedicate my time and energy to, and being a part of the track team helped me feel welcome in this country, but my biggest struggle was with the language. I couldn’t express myself in English, and, in many ways, my performance on the track or cross-country course became my way of compensating for this linguistic shortcoming. Plus, in the heat of competition, I felt like my teammates and I spoke the same language. We shared the same dreams, shared the same victories and overcame the same defeats. We all wanted to win a state title, and though I spoke only limited English, I trained diligently and gave my best effort at every competition. It really is fair to say that my experiences as a high school cross- country and track team member served as an access point, a window into American culture. I learned the value of discipline and commitment, and I learned how to be accountable to my team. During that time, my teammates became my American family and my social support. I think they got to know and appreciate me through to my hard work and dedication. I could tell they wanted me to be and equal member of the team.

A really great example is on one occasion, in the middle of the season, I was listed as ineligible and my teammates gathered signatures and wrote to The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) in order to convince to let me back on the team.  I found their support amazing. They went out of their way to help me, and I will never forget the love and loyalty they showed me. Our collective dedication and our close bond paid off when my teammates and I won Costa Mesa High School’s first ever cross-country team title, and this was one of my first lessons regarding the fact that running is not just about the times you run, the places you go, the titles or awards you win, it is about the all the vivid memories and the true friendships you make. Which leads me to one of my most favorite quotes of all times: “Success is a journey, not a destination” 

That being said, my career as a runner could have ended when I graduated from high school if it had not been for a very influential person named David Fier. Coach Fier was the person who encouraged me to join the local junior college’s cross-country team. It was at Orange Coast College, and under coach Fier’s guidance, that I began to truly develop as a runner. I also improved on my English. During my two years at OCC, I collected four individual state titles and two cross-country team titles, and, once again, Coach Fier helped guide the direction of my life. He introduced me to the possibility of attending Adams State, home of the best four-year school and cross-country team in the United States.

But during my junior year at Adams State things were not going well. I got injured. I remember one day I sat on the floor of coach Martin’s office and leaned against his desk. I cried for a good while. I told him, I’m sorry coach. I feel so bad. You gave me a scholarship so I could run for Adams State, but I’m not giving back, I’m not winning races. Coach Martin put his hand on my shoulder. He let me cry. He knew I needed to release the tension I was feeling, the frustration, but when I looked into his face through the blurred vision of my tears, I saw a person who believed in me. I saw a person who considered me to be a valuable asset to the team. I saw person who believed I was going to overcome this period of difficulty that I in time would continue to succeed. 

Ladies and gentleman, do you see a trend here? Things could have turned out differently for me. Does everyone see that? One of the reasons I was able to keep going was because of mentors and coaches like Dave Fier and Damon Martin. I would not be standing here today if it were not for these two men and other people like them. 

Let me take a moment here to sort of change topics. How many of you out there like the Beatles? How many of you listen to their songs? Ah, we’ve got Beatles fans of all ages in the crowd today. Well, the Beatles really helped me to learn English. I used to listen to their songs and learn the lyrics and then try to memorize them. I would look up the meanings of certain phrases, certain words. Some of the songs came in handy for basic conversation starters: You say yes/I say no. Others helped me make sense of my personal life, Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away, while other songs just seemed, well, out there We all live in a yellow submarine.

How many of you knew the Beatles spent two years in Hamburg, Germany playing as a cover band in various clubs? This was before Ringo joined the band. How many of you knew that their original agent, Allan Williams, did not think all that much of them? He suggested that they play in Germany because one the bands he viewed as better than them had opted out of going. How many of you knew that John, Paul and George would play for club goers for eight-hour stretches, seven days per week? 

And it was this period of time that allowed them to hone their skills, develop their song writing, and craft their stage presence. Then they met Brian Epstein, the manager who helped them obtain the opportunities necessary for commercial success. How many of you knew all this?  So the Beatles as we know them today, would probably not have come into being if it had not been for the long, arduous period of practice and sheer repetition they spent in Germany. Paul McCartney once said that on certain occasions the band would sleep in vans, huddled together in an effort to stay warm with nothing more than a few pages of a newspaper folded between them. 

