Special Education Department Chair Kristianne Cordova takes her two dogs, Gabrielle and Xena, to the Veterans Memorial Community Regional Park in Sylmar. "My body was sore all over for days after the hike," Cordova said. "It is tough, but I have attempted to jog the trail a few times and will continue to because the incline is good training, especially as the LA marathon comes up next year." Photo courtesy of Kristianne Cordova

Cordova sprints through personal milestones

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Making the final round around the track, Special Education Department Chair Kristianne Cordova picks up the pace and bounds into a sprint. The pounding of her feet hitting the track syncs up with her breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Colors fly all around her and the wind whips her hair. The finish is in sight, she pushes herself and brings herself across the finish line in a final burst of power.

Cordova’s love for running and exercising started when she first earned a position at the school four years ago. Her motivation to lose weight through “clean eating and exercise” stems from health concerns rooted in her family tree.

“My parents both have high blood pressure and diabetes,” Cordova said. “I just want to be healthy for myself and my family. I just want as much time as possible with my family and I want that time to be fun and stress-free.” 

Cordova’s hobby was reignited as a fun way to bond with her two coworkers, English teacher Virginia Vasquez and former special education teacher Veronica Arellano, and to prepare for Vasquez’s wedding. Over the course of a few months, although the trio has stopped exercising together, keeping in shape is an energizing weekly hobby for Cordova. She tries to squeeze in time to exercise whenever she finishes attending to her duties at school which is usually during her free sixth period, before school, or after school.

“I just try to run at least three times a week,” Cordova said. “Running and working out is like ‘me-time.’’’ The first two miles for me are very challenging, but when I’m on the [third] mile, I can feel the runner’s high. It gives me space to think about what I want to do.”

Recently, Cordova, special education teacher Ubaldo Villa, and Jose Zaragosa, Business and Technology Academy teacher, participated in her first marathon, the Firecracker 5K marathon in downtown Los Angeles.

“I started training for the marathon in December,” Cordova said. “I asked for a lot of advice from [other teachers] who have run a lot of marathons. It was kind of intimidating to be around everybody there, but it was really great toward the end, because there [were] random people cheering you on.”

Besides running more marathons in the future, Cordova plans to exercise with her original running buddies and shorten her mile time. She cherishes the moments she shares with other teachers that also have a passion for physical activity.

“It’s just like girl time and you motivate each other to do the workouts,” Cordova said. “I think you put in a little bit more work because everyone else is really trying, so you really want to try too.”

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