Running for Mental Health and Tips for Building an Inclusive Community with Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas

Running for Mental Health and Tips for Building an Inclusive Community with Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas


When we said that we wanted to celebrate Latin Heritage Month - Bertrand's face immediately lit up. - I've got the perfect person - B said.

We really couldn't do any better than Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas, the head of diversity, inclusion, and equality at San Jose State University. At we're so lucky to book this busy community leader - still recovering from her bout with walking pneumonia.

Wow - this passionate runner also got her start later in life, after the passing of her mother in Colombia. We talk about the benefits of exercise for your mental health. The importance of community - not only for motivation, and the social aspects - but also for safety. And some coaching tips from the ultramarathoner and coach for San Jose Fit.

We also talk about the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equality in all of our communities - and the local event that Fernanda is putting on in San Jose. All of the show notes can be found online at racemob.com/podcast - including links to her event. You won't want to miss this fun conversation.



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Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

[00:00:00] Guest Quote

[00:00:00] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
So for different reasons the running community is, very white in like in general, as in the USA. Our running community here in the bay area, we're very lucky in that the diversity is amazing. But I will say that people from a specific uh, minorities may feel less safe than other people. Right.

And so I think that that's something that is always in the back of my mind. My work also is on um, diversity, equity and inclusion. So look at everything that I do with that lens and is an intersectional lens, right. It's not just my gender, but also my race, my ethnicity.

[00:00:39] Episode Intro

[00:00:39] Kevin Chang:
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number 71.

I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd. And I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator, the incomparable Bertrand Newson.

[00:00:53] Guest Introduction

[00:00:53] Kevin Chang:
When we say we wanted to celebrate Latin heritage month, Bertrand's face, immediately lit up. I've got the perfect person B said. And we really couldn't do any better than the head of diversity inclusion and equality as San Jose state university.

We're so lucky to book this busy community leader, still recovering from a bout of walking pneumonia and wow. This passionate runner also got her start later in life after the passing of her mother.

And Columbia, we talk about the benefits of exercise on your mental health, the importance of community, not only for motivation and the social aspects, but also for safety and some coaching tips from this ultra marathoner and coach for San Jose fit. We also talk about the importance of diversity inclusion and equality in all of our communities and the local event that Fernanda is putting on for San Jose.

All the show notes can be found online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast. And without further ado, here's our conversation.

[00:01:47] Start of the Interview

[00:01:47] Bertrand Newson:
Hello, RaceMob family. We are in for a real treat today. Why? Because we have coach Fernanda. Yes. A diversity expert, ultra marathoner, marathoner someone who's a coach of all fitness levels from couch to 5k all the way up to marathon. Welcome, coach!

[00:02:05] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Hi, Coach B. Hi, Kevin. Very happy to be here.

[00:02:09] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, we're so thrilled to have you on the podcast. Getting to know you a little bit and hear about your story. so. I think we talked just a little bit before we got on air how you were a little bit later in life of a runner, much like Coach B and much like myself.

[00:02:25] Getting Into Running

[00:02:25] Kevin Chang:
So talk to us a little bit about how you actually did get into into running.

[00:02:30] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Well, thank you for the invitation and thank you for that introduction. Yeah, so about me and how I started running. I started running later in life, in my forties. And it was due to something a little tragic. It was the death of my mother. She passed away in 2017. And she was a very important part of my life, super important.

And so when that happened, I really had no concept of what the loss of a parent is, especially somebody who's so close to you.

So a little bit of context. I am from Colombia, Bogota, Colombia. And so I live in San Jose. So when I found out about her passing obviously was, I was here. I found out In the morning, on the same day, I had to fly to Colombia and happened so fast, you know the next day was the mass and couple of days later, you know, she was being buried.

And so it was a, everything happened so fast, but one of the things that I realized I was not able to cry. I think I cried once in the whole time that I was in Colombia. But one of the things that I fel t I will say two or three days after was this feeling like it really was something that came from like my inside I needed to go out and run.

And I had this cross-country and not constantly, but I had this fitness kind of shoes. They were not running shoes. I had no idea of running really. I, if, if I had done five Ks, maybe I did one 5k and the. But I just started running a nature, started running right outside my parents' apartment.

And so there was a little park, it was a square and I just run, but it was not that I was like, you know, there's magic, perfect runner. I, I was exhausted. Like I will run and I will have to stop, but I needed to run because I needed to, get all that grief and sadness out of me.

And I think it was after a few runs maybe because it was every day that I just needed. I wake up and I will go out for a run that I started crying. So I was able to kind of like release some of that sadness through that first encounter with running. and I would just say, you know, I'm going to run from here to here, like from one corner to the next corner, and then walk the rest.

Because I, I was not in shape. I was. But at the time I had it started, I thinking about starting like a more healthy way of eating because I have guard that's kind of like acid reflux and asteroids. so I have heard from my doctor that I needed to lose some weight, but I was not, I was never really successful in that.

Anyway, so when I came back from Colombia, I felt like I needed to run every day. I was just could not leave it it gave me this peace that I didn't have before. And it was the only time that I got actually could talk to my mom or feel that my mom was there with me.

