Category Archives: Track

Professional Athlete

Itching

It’s 2014 and indoor season is here! Many of my track friends have opened up there indoor seasons this weekend. I being a stan found out their results online or talked to them shortly after their races. I’m happy to see that everyone has had pretty decent openers in their respective events. I decided to sit in the stands for this indoor season and not race. I may do an off event (300, 500, 600) here or there but I won’t try to make the Indoor World Championship Team, instead I want to focus my efforts on my event, the 400 hurdles. I’m sooo excited for the season. I’m ready to start putting my race together and kill this year. I have big plans for the season but it all starts with practice! I remember when I was in high school one of my teacher’s hated the phase, “Practice makes perfect.” She said it’s an untrue statement because if you aren’t practicing “correctly” you will never “make perfect.” My teacher preferred her own saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” This is actually a lesson I’ve learned during my track career. Just because you are practicing everyday, giving it your all, doing your best, following all your coaches instructions doesn’t mean that you will perfect your event because you may be indeed practicing all the wrong things. During this past year I have become a student in the 400 hurdles and now other events don’t interest me as much (when it comes to me competing in them), I’d rather focus my attention on perfecting the 400 hurdles. My main focus this year is my left lead leg. Last year it cost me anywhere from half a second to a full second (that’s 55.15-55.65), it was so uncoordinated, when I used it as a lead leg I slowed down and lost momentum. :/ This year after months and months of drilling, it’s finally pretty coordinated! About half the time I use it, it’s great! The other half is a little off sometimes. I just really have to focus. Soon I think it will be as natural as my right leg 😀

Anyways, all this to say I am very, very excited to start really working on them and putting my race together. All this conditioning and short hurdle work is a drag. I know I need it in order to get where I want to be in the longs but geez enough already! Time to get to down to business! I have about 9 weeks before outdoor starts 😀 So I’m just itching to get around this track! Well, I’m more so itching to practice these hurdles. Soon I’ll be on them at least 3 times a week (I literally can’t wait). Few people know this but I actually hate flat running. It’s soooo boring. Nothing to think about, just running :/ and don’t even get me started on my dislike for long runs! But I LOVE hurdling, even the shorts I love them too but the longs… gush… I can’t even describe my love for them. The fitness, the rhythm, the zone, you have to be in… it’s just … <3.  This year, I have a new race strategy this year and I’m so thirsty to see if it works and what about it needs to be tweaked (there is always room for improvement). Anyways, the next 9 weeks I will be transforming into beast mode!

Thanks for reading!

Body Maintenance

This week I learned the importance of body maintenance. I’ve had an extremely busy schedule the past two months taking two business classes, coaching a cross country team, working 20 hours a week, and training myself (practicing, weight room, physio treatment) not to mention I made a trip home for a few days in October. Needless to say I’ve been exhausted. With my crazy schedule I was finding myself not warming up properly (sometimes not at all), I only received one deep tissue massage and cooling down mainly consisted of me jogging to my car. The last few weeks I’d been having cramping in my calves and my lower back was spasming causing my groin to hurt. I changed my schedule and it became in effect this week. I had come to the conclusion I couldn’t last much longer on the schedule that I had with this change came extra time that was definitely needed. I started properly warming upand cooling down and doing the exercises my physio gave me again. I had time yesterday to really, really stretch and roll out on a foam roller. What a difference! I feel a thousand times better. When I rolled out with the foam roller I discovered my calves have a hand full of knots in them which is likely the source of the cramping and with them not being properly warmed up the situation was only becoming worse.extremely busy schedule the past two months taking two business classes, coaching a cross country team, working 20 hours a week, and training myself (practicing, weigd. With my crazy schedule I was finding myself not warming up properly (sometimes not at all), I only received one deep tissue massage and cooling down mainly consisted of me jogging to my car. The last few weeks I’d been having cramping in my calves and my lower back was spasming causing my groin to hurt. I changed my schedule and it became in effect this week. I had come to the conclusion I couldn’t last much longer on the schedule that I had with this change came extra time that was definitely needed. I started properly warming up and cooling down and doing the exercises my physio gave me again. I had time yesterday to really, really stretch and roll out on a foam roller. What a difference! I feel a thousand times better. When I rolled out with the foam roller I discovered my calves have a hand full of knots in them which is likely the source of the cramping and with them not being properly warmed up the situation was only becoming worse.

