I love winners.

Last night, Canada beat out the U.S. for an Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey. Sweet victory! They said we were unpatriotic. They were wrong.

Canada is very multicultural. Many of us stick to our roots, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love this country. I wasn’t born in Canada. I came here when I was three. Spanish was my first language; I could read and write it before I started school.

The Hispanic roots in my family ran deep. We went to church in Spanish. We spoke to others in Spanish. We bought Hispanic products. But everything good that I have ever experienced in my life has been a direct result of moving to this great country. Every doctor’s visit. Every student loan. And every scholarship.

It is because of Canada that I was able to graduate from University with no financial help from my parents. And it is because of Canada that I can continue to study and simultaneously work and train and blog freely. This is a country that has given me the means to follow my dreams. I may not be that good of a skater, but I know what it means to be patriotic. And I understand the drive to win.

Runners have a great camaraderie when they’re not competing. We nod to each other on the road. We share tips. We seek running communities. But come race day, I just want to pass people. There’s a quiet but competitive spirit behind everything I do. I’m the one who is likely to sprint right past you half a second before the finish line before you even realize I’m there. When I run, I want to be first.

I train outdoors all winter, a far cry from the way I was raised. As a child my parents would make me wear snow pants until April. Somewhere in this world there is a picture of six-year-old me holding a freshly bloomed spring flower, sitting on a bright green patch of grass bundled up so tightly in a hat and scarf and full body snow gear that you can only see my eyes. I smiled but you can’t tell.

Now I’m running 10kms through snow banks and shedding layers. It’s like I’ve learned to flow ice through my veins. Red and frosty white. And so we change. We adapt. We win.

Congratulations Canada. We’re top of the world, eh?

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