How is that for practice and team spirit? So when you hear a song like “All You Need is Love” maybe you can also consider that in order for this band to have become one of the greatest pop cultural voices of the 20th century, a great deal of work and struggle and even mentoring had to take place. It is altogether possible that if the Beatles had not gone to Germany, we would have never heard of them.

The key to success then, is not simply talent. We need to stop fixating simply on ability and stop treating success like it is inevitable. It is, instead, a unique combination of ability, obsession, a supportive social network of loved ones, unique opportunity and work ethic. Let me say that last one again, work ethic. In the case of distance running, we are talking about mileage, and there is no shortcut to mileage. I say this for point of fact not pride, but I run 100 miles per week. That number might seem like a lot, but I have worked my way up to that amount of miles after years of training. 

Running works this way: You either ran the fifteen-mile loop or you did not. You either put in the 6:30 minute pace or you did not, and this goes for other aspects of life. With academics, you either concentrated during the lecture and took notes, you either studied diligently and learned and understood the material or you did not, but looking at all of you out their in your caps and gowns, I can see that you are all on the right road. You have graduated from what I think is the best four year college in the U.S. Great stories do begin here, and, in my case, great stories continue here.  

Let me tell you a story about an elementary school boy I first met two years ago. About two weeks ago I traveled with him and a handful of other young athletes to the national junior cross-country championship in Albuquerque. When I met him, he was about ten. He showed up at the door of my house one day, in that most sincere and simple way that young people are capable of doing, he asked for my help. He said he wanted to learn more about distance running, and asked if I was willing to help him out. I told him, sure, I would help him. So we started running, and after about five minutes into the run, he pulls a big piece of chocolate out of his pocket and stuffs it in his mouth.  At this point I sort of did a double take. He is still running, but his mouth is bulging from this chocolate. Now, I have run in the world championships in Japan and Berlin. I was the alternate for the Olympic Marathon Team in 2008. I have run next to people who are as focused on a goal as a human being can possibly be, and while I know a practice run in Alamosa is not the world championships, I have never seen someone run and eat chocolate at the same time. Maybe one-day distance running and chocolate eating will be turned into an Olympic event. I’ll bet some of you have the latter half of this event down. Some of my family members are probably Olympic chocolate eaters.Well, I realized in that moment, while he was chomping on his chocolate, that I was going to have to be patient. I was going to have to let go of the idea of getting a real run in that day. I needed to dedicate my time in that moment to helping Him. So we ran a little while longer, and then He and I got to talking. He told me he had gotten in trouble recently. He said one of his family members pressured him to shoplift something from a store, and he said felt really bad about this experience. In that moment, I understood that this kid was opening up to me, and that I had a real opportunity, and this opportunity was not limited to making him a better runner. This opportunity had to do with helping him become a better person, helping him mature and make good decisions. You see, in that moment, I became part of his social support network, and if I was able to forge a good working relationship with him, and he showed a willingness to work at his running, then I knew he would improve drastically. Why? Well, consider the factors I mentioned a little while ago: 
First, the boy expressed a desire to improve his skills as a runner, and he asked for help, this suggests a willingness to learn and work. 
2) I was now part of his social support network; I could help both mentor and coach him. 
3) We are in Alamosa. A place about two miles above sea level, a place filled with mountains, hills, valleys, running trails, and, in my opinion, the best running program in the U.S.  If you take all of these details into account, this boy had all the elements he needed to excel as a runner if he was willing to put in the time and the mileage, and only time will answer that question.

Now, this leads me to the end of what I wanted to say to all of you: I have always believed that it is important to run for something greater than myself. I became a runner somewhat on accident, but once I got into the sport, I became obsessed. I found a family in my track and cross-country teammates. They became my social supports. I found guidance and direction through my coaches, who became mentors, too, and I found a unique opportunity to be a part of a running program that is second to none, so the final detail was up to me. I had to put in the time, the energy, and the mileage. I had to be obsessed. 

Well, I admit it. Guilty as charged. I am obsessed with running, but, more importantly, I am focused on improving myself. Running paid for my education and helped me become the first person in my family to graduate from college, but I found the energy and stamina I needed to keep going, to carry on, to keep running, despite injury, despite setback, when I realized that my efforts, both as a runner and as a college graduate, could help others. I believe we are here on this earth to help others, to find our abilities and actualize our potential, and we only truly succeed when we help others. 

