This was the first time since 2004 that I did not compete in a season of track and field. Going from competing at the highest level to not competing at all was a struggle; both mentally and physically. I decided to not run the rest of the 2012 season back in April. It was a hard decision but also a well needed one. I was struggling every day in workouts, distance runs never felt the slightest bit easy and to top it off my coach was 3,000 miles across the United States. I watched meets, saw tweets from old friends still running and it made me only miss the sport more. I was working two jobs, running everyday, lifting 3 times a week, and living pay check to pay check. This was not the way I had ever imagined my life would be after my collegiate career. Yes, not everyone gets a contract after running in college. I knew that before hand, but I never imagined that could be me. I learned the struggle of trying to support myself and my dream real fast and it wasn't something I was prepared for at all.
I still had tons of support from my old coaches, friends, and family. That wasn't enough though, I wanted a contract. So I took the leap of faith and decided to up root my life from the good ol' state of North Carolina. I had built so much there, had great connections and supporting staff of people to help me get to where I wanted to be, but I needed a change. I was too comfortable with the surroundings I was in. I packed up my life in three suitcases, two carry-ons and flew across the country back to the good ol' state of California.
Back in my old stomping grounds, I have my coach at my side and a well needed break from the busy life of trying to support myself by myself. California is where it all started for me and it's good to be back, but it's still not going to be an easy road to where I want to be. I still don't have a contract and I am still working hard to get there. Waking up at wee hours to get in runs and weight sessions have not changed. Planning my upcoming season races has changed though. My new coach, my very first coach, has me on an aerobic summer/fall season.
With more road races on my schedule than ever and a little to non existent indoor season. Being on the west lets me get on the track a little earlier then most. All-comers meets in January and February are in store, with some fast and fun 600m and 400m early next year. All I know is that I am happy again, slowly falling in love with the sport of running again and cant wait to get back in the mix.
Watching the London Olympics only made me want to make my first world team in June even a little more than before and continue my dream for gold. No matter the obstacle, no matter the doubts, get out there and do what you want and do it for you. No one can deny you your dreams if you want it. There are plenty of track and field athletes in my same position. It's a struggle for a lot of runners who love this sport but are not on a contract. Even those that might be on a contract and still have to have a job. This may be another post to talk about in the later future.
But even with the struggles we all push through to train our best, race our best and never give up. Live your dreams.