How did Maria get here?

Tina shares that a few months ago, she realized she wanted to bring someone on board to help her grow and steer Running for Real in a new direction. After posting a job listing, she was blown away with responses. But Maria’s caught her eye. She sent Tina a video answering the questions on the application. “Something in my gut just told me this is the right person,” Tina said. 

What does she do?

Maria’s focus is on storytelling and communications with a little twist of marketing. It’s about telling stories in ways that reach people’s heads and their hearts. She helps us define Running for Real and our mission of using running as a vehicle for internal and external change. 

Maria makes you think twice about the word, “Awareness”

“I was as guilty as anyone else of throwing around “raising awareness, awareness awareness,” says Tina. “Then Maria made me think twice about using that word.” Why? 

Maria says back in college she took a communications class and the professor strictly said never to use the word “awareness.” We are all too familiar with organizations raising mealth awareness, environmental awareness, running awareness, etc. But just because you’re aware of something, it doesn’t mean anything unless you act on it. If we don’t bring things into life then awareness doesn’t get us anywhere. “To know and not to do, is not to know,” Maria says. That is why she thinks we can all take a step further. Past awareness and into action. This is an excellent article for reference.

Maria’s story

Maria was born in Bogota, Colombia and her family moved to the U.S when she was three years old. She grew up in Gainesville, Florida, went to college at the University of Florida, and moved to Austin, Texas in 2018.

While she doesnt fully identify with being fully Colombian or fully American, at an early age she learned to value hard work perseverance. It was ingrained at her from the beginning the importance of keeping in touch with her roots while taking advantage of living the land of opportunity. 

Love of Water and Land

Her love of sports began in the water. Swimming was a big part of her life and she swam competitively through high school. When she was younger, the only running she did was running stadiums as conditioning for swimming and she saw any sort of running as a chore. 

That changed when she moved to Austin which is where she started doing triathlon and getting involved with November Project and other running groups like East Side Beer Runners and Austin Runners Club’s Morning Jo’s group. 

 “I was overwhelmed by the people that are part of the running community here. here. It wasn’t this elitist runner group that I had in my mind, but a rather welcoming group of diverse runners who reeled me in and caused me to fall in love with the sport,” she says. 

“Running is a common ground because we’re all so different. It creates a safe space for us to have special conversations and form meaningful connections. Even for a long time, I didn’t know what my friends did as day jobs because we just had so many other things to talk about!”

Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear is a mindset, a community that Maria and her sister Luisa started in 2018. They are sending out the message that you don’t have to follow the mainstream ideas. That you can go out on your own and do something different. That you can be yourself. They spread this message through their Instagram and their monthly publication called The Commissary that spotlights stories of everyday people doing positive things and spark curiosity. They’re bringing together people of different cultures and skills like artists, photographers, and small business owners so they can show up for one another and help each other live more meaningful lives. Tina describes it as more traditional media where it’s enjoyable to sit and read intentionally rather than scroll through.

Maria’s 3-2-1 Corner

Each week in Tina’s newsletter, Maria shares three things to ponder about, two recipes, and one challenge. 

What makes the new Running Realized podcast special?

Maria believes the word, “Realized,” is what makes this new podcast with Knox and Tina so special. “Realized” acts more of an action verb because it’s about turning conversations into actions that listeners and ourselves can take to be part of helping humanity thrive. It comes out on February 22nd.

Where are we headed?

Running for Real has undergone a revamp. There’s a new website, logo, and even the podcast has a new cover. But at the core, the mission remains the same: having honest and real conversations.

Maria explains that hard conversations can be had with people who share different opinions if we are able to just find common ground. For us, the shared interest happens to be running. It’s what allows us to connect with others who have different backgrounds and cultures than ourselves yet share similar struggles. 

“I think ultimately what I think Running for Real is about is literally humanity in running. So how can we show up as 100% human in this sport and then have that transcend into other areas of our lives? Whether it’s how we show up with our partners, our neighbors, and our parents; how we show up at work; how we show up with the planet, and caring for the earth. So how can we just bring more humanity into running? We already have it in ourselves, but how can we show up even better.”

