The Farewell to my best friend, Track.
It was a normal hot summer day in Glendale, Ariz. My legs trembled, a lump lived in my throat as I stood nervously at the starting line of the 100 meter-dash with the other seven-year-olds. This feeling never went away, even in my collegiate years.
“SET” … “BANG,” terrified by the gun, I covered my ears and busted into tears.
“Run Plaserae! Go get ‘em! Catch them!” my mom shouted. I wiped my face and pumped my little arms and legs as fast – as hard, as I could. The group got closer and closer. I was in the front. A few more strides through the finish line and I had won my first race.
Move along to my high school years – where the track was my best friend. These were the years my father decided he didn’t want me. These were the years my younger brother looked up to me significantly. I could feel my mother’s and his pride when they looked at me. I traveled, made new friends, and became someone everyone knew. I had successfully made enough noise to get my father to pay attention.
Being from a family of Olympians, they wanted me to be the fourth. I spent 10 consecutive years breaking records, setting my own, shredding my times, and representing the best club track teams of Arizona all over the nation. It felt like it would never end and I didn’t want it to.
Flash forward to my early 20s. I received my first Full-Ride Scholarship for Track and Field at Central Arizona College. Coach Kim Dismuke gave me my first chance to get a college degree. My first chance to shatter the barriers in my way of college. I left with three Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Titles, became a six-time All-American, and Athlete of the 2013 year. I still thank her until this very day.
I could not stop then. I wanted more degrees and more collegiate track. I reached out to numerous universities and went on visits. I made myself another opportunity to do it all again as Track and Field was the only way out.
Head Track Coach Ryan Dall responded and flew me out to Kingsville. He gave me a Full-Ride Scholarship and the chance I had prayed for. I have won three Lone Star Conference Titles, a Division II National Title, became a six-time All-American, and a two-time second-team All-American. I thank him until this very day.
I never thought the day would come where I kiss my best friend, goodbye. I ran my last race on March 10, 2018, in Pittsburg, Kan. I didn’t realize it until Coach Dall came to give me a hug and I started crying like a baby. It was sweeter than I thought it would be. I felt relieved because I knew I had something else to look forward to. I knew I’d done my best and that it was time for me to move on. I had finally reached my finish line.
Most dedicated athletes fail to realize there actually is life after the sport.
Athletes invest all their time, energy, and money into their sport and get so caught up in it, they forget about the future that comes after. That is why I made sure I had something to fall back on and made the most out of the opportunities I was blessed with. My retirement as a sprinter was cherished instead of resented.
The focus, determination, and passion of my inner-athlete have channeled into my career. It has morphed me into this independent businesswoman, published writer, author, and communicator, that I never pictured I’d be.
I am not disappointed that I am not a pro-athlete or did not become the fourth Olympian in my family because I am something so much bigger.