And I explain it when, when I was in Colombia, it was like this Forrest Gump moment. One run. Right. then when I was here, it was more like feeding my soul. And and obviously when you start running and you have no idea, well, what happens? Well, you get injured or you start feeling like everything hurts.

And people were like, you were doing too much and this is not right. And your legs, you know, because I will tell, you know, my, my feet are hurting. My knees are hurting, my hips are hurting.

And so it was until the following year, because she passed away in August, 2017. he was sent until the phone year that I had already run the Turkey trot and I will die. Like, you know, I never do anything halfway. So I did not ride store the 5k. I registered for the 10 K, why not?

I was overdressed, so I was overheated at the end and it was just, I have no idea exactly what gear you needed to, to use.

[00:06:26] Bertrand Newson:
Sounds very familiar.

[00:06:28] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
It's somebody said said the Mizunos. And I was like, because does, you know, the brand that she uses it? And I bought him online, you know, I just got him like, never tested that. And that's how I did my first two races, the second race with the 40k.

And it was after a few times that I complained so much that somebody said, oh, either you find a coach or you find that. So I did search online and I found these amazing group that I am part of, which is San Jose fit, is uh, USA fit. And there is, you know, there are different ones in different cities in the us.

And so this is my group and they welcomed me and they taught me how to dress and what kind of shoes and what was good for me and not. And I started training with them and that year 2018, I ran my first half marathon. I went back to Colombia, I run it in honor of my mom. yeah.

And that was my first, yeah, half marathon. then the same year I run my first marathon in December. It was CIN, the California international marathon. since then I've been running, every year, this year has been like the most difficult because of my health issues, but I ran it an ultra marathon in Sweden, in Stockholm.

And last year I ran another ultra marathon and antelope canyon in Arizona.

[00:07:50] Running Is Good for the Body and the Mind

[00:07:50] Kevin Chang:
Incredible. One thing that you brought up, which I think is so important, especially for runners, is, is the mental aspect of running. You know, I think so much of the time we get caught up in the physical benefits and the physical, you know, wellbeing and, and all of that.

But the mental health benefits of running, of being able to take yourself out of your day to day, to be able to really check in with your self. I think that's so extremely and incredibly important. I know that that's important to you as well.

[00:08:22] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I would say that great. All the physical benefits. As I shared before, when I started running. I was kind of like in the process mentally, like I need to do some exercises. I need to go more to a gym. But as soon as I started running and he was not that I, I was focusing out because this is very important, right?

I am one of those people that this idea of body neutrality. I don't know if you have heard of that term because we all talk about body positivity, right? We need to be positive about our bodies, especially women. You know, we are bombarded with so many things about fitness and beauty and cool and with beautiful and what, you know, all this. stuff

But I think that that is great. That is a way of seeing it, but in the way that I'm looking at it is new concept of, well, I don't know if it's new, but I have heard it more and more. Now, recently is body neutrality. You're focusing on your body strengths. Right? So that's where I approach my fitness really is how strong do I feel?

And when I run, I really feel that it's not that I'm, oh, I'm trying to lose, you know, my love handles or I'm trying to be skinnier or anything like that, but he's more. I want to run longer. I want to run faster. I want to, you know, I want to feel that my legs are not going to have to get tired so much.

So I'm always thinking about how can I be a stronger. Do I need more muscle? So, okay.
Then I do cross-training and I do weight lifting and stuff like that. do I do a track right? Fast, you know, a speed work. and so it's more about that in the. Changed my mentality about like the fitness part.

So I lost 24 pounds since the moment I started to where I am brand new, and I have maintained that weight, right? This is, you know, I started in 2017 and I think I lost pounds by January. And it started running like in August, end of August. So September let's say, and since then I just kept my weight. Right. And I think it's because of the obviously, and that's the other part.

They, food intake, you know, we, we think so much about, oh, I can't eat this and I can't eat that. And now I'm actually a vegan. changed my way of thinking as well, because started looking more into like, what kind of actually makes you more attuned with the earth, with nature, with the energy that is around you.

And I am I don't throw shade on people that eat meat and those that was on my thing. And I'm not trying to convert anybody. I heard these guru. Who's talking about it at an Eddy, convince me that, you know, when you intake, animal products, there's this energy negative sort of in it. And the energy that after, you know, the animal is killed, you ingest it.

So that's kind of like where I come from in that sense. And I felt stronger last year. It was my first year running on just veggies, and vegetable products. And I run my ultra marathon and I can say, I felt like super energized. Like I felt a different kind of way. And so, and I eat part carbs. You know, I love cards because as a runner, because of carbs, pasta to watch, I think I love bread.

So I think. It's you know, that balance, right? But once you find that where you, you feel comfortable with within level of activity you are doing, you don't feel so limited by your food choices and you don't see things as is bad for you.

Like, you know, and I only look at the meat product cause it's just because of what I believe. And I don't eat any.

