Monday, August 25, 2014

In The Arena

2013-2014 was a phenomenal year for In The Arena in Alamosa. Looking back to when it all started, 2006, I never imagined the true impact  athletes/mentors could make in our youth and the community.

It would take me endless entries to describe each positive impact we've made in many children in Alamosa. Hard to believe that all the kids that we started the program with just started their freshman year of High School. I would say that 90% of those reached by either listening to my story, jumped rope for the heart with, paced or cheered on a their mile fun run when they were in 3rd grade are now involved in sports or an extra curricular activity. 

What about the kids we reached this year?   90% of them are talking about joining a sport, eating healthier, they are more social, self-confidence is up and actually stop and say hi when we meet at the store. 

Today, I can still say what I said 8 years ago : "I love my In The Arena kids, Im in love with our mission" Im proud to be part of  what In The Arena has become. To be able to share my story and reach out to our youth is a true blessing and I look forward to continue making an impact many more kids lives. 

After being knocked down and out of competition for a year and a half, It does feel wonderful to have a bigger reason and opportunity to  try again. My reason and biggest motivators to go back to competition and go after a spot to be part of the 2016 Marathon Olympic trials are the thousands of In The Arena kids we've reached not only this past year, but over the years. Like Roosevelt said: "If I fail, I will fail while daring greatly" What a blessing to keep this story alive!  

With this years partnership with L.L. Bean I can only anticipate that the best years of In The Arena are ahead of us!  What an honor to be associated with such an amazing retail company. 

My endless gratitude to the following people and organizations for helping us have another successful In The Arena Year in the San Luis Valley: 

ITA Donors
ITA Founder: Amory Rowe
My immediate family in Alamosa
Immigrant Resource Center
Cooking Matters, Colorado
Beatriz Waddell 
Tierra Nueva Apartments 
L.L Bean

Looking forward to what the future holds! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


In many ways, I can describe this summer with In The Arena as the most productive and fun summer to date. We have laughed, ran, cooked, danced, filmed, biked, socialized, etc Kids and adults have benefited from the whole experience and for that we are truly grateful. Here an update on our summer programs in Alamosa.

Cooking Matters with Beatriz: When our nutrition class with cooking matters came to an end, there were mixed feelings. we were happy, but sad. We were proud to have finished the program in great fashion. We all loved having Beatriz over and enjoyed every single session. Yet, it was sad that it was over. Meaning we fully enjoyed our Cooking Matter Class and fall in love with our bilingual teacher, Beatriz. On our last class we all celebrated with authentic dishes prepared by each family. It was so rewarding to see 98% of the class graduating. To Beatriz and Cooking Matters THANK YOU! for sharing your knowledge and time with our kids. To our In The Arena Supporters, let me introduce you to our In The Arena,  2014 Cooking Matters Graduating Class.

Zumba: Our In The Arena mom's continue to make the best of our Zumba classes. They are about to go into their 10th week. We plan to continue the program for the rest of the year. This program has allowed our moms to have some time for themselves. A win win as they get a chance to not only get away from home for an hour, but to exercise, get fit and socialized. A great way to teach children by example the benefits and importance of moving. Kids tell me they have never seen their moms so happy, less stressed and more understanding. Its not a surprise to see kids joining their moms to Zumba class. Kudos to our working moms!

Speaking Engagements: Once again we were invited to share our story with  kids at  the High Valley Community Center in Del Norte,  Colorado. There I had two 1 hour and half presentations, one speaking about Mexico and the other one speaking as and athlete. My sister Norma made tamales and showed the kids how to make homemade tortillas.I also had two In The Arena volunteer assistants, Alan and Jessica. For pictures of the  event click Here

Adams State High School Camp: This is by far one of my most favorite events of the summer. Speaking in front of 270 teenagers is not only a huge responsibility, but  a great challenge. I never fail to get nervous. You either pass or fail. Well, Another PASS. I absolutely love sharing my athletic and personal experiences with our youth.

Picture By Kyle Masterson
Training and Biking with L.L. Bean: Besides having a blast with my community work, Im so happy to report that I am back in full training. Yes! I can run again. That means no more pain and way more running miles. Being injured for so long was no fun, yet it allowed me to appreciate having the opportunity to train again. I love training on my colorful and comfortable L.L Bean singlets, shorts, and shirts. My L.L. Bean water bottles are a must. This week I've been so lucky to have two great training partners tag along on their bikes. Here is the fun part, we laugh, talk, explore, move, learn, etc Another Win Win... For pictures click HERE

Run with ITA program: Its been very hard to let go of our running program. So, I will continue to meet with our kids twice a week until school  starts. Our kids are fully in love with the infamous L.L. Bean Snack Tote Bag. As it has the best post workout recovery treats. Special Thanks to Immigrant Resource Center for providing the snacks and their endless support.