John Lennon had it right when he said, “All You Need is Love”. I have found a lot of love in Alamosa, Colorado and Adams State, I found a lot of love running and training and giving my all during running competitions, and I hope my message has passed on some of that love to all of you, because I feel blessed to be able to tell you my story and blessed to be able to celebrate your academic success on this very special day.

So I say to all of you: Run your race. Find your support network. Dedicate yourself completely to the goals and dreams you have, and yearn to succeed not solely due to personal gain, but so that you can help others find their way and achieve their goals. Run for something greater than yourself. Thank you and congratulations to all of you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 XC Junior Olympics

Brayan Flores, Miguel Baltazar, Ramon Juan Juarez, Isaiah DeLa Cerda, Peter DeLaCerda and Oscar Martinez

Before anything, my heart goes out to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. More than ever I cherish this wonderful opportunity to mentor our youth. Hug your teachers, Hug your parents, Hug your kids.

The most expected weekend for Penguins arrived and It was an honor to be able to share with them the experience. Yes!, last week I was able to drive a few of the Penguin Club members to Albuquerque New Mexico to the 2012 XC Junior Olympics. My hat goes off to both the kids, parents and coaches. Thank you Peter DeLaCerda for allowing me to be around and share some of my running experiences with these amazing group of kids. I enjoyed getting to know everyone in the past month. Excited for what lies ahead. Here a few pictures of the weekend.
My goal for next year is to find more resources to help the Club with uniforms, shoes and traveling expenses, so if you are interested in helping out or have any ideas on how we can help please send me an email at

Midget Boy after their race- 9th as a Team

 Youth Boys doing strides during warm up. Placed 16th as a team

DeLaCerda, Isaiah
32nd Place 

 The highlight of the day, kids got to meet and visit with  1500m Olympic Silver Medalist, Leo Manzano.. How cool is that?

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Elijah DelaCerda- Junior Olympics Regional Meet, Albuquerque New Mexico

There is an amazing group of kids from Alamosa that meet  with their Coach, Peter de La Cerda in the afternoons to train for the XC Club Nationals in Albuquerque on December 8th.  The Penguin club which runs mainly by donations and the help of parents is making a huge impact in the lives of many youngsters.

For the past month, I've been meeting with this talented and hard working group of kids ages 5 to 15. They have been my inspiration to get back into shape. With pain or no pain. I am inspired. Out of 34 members, 24 of them made it to Club Nationals and let me tell you they are strong.

At the Wild Life Refugee in Alamosa
with Oscar, Brayan, Ramon and Miguel

Thanksgiving was a blast! Me and a few of the penguins went for a nice run along the railroad tracks before we all celebrated the day with our families. Thank God that was a nice easy run. They are so fit and strong that they can literally kill me any given day.

 Last Tuesday I had the brilliant idea to show up for one f their hard workouts. That day we met at the legendary Cole Park, where Olympians like Deena Kastor and many  Adams State national champions once did the 1km repeats. Well, make story short, that day I survived a 2x 1km/ 3 minutes rest- 2x 600m in grass 2 min rest and 200m sprint. Even tough, i survived the workout, they killed me. This kids are fit and ready to go. I don't remember when I was the last time I was so sore after a hard workout.

I love showing to their  practice and going for an easy run with them. Their free spirit and genuine love for the sport is contagious.  How to forget the day when they had 1-2-3-2-1 minute surges on the dikes. There is no doubt in my mind these kids are already set for success and I'm not only talking about them performing well at Junior Olympics but in their lives in general. The lessons of hard work, commitment and discipline are lessons that they will carry on for the rest of their lives.

For the meantime, Thank You, Club Penguin for inspiring me and helping me get back into shape. You all are already winners and regardless on how you do at nationals you already are a part of something great.

To the  director and head Coach of the club, Peter De La Cerda, his wife Ronda and assistant Coach Erin,  thank you for allowing me to come and interact with the kids. Im so looking forward to come and cheer for them on the big day. The Penguins on the news

Easy Run at the Railroad Tracks in Alamosa
Oscar, Brayan, Ramon and Miguel
PD: The Club runs solely on donations. So if you are interested in making any donations for the Club please send me an email to:  and I will be more than happy to direct you with the Coaches.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Halloween celebrations at the tutoring program turned into a creative learning experience for our kids.
It all started with an idea. One of our volunteers from Adams State University, Cristina Mace stepped it up and asked if she could plan something fun for Halloween. 