Who is Amber Moore?

Amber has so much heart. She cares for everyone she crosses paths with and cares deeply about them. She has been working alongside Tina for two years helping her keep Running of Real running (no pun intended) while Tina had Chloe during the summer of 2020 and works mostly in the background publishing podcasts and engaging with the community through social media. 

“My favorite part is setting up the podcast because while it’s a huge project, I love that it comes together as a beautiful product that helps a lot of people,” she says.

Amber is also a mom of three little ones and lives in Utah. Amber actually grew up playing soccer but her love for running has evolved over the last few years. She is a fountain of knowledge of Running for Real podcasts, having listened to pretty much every single one. In this episode, Amber shares her top 5 (and a bonus) episodes of the show:

Amber’s Five Favorite Episodes

  1. Candice Huffine | Amber loves that Candice didn’t care what people thought of her and instead took the world on like nothing else mattered. That she was brave in her fight to figure out a place for herself since she wasn’t accepted as a traditional size model because she was too large but she was too small to be considered plus size. 
  2. Hillary Allen | “She’s a fighter,” says Amber. Falling and getting back up again and again. That’s what makes her so inspirational. 
  3. Dean Karnazes | “I just really like that even though he’s this big, huge ultra marathoner, he has time for the little people,” Ambers says, “and I really enjoy that about this podcast whenever you have those types of people.”
  4. Rosalie Fish. | Amber shares, “me being in Utah, we have a lot of Native American reservations… but I hadn’t realized I didn’t realize that on actual Indian reservations how terrible it can be. And it really hurt me honestly. Everyone needs to be taken care of, but listening to Rosalie Fish and hearing all of the tragic things that she’s heard about and gone through it made me really think about my own experience here in Utah. It made me really think about how my time is spent and who I should be helping.”
  5. Sanjay Rawal and Billy Yang | “When I started running, I just wanted to get out there and with my lovely double stroller because I had two little kids at the time and I just pushed them everywhere I went. But with Sanjay, he really says that it’s just you and the pavement and I loved how he spoke about running in a way that when you run you could just leave everything else behind.”

Billy Yang is Amber’s bonus favorite. One she enjoyed learning about his struggles and how vulnerable and transparent he is with his runs.

Perhaps Amber’s favorite thing about all Running for Real is that there is always a life lesson in each episode.

(YES!) – Amber 😉


Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:

[podcast src=”″ height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”bottom” theme=”custom”]

Apple (iTunes) Podcast | Sticher | Castbox | Overcast | Spotify | Google Play | iHeartradio |

Thank you to my wonderful sponsor Momentous, Athletic Greens, and Running Realized for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.


Being a tough year with additional stresses on top of an already overwhelming situation means sleep can often be lost…but it is the one thing that we know would help us. Being a former insomniac, I know the frustration going to bed early, yet being unable to switch your brain off can bring. These Momentous Elite Sleep capsules are fantastic and contain Melatonin, Magtein® (Magnesium L-threonate), and Wild Jujube Seed Extract which together will help reduce nighttime anxiety, gently fall asleep and improve circadian rhythm to achieve higher quality sleep.

 Go here and use code TINA for 20% off.


Athletic Greens is a simple and easy way to get 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients. Just to help my immune system be stronger and greater! It is so simple to make and it tastes good as well. I used this for my prenatal and I am still using it while breastfeeding.

Now you can get up to a YEAR supply of Vitamin D3 and K2 for free with your first purchase of  Athletic Greens through my podcast. Visit here to learn more!

Launching my new podcast with my co-host Knox Robinson from my 200th episode on February 22nd. These episodes are going to go a bit deeper when it comes to the running world and the problems we are facing. I am very excited to have Tracksmith funding this project for us. If you want to sign up to be the first to know more about this new podcast sign up here to get more information. There is also a trailer with this episode, so take a listen and I’m excited to know what your thoughts are.

Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Amber and Maria, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

Amber Moore, awareness, humanity, Maria Vargas, rebranding, running for real team, running realized,

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