(Ana Alvarez Tostado placed 17th in the Girls Sweepstakes race at Desert Twilight.-photo by John Hays)
Name: Ana Alvarez Tostado
School: Salpointe Catholic
Where are you from and when did you begin running?
I was born in San Diego, California but moved to Arizona when I was 5 months old. Arizona has always been my home! I began running my freshman year of high school. I practiced Taekwondo when I was younger, but I never really became involved with sports until I started High School. Once I began Cross Country I knew I found my niche and I became dedicated to the sport.
What does your training week look like?
(Ana took 2nd at the Rattler Invitational on Saturday.)
My training week starts with morning practice at 5:30am to 7:00 am, alternating with evening practices starting after school from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. It depends if we have a meet that week or not, but usually morning practices are the hard workouts. As a team, we like to remind ourselves that no matter what day it is, it's a great day to run, no matter how hard or easy!
Do you have any pre-race rituals or a mantra you affirm to yourself at meets?
Before a race I like to be in my own personal bubble while listening to some music. I like to "get in the zone" as it is often phrased. It helps me focus on what I plan to do and to be calm when the unexpected happens in a race. Once I get to the starting line, I jump super high so my legs almost meet my chest. I do this about three times. Then I give the sign of the cross and look ahead, without looking back! It has always helped me prepare mentally.
What is your favorite cross-country meet and why?
My favorite cross country meet would have to be the Peaks Invitational. Flagstaff is absolutely beautiful and I love how simple yet challenging the course is, with the hill and the altitude!
How would you describe your racing style? Do you use a consistent strategy at each meet?
Overall, my racing strategy is simply telling myself "go for it". Every race is different, and if I get thrown into a new challenge it's up to me to answer "yes" or "no", just like my team has always taught me. I try to make it a priority to have that mindset in each meet. You experienced a lot of success as a junior.
What were some of the major takeaways you learned and how you applied them as a Senior?
My junior year was a really hard year. Academically it was challenging, which led me to challenge myself mentally. I learned a lot about myself and my strengths, and am happy to say that I can now apply it to this year. My junior year would be best described in a movie quote. From the movie 'We Bought a Zoo', I learned that, "sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage.
Do you have any goals individually or with your team for this season?
Every year, my primary goal is to win a State Championship as a team. My team inspires me every single day, and I know with our hard work and dedication, that goal is not far from our reach.
(Ana led the Lady Lancers to a State Championship with a 3rd place finish last year.-photo by John Hays)
Who do you have to thank for your success?
I have a lot of people to thank for my success. My parents have always been there for me. As an only child, it can be tough to adapt to your surroundings or make a decision on your own. But I know if I fall, my parents will be there to catch me and assist me to where I want to go. They've been my foundation growing up as a child. I also have my team and my coaches to thank. My girls are strong, beautiful ladies and I look at them for positivity. The boys team are kind, strong gentlemen and I look at them for motivation. My coaches lead the team, and they are strong figures we can rely on.
What's your favorite subject in school and why?
My favorite subject is English! I am taking two English classes at Salpointe, an Honors class and an Advanced Placement class. I love the creativity, and the thought that anyone can make any story as they wish. I love that there are rules to English, but a writer can go so far as to make their own rules when writing a story.
What hobbies do you have outside of running?
I love to write some short stories on my own. There is very little time during a school year to create one, but I try to make it a priority! If not that, I love to hike--especially with the team!
Do you intend to run any post-season meets and if so which one(s)?
If my schedule permits, I would love to run the Nike race held in Casa Grande. I believe it's a few weeks after November 4th. I will see if life will allow me to do so, but until then I'm continuing to look forward to the rest of the 2017 Cross Country Season!