Since the beginning of the year Cristina volunteers her time to the program one time a week. The kids have learned to love her and respect her. Some the girls refer to her as " My new best friend Cristina".  Cristina is been long enough in the program that she has learned to identify the needs of our kids. For her it was easy to realize that many of them were not going to be able to afford a custome or even celebrate the scary and fun day, Halloween.
 Fredi:  With a huge smile " Zoila look what I got for tomorrow, can you please take a picture of me on it?" 
Me: With a huge smile " I would love to! Give me a hug, you deserved a costume and more"

Araceli, at the Alamosa Elementary School annual Halloween parade :)

With her idea in mind 
Cristina managed to get  donations from her classmates and friends from the University. She collected customs for kids and was able to buy material to help the girls make  their own designed  costumes. Students from her social class volunteered to come and help. That Wednesdey before holloween the center took a different shape. 

New visitors showed up with materials, cookies and juice. A small party. Girls enjoyed the crafting activity and most importantly the unexpected guest, the time, ideas, and great intentions. At the end, they were set to celebrate with everyone else the following day.

At the Harvest Party!

Cristina went the extra mile, on Halloween day Cristina along with her classmates and friends came by the apartments to take the kids  to a harvest party in town. Next day, kids came up to me and told me all about how much fun the had. Its been so fun to have Adams State University students come aboard and make an impact on the lives of our kids.

Forever grateful!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Another year in which our kids from the Tutoring program take part of the local 3 race Cross Country  series at the Alamosa Parks and Recreational  Center.  The entries are free and this event gives  parents and children the opportunity  to go outside and be active. Nine of our kids represented ITA Tutoring program well. In recognition for running the three races all of them received a free T-shirt from the parks and recreational center.
 Nothing is more rewarding than heading  back to the center to do homework after a race and  hear only positive feed backs from the kids. This is an event that all of them look forward to participate.  The highlight of this year is the parents involvement.  Each parent took action and helped organize this years transportation.

Araceli is a talented girl both athletically and academically. Araceli is the oldest of 4 children. She loves collecting items. She is in charge of the ITA library. She takes leadership from time to time and helps little ones with homework.  On the last race she finish 6th with a huge personal best of 7:23.
At the end of the race her comment was " I don't know why, but my head really started hurting after I crossed the finish, that is kind of weird" 

The New ITA Generation. Once their older brothers and sisters move on theses are the kids that will be taking over at the Tutoring Center. For now, they enjoy coming to the races to cheer or walk with the other youngsters. Lupita, standing is the one leading the way as she already competed in this years races. Her best time 11:49.

Alan 8 is a handful, he has been making huge strides academically. Loves math and spelling.              

High Altitude Challenge     
September 25th, 2012            
 Distance: 1 Mile
5. Fredi Tomas 7:22 
22. Alan Flores 9:22
29. GiGi DeLuna 10:25
                                                                                     30. Carlos Gonzales 10:26
                                                                                     38. Miguel Gonzales 14:16
                                                                              39. Angel Valverde 14:16
                                                                                 40. Andres Valverde 14:16

26. Araceli Tomas 9:41
27. Lizeth Zacarias 9:53
28. Diana Gonzales 10:20
39. Guadalupe Gonzales 11:49

Race 2
October 2nd, 2012


12. Fredi  Tomas 7:50
23. GiGi DeLuna 9:10
24. Carlos Gonzales 9:25
28. Alan Flores 9:37
37. Angel Valverde 13:50
38. Miguel Gonzales 14:12
                                                                       43. Andres Valverde 14:12


11. Aracei Tomas 7:53
36. Diana Gonzales 10:34
      45. Guadalupe Gonzales 13:56

October 9th, 2012
Race 3


13. Fredi Tomas 7:57
22. Alan Flores 8:55
36. Carlos Gonzales 10:56
44. Angel Valverde 14:25
45. Miguel Gonzales 14:29
46. Andres Valverde 14:40

6th Araceli Tomas 7:23
30. Diana Gonzales 10:30
38. Guadalupe Gonzales 11:58


Fredi is not only a fast miler but a fast reader too :)

So proud of Andres. He participated in every race and finished them all. Andres suffers from asthma. My Champ!

