Sunday, May 15, 2016


Before the Lodz marathon in Poland. I have already ran a handful of marathons since my debut in New York in 2005 where I had experience the unexpected. Just to name a few: Running alone in New York 2005 Tight shoes in Twin Cities 2006 (I almost strangled my poor foot) Hot and humid conditions Osaka, 2007 (No shade to be found) Wind, rain and cold temperatures in Boston 2007 (Dressed like it was summer) Olympic Trials 2008 (Blisters at mile 22) World Championships in Berlin 2009 (Blisters at mile 13) Running with a broken rib at Olympic Trials in 2012 Massive hills in Sand Diego at the Rock n Roll in 2015 The day had arrived, the training was done. It was time to check if I could put into practice the lessons learned from my previous experiences. One thing I notice was that the level of excitement was quite thesame from my previous experiences.
I take pride on my water bottles. I prepared them with lots of excitement thinking that on the way I will find a kid that will adopt them and keep them as a souvenir or for their next show and tell in their classroom. I started this tradition back in Osaka 2007. My signature, butterflies.
Then I leave with the most inspiring quote that I nailed soon after the gum went off..
Well, all these experience came in handy at my serious attempt back at the marathon in Lodz last April. The conditions were less than ideal on race day. It was 68F and 90% humidity at the start. At 10km I was 5 minutes behind the leaders and in 11th place. By the time I reached the finished line I was 4th fully aware of what had just happened in the past 2:41:1 seconds. I had just ran the smartest and most strategic marathon of my life. The marathon and I were friends again. I learned that yes, its is possible to enjoy such distance and in the process to learn from yourself.

Closing another chapter to start a new one.. 4th @marathon_lodz in warm and humid conditions. Experience and patience paid off as I was able to move from 8th place at 10km to a 4th place to the end with a 2:41:13. The plan was to run for time, but quickly I knew this was going to be a race for place. Happy I kept the momentum going. Enjoyed each stride. Thank you to all of those who made this experience one to remmember from my Coach to training partners to friends, family, those who gave me a "Bravo!" during the race, organizers and of course @inthearena_team and @llbean. Cerrando otro capítulo para abrir uno nuevo.. 4ta en el Maratón de Lodz en condiciones calientes y humedas. La experiencia y la paciencia dieron sus frutos ya que puede pasar de octava al 10km a 4ta al final con un tiempo de 2:41:12.. El plan era correr por un mejor tiempo, pero pronto supe que esta carrera seria por lugar. Feliz que mantuve el momentus. Disfrute cada paso..Gracias a todos por hacer de esta experiencia una para recordar desde mi entrenador hasta mis compañeras de entreno, amigos, familia.. Aquellos que me regalaron un "Bravo!" en el camino, los organizadores y claro a @inthearena_team y @llbean #HowWeBean @lodzpl

A photo posted by Zoila Gomez (@zoilagomezita) on

Always an honor to step on a starting line and represent In The Arena and L.L Bean

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Thanks to @inthearena_team for this cool @llbean beanie, much appreciated! #InTheArena #LLBean #HowWeBean

A photo posted by Brayan Flores (@super_sprinter) on

Before I headed to Poland for my serious attempt at the marathon, there was one thing that had to be done. As an In The Arena athlete I get to surprise our ITAers with what some would call presents. I would like to call them, L.L. Bean well earned rewards to some of our long lasting and new ITA members. So there I was on my way to the after school tutoring office with the bag most of the kids already recognized. The ITA/L.L Bean tote goody bag.
It was Friday and we do not open the office on Fridays, so as I arrived to the apartment complex I looked around and there was Miguel walking to his apartment. "Miguel, do me a favor. Could you tell your sisters to come over to the office for a few minutes?" Then I see Catie, Brayan, Jessica H and I asked the same favor. Quick meeting in the office with Zoila? Something serious must be up.
Lately, things at the office have been slow, kids have not been showing up. Main reason, most of them have been staying at the afterschool program at their schools. So, that is fine with us as our main priority is that the kids do their homework. Either way, my sister Norma or I make sure the office is open just in case someone shows up. Then there they were, there I was.. "Well, I called you in to let you know that, WE , In The Arena and L.L Bean is very proud of all of you. As a reward for your hard work at school and participation in the ITA programs through the years we have something for you" Then I started calling their names. They were surprised. Some lughs of relief as a few of them tought I was going to get on them for not coming to the office lately. Some even apologized and gave explanations.
Catie's reaction as she finished putting on her L.L bean sports hoodie on was priceless. "Look, I own a hodie just like Zoila's hodies" Some of them were not around, so I paid a personal visit later on at their homes and the amount of gratitude shown from this kids was out of this world. From endless thank yous, to hugs, to kisses, to invitations to stay, eat and play. Their reactions made me proud and showed me we are doing a great job at what we do.
Carlos and his 3 sibbligs could not believe how soft their new sweater Fleece pullovers were. Once in Europe in a quick visit to Mijas, Spain I had the opportunity to mentor and spend some time with three wonderful kids: Noa, Sara and Oliver. After sharing a few hours with them, I could not help but leave them with some ITA and L.L Bean rewards for their accomplishments in and out the athletic arenas and as a welcoming to the In The Arena Team. Im positive they will represent us well in Spain.
In general, I love my work with ITA, I love it all. But when you get to reward your kids with some of your most favorite L.L Bean gear and even your own racing singlet is amazing. I know they appreciate and will treasure the moment and the detail for the rest of their lives. In these times, its important our kids know how much we appreciate them for their involvement with ITA throughout the years. Many of the kids that got an L.L Bean Reward have been with ITA since the organizaton started. These kids represent who we are and what we as an organization strive for, character and community. Like I told them in our private meeting that Friday, ITA believes in me, L.L Bean believes in In The Arena and I do believe in each and everyone of them.
Thank You L.L Bean for your support to ITA, thank you for helping us reward our kids for their hard efforts and long lasting involvment with ITA.
Thank you for giving back! #HowWeBean #TheWayLifeShouldBe #ComoLaVidaDeberiaSer