Feb 12, 2021
Tina shares that a few months ago, she realized she wanted to bring someone on board to help her grow and steer Running for Real in a new direction. After posting a job listing, she was blown away with responses. But Maria’s caught her eye. She sent Tina a video answering the questions on the application. “Something in my gut just told me this is the right person,” Tina said.
Maria’s focus is on storytelling and communications with a little twist of marketing. It’s about telling stories in ways that reach people’s heads and their hearts. She helps us define Running for Real and our mission of using running as a vehicle for internal and external change.
Maria says back in college she took a communications class and the professor strictly said never to use the word “awareness.” We are all too familiar with organizations raising mealth awareness, environmental awareness, running awareness, etc. But just because you’re aware of something, it doesn't mean anything unless you act on it. If we don’t bring things into life then awareness doesn’t get us anywhere. “To know and not to do, is not to know,” Maria says. That is why she thinks we can all take a step further. Past awareness and into action. This is an excellent article for reference.
Maria was born in Bogota, Colombia and her family moved to the U.S when she was three years old. She grew up in Gainesville, Florida, went to college at the University of Florida, and moved to Austin, Texas in 2018.
While she doesnt fully identify with being fully Colombian or fully American, at an early age she learned to value hard work perseverance. It was ingrained at her from the beginning the importance of keeping in touch with her roots while taking advantage of living the land of opportunity.
Her love of sports began in the water. Swimming was a big part of her life and she swam competitively through high school. When she was younger, the only running she did was running stadiums as conditioning for swimming and she saw any sort of running as a chore.
That changed when she moved to Austin which is where she started doing triathlon and getting involved with November Project and other running groups like East Side Beer Runners and Austin Runners Club’s Morning Jo’s group.
“Running is a common ground because we're all so different. It creates a safe space for us to have special conversations and form meaningful connections. Even for a long time, I didn't know what my friends did as day jobs because we just had so many other things to talk about!”
Prickly Pear is a mindset, a community that Maria and her sister Luisa started in 2018. They are sending out the message that you don’t have to follow the mainstream ideas. That you can go out on your own and do something different. That you can be yourself. They spread this message through their Instagram and their monthly publication called The Commissary that spotlights stories of everyday people doing positive things and spark curiosity. They’re bringing together people of different cultures and skills like artists, photographers, and small business owners so they can show up for one another and help each other live more meaningful lives. Tina describes it as more traditional media where it’s enjoyable to sit and read intentionally rather than scroll through.
Each week in Tina’s newsletter, Maria shares three things to ponder about, two recipes, and one challenge.
Maria believes the word, “Realized,” is what makes this new podcast with Knox and Tina so special. “Realized” acts more of an action verb because it’s about turning conversations into actions that listeners and ourselves can take to be part of helping humanity thrive. It comes out on February 22nd.
Running for Real has undergone a revamp. There’s a new website, logo, and even the podcast has a new cover. But at the core, the mission remains the same: having honest and real conversations.
Maria explains that hard conversations can be had with people who share different opinions if we are able to just find common ground. For us, the shared interest happens to be running. It’s what allows us to connect with others who have different backgrounds and cultures than ourselves yet share similar struggles.
“I think ultimately what I think Running for Real is about is literally humanity in running. So how can we show up as 100% human in this sport and then have that transcend into other areas of our lives? Whether it's how we show up with our partners, our neighbors, and our parents; how we show up at work; how we show up with the planet, and caring for the earth. So how can we just bring more humanity into running? We already have it in ourselves, but how can we show up even better.”
Amber has so much heart. She cares for everyone she crosses paths with and cares deeply about them. She has been working alongside Tina for two years helping her keep Running of Real running (no pun intended) while Tina had Chloe during the summer of 2020 and works mostly in the background publishing podcasts and engaging with the community through social media.
Amber is also a mom of three little ones and lives in Utah. Amber actually grew up playing soccer but her love for running has evolved over the last few years. She is a fountain of knowledge of Running for Real podcasts, having listened to pretty much every single one. In this episode, Amber shares her top 5 (and a bonus) episodes of the show:
“When I started running, I just wanted to get out there and with my lovely double stroller because I had two little kids at the time and I just pushed them everywhere I went. But with Sanjay, he really says that it's just you and the pavement and I loved how he spoke about running in a way that when you run you could just leave everything else behind.”
Billy Yang is Amber’s bonus favorite. One she enjoyed learning about his struggles and how vulnerable and transparent he is with his runs.
Perhaps Amber’s favorite thing about all Running for Real is that there is always a life lesson in each episode.
(YES!) - Amber ;)
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Launching my new podcast with my co-host Knox Robinson from my 200th episode on February 22nd. These episodes are going to go a bit deeper when it comes to the running world and the problems we are facing. I am very excited to have Tracksmith funding this project for us.
If you want to sign up to be the first to know more about this new podcast sign up here to get more information. There is also a trailer with this episode, so take a listen and I’m excited to know what your thoughts are.
To share your thoughts:
Leave a note in the comment section below.
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Thank you to Amber and Maria, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.