There’s a cliche about how running saved someone’s life.
In the case of Elisa Angulo, it’s the other way around.
The 36-year-old Fresno resident, a native of Sanger, was forced to hand up her running shoes for 8½ years.
The reason for the sabbatical from running? “Life kind of gets in the way,” she said.
“My heart was not in it,” said Angulo, who has gradually returned to running.
At the time, she was stressed from law school and moving from an apartment to a house. A nephew died two years ago. Her grandmother passed away recently.
It got to the point where she was losing her hair.
“You know, you have a bald spot?” her hair stylist told her during a visit.
“I had been hiding the bald spot for six months with my long hair,” said Angulo, who was trying to balance a full-time job with law school at the same time.
That’s when she decided to take a break from running.
Watch out, she’s back.
Angulo served notice she is on a mission to qualify for the U.S. Women’s 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials when she posted a 1:29:01 half-marathon at the Feb. 4 Hanford Cow Run.
“I’m coming back after not running much in 8½ years,” said Angulo, a federal worker.
Angulo – who posted times of 1:29:31 at Sacramento’s Urban Cow last October and 1:30:40.9 at the Bakersfield Half Marathon last November – has a marathon best of 3:06 (St. George, Utah) and realizes she’ll have to get quicker to meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 2:45.
Sunday morning (March 11), she’ll line up for the start of the Modesto Marathon.
“I’m terrified,” said Angulo, who is coached by her husband, Joseph, who owns a marathon-best 2:28. “I have no idea what to expect. It will be really exciting to see.”
Her husband believes she will do fine.
“I get my satisfaction when she achieves a good time,” said Joseph Angulo.
Based on her recent half-marathon time, he believes Elisa is on the right track.
“She’s really about six months away from qualifying for the Olympics,” he said.
His advice to his wife: “Don’t be afraid to fail.”
More on Modesto marathon
Among the other competitors in the race will be Fresno High School teacher Jesús Campos, who holds the Modesto Marathon course record (2:26:53, 2013).
Expect the course record to be challenged by Daniel Tapia, who owns a 2:14:30 best at the distance.
The female record is 2:39:04 by Berkeley’s Anna Bretan in 2015.
Runners should remember that Sunday is Daylight Savings Time, when they should set their clocks forward one hour. That means they will lose an hour of sleep.
Let’s just hope Modesto police remember! A couple of years ago, the race start was delayed by almost 20 minutes while police finished closing off streets.
The world’s toughest foot race posted its official list of entries for the July 23 race through Death Valley earlier this week. The race includes five previous champions: Pete Kostelnick, Harvey Lewis, Oswaldo López, Zach Gingrich and Marshall Ulrich.
Among the returners is Texan Brenda Guajardo, who has won ultras against male competitors. She lasted less than a mile in last year’s Badwater race when she broke a bone in her foot.
The starting times for the 100 participants will be posted later. There are three waves, starting at 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.
(This story was updated at 10:10 a.m. March 10, 2018 to correct Brenda Guajardo’s name and the starting times.)
Juan Esparza Loera is a sometime-addicted runner with 14 marathons under his belt.