[00:12:10] Staple Foods of Fernanda's Vegan Diet

[00:12:10] Bertrand Newson:
Are there any diet staples that you, I mean, you said more veggies and you, of course, we've talked about pasta and bread there, we drop that. But things that really feel that have been game changers that really help with your energy levels, especially as an endurance app and you've run marathons and ultra marathons.

Is there anything that you've added into your diet that you feel are staples? From an energy perspective, recovery perspective, and then the importance of plant-based proteins. If you feel that that's been something you've been able to help them wellness journeys.

[00:12:40] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yeah, I think for me, well, I'm not a great cook. Disclaimer. So I do a lot of like raw stuff. I'd very much like, maybe see your veggies and things like that. I love watching videos on Instagram of all these vegans I love the Korean Vegan. she's amazing, even nobody, oh, we made this amazing dishes other German girl that I also would love to, I don't, I don't make any of those things.

What I do make is, I like tofu, scrambles. I love tofu scramble. So I definitely used one of the key things. And the vegan is spices. So that tofu scramble has every single spice that you can think of tumeric peppered canned peppered, all that stuff. So that's one of the things that I kind of liked to learn.

But when I run, when I prepare for a run I try to eat. You're not gonna, I mean, I. Do that, I don't know peanut butter or Elma butter or any of those seeds are incredible. Right. I am now into some sunflower seed butter um, and that's what I have, like prior to I used to eat a lot before running and then I realized like less is more, I still have, like before, because I did the change of, you know being a nominee ward.

To vegetarian. Right. So I did the, it was a transition, right? It was nine one. So I was eating a lot of eggs, right? Like hard-boiled eggs in the morning before I run in plus bananas and slice of bread with peanut butter. And no, you don't need all that.

But if you have good slice of bread with either peanut butter, Alma butter with some bananas that's I love that it's for me.

What else do I eat? Quinoa? I love Quinoa with veggies keynote as a base, and then you just chop some cucumbers tomatoes, a little bit of red onion. And I love avocado. I have chickpeas everywhere. Chickpeas too. an easy one. that's a, that's a staple to that. I go to all these pokey bowls with seaweed and the brown rice. And I do a lot of that brown rice and the veggies, like the leaves, like so spinach, you know, stuff like that. And then the tofu as protein and yeah, so that's kind of like my...

So I, I do have a. Try to do a lot of Asian fusion stuff. Am not an expert. No, I eat it. My kids eat that like, okay, this is it. This is okay, mom. So they they do eat uh, mostly chicken, the little one but we don't eat red meat anyway.

[00:15:20] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, I find it so interesting that, you know, once you get into running or once you find your inner athlete, that you get much more in tune with your body and, you know, you get to understand what types of food make your body and your runs feel great. And what types of food really weigh you down and don't, don't let you work at peak performance.

So yeah, I'm always interested to see, you know, those, especially those of us who finds running later than. You know, what other changes you make to support your running habit? What are the other things that you bring in? So, I think that's a extremely interesting and fun conversation single time.

[00:15:58] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yes, I do. I, I love to hear people talk to, know, tell me what they eat. Yes, definitely.

[00:16:04] Coach Fernanda's Areas of Expertise

[00:16:04] Bertrand Newson:
Well, one thing you shared with this earlier, and Kevin, and I know this. Or listeners to knows that you are a running coach as well. Right. And in particular with San Jose fit what is your area of expertise and how can that help runners on their health and running health and wellness journey as well?

[00:16:22] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yes. Well, I I'm their core Coach. And I started, as I said, when I started with the group in 2018 I you know, I developed this. Close connections, with, you know, with my running group, because we separate depending on pacing, right. But at the beginning of each meeting on Saturdays, there is a training, there is a conversation about either eating right, or kind of shoes or kind of equipment or running etiquette and stuff like that, right?

And one of the things that that I learned was, you know, we will share a lot of articles. So that year for me was the year. Reading everything that it was about that it was, I was, I was there about running women's magazine. We've been running run into the world, whatever. I mean, anything that I was out there, I, I devour that, because one of the problems that I had at the beginning was I had these really bad pain on my left side and my left knee and the left side.

And I was like, wait, why my knee is hurting. Like, I. I understand. I mean, I just started running. I am, you know, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, this, stretching the rolling the stuff until I started realizing that core was a part, a fundamental part. Right. And I was one of those people that I will do apps and do planks.

And then when I realized that it was not only your core, but also your glutes, that needed development and your, your lower back. And I was thinking. Wow. There is all these other set of info that I had no idea. Right. so I approached that year as a year of learning. So the following year ended up having, being that the person who was the core coach, retire, you know, she's, you know, she was doing something else and decided to focus on something else.

I just volunteer. I said, I mean, doing that. People will see me. They saw how strong I became, because it was just, would say that it was an obsession, but it was really looking at too. How can I control this pain in my knee? I didn't have any pain when I run my, the second year, my, my my same, which was really good time.

I actually. said 40 minutes from the first

[00:18:42] Kevin Chang:

[00:18:44] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
I did a prove a lie. when I said, you know, I can do it. And so Georgeann was. Coach for the, for the group was like, well, would you like to be our our coach? And I was like, yeah. So I went through the training, they do have a training for coaches. Have to eat 35 and, and that's how I became a coach.