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This week I learned a valuable lesson that I sub-consciously already knew, Body Maintenance is extremely important! I think I’m going to try to find time to go to yoga classes once a week and I’m going to attempt to stretch daily. I’m going to make properly warming up and cooling down a priority. It is better to take your time and be healthy.

Great Things Are Coming!!!

As the summer begins to come to a close I am more than excited about the fall! After I got back from Kazan (which was one of the most AMAZING experiences of my life) I kind of hit a winter season. While great things were happening nothing was starting yet. Everything was for the future. So, now that my winter season is almost over and Spring (beginning to work in the garden, plant seeds and watch everything grow, A time of new beginnings) is approaching I am beyond excited. I must say that everything in my life is falling into place! 😀 I have a little bit of money, I have a strong relationship with God, I love all of my jobs (my morning job office job is actually going to put in for me to get a raise this fall), I am going to be coaching at a high school called School Without Walls, School is starting and I have very interesting classes, and finally training for track will begin shortly (and with a full training season who knows how it will go this year!). God is working and I am seeing the seeds for his manifestations! I can’t believe a year ago I was miserable and now I can’t think of a single area of my life that isn’t blessed and wonderful. Everything is on the up and up! I am no fool. I know what goes up must come down but until that time, I am enjoying my blessings and shining in his Glory! 

I’m going to make you a Believer

This has been a crazy year for me. Today is my 25th birthday, it is hard to believe how much my life has changed within a year. Last year at this time, I was working at Allstate, what I would consider a dead end job because I knew I did not want a career in the insurance industry. I felt as if my life was at a standstill and although I was having fun (traveling, partying, chilling) I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy about where I lived, I often felt trapped in Atlanta because there isn’t a nearby city that I could escape to. I hated my job, we always had impossible deadlines, tasks, and goals, while the benefits were great and I liked the people, it just wasn’t for me. If anybody, knows me they know if I’m not happy with something I will change it. So I did! I took a chance. I took a GMAT class, and although my plans were to apply for Spring or Fall 2013, I found out that the University of Maryland was still accepting applications only a few weeks before class started. I stepped out on faith and I took the GMAT wayyyy before I had planned to, I was not as prepared as I wanted to be but I took it anyway. I bombed it. I would tell you my score but I’m embarrassed. Regardless of my score, after I got myself together lol I applied anyway. Through the grace of God I was accepted into the M.B.A. program one week before classes started. I packed up my life (anything that didn’t fit in the car didn’t come) and drove up to DC to start a new life (again)! A great friend of mine allowed me to rent out a room in their grandparents house with other friends.

One night in November after much prayer, I was moved to start training for Track once more. I contacted the coach at UMD and he asked me to come out. Although, he never (still to this day) agreed to train me, I just kept coming back. I started training December 1st. I trained in rain, snow, shine, cold, warm, hot, often twice a day. I began to study, and I mean study, my race, the hurdles, touchdowns, technique, myself, my coach, different race patterns, film, anything and everything that could help me understand my race, my coach, and myself. I can honestly say I’ve never worked so hard in my life. A constant feeling of being behind pushed me to work harder. It was only through God’s strength that I was able to train so hard and attend school. At this very moment, I still don’t know how I got up and I did it, everyday.

In February, my family lost one of our youngest babies. Deeply hurt, I took a week or so off and my faith was tested. I stopped praying, I stopped everything. When things like this happen it’s hard to lean on God, it’s hard to understand. I still don’t have any clear understanding but I’ve come to realize this is not our home. Everyone has their time and whether it be 1 month, 3 years, 20 years or 90 years, we all must meet our maker one day. We must enjoy the time we have because death is going to happen one way or another, it’s the only thing in life that is absolutely certain. My baby nephew is missed deeply but I will always remember the time I spent with him.

