Cristina Goyanes will be part of the Nuun team at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on April 27. A freelance editor and writer for publications such as Women’s Health, Self, and Shape, New York City resident Goyanes will run her first half marathon that day; her parents, who’ll be celebrating their 40th anniversary that day, will be there to cheer her on. Nuun is the official electrolyte sponsor of the Nike Women’s half marathon and marathon series.
What’s your motivation to do this half marathon compared to the many other ones you could do?
I never dreamed of running a half. I’m a cyclist—riding my bike for long distances is my passion. Running is something I did as part of a triathlon back when I was into multisport racing between 2005 to 2009. I haven’t done a competitive run since then, nor have I raced farther than 10K in my life.
What made me change my mind about running this year is that I took off all winter from all sports, with the exception of a Bikram yoga class here and there. After being holed up in my tiny apartment throughout the seemingly endless polar vortex, I felt desperate to get back in shape. So when the opportunity came up to do the Nike Women’s Half, I saw it as a great excuse to get the fitness ball rolling, especially since the weather was still too cold and windy to go out for bike rides.
As for choosing this particular race, I know the environment will be welcoming and full of energy and fun. I know it won’t be intimidating, but quite the opposite, which is what I need to gently ease myself into the world of endurance running. Also, I’m really excited to receive my Tiffany’s necklace from a handsome man at the finish line.
Given that women now make up more than 60% of half marathon fields, what’s your take on the role of women-only races in 2014?
I love them! My first triathlon, in 2005, was the women-only Danskin sprint at Sandy Hook in New Jersey. My first multiday cycling trip, in October 2012, was the mostly-women Tour de Pink, a three-day, 200-mile ride for breast cancer. I think whenever women are venturing into something new and scary, it’s really wonderful to have this strong, supportive community to help guide you through it.
That’s not to say men aren’t supportive, but female energy is so different. It’s welcoming, compassionate, encouraging, empowering and more. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You go, girl!” or “Looking good, looking good!” from strangers and fellow participants on each course. When you add men to the mix, it changes things—makes it more competitive and about the individual more than the group. If more women-only races mean that more women will sign up to challenge themselves physically and mentally, then I think it’s brilliant.
What has been most enjoyable in your ramp-up from no running to being ready to run a half? What’s been most challenging?
I’m surprised how much I look forward to my runs. I don’t really enjoy them in the moment, because they are hard, but the before- and after-run feelings are pretty addictive. I actually think I’ll miss running three times a week after the half. I might have to sign up for another half just to give myself the excuse to keep going.
The hardest part has been getting my body to settle into the movement. Endurance isn’t my issue as much as the actual motion of running and how uncomfortable it feels. My lungs and heart have always been able to go the distance. It’s everything else, like my feet, hips and knees, that have made it harder. I wouldn’t say that I’m running in pain, but definitely discomfort.
Why will this be the first race in a decade your family will be at? Anything special planned to mark the occasion?
To my parents and friends, my adventures are ongoing and nothing special. So when I say to them, I’m biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as I did last June, my parents’ general attitude is, “OK, just be careful.” They are so desensitized to my crazy antics because there have been so many.
This time, I think it’s different because the race falls on their 40th wedding anniversary. When I realized the dates coincided, I told them that I would drop out of the race to be able to spend the day with them. But then they surprised me by offering to come down (they live in Queens, New York) with me and celebrate after my run. I was so touched. It made me want to work harder to really make it worthwhile for me. The pressure is on!
Of the four types of Nuun tablets now available, what’s your favorite, and why?
I couldn’t tell you which flavor I like best—they are all so good. I prefer the non-caffeinated ones.