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Remy's Late-Blooming Running Career Is Flourishing at Orange Coast

November 17, 1994|STEVE KRESAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

COSTA MESA — When Erin Remy went out for cross-country at Orange Coast in the summer of 1993, she had no idea what to expect.

Remy, 28, had been running less than three years, and had never been part of a team or in a competitive race.

But with one race left in her community college career, Remy has overcome her inexperience and worked around the birth of her daughter to become one of Southern California's best.

"I didn't think (my life) would be like this," Remy said. "I never intended for it to happen. It just sort of fell that way and I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Remy and her Orange Coast teammates will take part in the State meet Saturday at Fresno's Woodward Park. The Irvine Valley women's team and the Fullerton men's team also qualified.

A year ago in the State meet, Remy had morning sickness. This year she is just plain sick and bothered that she won't be healthy on race day.

"I had the flu all weekend," she said. "Plus, I've been stressing about the race."

No matter where Remy finishes Saturday, her season has been impressive, especially considering how little time she has been running competitively.

Remy graduated from South Pasadena High in 1984. Although athletic, she didn't participate in school-sanctioned sports. Instead, she spent a great deal of time working on her horse riding and jumping skills.

Upon graduation from high school, Remy said she had no specific idea of what she wanted in life. She didn't enroll in college (OCC) until the fall of 1992.

"I took a six- or seven-year break," she said. "Then I was ready to go back to school. I guess you could say I grew up."

Shortly before attending OCC, she had started walking. Her strolls became longer before she slowly started to run. Pretty soon, she discovered she had a knack for it and decided to give cross-country a try.

"I had never been a part of a team before, but I liked to run so I wanted to try it and see how I'd do," Remy said. "I really like the competitive part of it."

Remy became pregnant early last season, and her times slowed toward the end of the season. Still, she kept running, completing a half-marathon five months into her pregnancy. She was still running two weeks before her daughter, Eden Remy Nordelo, was born June 11.

Her doctor advised her to take six weeks off after giving birth. But Remy couldn't wait, and after two weeks she tried to jog.

"It was like I had never run before that first day," she said. "I started out thinking I would do five miles but had to stop after only two. But it really came back pretty fast. I was surprised."

Remy had about three months to get ready for this season but wasn't sure if she would be in competitive shape. Besides running, she also must care for her daughter and go to class. Remy gets plenty of help from her parents.

From the start of the season in mid-September, Remy, along with Fullerton's Teresa Vega, Golden West's Kim Foster and Irvine Valley's Mayra Medina have been the top female runners in Orange County.

Remy, who has learned to control her pace much better this season, took a step in front of the others two weeks ago at the Orange Empire Conference finals. She finished second on the 5,000-meter course at Costa Mesa Fairview Regional Park. Her time of 19 minutes 12 seconds was 41 seconds better than a time she had on the same course three months before.

Riverside's Charlotte Mayock won the race in 18:51. Mayock is also the favorite at the State race.

"The most impressive thing about that race was that Mayock didn't gain anything on Erin after the first half-mile," OCC Coach Gordie Fitzel said. "Not too many runners have been able to do that this season. Erin just went out too slow but that is one of the things she is learning. She is running with much more confidence this season."

Remy's strong performance has produced a scholarship to Cal State Fullerton next fall. She plans to major in human services. But before that she must finish her class work at OCC this spring, which will give her a chance to be part of the Pirates' track team.

"I have no idea (what events I will run in)," Remy said. "I've never been on a track team before."

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