Sophomore chases distance records


Reyna Fonseca smiling while she takes a breather during training.WOMEN TRACK AND FIELD

Mom: She balances school, kids.

Reyna Fonseca is strong and focused; you could almost mistake her for Wonder Woman. You might say she’s tougher than steel.

“There is a point when you’re running when you are really tired and in pain, but she doesn’t care. She keeps going,” Head Coach Miriam Mitzel said.

Fonseca owns school records in the 800M and the 1500M. She is in the top three for both events. Thus far, Fonseca has competed in both events at every meet.

“I can do better than that,” she said. “It is like a game and I am ready for it.”

In the 1500M, Fonseca holds the second best time in SAC history with a 4:46.42. Diana Zapata ran a 4:45:95 in 2007. Fonseca runs with sights set on smashing Zapata’s time.

“She will definitely break the school record. There is no question about it,” Mitzel said. “She doesn’t want to break it by one or two seconds. She wants to break it by at least four seconds, to make sure the next miler is going to be in for a challenge to break it.”

Her greatest accomplishments, however, is running straight home to her two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

“The best part of every day, even though we live together, is when I pick them up from day care,” she said. “They jump all over me hugging and kissing me. They love me and I love them too.”

Fonseca owns the third and fourth best times for the women’s 800M here — an event she says is the most difficult of the distances she runs.

“It is two laps, so it is a short race, but you need to give it all you got for those two laps,” Fonseca said. “There is no energy saving in the event. You need to start and finish strong.”

She trains six times a week, averaging about three hours a day. The type of training she does differs by the day of the week.

“Out of six days, four days are intense. The other two days are for recovery,” Fonseca said.

Monday and Wednesday are “speed work,” intense sets of laps of varying distances, with two minutes of rest between each run.

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“One day I threw up. I was so tired I wanted to just drop on the floor,” Fonseca said. “But you can’t. You have to keep going. Pain is satisfaction.”

The key to her success is using psychological strength to overcome the physical pain runners experience.

“You’re always in pain and you have to fight against it. It is a mental game,” Fonseca said.

Afternoon road runs are on the menu for Tuesday and Thursday. The usual destination is Angel Stadium, a distance a bit over 7 miles or about 580 calories. The calorie amount is roughly equivalent to the average number of snacks the typical American consumes daily.

“We do 10-mile runs with about an hour and a half to finish,” Fonseca said.

The brutal training regimen almost ended Fonseca’s running career before it started.

“I was about to quit after the first race because I didn’t think this was for me,” Fonseca said. “I told my coach the closest pain to this that I have felt in my life is giving birth to my two children.”

Fonseca is an outgoing teammate whose bubbly personality draws people to her.

“Reyna is always making us laugh. We all love her,” Rosa Gonzalez, a freshman teammate, said. “There will be times when we need something and she is there. For example, if we can’t bring food to the races then she’ll bring it for us. She is always caring about others.”

Fonseca is sort of the team mom but it’s not the only role she plays — she’s also a mentor.

“I like learning from her. I am a middle distance runner like her,” Gonzalez said. “She teaches me a lot. I ask her questions and she talks to me seriously when it’s serious.”

A radiology major, Fonseca started as an unpaid assistant at a local hospital.

She loved the fast paced environment and now she is stepping into the starting blocks of a career.


A runner ‘s path to the finish line at a glance:

  1. She’s second all-time in the 1500M, and owns the third and fourth spots for the 800M.
  2. She trains four days a week, splitting time between speed and distance workouts.
  3. Teammates call her the “Team Mom.”

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