A big hello to our newest Haute Volée additions Regina and Sabrina Lopez! Fraternal twins from Southern California who love empowering other women, especially each other. They caught our eye as they cruised to an Olympic Qualifying time at CIM this past year and we are excited to cheer them on as they continue to push themselves in their running careers.
SL: We loved cheering for you both at CIM! Regina and Sabrina, can you talk about that race with each other? How much did you talk/communicate during it? Do you have a special twin mantra?
R+S: We competed at CIM together last December (2017) and qualified for the USA Olympic Trials, Sabrina ran 2:41:06 and Regina ran 2:42:06. Our goal throughout our running careers was to reach this moment in time together. It was so much easier reaching it because we have each other. We train together, workout together, eat together, and we are mainly inseparable. We engage in tons of self-talk to one another before, during, and after races; including CIM. Our twin strategy for CIM was to stick together like glue and hit our goal pace, just like the way we train. At the starting line before the race at CIM, we reminded each other, “We are qualifying today, we are beasts, let’s push each other and we must stick to together like glue.” During the race, we noticed that there were so many rolling hills. When we saw a hill in the distance, we looked at each other and we had the same thoughts, “you are strong”, “Griffith Park hills are worse”. Even after the race when we talked about the hills, it was amazing to know that we were thinking the same. Throughout the course, we helped each other with nutrition. Regina missed her bottle at one station and Sabrina shared her drink with her. Sabrina missed her gel at another station and Regina gave her one. We were racing as a team and knew we needed to support each other just as we did during training. We both made it to the end together and accomplished our dream together. It has always been in our hearts to make it to the USA Olympic Trials and now that we are here, nothing can stop us. We both told each other, “be strong and keep pushing through obstacles, pain, and endurance no matter what.” We communicated throughout the race and our twin mantra was, “We are strong!”
SL: You went to college together (OSU), and then transferred to different schools. Can you talk about that decision?
R+S: We both attended Oregon State University (OSU) on full ride scholarships. Our first year at OSU, we red-shirted. The weather was drastically different from California weather. Two years in, during our summer break, it was clear that we missed the warm California weather and our families. Attending a new school that was out of state was scary for both of us because we have always been close to our parents and family. The first three months felt like a mini vacation for us, but then the cold rain and the clouds never left. We did not have any family in Oregon and attempted to settle in but coming from a small Catholic School, we felt it was very hard to train and focus without the sun, our family, familiar trails and the beaches. Oregon is a beautiful state, with many trees and clean weather. However, not being with our family was too difficult. Looking back, we agree that Oregon is a specular place and we did not appreciate it like how we do now. We were just not used to the cold and cloudy weather and grew depressed missing the California sun and running in 90-degree weather. We decided to return to Los Angeles and transfer to different schools.
Regina transferred to Cal Poly Pomona and Sabrina transferred to California State University of Los Angeles, both on three years of NCAA scholarship eligibility for their respected schools. We decided to attend different schools close to home. Our choice of school was decided based on our different choices in degrees, Regina received a degree in Kinesiology and Sabrina in Sociology. We didn’t mind attending different schools because we still lived in the same home. We also continued to study and train together when not at school. That is the great thing about running. On and off-season, we always had each other. During races, if people paid close attention, you could see us encouraging one another. Being separated taught us that we are not only twins but sisters. If we could do it over, we would not have changed our college years for anything. We will not lie; we did have a twin separation anxiety because we were never separated and the feeling of having half of your soul missing hit us in the heart. It was like a heartache but we got through it together by being there for each other and staying close.
Since Kindergarten, we have been in the same school and the same classroom. Our decision to attend separate colleges and sport teams was the best decision that we made. It taught us to be individual women, individual athletes and not to be overly dependent on each other. It taught us to be safe, focused and to continue moving forward as individuals. It may be strange to others but as twins, there can be separation anxiety. To understand a twin, you must be a twin or a parent of twins. We know what the other is thinking, feeling emotionally and physically. If one twin is speaking, the other twin may finish their sentence. The twin separation was inevitable and bound to happen. We are happy we did it though. We gained great friends that we keep in contact with to this day and we have our own experiences to share. To this date, we continue to have the same passion and ambition for running. We love to run, we love to run together and we love each other so much.
SL: How much of your training do you do together?
R+S: We do all our training together. Easy runs, workouts and gym work. We cook together and prepare the same meals for breakfast. We have the same love for our bodies, so we are careful what we put in them. We both have the same interest such as the love for running and God and we do not smoke or drink alcohol. There is nothing stopping us, if one is unable to run due to fatigue or illness, we continue to encourage and support each other. It is great to have someone who motivates you to want to succeed with no excuses. We wake up at the crack of dawn every morning to train. When the alarm goes off in the morning and when one twin doesn’t want to get up, the other twin helps them up. It is amazing to have someone who is working toward the same goals. The great thing about our workouts are that we have each other, we take turns pacing each other, we run with other runners like us, and we push positivity into each other.
SL: Do you believe in twin telepathy? Do you have a special twin language?
R+S: Yes, I believe that twins do have twin telepathy. Sometimes we may be thinking the same thing without telling each other. It is crazy! We do have a special twin language where we can finish each other’s sentences and understand each other. When one of us looses our chain of thought, the other will usually step in because we understand what the other twin is trying to say. Fun fact, we didn’t start talking until the age of 5 because we were so shy. Our mom said we had our own twin talk and she couldn’t understand us. We would speak to each other and no one had a clue what we were saying. That is called Twin Talk! How cool is that! We also feel each other’s emotions and sense when the other twin is bothered, sad, angry and hurt. We understand each other’s emotions easily and try to help each other not think negatively when the other twin feels down. We may at times speak to each other of certain topics and no one understands because it is a continued conversation that others are not included in. We laugh at each other’s jokes and when someone does not understand why we are laughing then we then laugh even harder. We definitely do engage in sibling rivalry for short periods but try to get over it quickly. It’s hard to stay mad at each other. Our friends and boyfriends have learned to not get in to our arguments and not get between us.
SL: Tell us about a funny story when you've been mistaken for each other. Have you ever pretended to be each other on purpose?
R+S: Our grandparents and family members often mistake us, including our baby brother. A story I remember is my mom telling us that she fed one twin twice because she couldn’t tell the difference. People will call one of us the opposite name and we would just correct them. At times, whenever we meet friends that do not know the other twin, they start having a conversation with the twin they do not know; thinking it is the other twin. We pretend that we are the other twin and then tell each other later what happened. We try to pretend to be each other and play with family and some friends, it sometimes works.
SL: Tell us about your next race plans and goals!
R+S: On March 10th our season opener will be held at Occidental College, "Occidental Distance Carnival" and we will be in the 5k race. Our race schedule for our up coming season is still under construction as we are looking to race Internationally this year. We will finish our season at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Pittsburgh, PA. Our plans and goals for the Marathon are to train smart and make it to the USA Olympic Trials A standard. We also want to continue to focus on the positive things in life, appreciate everything the Lord had blessed us with, our home, parents, and friends. We want to inspire and help others to accomplish their dreams by presenting ourselves as good role models. We want to have a strong voice and speak up for women and empower many of them. We are truly grateful and excited to represent Oiselle, for seeing our strength and ambition. We are very excited to what 2018 has in store for us this year.