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How Monterrey turned me into a runner

Today, I decided to talk to you about RUNNING and I am going to try to figure out how Monterrey, N.L. turned me into a runner...

I am definitely not the type of person on who we would have bet that I am going to become a regular runner. Do you remember your training classes at school years ago, the ones that we were calling EPS (Education physique et sportive = Physical and sportive education) in France, do you remember them? Well, I hated them. They were closer to torture sessions than anything else.

Although I discovered a passion for hiking and found out that I was not that bad at gymnastics, (thank God for having given me flexibility) the rest was a hell, especially team sports: volley ball, hand ball, football, rugby (probably the worst of all) and the rest of the whole band! The only one that I could sometimes appreciate was basketball (even though I prefer watching it!). At last, athleticism was okay…kinda…All well considered, I was actually not that bad at resistance. But the conclusion is that I was not good at sports. My main physical activities were dancing that I was practicing out of school and cycling: I was going everywhere with my bicycle.

When I arrived for the first time in Monterrey, two years ago now, I realized pretty fast that I will need to have a physical activity. In Monterrey, this is literally impossible to walk! There’s almost no sidewalks and the city has never been thought for walkers. It’s THE city of the car, highly influenced by an American model. Public transportation is not developed, reliable and safe. If you take your bicycle, it means that you are willing to take the risk of dying. The car is the only way to move through the city. As I don’t have one, I am a regular customer of Uber…(way cheaper in Mexico than in US or France by the way).

In Paris, I was registered in a gym where I was going every week, but I was not training at a high level. What was keeping me healthy was the fact that I was walking all the time, every day and to go anywhere. By living in Mexico, I realized how much European walk, especially in European capitals. But in Monterrey, this is simply impossible. Knowing that, your only way to keep being healthy is to do exercise.

I am lucky enough to have a little gym in the building where I live: that was a first step. But running on a machine is not the most exciting. Luckier than having a gym, I have Ivan! Ivan is my Spanish neighbor, my trainer and more than that, my friend. He knows what means living far from your home country and he is addict to exercise. I’ve started to run one year ago, mainly with Andy (you know, my better half). And recently we started training with Ivan. But how did I really come into that?

First thing: the necessity to move and to not turn into a couch potato. Secondly: the need of having a challenge. When I started running, I was not finding a job in Mexico and I was starting to feel depressed. I needed something that moves me, that energizes me. Third aspect: seeing that Ivan was doing so much exercise (he trains everyday!). You definitely cannot do anything when you see that your neighbor is doing so much. I can assure you that it creates a weird feeling of guiltiness. And fourth aspect: the running culture in Monterrey.

In Monterrey, you have different types of culture such as what I call the “meat culture". People here eat a bunch of meat and the “carne asada” (barbecue) is the most common thing that people do during weekends.

There’s also an “event culture”. People celebrate everything and organize events for everything, any pretext: despedida de soltero/soltera (bachelor/bachelorette party that they don’t only do once), baby shower, posadas before Christmas, cumpleaños (I can tell you that birthdays are a bigger deal than in France) and A LOT of things.

I am also thinking about the “yoga culture”: many people practice yoga here, it is something really common, at sometimes the point that it looks weird to say that you don’t do yoga. I enter in this category of the “weirds”: I don’t do yoga because I definitely don’t have the patience for that.

And there’s a running culture! In Monterrey and the cities around (San Pedro, Guadalupe, San Nicolas, Apodaca, Santiago), there are always races, every week end. If I compare with my home city, Paris does organize races but it’s more something punctual: it is not as big as it is in Monterrey.

One year ago, I started to run and in November 2016, I participated to my first 10k. I did it in 1h05 and you know what? I felt so good by achieving it and by running itself that I kept running more and more. I would have never guessed that you can feel so good while running. And I would have never imagined the feeling of accomplishment that it gives you. In the beginning, running was painful, it was something that I was doing by necessity. But surprisingly, running turned into something that I love. Would I talk about addiction? Maybe…if I don’t run for a certain amount of time, I don’t feel good anymore. The running culture of Monterrey encourages me. Participating to races on Sundays with many other people gives a sensation of emulation. It’s not necessarily about competing the others, it’s about running all together. It is something energizing. And more than anything it encourages you: if others are doing it, you can do it also!

Some people asked me why I run. That is a difficult question. How the worst girl at exercise at school became a regular runner? Originally, I was running by necessity: the need to move to keep being healthy. Now I also run for causes. Some races are organized to the profit of associations. For instance, last week I ran with Rosa Fuerte, an association to fight against breast cancer. But deeper, I think that I run for the challenge also. Running energizes you and makes you feel more powerful: it gives you confidence. It makes you feel free. I am not competing. I am not looking for the best result. I am looking for the achievement. I enjoy running, I enjoy the difficulty of passing some hits, and I especially enjoy the arrival, the moment where I see the “meta” in the end in front of me and where I start to run faster because damn, I am fucking doing it!

Summary of the year: I run every week and I participated to 6 official 10k races during the year, whose one was in Paris one week before my wedding. Today was my 7th race but it was especially my first 15k! Next target: 21k and who knows, maybe in the future a marathon…We can always dream!

The point is that moving from a country to another brings a big amount of changes. Sometimes, it’s even has a twister effect. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s hard. In all cases, it brings you thousands of experiences that teach you and shape you, that give you more guns for your future, that make you stronger. But above all, it brings you surprises and things that you would probably have never done if you have never gotten out from your comfort zone. Who would have bet that I was going to run?

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