[00:19:03] Strength Training and Breathing

[00:19:03] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
And so what I do is have worked for me really. And so that's what I share with the group. we go through exercises that focus on stability. Resistance strengths and focus on legs, core, your glutes. So there is a lot of planking. There is a lot of like modifications, plannings, and have movement.

And also I think it's stability super important. So they also, we can, you know, it's hard to be stable in one foot. So we do a lot of that movement. I love I tell everybody we can't do it where we train, but tell them to jump rope we're not, you know, when they don't have any time to go to the gym, just 15 minutes of jumping rope.

is the best exercise that I've seen, that it works for me. And I read, I mean, it's not that I'm don't believe me. Believe the expert. But he's one of the most complete exercises that, and, another exercise that I don't like, which is the burpees, but you would mean you'd do like burpees and jumping rope.

I can jump rope for an hour. Don't burpees, but yeah, burpees is another one that is super complete as well. So, so that's how I focus on my, on my training
for my class.

[00:20:17] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, and I love what you're touching on, which is the importance of core, the importance of strength work you know, and especially those that have. Certain amounts of pain, oftentimes like the knee pain or the other stuff comes from overstriding.

So, you know, they're trying to jump out too far ahead of their body. They're not actually catching their feet underneath their body. They're not actually using their posterior chains or their glutes or their hamstrings to actually kick back and allow them to propel forward.

So I, I. Both the strength training aspects, the way that you're helping people's core and, you know, having a tighter core, as we've talked about before that that really helps with energy efficiency as well.

And you don't want this like wet noodle on top, that's draining all the energy out of your body. so having a strong core, but then also training your muscles and especially your posterior chains to help propel you forward. I think this is fantastic and it's really, you know, these are all things that are hard to learn on your own.

Fantastic to be able to have a Coach in front of you, somebody who can help train you. Somebody who's been there and done that before. So that's.

[00:21:18] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yeah. And I will just add that breathing is really important as well. One of the first books that I read was running with a mine of meditation and maybe that's the title, I think, but it was a. Who started running at some point in his life. so he combined both of, you know, the meditation part and he's breathing and he's teachings into running and how similar they are.

it resonated so much with me because it was these, you know, I got to that point through my grief, right through my of grieve and how. Running gave me that piece. And he was coming from, I know the replays of, you know he's spiritual beliefs, but also these physical exercise also connected him with this this higher level.

And I actually feel after running, feel more, you know, more as an even even keel kind of person. don't know if you've experienced that here. Not this runner high right after, but he's like, after nothing can just bother you. Right? It's not that you're tired, exhausted, and you're in bed now is this level of peace that it is hard to describe, right?

Unless you have felt it. And for me also, had to do with the breathing and how you breathe in and the breathing also having a place into managing the pain. And, and I also had a few techniques where, you know, I try not to fall when it makes selling or I'm excelling. When I'm running, I tried to Excel the leg that is not right.

Not, not hurting. Right. And then. Get the pain out of me with my ex, you know, when I Excel. So things like that that also worked for me. I share with them with people because I have read them somewhere because they work for me. So, you know, it might not work for you, but that's something that I also, I also.

[00:23:08] Kevin Chang:
And I love that too, you know, talking about breathing and talking about breathing from a meditative and you know, I think. One of the problems that we see most often with early runners is going out too fast. And, you know, being in this, like for, netic trying to catch your breath every step that you're taking.

if you can just slow down find that meditative pace you know, you'll, you'll find time to reflect and and you know, I think the whole breathing part of it is extremely important to finding that pace.

[00:23:36] Community and Safety for Female Runners and Runners of Color

[00:23:36] Kevin Chang:
Talk to us a little bit about community. I mean, I think you told us a little bit about, you know, finding San Jose fit, finding that community.

You talked to us a little bit before we went on air about safety, safety, and numbers, you know, the importance of community from that aspect to talk to us, you know, and, and some of our audience about, about that community aspect, what has meant to you?

[00:23:58] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Well, first of all, it's a woman. I feel that when I run in a group, I feel safer. Right. And so I approach not only the fact that yes, you feel the energy from the group and you feel, You know, more connected to the running, to the exercise because you were with somebody else. And because you, you feed from their energy of your tire.

But also because a woman, you are you're exposed when you're outside and you're running. And let's say you were running, you know, trail running in a hill or even in your neighborhood. You have heard the stories, right? So many women that have been attacked, some have been raped, some have been killed. And so those things are not, not a story, is that are you the creative or something you see them quite often, sadly.

So for me, writing in community, it means that also, I mean, safety. I definitely, when I run by myself in my neighborhood, I try to keep pepper spray with me. Cause even though I run, I never ran like super late or I don't run super early by myself. I definitely I I'm mindful of areas where, you know, you might not see anybody you don't know who's lurking right out there.

But also because of our identities, right. We were just talking about that. We are people of color here. So for different reasons the running community is, very white in like in general, as in the USA.

Our running community here in the bay area, we're very lucky in that the diversity is amazing. But I will say that people from a specific uh, minorities may feel less safe than other people. Right.