Alan in action being paced by his older brother and ITA member,  Brayan. Flores. Alan  Broke the 9 minute barrier by running 8:55 in the last mile event.

They love it when they get new material. 

Miguel loves to read. 

Back to office to do some homework.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Dream Team

 As a proud mentor, supporter, and auntie I have to brag about what I can consider the best Cross Country teams in the history of Ortega Middle School. My nephew and other former ITA members  who have been involved with in the arena are now members of these two amazing teams.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to Gunisson, Colorado to witness history on the making. Many of the girls and boys I worked with last summer during the Run With US! program are now part of these teams and let me tell you there is nothing more exciting that seeing this kids compete and be in the athletic arena.What makes these teams special is the diversity in them. Their friendships and how all of them care for each-other. As an spectator and huge supporter, I can clearly see how proud they are to be  representing their school, their culture, their backgrounds and themselves.

This year the boys made history last week by perfect scoring in Buena Vista and this weekend they kept their winning streak by winning in Salida with only 12 points.

Behind a great team, there are also great stories and Ortega Middle School kids have great stories to tell. Some have no shoes to compete in, so this is where people like me,  mentors and supporter, come in. I was very happy to be able to match one of the runners with an Adamas State Runner who was able to donate a pair of used shoes. The smile and happiness seeing in the kids that were able to get shoes was priceless.

After the Salida meet I took my nephew, Oscar and Miguel with me for breakfast, a tour of the city and  we were able to visit on our 2 hour drive back home. The stories I've heard and the struggles some of these youngsters have already overcome at this early age are truly inspiring.
Im glad they are on the right path, surrounded by amazing Coaches and unbelievable supporters.
With already four wins under their belts and already a pecfect score  in their resumes, all I could say is these kids really came together at the perfect time, in the perfect place and are surronded with the perfect people. A Dream Team many only wish they could be part of. To all OMS athletes and  Coaches, CONGRATS!!!

What is Cross Country?

Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically 4–12 kilometres (2.5–7.5 mi) long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road. It is both an individual and a team sport, runners are judged on individual times and a points scoring method for teams. Both men and women of all ages compete in cross country, which usually takes place during autumn and winter, and can include weather conditions of rain, sleet, snow or hail, and a wide range of temperatures.

Scores are determined by summing the top four or five individual finishing places on each team.  Points are awarded to the individual runners of eligible teams, equal to the position in which they cross the finish line (first place gets 1 point, second place gets 2 points, etc.). The points for these runners are summed, and the low score wins. Individual athletes, and athletes from incomplete teams are excluded from scoring. Ties can be broken in several ways. In high school competition, ties are resolved in favor of the team whose next non-scoring member finishes first. In U.S. college competition, ties are not resolved.[4]
The lowest possible score in a five-to-score match is 15 (1+2+3+4+5), achieved by a team's runners finishing in each of the top five positions. If there is a single opposing team then they would have a score of 40 (6+7+8+9+10), which can be considered a "sweep" for the winning team. In some competitions a team's sixth and seventh runner are scored in the overall field and are known as "pushers" or "displacers" as their place can count ahead of other runners.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Yes, lately there has been too much

good on MY PLATE. After my trip to London,I immediately embarked in a new project. My very fist full time job ever, Coaching.
This job could not come at a better time. I've been disable to train at a higher level for the past 8 months  and this opportunity along with  my Community service with In The Arena and Run With US!  have kept my plate deliciously  full.
  I do not believe in coincidences, I believe in causes. Yes, my health issue had a reason. If I was 100% healthy and in a competitive mood most likely I would not taken the oportunity to be part of the best Coaching staff in the nation, The Adams State University Cross Country. Not being able to train and compete also left me economically short handed. So, as you can tell this job came at the perfect time. Running has been and will always be a big part of my life, therefore I am very greatful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with the young group of men and women of Adams. Having the chance to work along side my long time Coach Damon Martin is indeed another blessing in my life.  A new commitment, a new responsibility and so far wonderful journey. Yeah!!!

