Meet Christina Trahanas

Christina ran with CARA's Summer Marathon training program at our Darien site to prepare for her first marathon. She takes the time to speak with CARA on how she overcame her nerves to get out there and why she never looked back. In January of 2016 Christina completed the Dopey Challenge, which isn't for the faint of heart!

"What makes running at the Darien site so special is the way each runner is treated by the other runners and the community atmosphere it has created. The Darien group is also known for making new runners feel welcome." Michael Hutton, Group Leader at Darien said. "Christina has shown what a person can do when they set their minds to it. She is a special person who is an inspiration to all who know her."

1) It’s the night before your first run with your new CARA group. What are you thinking? What are your hopes and fears?

I was excited and nervous the night before my first summer training run with CARA because I only knew one person that would be there and he was a group leader for a much faster pace than I could run. I was nervous because I had never run with a group, or anyone else, and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up, especially with taking on a new distance. At the same time I was excited that I could meet new running friends in the area and wanted to learn from more experienced runners.

2) What made you stick with the CARA Summer Marathon running program?

From the first day, my pace group leaders, Tera and Susana, along with other members of the Darien site made me feel welcomed and were supportive of my run/walk intervals. Susana was also signed up for, and had completed the Dopey challenge previously, so she was able to give great advice. The entire group, regardless of pace or experience level was encouraging and supportive, offering advice throughout the training season.

3) What was your favorite part about running in the summer?

All the amazing friends I made during the training program! I also love being outside, enjoying the scenery and being out in the sun.

4) How has running changed the way you approach life?

I’ve learned a lot about myself on those long training runs. I know I can push myself more than I have in the past and that with hard work I can accomplish any goal I make for myself personally or professionally.

5) What is your greatest piece of advice to people who are afraid to start running or start training?

It will get easier! Take one mile at a time and one day at time and it will get easier. Not every run is going to be great or go the way you planned/hoped but those are the training runs that you learn from the most. Also, the physical therapist in me would advise all runners, regardless of experience to work on strengthening! My running improved greatly when I incorporated strengthening classes a few times a week.

6) During your running career what has been your greatest accomplishment?

Completing my first marathon as part of the Dopey challenge in Disney World! 4 days, 4 races, 4 parks and 48.6 magical miles in Disney! It was the perfect first marathon for me!

7) How do you overcome the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it."?

I focus on the mile that I'm in and not how many are left. I have positive thoughts and mantras ready to say in case I start to feel discouraged. And I think about all the people that can't run and feel blessed knowing that I can.

8) What is your favorite song to run to and why?

Lindsey Sterling Shatter Me- it's upbeat and I love the lyrics. It's about being yourself and breaking free from the image of perfection and the pressure that a lot of us put on ourselves. For long runs, I listen to podcasts like Eddie McCoy's Marathon Show, Andy Andrews, or sometimes books.

9) What surprised you the most as you started running more?

I was surprised that I actually enjoyed running longer distances. The longer I ran, the better I would feel mentally and physically.

10) If you could do it all over again what would you change? If you wouldn’t change a thing, why not?

I wouldn't change a thing! Even the rough training days or the days I thought I wouldn't be able to run another mile, helped me accomplish my goals. I was fortunate that my hard work paid off and I stayed injury free throughout training and met some amazing running friends along the way.

11) What are your future running goals? How do you plan on training to accomplish them?

Right now I have some half marathons and other local races I've signed up for. My next challenge is the Pixie Dust challenge in Disneyland which is a 10k and half marathon. After completing Dopey, I wonder what it's like to run a marathon without 3 days of running right before and am debating when or where my next marathon will be. So much for my "one and done" theory prior to signing up for Dopey! I plan on continuing to train with CARA and focusing on improving strength and speed over the next few months as well.


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