And so I think that that's something that is always in the back of my mind. My work also is on um, diversity, equity and inclusion. So look at everything that I do with that lens and is an intersectional lens, right.

It's not just my gender, but also my race, my ethnicity. I also look at class. W you know, even accent in speech when you are like outside and how you are perceived and, and how we have some privilege even as minoritized people, right. So for me, then the importance of community is huge because you feel that support and that belonging, once you belong, you feel that you're seeing right.

You feel that people, respect you and one to have you around because of what you who you are, but also when you can share right. And I think when you are part of a group that sense of belonging and also collegiality makes you grow as a person that more inclusive a group is the more, it, this is not just in running, but at work in a.

So the more inclusive the group is, and the more welcome, and seeing you, you are the more creative, the better runner. They, you know, you just flourish, right. So it's amazing. What, what group dynamics can do positive? it's gonna do okay. And I think that we as runners are excellent at that. We, you know, you would grabs on my leg, come here and let me tell you my stories and all the things that you need to do and what you need to buy and what not buy and, you know, things like that.

So, I don't think I have experienced that from any other group, really, to be honest. and, and runners are very selfless in that. So I think that's where I approach this area now. another thing is you know, combining this with the mental health we as minorities too, or minoritized people, we have.

Very few. I was just, it was just thinking about spaces where we can be free, right. And we can be ourselves. I think we can be ourselves when we are with people that know us and that respect us and running. Is that it or any activity or outdoor activity means. And you are going to have that sense of freedom and mental release and, you know, mental instability and these physiological activities or changes also improve your mental health.

So if you are threatened when you're outside, you really not getting the benefit of that exercise. Right. Right. So I think that is important when we're talking about running that we don't forget. Kind of like how we come out into the world and all our identity. Because if you say, you know, if you, if you hear somebody who is a great running, who is white and taught in as a male, like, I go by myself and I run into them in practice, you know, and I was like, oh, this is great, but you're not a woman.

You're not a person of color. So if you're in this neighborhood, you might not be seen as a threat, but you as an, you know, Coach as an African-American and Kevin USN and it's a nation of merit. As well, you know, with all the things that had happened last year, you're like, okay, this, you cannot not see that.

Right. You can't ignore that reality. So I think that the community, the running communities of doing a little bit more work on that, I mean, at USL. Trial conference out for this year. And I think the issues of diversity equity and inclusion has been, they have been added to this conversation and I think they are very relevant and important.

We have to do that.

[00:29:19] Kevin Chang:
If you like our podcast and sign up for our newsletter, where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process, just go to RaceMob dot com and sign up today.

[00:29:31] Bertrand Newson:
Yeah, Coach in your own part, you're doing, you're doing the same thing. I mean, why don't you share about the event that you're working on right now as part of a San Jose state?

[00:29:40] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yeah. so obviously as a runner, I have to like marriage my life at work.

[00:29:50] Kevin Chang:
I guess, so it's like

[00:29:52] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Because I I'm, I'm that type of person who's like, how can I, you married, you know, this thing that I love with this other thing that I'm doing also, that I love, you know, but as is my job, right? So this year We are doing something very special.
So before I was in, in diversity equity and inclusion I work in community relations for 10 years in student affairs.

So I work with the communities, specifically the the Vietnamese community and the Latin X community in San Jose to get. And to like come to the college and learn about, you know, higher education. And it was not just about the students that were just graduating from high school and they were trying to apply to San Jose state or to any series.

But it was a family affair. It was really inviting kids as little as eight or seven into the campus hear these speakers. We usually got somebody who was, you know, somebody who was, who had an inspirational story. So it was part inspiration, but also part educational. And it was with the families and their kids.

And they could hear for, for a whole day. Stories about resilience, but also about, you know, having their own wonderful experiences, but also values, right? Because sometimes we think like, oh, you know, these communities, they don't know how to do this. Or they don't know about five south. They don't know about, no, they do.

They do, they do wanna have their kids going to college. They want their kids to, be better than, you know, they, they, where they want their to succeed. So it's not that they don't want them. It's just that they don't know how to sometimes or where to find the stuff. So I did a lot of that stuff for around 10.

And then in this role was more like focused on campus, right on, on presentations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and consultations and things like that. then this year, I said, why don't we now, since we were like, you know, isolated for so long, now we're finally kind of like having some, I wouldn't say normalcy, but whatever normal is, you were going to re arrive to, why don't we do something where we celebrate.

Our community heroes as a state and also the community at large in. So I came up with these idea of few things happen, right? So we're celebrating in October or Hispanic heritage month. That that's one of the things. I also learned that we have these new group that he's led by had two legit fitness feminine.

Which is Latinos run San Jose that I didn't know, because I was off Facebook for a long time, then they have to jump in. And so I found out about this group and interesting enough, I knew about the group because last year after Ahmaud Arbery was killed, assassinated, basically, I read, I started reading more and more like, what can I do as a runner to, to bring attention to the situation, right.

how can we make sure that people feel safe and who is doing what and what organizations are doing. For, you know, Breonna Taylor, or what you know, who is doing the March for George Floyd and things like that. Right. And so I found about Latinos run last year and then this year I found out that somebody that I know is, is running in this group or is families from the east side to join.

