Member Spotlight: Crystal Vidal

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I’m running the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is Central Park (Park Lane Drive Loop). Conquering Harlem Hill and Cat Hill each time I run the loop gives me this running high that keeps me coming back for more. I love a challenge and that’s what Central Park gives me. Plus, every time I run Central Park I usually befriend a fellow runner and we have this face off. It is always friendly competition and very motivating for me since I am working on my speed. Another reason why I love Central Park is I get to soak in the sites. I recently had lasik eye surgery and these past two years of running in Central Park felt like I was seeing it for the first time. I used to run without my glasses before and now when I run I discover something new each and every time. It’s exciting!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Lately, on race day I have not been running with music, however when training my go to artist to bump to while running is Beyonce (when I hear “girls we run the world” I feel empowered and I know my stride has doubled as a result!). Another favorite artist is Jay Z! I’m from Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx, and am a huge fan of hip hop. The beat and lyrics make me feel as though the finish line is so attainable even with the aggressive goal time I have in mind.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Knowing there is a banana at the end of the race with my name on it keeps me going! I love bananas and apples. After that I usually inhale whatever is close by, but some favorites include: Spanish food, salad, sandwiches, and Pinkberry. It looks as though I am inhaling the food, but in my defense I have big teeth (which I LOVE) – they help to break down the food quickly.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
When I was young I remember on marathon day my dad would drive me and my siblings through Brooklyn stopping at different cheer zones to see the runners. He was always a fan of their speed and determination. During my sophomore year of undergrad, I started running 1-2 miles every other day. Then after graduating in 2009, my dad fell very ill and before he passed away I wanted him to see me run. I wasn’t prepared for 26.2 but agreed to 13.1. I recruited one of my best friends who is also a big TFK fan, Yareni. My first race ever was with Team For Kids in 2010. The support and joy has kept me coming back for more.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Not really. In the morning of race day I always make sure I eat a bagel and banana. I take breakfast very seriously. It’s one of my biggest meals. I do not want to be a hangry runner.

Why did you choose to run this event?
It’s the same year I am running my first marathon ever. Plus, I am addicted to Team For Kids and I want to start this year off on the right foot which for me begins with the 2015 NYC Half representing Team for Kids where it all started back in 2010.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am 27 years old. I graduated from Columbia University in 2009 and am working as a supervisor in a medical case management program that helps people living with HIV and or AIDS. I grew up in and out of a bunch of different foster homes. I have 11 siblings and we’re all phenomenal in our own special way. I hope to expand my platform in the medical field by obtaining my medical degree. Watch out for future Crystal Vidal, MD. I love to travel and read books. I have a slight passion for fashion. Running maintains my sanity and I am so grateful for the guidance and support.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I’m excited to run with Team for Kids because I know I’m running for something larger than myself. When I am wearing that Team for Kids singlet, I know I am not only running for me, but for the kids, and this thought keeps me running. I also always get excited to meet the coaches along the course on race day. The TFK coaches running along side me, giving me tips, motivating me gets me emotional, but gives me that push and pull to maintain my speed and get me to the finish line. I will never forget my last half running in Brooklyn 2014. I was nervous because I was aiming for a sub 2 and begged Coach Scott to run with me if and when he saw me. He told me to run with a pacer who was also a TFK alum. I trusted his suggestion and I did. I did not think I would see Coach Scott on the course, but we crossed paths and he told me I looked good and strong and that I was going to hit my sub 2. Having people who believe in me is always awesome. I CAN NOT wait for NYC 2015 Half Marathon. I pray to PR at the race where it all started representing Team for Kids again. 2015 is a big race year for me. I hope to soak it all in and enjoy these moments while accomplishing all the goals I have set forth.

If you’re new to Team for Kids and hearing Crystal’s story inspired you, join us at an upcoming information session to learn more and to sign up for a 2015 event. To view dates and to RSVP click here.

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