Thursday, May 14, 2015


Here's a question to ponder.

Are runners remarkable people, or do remarkable people become runners?

Last Saturday, the day before Mother's Day, I received a message from Avery Alvarez. She wanted to tell me more about her mother's remarkable running journey, and asked if I would write about it.

Her mother,Sirena Alvarez is 57 years old. She started running last September.

It started innocently enough.

She and two of her friends were sipping coffee and relaxing at Lake arrowhead, California when the topic of running came up. The three were avid hikers, and all but Sirena had done some running and had competed in races.

Sirena's friend, Jana, was persistent, suggesting they begin a training program.

Sirena's responses were: "It's not for me.," "I'm too old," and "It's not good for my knee."

Undeterred, Jana replied, "If nothing comes out of it, at least you can lose weight. It's one more form of exercise. If you don't like it, you can quit."

Needless to say, Sirena didn't quit.

After shopping for running gear, her first workout took place at the legendary Rose Bowl, in Pasadena. An "easy" workout turned into a 3-mile run, a painful knee, and a visit to the chiropractor, who suggested easing into training rather than starting out too fast and too far too soon.

She followed his advice, worked her way up to 12 miles, and in December she ran the Santa to the Sea Half Marathon in San Diego, California.

Hopelessly addicted, she ran another half marathon in December.

In a short, six-month span since beginning competitive running, Sirena has completed numerous short races, five half marathons, and the Los Angeles Marathon, on a hot day, back in March.

Her goal is "60 by 60." She hopes to  earn 60 medals by the time she reaches 60 years of age. She plans on running the  Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon in October, and a half marathon at Disneyland, Paris in 2016.

Sirena runs to remain healthy, to manage her weight, and to keep her cholesterol down. She has borderline diabetes, so she likes to be able to eat what she wants.

Remarkable people become runners.

Sirena Alvarez is one of them.