It's very family oriented. We Latinos love our families and we, everything that we do, especially women we're like we bring the husband or the boyfriend or the kids or whoever. Right.

I found out about that and I was like, I want to highlight that. I want to highlight the community that exists in all of our running groups because know, I know Coach B.

I know Luke from bark. I know who else is invited in this group? I know Juul. From a run local. So I was like, I know if I say to them, let's do this. Everybody's going to be like, oh yeah, let's do that. Oh, he usually is running. So, but then I know the community is going to be, nobody's going to be like, oh, Fernando, that's such a bad idea. Like boring it is.

No, so I knew that I was going to get at least from my running peers and they like, yeah, let's do it. And especially if we could highlight that committee, And so that was one thing. The second thing that I will highlight is that, October is our, sound's a State Legacy Month. And that's the that's the month that we appreciate that you know, first of all, we highlight what Tommy Smith and John Carlos did in 1968 and how they were.

Right. And everything that happens afterwards and all of the things that sound's, so state has been involved in as part of this being a speed city, but also in human rights and African-American rights. And and in finding equity in those issues. That's kind of like what happens in October, an it is related to running, always leave.

Cause you know, these two amazing people were runners. the third thing is that for the first time I was a state hire an African-American, coach to to coach track and field. And that's amazing too. Right?

So it's like three things that I wanted to highlight with a run. So we're going to have it's called the legacy run. And we're still working on like the marketing and all that stuff. So you will, you will see more coming up in the next few days. It's highlighting all those three things.

The run is going to be around the perimeter of the university. start started the As with Carlos statues. but it also going to go through the assessor Chavez arc, and that's, you know, Coach B, you're always taking pictures there when, you know, your early runs.

And I was lucky to do it. At least once they go

[00:35:35] Bertrand Newson:
We'll make it happen. We'll make it happen.

[00:35:37] Kevin Chang:
5:00 AM.

[00:35:39] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
I'm not an early riser. So anyway so we're gonna go through the arch. And yeah, so that's basically it. And it's going to be a run, a walk or a roll, people from all ages can join from all paces and, and we are then defining, you know, how the, the whole run is going to be in the next few days.

I love collaboration, so my committees are usually big committee is pretty big with a lot of people. From the community from the university. So we have athletics involved. We have our Institute, of, I always forget the name. Oh God, institutional it's institutional social change. And this. Something, sorry. But we also have alumni because a lot of our runners are sounds estate, alumni and legacies.

And we have a number of people from different departments that also joining us. So yeah, it's going to be a fun event. It's going to be October 30th on a Saturday from nine to one. And hopefully we'll going to get, you know, a nice I dunno if we're going to get some swag or why we're still defining or early there.

So yeah, so that's what event entails and I hope that everybody can join us. We were working on the registration and, it's all everybody's invited and we want to highlight the diversity of, our you know, our university, but also the city and how we can work together.

[00:37:10] Kevin Chang:
think it's incredible that you are marrying together, your passion for running and in, in diversity inclusion and equality. You know, I think Coach B and I have both been large proponents of increasing diversity within the sport over. You highlighted this a little bit earlier that, it's probably 92% Caucasian and that's, that's the statistics that we've seen in the United States.

And when people get to see others that are like them in the sport, it really does motivate them. You know, it motivates them to ask questions and motivates them to get to that starting line to get to that finish line. I know that I had a couple of heroes that I looked up to. We were fortunate enough to have one of them on our podcast and Endorphin Dude.

and, and it makes a large difference. You know, I, I didn't have any of my friends runners. I think you mentioned that as well, like none of your friends were really runners. It wasn't until you found a running community, a welcoming running community that it really got you motivated to get going to, you know, find your stride, to find your pace, to be able to finish those first races.

And so I think what you're doing for the community is just phenomenal. Just phenomenal costs across the.

[00:38:19] Statistics on Diversity and Inclusion

[00:38:19] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yeah. And I think that you bring a good point about. I was just getting some information here from the, outdoor industry association. They did a report in 2020 and for our communities, right? We are the 17, like the Latinex community, 17.9% of the population of the United States, but only of those who are of us.

Participate in outdoor activities. And this is not even when I don't know specifically how many of those are, you know, and running the same thing with the African-American community. The population is to 12.4%. And only 9.4% actually practice some activity outdoor. And I think it has to do with, you know, how safe you feel how comfortable you feel, how it is to, to run.

The API community is really doing well because they are 5.8% of their population. And 6% are out there running and enjoying the outdoor which is great But we also have the other part. I was just listening this morning to and I don't remember who was talking, but there was this, you know, 40 year old, I think it was a psychiatrist, I don't know. And he was talking about mental health.

And he said, I really didn't feel safe going out for a walk. And I think he lives in San Francisco. Because I did, I don't, I don't feel safe. So that's the thing, even though the, Asian American community has such a high percentage of people being.

