Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mentoring Along The Way

Since I was a little girl I was sure my role in life was to help others. I was never good at math or science, but I loved philosophy, mythology, history, reading, poetry and speech. I was in 1st grade when I met my very first mentor. Her name was Coco and she was in charge of teaching me this amazing poem I was going to recite on Independence day at the local "Teatro del Pueblo" (Open Theater). I remember glimpses of that night. Instead of being nervous, I was excited. I was excited to show the world aka town and my family that all the hours of practice were worth it. I nailed it.

Then, reciting became a hobby and a free entertainment at family gatherings and school events. In middle school, I loved competing at poetry and speech contests. Never won, but recalled giving a fight.  As you can see having a mentor at such young age helped in the future. Im sure all those experiences mentioned above were the foundation of what my true calling in life is. Running has been the platform, but I do feel mentoring is the real big deal.

The past month has been full of both running and mentoring experiences in and outside the athletic arena. Let's take a look..

After a tutoring session, long time ITA member and nephew, Brayan Flores asked me if we could go for a driving practice session. As a mentor I am in. He is 16th now and this is what is important to him at the moment. To be able to say "Yes" and get a few minutes to mentor on the dirt and open roads outside Alamosa is priceless. As an In The Arena ane L.L.Bean athlete my mission is to make something on any given day that will impact our kids lives tomorrow. Diana and Araceli joined us for a ride that day.. So that day, it was not one, but 3 young souls we got to reach out to.

Two weeks ago, I got a chance to jump into the athletic arena at the Rock n Roll, San Jose.. The highlight of the day was not my time or place.. 1:19:03, but some of the  girls I got to compete against. For a few miles, It was Kristen McGlynn-Arendt former Adams State athlete and someone I've shared my journey ups and downs with during her years at Adams forst as a mentor, coach and friend. We tried to helped eachother int the first miles and that felt great on both ends. 
Another athlete that was there and I met back in 2007 during a speaking engagement at Concordia University in Irvine California is Alma Padilla. I was very happy to be there and in a way experience with them what the good fight is all about. On my end, I feel Im making improvements, my body is responding and it will be patience and wisdom that will get where I want to be. 

After the race, I got on a plane to head to Los Angeles where and amazing, empowering mentor was waiting for me to take me to Oxnard. For the past year, Mr. Jose Murillo has been insisting that I go to Oxnard to share my story to kids there. I agreed on coming after San Jose to do some community maping ad planning for a future more formal speaking engagement to not only elementary School, but as many or all schools in the area. Mr. Murillo feels my story need to be share and told as he feels great deal of admiration for all I have accomplished in both the civic and athletic arenas. During my quick visit, I got a chance to speak at a 4th grade class and give them a sneak peek of a future presentation. Kids are amazing and during their recess many of them went and found me at the school library to ask questions and chat some more. While we were speaking about nutrition, one of the girls said " Im paying more attention to you than my own teacher, quiz me" Can wait to come back and spend more time with these kids..

All of this may sound amazing, I may even seem like a super hero to some, but mentoring goes both ways. Once you are able to teach, reach to others is like getting another life. In top of that, during the journey one gives others the opportunity to help out and contribute, to show you and teach you something new.  I was hosted by an amazing, compassionate couple who treated me like their daughter. That night when I arrived, we all went to church as a family, had an amazing  traditional homemade dinner from Guadalajara, Carne en su Jugo and the day before I left I was taken on an amazing run up in the mountains with my newest mentor, Mr. Murillo. A real treat! 

I have not done poetry in years, I do enjoy speaking engagements, love each aspect of mentoring, read here and there. I'm very fortunate and happy to have the best of three worlds: mentor, mentee and athlete. 

After my visit in Oxnard, I flew to Oklahoma for a 3 week sea level training camp with the most supportive team on earth, my sister Alicia and her husband Luke.  More on that on my next blog..

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