I “met” Cristina via twitter, and I loved her perspective and her ebullience. I hope you’ll enjoy her story. If you’re here for the first time, perhaps because you know Cristina, I’d love to share your story, too. Just click on the link above, “Why I Run,” to learn the details.
I have always been attracted to endurance sports. I loved to see how people conquered their fears, and pushed beyond their limits. I grew up in Brazil, and as a kid I loved playing long sets of tennis at noon in summer: the longer, the hotter, the more humid, the better. As I grew up, sports took a back seat to my life and though I was still attracted to endurance challenges … I was happy to see them on TV. I saw coverage of triathlon races and thought it would be really cool to do something like that but I didn’t think I could because I couldn’t even run around the block without huffing and puffing.
Finally, when I quit my pack-a-day smoking habit and had two children, I was overweight and decided to start running to lose it. Slowly (literally), I began running on the treadmill and eventually I began running outside. I hated it! But I was able to run a 5k and then a 10k. As I did that I realized, “hey! Maybe I can try one of those sprint triathlons.” These races are generally a ¼ mile swim, 10 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run. I did my first one in June of 2010 and have been hooked since.
Today I don’t hate running … I dislike it. For me running is labored, it is suffered. I have never found my happy pace. It seems like I am constantly trying to go faster and getting really tired in the process. I compare and despair because everyone seems to fly by me as they smile and enjoy the process – I am envious. But I do love triathlons: I love the swim, enjoy the bike and so I must endure the run.
If my schedule says I need to run a long run and I don’t … I panic. Afraid that I will lose momentum, speed, or not compete well; but also afraid that I will be cranky, grouchy and irritable. Somehow running, and keeping with my training regimen has become a contributor to my sanity.
And I run for my kids. For them to see me do something that I don’t like because its what I need to do. At five and six years old respectively, they come to many of my races, bring me water and are a part of my active lifestyle. They know I struggle, but they see me keep going and I hope this example will help them overcome their own struggles in the future. They are fond of telling me to just keep going and never give up. I return the favor by encouraging them to do the same.
As I am getting ready to set out on my weekly long run, I think back to all that running has given me. It started as a ploy to lose weight and has brought me to where I am today: trainin for an IronMan I thought only other people could do.
Born in Brazil to Cuban parents, Cristina was a nomad who lived in Morocco, Chile, Boston, and Palo Alto to name a few.These days she works as a preschool teacher. Cristina lives with her husband and two boys in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she is currently training to complete an IronMan triathlon. You can follow her journey on her website, facebook and twitter.