Now with this whole thing of Asian hate and, you know, ignorance and all, all these things that were theaters that were stoked last year our, you know, our communities as special or more vulnerable communities you know, grandparents and are the ones that have been attacking and effected.

And so you don't know how much, you know, and this person that was interviewed, it didn't sound, that, you know, he had. Any issues, but he was just like, can't, I can't, I don't feel safe.

So yeah, it's definitely something
that we need to bring up a lot of attention to conversations because the, the sports needs to portray most that more of us out there, not only just different different shapes and sizes and stuff.

But it's more on what kind of things that we do for the community as well as making sure that those are the things that are being promoted. I also was talking to from Latinos run today and she was saying, you know, and that there, the other part, this is, I think is my rant about the Latinex community.

We, we are, we're a large percentage. But sometimes I feel that our issues are also not explain or discuss as much. Right. And I think it's because our immigration status sometimes, because maybe they, the language barrier is there. But you don't see a lot of, focus on. The community that is going through these issues with COVID for example, or that also, you know, people in the outdoors might not feel safe because like me, you know their immigration status might be questioned.

You know, the skin tone too, you know, I have a lot of privilege because I pass as a white person, I am very aware that as soon as I speak, you know, my accent will come somehow and people are, you know, they look at me different. And so like that happened. And though these area is supposed to be a lot more inclusive we still have those situations where, you know, people do not feel safe.

[00:42:02] Kevin Chang:
And I think the best way to deal with this is to be out and open about it and have these types of discussions and not try to sweep these things under the. rug Really be, you know, forthcoming on how people feel. How do we, you know, be more inclusive? How do we get people to feel safer? You know, and, and and, and start creating community again.

And I think is a perfect area, is a perfect place where we can, know, we all have that same, pain and struggle of having to run. To get what we want to you know it's a really work for something, especially those of us who have run a marathon and who have run an ultra marathon, you know we all kind of come from the same place.

We all know what we've been through. You know, when you're running shoulder to shoulder side by side with somebody, it's really, it's really the great equalizer in terms of being able to connect with somebody that level, so.

[00:42:54] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yes. That's true. And you learned so much from people, right? From a place of, you know, being. Open and humble to understand same way that I approached running that I did know. And I learned so much. And I I also learned from people when, when we are in this long runs, right. You get to know well, the people that you run with.

And I think that is we try sometimes to avoid these subjects, but I think that is very courageous and it's very important, especially for people who are like coaches, that these things are, are said, right? They are visible that situations that perhaps there are microaggressions happening, you need to step up and you need to call them out.

Or bring attention to them and maybe get some sort of training on how to address microaggressions, because we do, you know, sometimes, I have had situations in my own running groups where, where people will say that are like, why would you, you know? And because we have different ethnicities that we have different races and, and I will say like, explain to me, why did you say that, right?

Because. I don't want to put this person on the spot and just make it feel about it. But at the same time, I want that person to kind of like go back and see like what I said, maybe it was not the right thing to say. And just by doing this, bro. You are helping, you know, slowly and kindly this person to understand that maybe what it was said, it was not the right thing to say.

And if you don't say anything, then the person who received the microaggression might be like, okay, nobody cares. Or this was normal. And then he normalize, right. Or don't know who is was affected as well, because we can assume our our own background or people's backgrounds. You don't know if that person is married to or their kids are married to, to an Asian American or a black or a person or a Latino or Latina.

Right. So he's always good to, even if everybody's like OMG, who's in the group is always good to address things because you don't know, who might be affected.

[00:45:07] The Next Steps

[00:45:07] Bertrand Newson:
What is next for you? Cause you're recovering. You're not feeling well and recovering from a little bit injury, getting back in your swing of things. Do you have races on the horizon coach?

[00:45:19] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Just start saying that. And now I started

The whole Uh, well, sadly I had to Berkeley half-marathon was one, but it was postponed for next. And because if you know, COVID and all that. And then my, you know, I always run SIM since I started, but this year I am not going to be able because my, so I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia a couple of weeks ago. And, but I had been feeling terribly for two weeks prior to that.

So it's been a whole month I've been really feeling terrible. I do not wish this on anybody. I don't. I also want to say: please vaccinate, please, please, please. I cannot imagine having COVID and pneumonia and a lot of people who actually experienced this, die and it's just absolutely terrible.

What I felt is having walking pneumonia and , you know, somebody who's, you know, healthy and, and has good lung capacity. And I just felt sometimes that it was impossible. I feel very tired.

So anyway, I'm taking, I'm going to take it very easy, easy, and slowly, I guess my told me that I need to take at least another two weeks to fully recover before I start my training again. And I think that I need a little bit more time for CIM, because prior to this, I also had a big surgery during the summer. I was out for six weeks, more than six weeks.

And so. From June to now, my training has been very, very, very spotty. So no, CIM for me this year. I just moved it for next year. I guess my next raise will be Berkeley half next, next February. I think next year I want to run the Napa marathon. Everybody talks, it's I,

[00:47:09] Bertrand Newson:
First Sunday of March.

[00:47:11] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yes. So yeah, I'm hoping that in two weeks I'm going to start at least walking and making sure that and my classes are going to re suit to my, or not resume to start for my core classes.

