My first reaction was tears, and that is saying a lot. I am not one to cry, nor am I one to admit to crying, but there’s a funny reason why I’m sharing this with you. I unfolded the paper towel that I wiped my tears with, placed it down on my desk and laughed to myself. There on the paper was the impression of a smile.
No, I did not make the Olympic trials. It just so happened that .04 seconds ended up making all the difference. It’s been hard not to think about where I could have shaved off .04 seconds, but what’s the use. I sat there and stared at that little smile on my napkin and couldn’t help but smile back. It was like God sending a message to me saying, “Don’t worry, be happy! You have a lot to be thankful for.”
First off, just making it into the top 32 in the country has been a blessing. And making it this far in the season being completely healthy is more than many athletes could ask for. I’m also so thankful to have had such wonderful, supportive, motivating and fun teammates to train with all year, a coach who has laid out everything for our success, parents and family members who encouraged me to dream big and never stop dreaming, and so many other people who have helped out with “all the little things,” that we really know end up making the BIG difference. Then of course, I have to thank God. Without Him, where would I be right now? Probably utterly depressed and hopeless, because without Him, life would be all about running; well actually, there’d be no running, and no life at all. I’m thankful that God really does care, that He knows what I’m going through, but He has another plan. Greater things are yet to come, even if I can’t see them yet.
When I think about it, my life goal was never to make the trials, my goal has always been to make the Olympics. So of course I am upset that I just got so close, but am now feeling so far. Yet, on the other hand, I am so much closer than I’ve ever been, and as long as I keep moving forward, there is no reason to lose hope.
When I think about how far I’ve come since the 2008 Olympic Trials, I realize that I can’t be too hard on myself. Four years ago was a monumental time in my career because I broke the monumental “5-minute-mile.” Considering that, I’m quite blessed to have progressed so steadily to where I am now.
The trials themselves may be one race. They may only have 30 spots, (and possibly even less who actually show up on that starting line,) but the real “trial” itself is not about one race. One race isn’t all it takes to get to the Olympics, and one race isn’t all it takes to get gold. No, the real “trials” are the journey you’ve been on since the moment you set your eyes on the prize. Its not one race, one day, one workout, or even one season that makes an Olympian; it’s ALL of the struggles one has faced and overcome.
Not making the race in Eugene this week is actually a “trial” in itself. I already know and can see that. A “trial” is as Oxford Dictionary states, “An experience, or situation that tests a person’s endurance or forbearance.” So here I am, the test has begun. I have no decision in the matter of whether or not I’m on that starting line anymore. But I do have a decision of whether or not I will endure and begin working toward the next goal. Far as it may seem, that means my eyes are already onto 2016. After all, you never know if its going to come down to .04 seconds or less, but you never want to be able to think to yourself, “I wish I’d done more.”
And so the journey begins…