Team Spot Check-In: Angela Ortiz

1. Tell us a little bit about how you came to be involved with NBR. What was your first run? How long have you been involved?

I started running/racing in 2010 after I admitted to a friend that I had been a runner in high school, and he dared me to run a 4 miler in Central park with him. The race felt awful, as it was my first race in 10 years or so, but I guess I kind of liked it because I kept signing up for more. At each race I'd see more and more NBR singlets in the crowd, and the people wearing them looked like a fun bunch. So I joined the google group and bought a singlet. But I was overwhelmed with the amount of options for runs, at first. I had no idea what a tempo run was. I hadn’t done a track workout in a decade. So, my first run with NBR was actually a race, the 2011 Coogan’s (Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks) 5K. I passed Jen Daniels in mile 1 and she offered encouragement (“Nice job NBR!”). She continued to offer encouragement when she easily cruised past me a few minutes later in mile 2. Despite feeling like I was running backwards, I remember thinking, mid-race, about how nice it felt to be part of a team, finally.

2. How is marathon training going? Are there any specific workouts that are really moving things along for you? Tell the world a good NBR long run story.

Marathon training has been going well so far (knock on wood)! We’re six weeks out so there is still some work to do, but I’m feeling pretty good at this stage. I spent the bulk of the late spring/summer working on shorter distances, so I came into this training cycle with a fair amount of fitness and strength that I can, hopefully, harness into a decent marathon build-up. I’m only doing a ten week training cycle for NYC, which I’ve never done before - so we’ll see how it pans out. 

I did 2x4 miles at marathon pace this week and I was surprised that it felt really, really good, despite the higher mileage and harder workouts I’ve been doing in the last few weeks. I’m optimistic that the shorter training cycle will keep me from burning out as we get closer to the race, which has happened to me before when I’ve started training too far out. The marathon mindset is sometimes difficult to wrap your head around; you just have to accept that you’re going to be running everything on tired legs and it’s going to be a difficult task to just stay focused. But those things are easier to accept when you feel like you’ve just started training and you’re already six weeks out!

I don’t really have any great long run stories because my long runs these days tend to just be 789,478,586.4 loops of Prospect Park. It’s hilly, it’s convenient, there are water fountains, and there’s no jumping on and off sidewalks or dodging traffic, just strollers and cute kids on wobbly bikes. I just think about the workout and the loops don’t bother me too much. Plus, the ninth time you pass the same group of folks on a park bench they start shouting encouraging things at you (at least that’s what I hear in my tired stupor) - so there’s a convenient built in cheering section.

3. Which NBR runs are you attending regularly to train? Are there any NBR members who inspire you to train hard (er)?

Because of my wonky schedule and my Just South location, I can't usually make it up to runs at McCarren. I have been known to occasionally crash a Wednesday morning Just South run, and during the summer, the Second Friday donut run was definitely a favorite. 

I see Lauren Perkins working hard in Prospect Park every day. She seems to set goals and go for them without making excuses, and that’s motivating. But I admire anyone who I see consistently working smart and working hard. I like stories about people who set their sights high and make sacrifices in order to get themselves there. I’m a fan of anyone I see getting out and gutting it out every day, doesn’t matter if you’re “fast” or not. I’m sure this describes a lot of people on NBR whose stories I don’t have the privilege of knowing, but it’s awesome to see people on the team giving it their best at races. Anyone who puts on their shoes every day and grinds it out is inspiring to me.

4. What does it mean to be chosen by your peers for a coveted NBR  marathon team spot?

It’s humbling! It’s a privilege to represent NBR and to be part of a team that does great things within themselves and within the community at large. 

5. What do you plan on eating post-marathon? What about the night before?

The night before is always chicken and rice or sometimes chicken noodle soup and bread. After the race, I generally crave a burger and a beer.

6. What inspires and motivates you to run this year's NYC marathon?

I’ve run NYC only once before and I felt like it was time to give it another shot. My race in 2013 was transformative in a way. I experienced that day as a full-on journey from start to finish; running by my neighborhood in south Brooklyn, up past McCarren and the best water table on the course (big ups to mile 12!), over the bridges into Manhattan where more friends were waiting on 1st and 5th aves. It was kind of like “This Is Your Life” but with sweat and blisters, and the big reveal at the end is that you aren’t going to die when you push yourself really hard.
NYC marathon day is hands-down my absolute favorite day in the city, so much support and kindness on display in a city that can sometimes be a challenge to live in. I just wanted to be a part of that this year.

7. In your head, what celebrity do you think you most resemble when you're running?

I feel like I should look like Jenny Simpson, but in reality it’s probably more like Phoebe from Friends.