I’ve always wanted to be a runner, desde chiquita at Palo Alto Elementary, I remember longing to keep up with my fast friends but trailing behind-- pink and sweaty and out of breath. I learned to detest P.E. and all things cardio. In middle school I tried out for volleyball in 6th grade. I promised my friend Blanca that I would at least try. The coach instructed us to do 10 push ups and then mocked my form (or lack thereof, if we’re being honest). WHAT AN ASSHOLE! I could have been the next (who’s a famous volleyball player?). Didn’t she know that my Tia Chaparra was practically a pro in Mexico and was on a legit team with legit uniforms? How did she not spot my Virgen de Guadalupe given talent? What a mensa. That was the moment that my FUCK THIS attitude was born. I walked out of that stupid gym and never looked back. Basically, from then on life looked like this:
Them: Hey, Cristina, let’s go for a walk!
Me: Fuck that.
Now, years and years later, 30 to be exact, that pink and sweaty gordita is back and longs to run again. I took a trip to New Orleans earlier this year and that’s where the longing sparked. NOLA has my heart in so many ways. La música y colores and the LIFE that happens loudly and unapologetically leaves me a little raw every time I visit. New Orleans is love and cultura and resistance and history. Every time I’ve left, there’s a piece of me that stays and waits for more. NOLA also requires a lot of walking and I was very side eyes about it all. My friends were all gungho about walking real ass miles from place to place, and I was behind them, rolling my eyes, and contemplating ditching them in an Uber.
On the real, it was hard to keep up, and while these are the most tender and fierce women that would have totally understood my struggle, I was embarrassed. Y listen, I am a confident woman. I attribute my Mami and Tías for always reminding me that I was both smart and beautiful growing up. Although, yes, I can be vain (and believe most of us are and it’s totally ok), I was more upset about not being able to navigate the world in way that felt comfortable.
After alllll that annoying (and beautiful) walking in New Orleans I came back knowing things had to change.
I joined the gym the next morning and immediately started running. I ran a 5k my first day and the rest is history! Tan Tan!
Girl, no. First of all, I already had the pinche gym membership. One that sat unused for the better part of three years. 3. 3. 3. Years. I don’t even want to do the math.
I started by thinking about the food I was feeding my body, about how it made me feel, and how much money I was spending on it. The truth hurts, ya’ll. I knew I had to make some radical changes. If we’re being honest, and by we I mean me, I am facing the issues I have around food. I was taught to eat every single thing on my plate. Like so many others, my family celebrates and mourns and shows love with eating! I show love with food, too. One of my favorite ways to show love is by cooking for my beloveds.
It’s hard to change your palette, it’s hard to release emotional attachment from the thing that nourishes you in so many ways. I don’t even know that I want to do that, cause food is love in so many ways, pero ayyyy! I knew I had to stop feeding myself toxic things and take it back to the kitchen and real foods.
I have changed the way I eat, taking note of how foods make me feel, and of my energy before and after. Green juice is something I drink on the regular now, and actually really LOVE it. I have a recipe and routine in my IG highlights if you’re curious. I am consuming way way wayyyy less sugar. I don’t deny myself anything, but I am much more considerate to my body. I love her, I think she’s beautiful and I want her to be thriving until we’re 113 years old.
Cardio, ayyyy pinche cardio. It’s taken me a long minute, but I’ve been going to the gym regularly. After 3 months of steady working out I have FINALLY started running, ya’ll!!! I’ve learned to combine something I dread with something I absolutely love-- music. Creating playlists and sharing what literally moves me has shifted something inside of me. I run a song, then walk a song. Lately I’ve been running two songs and picking up my pace! Maybe I’m not the next (who’s a famous runner?), but I am a much healthier and happier version of me. I’m taking this slowly and I have already seen an amazing transformation in my body, pero I know this is not a short term thing for me. I want to run around the world, I want to walk happily from place to place when visiting somewhere new, or even the familiar spots.
I’m very proud of myself for sticking to it and for prioritizing both mental and physical health. I loved my body then, I love her now, and we’re in this for the long haul.