Eligia Pineda

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I started running after I watched my younger brother run his first marathon when he was only 14 years old. I saw pain and satisfaction, mainly pain, but I knew I could handle pain. I joined the cross country team at my high school. I was a descent runner back then. However, I look back and think that I could had been a better athlete. But at that time I was fighting too many emotional battles which made running difficult to enjoy. While I suffer the typical teenage acne, my teammates enjoyed bullying me about it. Among the many names I was called, "monster" stayed in my mind for a long time. I truly loved running but the social environment I found myself in took away my desire to push myself to my limits.

At that time, there were bad thoughts in my head, suicidal thoughts cross my mind. However, I have a great family who always kept me strong. I left my anger and disappointments out in the streets and trails. Running kept me focused on what was really important. I didn't need to belong in a group of people who didn't accepted me. The only love I needed was of my family. I got back on my running with my family cheering along at every competition. I regret giving people so much power over me. I could had achieved more if I hadn't let them get to me. This is my worse running experience. But it made me mentally strong. Running helped me overcome my emotional distress. I believe this is the reason I enjoy running alone. Although I could be a team player, I truly enjoy running by myself. Just me and my trails.

I also ran for college. I enjoyed running at the college level. One day my coach made me cry on the track as we were doing a speed workout. He was frustrated over my lack of effort. I guess he saw talent but I was just not using it. He gave me an ultimatum. I had to let go all my fears. After a few ups and downs, I succeed to become a stronger athlete. My college coach taught me how to be strong. He taught me how to dig deep for strength. I don't break easily. He still tells my story to some of the new runners.

After having my son, I put running aside for a few years. I wanted to enjoy my baby and running became secondary. But I wasn't out for long. My son understands and respects my love for running and gives me "mommy time" to do it. At times he joins me for a few miles or he hikes my trails while I run. He has been my best supporter for the last 13 years. I taught my son to be part of my training. I want him to understand that running is not a sport to lose weight. Running is a lifestyle. Yes, running is my lifestyle. It is part of my daily life. 

Over the years, I gained so much weight. I won't lie, it is mainly due to my love for Mexican food. But weight has never taken anything away from me. I am a confident woman. I know I am on the plus size and it doesn't bother me. I still run as much as any other person. I can be as fast as I want to be. Anyone that knows me can tell you that I will always give my best. I have high expectations of myself. Carrying a little extra doesn't necessarily mean that I can't be fast. As a matter of fact, I am still a decent runner. Being on the plus size is not an excuse. However, I have learned to enjoy the slow, or as it is now called "sexy pace" by some of my friends.

Currently, I am working on passing on my passion and experiences of running to my friends, my pack. They have been around for a while and, to be honest, I am glad they are. I learn from them as much as they learn from me. My pack started running trails with me at Griffith Park for about a year now. Many of them didn't knew how much talent they had because they were new to running. Now, I see them attack the hills with passion. And between deep breaths, they tell me that they enjoy my trails. We became the pack of night trail running. Now, many of them have run half marathons and marathons. They make me so proud. While I enjoy their company, I still go back to basics most of the time.

I am a solo runner. I enjoy running my trails by myself. I run whatever my body asks for. There are times when I plan a long run and my body decides to cut it short. Or there are times I am just doing a short recovery run and my body goes for a 14 mile run. Sometimes I feel my body and mind are in conflict. I just don't plan my workouts. I just lace up my running shoes and go. I enjoy the peace I feel when I run. It is during running that I feel at peace with myself and the world. My mind clears and I enjoy the breeze in my face as I run. I love overcoming the pain as I do hills.

Currently, I am training for my first 50k. I am always up to a good challenge. I have decided to become an ultra runner. I have run for so many years that I feel it is time. I believe that I can. It will take a lot of training, pain and ice. I am ready to face it. I think I am ready because I have the endurance, the mental strength and the support of my son, my family, my pack and friends. While at some point in life I felt alone, now I feel blessed to have so many people in my life who love me and believe in me. And I love that my son gets to see me cross the finish line and maybe someday we both get to cross a finish line. 


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