After finding out he was the fastest kid in his middle school, he soon learned he was also faster than those in many of the surrounding schools in his home city of Juarez, Mexico.
By age 12, Ortiz had earned the right to represent his whole city in regional meets, competing in both the 100 meter sprint and long jump events. Eighteen years later, Carlos still runs competitively but his races are a little longer these days.
Last Sunday, Ortiz continued his come back from a calf injury by running the Los Angeles Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, fueled by a sponsorship from KML and a desire to break his personal best at this distance, 1 hr 33 min and 28 seconds.
Logging training hours in the hot Southern Californian sun isn't what most people do for fun, but Ortiz wants to break into an elite group of runners who can knock out 13.1 miles in a hour and a half or less and a marathon in three hours or less, a feat that requires a 6:52 minute mile pace or better. If you’re like us, you probably wonder if you could run a 7 minute mile period.
Roughly seven minutes off of his best half marathon time, last weekend’s race was still an encouraging performance and another step (or should we say 16,000 steps) toward his next goal: improving his LA Marathon time this Valentine's day. More exciting progress. His time for the first 5k of the race was a new personal best for him: 22 min 31 seconds.
Carlos only took up running these longer distances recently, but he already has four LA Rock 'n' Roll Marathons unders belt in addition to seven other long-distance races, his longest being this year's LA Marathon.
And he's already got his sights set on a goal few runners aspire to: 50k ultra marathons.
KML's president, Willie Wanker, enjoys running himself and sees Carlos as family. "It's hard not to appreciate what Carlos does out there. He's fast and he works so hard. How many of us are still chasing the dreams of our youth on into our third decade of life. It's inspiring."
For his part, Carlos sees the marathon as a metaphor for life. "They're not easy, just like life. But when I run, I feel strong. This strength helps me keep working and giving the best of myself." You go, Carlos. KML is right behind ya. Metaphorically.
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