It turns out that our new East Nasty of the Week was also born overseas, and being born in Germany is just one of the many interesting facets to the life of Cristina Young that I knew very little about until I sat down to interview her last week.
Born to Marielena Lopez Campos Young (also known as Helen or Cristina’s mom), the early years for Cristina and her mom were ones of travel. Like I said above she was born in Germany, and then around the age of two they moved to El Salvador, Central America. From there, they moved to Naples, Florida, just in time for little Cristina to begin grade school.
Skip forward to those impressionable years of middle school and that is where she began her running career. In 7th grade Cristina met her friend Tequila “TT” James, who lightly persuaded her to run by telling Cristina to stop being such a “girlie girl,” and to “actually sweat during PE class!” TT taught Cristina everything she knew, and by the start of 8th grade she decided to join the middle school track team. Now she may have been the shortest person on the team, and the only 8th grader, but that did not stop Cristina from becoming an excellent short distance track star. In high school, between times for competitive dance, she joined the cross country team. Her CC team went to both regional and state competitions in Florida, and during this time Cristina was at the top of her running game putting in 6 minute miles.
In the end though, Cristina pushed running to the back burner to pursue her true passion for dance. From 1992-1997 she barely ran at all. However, when she started college at Lee University in 1997, and could not find another competitive dance team to join, that is the time that she came back her running roots. Since then, she has never looked back. One other incident that helped to end her dancing career was a right leg kick (or grand battement as it is called) that tore her hamstring tendon from behind her knee to her lower back. Can you say…OUCH!
So from Naples, Florida to Cleveland, TN, and even a trip back to Naples for a year and a little time in Knoxville, she ended up moving to Nashville almost a year ago. On one trip here, even before she committed to moving, she decided to head over to Fleet Feet to get some new running shoes for a half marathon she had signed up for in east Tennessee. That is where she learned of East Nasty, as her salesman (some dude who talked a mile a minute) just kept going on and on about this great running community in Nashville. Well, she tried it out, loved it, and the rest is history.