So I'll be doing both. And that will get me, I'm sure. By February it will be fine. But I want to be in writing shape for, for CIM in December.

[00:47:29] Bertrand Newson:
Half marathon. There's a relay.

[00:47:32] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:

[00:47:34] Bertrand Newson:
a relay. And I know there's a spot available too with two legit fitness slash RaceMob team. So something to think about.

[00:47:40] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
oh, you don't want.

[00:47:42] Bertrand Newson:
And we're not running, not necessarily running for time, just looking to get, you know, get the timing, ship to your teammate. So food for thought.

[00:47:47] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Ah, Coach. That is a great idea. Yes. Okay. Oh, I'll think about it, but yeah, I love it because I was so bumped out year we do this is a whole trip with people from my group. And I just miss that, you know, I really run for the, for the food afterwards when we all get together, really why.

Which of the celebration and for the food and the beer and says, well, the metal do, but anybody who says like, oh, love running down. And it was just the end, you now. Right?

[00:48:23] Bertrand Newson:
Yeah. I mean, we're experiencing some of that coming off of San Jose rock and roll.

[00:48:27] Kevin Chang:
There you go. Been right there.

[00:48:31] Bertrand Newson:
blinded out. There we go.

[00:48:33] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Yes. I saw so many of your pictures and I was like, whoa, I want it to be there. I wasn't even out there. I was feeling that great. I'm a steel, I'm still, very tired. As I told.

[00:48:47] Kevin Chang:
Well, we want to say thank you so much for braving, you know, the, the coal and, and you know, coming in. On this podcast and chatting with us such an important topic that we're all so passionate about, which is inclusion, equality as well as, you know, which is a beautiful story.

It's fantastic. The whole mental health aspect, the whole safety aspect and the whole community aspects. I think speaks to our audience. And you know, why Coach B and myself are all about, so want to say, thank you so much, Fernanda for joining us on the podcast.

[00:49:21] How to Give Your Support

[00:49:21] Kevin Chang:
Let us know, how can we help support you and the race that you're putting on. How can we come out and support your endeavor?

[00:49:27] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Well, I would say as soon as I have my registration ready I will share with you. Hopefully I'll have it. This. So when this podcast comes out, then people will have to go and register. Yeah, if you can just say it's on October 30th on a Saturday, nine to 11 and we'll be running the perimeter of the university.

We might do one Luke two or three loops, coach, coach B, and our team, or my committee is going to help me decide on that. so yeah, bring the whole family, bring everybody and it's just, it's not just a run is a walk is a roll. So, just, just come as you are. And we love to have you there represent San Jose and what we are and our legacy.

And also celebrate these new groups that are, know, working with the community and being a lot more active. And just by being out there is also kind of like saying, yeah, we're here and we love this and we're going to be outdoors and we're going to increase the numbers
of, know our communities and NBC, right. So that's what we want.

[00:50:35] Bertrand Newson:
Yeah. Yeah. As you shared earlier with the addition of the new track and field coaches,

[00:50:40] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Absolutely. I want to say that that is not a minor thing that is major, and we're very, very with him. Actually, his whole team is a group of African-Americans. They will be introduced to, the, to, to everybody in our Initial event, not event, but an hour opening. And so, yeah that is, that is incredible.

And I wanted to say that they, one of the partners in this is the Institute for the study of a sport society and social change was, is very important. And they're also doing of events during the legacy months which is this month, October. And they have webinars as well as different speakers.

and they're a big part of, of our, of our events. So I just missed it, the name before, because it's a long name. but I just wanted to make sure that it was correctly. So yes.

[00:51:37] Conclusion to the Interview

[00:51:37] Kevin Chang:
Incredible. And we'll have all of the links on the show notes as well. Any parting words, any, any words of wisdom that you want to impart? It's our audience prenatal.

[00:51:44] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
I would just say that I feel so well, Kevin, it was great meet you. I would just say that Coach B is an inspiration. I felt so honored when he said that he wanted me to be in this podcast, but, he's one of those people that. Really makes you super And I felt that I belong into this amazing group of people that I was originated because Coach was like, Hey.

I know you and what he said, I know you, I was like, you know, me, or when he said yet, and, you know, hi, I was like, oh, this is Coach. B the most popular the And I was like, oh, so, so, so amazing. The fact that that I was invited to this and I, I just want to tell you, Coach, you, you are big inspiration, but also your support also make me stronger.

So I just want to say thank you for that.

[00:52:38] Bertrand Newson:
you. Our it's it's the best is yet to come. You are an inspiration. We see the work that you're doing clearly. And we just want to give you widen the audience and have more people come out on the 30th of this month to really support the community run. And. Keep on doing what you're doing.

And we'll see what the relay for a California national marathon on the December, December 5th, Coach.

[00:53:03] Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas:
Okay. I will do it. I'll think about it. I think

[00:53:08] Bertrand Newson:
pressure, no pressure, no pressure.

[00:53:12] End of the Interview

[00:53:12] Kevin Chang:
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com.

Please subscribe to us on apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.