A Damn Good Answer



My friend Jorge Diaz, has been asking me to come visit his kids at Rancho Cielo in Salinas, CA for a while now. I figured with Faviola in town, it was a perfect time to go as she would be a great inspiration. Rancho Cielo is a non-profit organization created to help at-risk teens develop life skills to be productive members of society. It focuses on building independence and self-esteem, and one way they do this is by encouraging a running program which Jorge helps with. If running can’t help give you a self-esteem boost and teach discipline, I don’t know what can!

Usually, I like to talk to students about goal-setting and point out that it took me 10 years and 3 tries to make the Olympic Team. It took sacrifice, drive, and sheer stubbornness, and I needed lots of help along the way. Athletics reflects life in so many ways. There are plenty of  good day, bad days and mediocre days in betweens. Sometimes you have to do something knowing it is a means to and end- an END that you want really bad, so the sacrifice is worth it.

When Faviola spoke, honestly, I couldn’t tell you what the hell she said, but she had their attention. At the end one of  the teachers asked her what her hardest race has been so far. This I understood, “La carrera de la vida.”- The Race of life.  Damn good answer, I thought. Knowing that Faviola went from selling candy on the streets as a child to being a law student, I believe her. I hope the students saw how important it is to have drive and something you are passionate about in your life. Me encanta correr!






Blake Russell

Runner, Wife and Mom. Enjoying where the running world has taking me and looking forward to the journey.

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3 Responses

  1. Marci says:

    What a great place to share your story. I am sure the kids were very motivated and excited to hear from you. I think it’s great to share both your struggles, but also your accomplishments in these situations… a happy ending is always encouraging. We all struggle and do our best, it’s so wonderful to hear when it works out for those who work so hard…. hopefully Faviola will also reach her goals after her hard work as well.

  2. Thank you. That is a great read. Best to all!

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