My brother Arturo Javier Tutoring Math :) 

Arturo, Jorge helping with reading, and Norma with Spanish

On the civic aspect, ITA after school tutoring program is rolling again. Now with new changes (positive ones) in schedule. We will start tutoring Mondays to Thursdays from 5:00- 6:30p.m . The first hour will be devoted to homework and the last 30 minutes will be all about being active and putting into practice all we learned in the summer with Run With US!, so the last half hours the kids will have an active activity.From time to time, I will spend a few minutes to go over some nutrition and goal setting tips from RWUS! with the kids. We have to keep the information fresh just like our dinner plates. This past week we had extra help. A few of my brothers and sisters were in town and  spend some time with my ITA tutoring kids.

Alicia Reading Monitoring Group Reading

6 Year ITA member, Nephew Brayan reading for my little nice Eli

In the name of all of our kids that beneft from this program, Thank You Tierra Nueva, Immigrant Resource Center, In The Arena and Run With US! for contributing to make the after school program better and better each year. Our kids are excited to work hard this year and achieve some goals they set this summer during RWUS! Quite honest, Im am amazed of how much can be done when one is not fully training. Even though, I've been out of the competitive Arena for a while and at times miss it, I am very happy and excited to utilize this time to explore  the professional side. No doubt there is indeed time for everything in this life and today Im absolutely happy to a full PLATE!

Me reading to our kids :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


It all starts with a DREAM. I am a dreamer. My dreams date back when I was a child. Therefore, I truly believe all of our kids deserve to dream and as adults, mentors, it is our resposability to inspire and help our youth get as close as possible to their dreams. When I was 7 or 8 one of my dreams was to run away from home, meet new places and travel all over the world. Then, there were no imposibles and day dreaming was my thing.
"Zoila!" "Becky!" We crossed paths again in London during Womens Marathon!! This World is quite small. The best surprise ever! 

 Back then the Olympics were not in my sight. Sports were out of the picture. My dream was to become a Jornalist. At age 16 my life changed significantly upon my arrival to the USA. Here I learned English and fell in love with Running. Then Olympics came into the picture. "I want to become an Olympian" 2008 I was the USA Olympic Alternate after taking 4th at the Marathon Olympic Trials. So close, yet so far from that dream. During these years, there was only one organization that took me in and believed in me, In The Arena. Together we have reached over 30 thousand kids. I have been able to share my story to thousands of people nation wide and in many ways I have grown not only as an athlete, but as a person. So much to be thankful for!!!
With Olympic Rowing GOLD Medalist,Caroline Lind, outside the Olympic Village 

 After a rough year and missing my chances to make an Olympic team, RWUS! come into my life. Giving back and teaching our kids the things I know has been very rewarding. This summer I had a blast!! and it is my hope that more athletes get involve.
RWUS! Summer Program with our Kids from Alamosa, Colorado 

 Being in London as an spectator is the best thing that could have happen to me. This experience has given me the opportunity to see and appreciate what I have accomplished as an athlete since I become a professional athlete (2005).
A great friend from Poland, Olympian Karolina Jarzynska and her Coach Zibi Nadolsky 

 I do have the most amazing friends and I have been surrounded by extraordinary people. I have been part of the best TEAM in the Wold 3 times (TEAM USA)in the past 3 World championships (Osaka 2007, Berlin 2009, Korea 2011. I have been all over the world, Yes, I have been living my childhood dream.
Im a Fan!!

I might not be a journalist, but there was no day in London that I did not chase someone to get a picture or wonder around in a city to find my way. Being a small part of London 2012 as an spectator and being next to the Olympic flame assured me that Im heading on the right direction and that my ultimate calling is reaching out to our youth. They are our present and our future. They need us as much as we need them.
A night at the Olympic Stadium, London 2012 

 More than ever the flame to inspire our youth is burning inside me! Proud of In The Arena and RWUS! & @usatffoundation. I am so looking forward to reach out to our USA Olympians to give a hand on this DREAM.

London 2012 does not end here. London 2012 will end once we reach Rio De Janeiro as an athlete, an spectator, or mentor. London 2012 is already In The Arena and will be Running With US! in this amazing journey. Thanks ITA~ RWUS! and London 2012 for such an amazing journey!!! BE, DREAM, BELIEVE!!