Catching Up With Nadia Ruiz Gonzales: An Interview

Run It Fast was recently able to catch up with veteran marathoner Nadia Ruiz Gonzales from Los Angeles. Nadia is 27-years old and ran her first marathon at the age of 14. She has now run a total of 71 marathons to date.

Here is a quick rundown of why Nadia runs and who inspires her:

When did you start running?
In middle school, my mom enrolled me in boxing so I can learn self defense. Yes, cool mom. :) As part of training, the coach had us run and run some more in circles around the gym. It was then I learned I had a thing for endurance.

Did you start with races or just running recreationally or for school?
After middle school, my sister suggested I try out for the high school Cross Country team. Afraid and timid, I trained my first summer hard as a Freshman because it was a fear that I would be left behind. In our first school’s Cross Country meet, I came in first overall for our school. I was hooked. I remained undefeated at any long distance for four years at SFHS.

What distance(s) were your first races?
Standard distance in Cross Country was the 3 mile event. In Track & Field, I was placed in the 4x400m, 800m, 1600m, and 3200m. I was so hooked to the running high, I started running 5Ks and 10Ks on the weekends with my family as training to make myself a stronger racer. Ten years after graduating, my high school records for the 3 mile, 2 mile and 3200m still remain at SFHS.

Who inspired you or inspires you to run? Who got that ‘bug’ activated within you?
I first learned about running as a sport and the marathon distance as a 6th grader from my middle school math teacher who ran marathons for “fun.” Noticing my interest, my father took me with him to cheer on an Ecuadorian runner in the 1996 Los Angeles Marathon who went on the win the race making my dad be a proud Ecuadorian that day. Witnessing such amazing strength and will, I then decided as a little 12 year old girl that one day I would run the marathon to hopefully make my parents proud but most importantly prove to myself that I could do it. My father and I ran our first marathon together when I was 14 years old hand-in-hand crossing the finish line together… in tears. My parents had immigrated to this country with nothing leaving behind everything to allow for their children to seek greater opportunities. This was an opportunity I was taking to discover what I had inside me to run my first marathon. My father and mother to this day continue to be the largest source of inspiration for me.

How many marathons have you run?
After 13 years running, I have now completed 71 marathons as a 27 year old.

What is your fastest marathon to date? Fastest half marathon?
The past three years have been great racing years for me in running and triathlons where I have ran a 3:20:04 marathon PR and a 1:26:45 half marathon PR both in 2011. I hope and will work hard to surpass those marks this year.

How many states have you run marathons in?
I have ran marathons in 15 different states and 4 different countries. I hope to run marathons in as many countries as I can and in every continent.

Have you run an ultra marathon yet? If not, do you want or plan to?
I ran my first ultra in 2011 at the ET Midnight Marathon and 51K at Area 51, Nevada on 8/14/11. With a focused mind and the help of an ultra runner friend, I won first female overall at my first ultra despite how much it hurt my legs to go passed 26.2 miles. It was a great first experience!

What is your favorite race to date?
As many races as I have ran, it is always difficult to narrow it down to one favorite. I can say though my favorite top 5 marathons are: Los Angeles, Big Sur, Rome, ING New York, and Pikes Peak.

What is your dream race that you haven’t run but hope to one day?
The Antarctica Marathon. I’m wait listed for 2015. It is an absolute dream to run at the end of the world!

What shoes and gear do you run in?
I have tried a variety of brands. Currently, I run in Brooks.

What do you eat on race morning?
I have experimented with a variety of combinations and try to mix it up when I can to keep it exciting. I have had in the past: peanut butter and almond sandwiches, granola with almond butter, Greek yogurt with granola, oatmeal with apples, or bananas with honey.

Do you belong to any running clubs?
I am a part of an amazing online running community called the Marathon Maniacs member #1791, Tri Lunatics  #3 (site), and Run It Fast – The Club member #69 (details HERE).

What other runners do you look up to admire?
My father
My mother

Have you ever been seriously injured from running? If so did you have to take off a lot of time from it? How did you cope?
Thankfully, I have not been seriously injured but I did develop tendonitis of the knee once where I stopped running for 6 weeks. That taught me to not ignore what my body needs again. Too much, too soon, too fast is asking for trouble.

What advice do you have for someone looking to improve their time/speed in a half marathon or marathon?
Every little thing helps. If you want it bad enough, you have to adopt a marathon lifestyle. Love and listen to what your body needs and you can demand anything from it. Dream big.

What helpful tips can you give to the newbie runner that has no running experience and knows nothing about running?
The running community is one of the most welcoming groups you can find. No matter what distance, no matter what pace, always aim to have fun and you may just become a lifelong runner.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 1052 posts on Run It Fast®.

Joshua Holmes has completed 197 marathons/ultramarathons while running 100+ miles 43 including races such as the Badwater 135, Western States 100, The Last Annual Vol State 500K (3x). His favorite races to date are the Vol State 500K, Badwater 135, Barkley Fall Classic, Catalina Eco Marathon, Chimera 100, Across The Years, Savage Gulf Trail Marathon, Strolling Jim 40 Miler, Tunnel Hill 100, RUTS, EC100 and the Flying Monkey Marathon in his home state of Tennessee. Follow @bayou Follow @joshuaholmes on Instagram

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One Response to “Catching Up With Nadia Ruiz Gonzales: An Interview”

  1. Mario says:

    Wow, how impressive. Love everything about this.

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