Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beyond the City of Edinburg 10km

 There are events and moments in life that we all in one way or another would love to repeat. Some end up turning into nice memories while there are others that if meant to be can be repeated. How many times have you wish you had just one more chance, opportunity or a day to embrace the moment, experience or a person in your life?

Well, lately this has been my case. I want to embrace everything and if given the opportunity go back to places I felt are worth to go back. After Arizona, I decided to look for a 10km to shake out my body and lucky me, the City of Edinburg was in 3 weeks. That was not even a question, as I absolutely love this event. Back in 2011 had the opportunity to be part of it. The best of all was to see thousands of kids racing their hearts our on race day and I wanted to witness that one more time.

My focus to go back to Edinburgh was not so much my race, but my commitment was to reach out to our youth. Meaning speaking at the local schools and staying for the kids race to cheer them on during their race.  I knew that racing a 10km 3 weeks after a marathon was a 50/50 chance of going great or going not so great. With that in mind I contacted the race director and explained my desire to come back to Edinburg. A day later I get the formal invitation where the race agrees to host me for a couple of days and welcomes me into the race.

Race Day: Unfortunately, my monthly visit arrived earlier than expected, a day before the race. Which now days become a real issue for me, heavy and tired legs did not allow me to race the way I wished. No side aches were involved which I am beyond grateful for. I ended up averaging 6:10 per mile, but no worries. After the 5km mark, I relaxed and decide to enjoy the second half. There was no need to overstress for a physiological issue that is out of my control. I have learned through the years to listen to my body.

After I crossed the finish line, I recover quickly and head out for a cool down. This time I decided to go out on the course and encourage people as they approached the finish. It was time to do some community work. Approximately, 2 miles away from the finish line,  at mile 4 mark when it was time to turn around I decided to pace somebody. To my surprise, there they were, a group of three 5th grader boys.  I asked them if they could use the help of a pacer (Free of charge) I proposed for us to go 1 on 1 (One minute jog, one minute walk) until we made it to the finish. They accepted. A mile to go one of them asked if we could do 1:30min run and 1 min rest instead. I could not resist such proposal so there we were. I wish I had taken a picture with them, but unfortunately none of us had a camera on us. We were living the moment as it came.  So true when they say "Mental pictures are the best"

After having a snack with the three young boys, I headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the kids 2km fun run. I was anxious to watch 5,000 kids pound the streets of Edinburg. During the kids race around the 800m mark I saw this girl with blue socks carrying her jacket. As she was about to passed me I offered to assist her with her jacket and promise to give it back at the finish line. Once in the stadium, I realized I was in huge trouble. The girl in blue socks was in a mix of 5000 other finishers. After a good search, I found her! Check link  I had the opportunity to spend time with her and her family. 

Just when I was heading back to the hotel, I came across with Homar and Trini, the young couple that picked me up from the airport.  We ended up going to lunch with Homar's father, then I had the opportunity to go speak and watch the City of Edinburg Folkorico Dance Team practice. Amazing! After practice, Homar, his gilfriend Trini and Homar's mom took me on a nice tour. We visited the the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, then we ended up the day having a nice family dinner with Homar's family.

My visit back to Edinburgh was also important as no long ago I learned from my mother that long before I was conceived  my father came to work to the USA as a *bracero in a City in Texas called Edinburgh. During dinner, it was nice to hear stories from Homar's parents on the type of life braceros endured during the months they worked the fields of the valley.

The Edinburg 10km experience in 2011 was one that I wanted to repeat again and I am so happy I had a second chance to go back and enjoy its people, culture, history and traditions. I am still very impressed by the amount of kids the City brings together on race day. Their sense of accomplishment is contagious. At the finish line you can not help but smile along with those 5000 participants that reach the finish line and to myself for having the opportunity to revive a past experience.

Bracero Program: A diplomatic agreement between Mexico and USA for the importation of temporary contract laborers from Mexico to the United States.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rio Frio 5km

I've been living in Alamosa for 14 years now and when the race director, Jeff Owsley  of the Rio Frio 5km contacted me to see if I could be the honorary starter for the Rio Frio 5k race on  Saturday  the 31 of January I got excited.  This was the least I could do for the community that has embraced my story for many years.

Ciara from Center Colorado ran the 5km

As always, Jeff Owsley offered a few scholarships for our In The Arena crew to run the kids race and encouraged me to bring as many  as possible. The following days, I committed to encourage parents to take their kids to the event. The day before I was able to signed up and secure 10 spots. I was very happy to see many of our kids show up on race day, enjoy and make us proud.

Rodolfo, even with a cold refused to miss the opportunity. 
                                                                                       One of our kids, Alan Flores, took the win in a very competitive race. This was Alan's first win ever. After his race he was so excited that asked if I could run with him one loop of the 5km race along the Rio Grande. As I mentioned on my Instagram later on, by far one of my biggest accomplishments as I got to experience with someone else stride by stride this  love and passion for running.  It was so wonderful to hear Alan say: " I gave my best effort ever" "This is my biggest accomplishment, I've never been so focus in my life"

Carlos followed by  3 younger brothers.
After Alan was done with his first lap, I asked Lisa Stoeber, who was only a couple of steps in front if she needed a pacer, partner. We ended up  running  together the rest of the race.   After we crossed the finish line in, 41:27~ 106 and 107th place, I enjoyed visiting with many members of the community whom told me they have been following my running career through the local newspaper since I got to Alamosa and that they were very happy we finally met in person.
Miguel following his younger sister Lupita

Many thank me for staying in the area and acknowledged our  In The Arena community work in the valley.

I found their testimonies truthful and very encouraging. "In The Arena Team, we are doing great! " 

Pacing Alan for 2.5km (1Loop)

The race overall was a great success and it is my hope it continues to grow and become a great tradition. 
"Mom Im a big Boy now, I run like Zoila"

Thank You Jeff  and City of Alamosa for letting us be part of something extraordinary~ Rio Frio 5km.


If you ever want to run in something out of the ordinary, we look forward to seeing you at the Rio Frio in 2016!