Sunday, June 14, 2015

Past Due Backpacking Experience

After an adventurous 12 day vacation in the colorful country of Poland I can't believe it came to an end. It was so quick and so wonderful that I can't distinguish between a dream or reality. Each day had something beautiful to offer. There was no day I was not excited about what I was about to see, learn or encounter. I trully enjoyed packing my L.L Bean backpack each morning.

What a blessing to have had spent the past two weeks in a country that was reconstructed after World War II. I was amazed by how much Polish citizens  accomplished and developed.

If you click on each City below, you will be able to experience this journey with me through pictures. 

While in Poland I was able visit Poznan, Sopot, Gdynia, Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow and Rzseszow.
Each city and area were equally interesting with a lot of places to visit. I would have not been able to fully learn and see it all if it was not for all my old and new friends I got to meet along the journey, so THANK YOU!

During this trip, I had my share of adventures. One of them being a cultural misunderstanding that almost costed me  a ticket, an encounter with the police, and possibly court, which meant me staying in Poland for at least two months. All of it thanks to NOT punching my bus ticket while heading to  old town in  Warsaw. So please once you get on the bus "Punch Your Ticket"

Spending a day with a Polish family was very touching. The way they live and help each other was extremely inspiring. The language was never a barrier. The food was delicious. Food in Poland will never be an issue. Its people, welcoming, warming, caring and loving. Its history: Rich!

Being able to catch up with an athlete that came to train to Alamosa 10 years ago was great. The feeling of reconnecting  again is amazing. Highly recommended!

Last but not least, spending quality time with long time friends, Zibi and Karolina,  who's second home for training is Alamosa was well worth it.  A past due trip I am glad I was able to do. The traveling arena is one everyone should step on once in a while.

I will be sharing more pictures in the following days. Make sure you came back to check the link.  For the meantime.. Enjoy!
Be, Dream, Believe! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rock and Roll San Diego: The Good Fight

On Sunday May 31st I had the opportunity to step  on the athletic ring and fight against the clock, my mind, body , spirit and a 26.1 course at the Rock and Roll San Diego in San Diego, California.

Going into this fight, the expectations were to beat the clock and run the Olympic Trials B Qualifier time of 2:43. Comparing training from last Marathon in January, the Rock and Roll, Arizona where I cocked 2:46 I was ready to win this fight.

The outcome:  I came 5 minutes short of my goal as I ended up finishing in 2:48:02. A very legit defeat. A defeat I know very well from previous experiences, but easier to deal with this time around as my perspective on achieving a goal vs failing has changed for the best. One or the other one always wins. Im proud and very happy to once again have had the opportunity to throw that first punch, stepping on the starting line and finishin up.

The marathon is a race that I just love. I love the constant lessons you learn from it along the way. The good and the not so good of it. It is in races like this that I get to test the ultimate me. Tonight, I am happy and greatful to be here, to have another story to tell.

But, what went wrong? After putting great solid training into this Marathon I could not help to feel somewhat disappointed as I could see an opportunity slipping away. Today, it  was simply not the day and not the type of course I trained for.  Eventhough, I felt great coming into it, the race had an unexpected sequence of twists and turns, both narrative and figurative. My right hamstring did not feel like it was doing well very early in the race and encountering a continuous series of rolling hills and change of pace all the way did not help the issue.

Thank God it did not make it any worst as I kept believing the next mile, half or last quarter of the race would get just better. Even though I was only 20 seconds seconds behind at half way, little I knew about what was really coming up. That mental battle where you want to convince yourself that nothing is really bothering you and the hope that the next mile will be only better and whatever is on the way will adjust and go away. Regardless of the outcome 
I am happy I gave it a go. I'm glad I can stride out for 26 miles on a not very happy leg and in the process share the experience with relatives and close friends who have never seen me run a marathon. Then it comes the real reason why I do this.. I do it for the challenge, for the unexpected, for the what I will learn from the experience and in this specific case, how to move on.

Glad to Say I was in good spirits as I was able to walk, talk, laugh,  and have a great time for the rest of the day with family members, old and new friends. After the race, I had lunch  with one of my oldest brothers, Jorge. My  sister Nohemy, my two nieces and a family friend and his daughter from our hometown in Mexico who can swear I have super powers. Quite special ocassion since It was Jorge and Nohemi who provided housing and clothing for me when I first arrived to the USA.

Catching up with college teammate, Eric Dehner, seeing him go crazy on certain spots of the course running along my side and screaming his heart out with words of encouragement then later in the day getting to know part of his support network here in San Diego was refreshing.

Connecting again with so many athletes and people from the running circuit is priceless. I missed this environment.  
To stop and appreciate what they do and being able to have that one on one enconter is worth any athletic fight. Thank You Rock and Roll San Diego and the Competitor group for allowing me to be part of this inspiring network and circle of support. 

I will definitly step on the athletic arena in the near future for another fight. This time around will be against a Half Marathon.

For the meantimen,  I will be  jumping into the traveling Arena. Traveling and exploring new countries is another gift running has given me. Therefore, first thing in the morning, I'm off to Europe on vacation to relax and unwind before we start off our In The Arena Summer programs (running, reading, crafting)  in Alamosa on June 15th. I can't wait to come back home and share with my kids the whole experience.

 Rock and rolling one day through beautiful San Diego to barely being able to walk the next day due to extreme soreness in my calfs to finding myself in a different country miles away from home learning newer things the world has to offer will be something worth sharing.

As long as my body allows and with the  amazing support from In The Arena and partners like L.L Bean I will keep fighting.  I'm proud to sport my In The Arena jersey as it remainds me what fighting the good fight is all about. 

Be, Dream and Believe!