As a distraction, I began to work even harder on the track but my faith had become weak. In March, I hurt my back and I was out of commission for only a week but that injury made me realize I could not do this alone and I began to pray once more and read my bible. As my faith began to build up again, I had a breakthrough. I opened up at Florida Relays in April with 56.95, almost a personal best! The only thing that I can say to explain it is God! Coming off of the curb onto the straight away with only 120 meters left I was in almost last place but somehow my wheels started to turn and I finished with a tie for 3rd place and a World Ranking of 8.

As May quickly, approached, I was very sick. I have no idea what I had but I was sick for 3 weeks in May and because I started so late I fell out of shape quickly. I competed in a Meet in New York chasing a time but ended up running the worst I had ran all season and in hindsight I realized going into the meet somewhere along the way, I began not to include God in my plans. “I” wanted to run in the meet, “I” wanted to run a personal best, and “I” didn’t PRAY about it, I didn’t ASK God for help, I didn’t include him at all until I was about to get on the line and I said a quick prayer. As a result, I ran awful and quickly realized that I needed to include God in everything I do!

I was sick for three weeks in May and I was finally able to do some quality training starting May 27th although I was still sick that week too. I realized I had fallen out of shape. Since I didn’t have a strong base it didn’t take much for me to lose my fitness. I remember after practice on the 27th or 28th my coach said “You’ve gotta get back in shape! You’ve worked so hard this year to get back. You can’t just throw it all away now!” It was those words that got me motivated to get back to where I was. I began doing two a days again, along with my personal training job, and my morning job. The next two weeks, I busted my butt to get back before Nationals. My days were long but I knew it would be worth it! I had to relearn my step pattern and rhythm, I had to regain my speed, and endurance. I essentially had to start from scratch. I begin studying my race again and relearning myself. Things that were easy for me from the beginning were suddenly very difficult. I came up with workouts to get back quickly, from overspeed to bounding, I was determined to get back. With God on my side, I knew I could do it!

It wasn’t until June 8th, I got my speed back. And not until June 10th (the week before Nationals), I regained my rhythm. And it wasn’t until June 18th, merely days before Nationals, that I felt fully like my old self again but stronger. God’s grace had come through just in time and I felt ready!

While at Nationals, I stayed with my sister in faith, one of the people who kept me grounded in my faith and motivated in track and also helped me study. We were fortunate and blessed enough to stay with someone who we had just met but was just as faithful as us. Everyone in the room flourished in the competition.

My first race wasn’t good because I ended up running basically the whole race on my left leg. Through God’s grace I still managed to get an automatic qualifying spot to the next round. The second race, I attacked the first hurdle correctly and was on my proper lead leg. I pushed through the race to get the last spot into the finals! The third race, was great, I ran the race the way I needed to I just didn’t kick but I know I’m on the right track. After this crazy year, my only true goal was to be in the final and I achieved that! I still have somethings I need to iron out on in my race but I have a lot figured out.

As for the future, I was truly blessed to be selected (1 of 10 women) to represent the USA and compete in Kazan, Russia for the World University Games. I’m beyond excited and beyond blessed. God has really shined his light on me. If you would’ve told exactly a year ago where I would be today, I may have laughed in your face or thought you were completely crazy! But here I am! So, if you don’t like something in your life, change it! Pray about it, ask God for guidance. When you walk on God’s path, things fall into place. I’m a firm believer that if something is extremely difficult and things aren’t coming together, you probably aren’t suppose to be doing it but when things are falling into place and a way is being made out of no way, it’s probably what you need to be doing.

As I look back over the last year of my life I am very humbled and feeling truly blessed. I’m excited for what is to come. I’m on a journey of growth and development. I feel as if I am in a transition period and I’m slowly becoming the woman I have always aspired to be, I am a daughter, sister, friend, M.B.A. Candidate, U.S.A. World University Team Member, and most importantly one of God’s faithful servants. I’m going to make you a believer ….. in God’s Glory.