I really don’t know how to begin to explain all that my Olympic Trials experience meant to me. An unforgettable experience, where I experienced the highest of highs & lowest of lows.
Let’s take it back to the week leading up to the Olympic Trials. I was feeling pretty confident heading into race week, but that Monday I woke up with a small cold. It didn’t bother me on my runs throughout the week, but as it got closer to race day, it kept getting worse. I kept convincing myself each day that it wouldn’t affect me come race day. I mean, it’s the damn Olympic Trials, nothing was going to stop me…or at least that’s what I thought.
I arrived in Los Angeles early Friday morning after making the 2 hour drive from Barstow. Still feeling under the weather, I tried to maintain some positivity, as it’s the race I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid. The talk heading into the race was mainly on how hot it was going to be, but I knew everyone would have to run in it, so I tried to shrug it off. The support I had leading up to the race was unbelievable. I felt so supported by family, friends, and everyone who’s followed me on this journey, that I wasn’t going to let the sickness get to my head.
Race morning I woke up feeling worse than I did before. Head and sinuses congested, an annoying cough. But I was trying to be positive and going to go out there and give it my all. I mean, I was fit either way. I knew I’ve done everything I could to prepare for this moment. As I did my warm up my legs and body felt great, but kept coughing throughout it. Oh well, I was about to toe the line in the biggest race of my life.
When the gun went off my main goal was to just relax and stay calm for as long as possible. I planned to maintain 5:10’s for as long as I could, and deal with the hurt of the marathon when it came. First few miles went by, and I was hitting my splits, feeling decent. After the first few miles everything was a blur. Being sick, and exerting myself in that heat was starting to get to me. I grabbed all my bottles, grabbed sponges to pat my head down, but nothing seemed to help.
I was still running a decent pace at around 7 miles, and after that point I just began to feel light headed. I told myself that I was going to keep pushing through. 9,10,11 miles went by and things just kept feeling worse. I kept trying to fight through it, but my body couldn’t take it anymore. Between 13-14 miles I blacked out and collapsed. I don’t recall too much of that, all I remember is a spectator pouring water on me, and the medics asking if I was okay. Everything felt like a blur. Apparently it happened a block away from where my family and friends were cheering, so my brother ended up finding me and helped me walk slowly to where they were. I just remember seeing my family & friends and using everything I had to hold back my tears. Not just because it was the biggest race I’ve ever been in, but because I felt like I let everyone down who’s ever supported me. I felt like I wasted all of my family and friends time who drove to LA to watch me. Hearing “we’re so proud of you,” and “we got your back” from certain family members, and my 2 yr old niece running up to me and give me a kiss, made it especially hard to hold the tears back. Man, that was hard to swallow.
As I was being walked back to the start/finish area, fans/spectators kept saying “great job,” or “congrats on making it here.” That support was unreal. They were right though, it’s a blessing to even of had that opportunity to be at the Olympic Trials. It was just hard to realize it at that time, I was just so out of it and heartbroken.
Now, 2 weeks later, I can finally look back on my Olympic Trials experience and just be thankful for the opportunity. Not everyone can say they competed in the Olympic Trials, even if the race didn’t go how I wanted it to. There’s still plenty more chances and opportunities for me to show what I’m truly capable of. The last few months have been filled with support. I could never thank anyone enough for me being there for me throughout all of this. I couldn’t dream of doing what I do without the support of everyone around me. My mom, brother, sister, niece, family, close friends, all my other friends,coaches, sponsor, supporters, co workers, fans…man this list could go on forever. I’m so grateful for everyone who supports me, and everyone who wants to see me fail. You all make me want to continue to chase this dream. Because of everyone around me I’m a happier and stronger person. I don’t think there’s a proper way for me to really tell you thank you, but if you’re reading this, thank you to you as well.
So here’s to another 4 years of chasing that Olympic Dream, and all of the journeys and obstacles in between. Let’s make this one count!