My heart is full, and I am so happy that I can now celebrate with my family, my fiancé, my friends, and my community. I knew before racing the Olympic Marathon Trials, that my build up wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t fit to perform to my fullest potential. There were many days off, inconsistent runs, tears, discomfort and pain. Leading up to the trials, about 3 weeks out, my foot pain started to subside, so I was able to begin to train for the Trials. I had to stay resilient, positive and keep fighting each day since my fitness was obviously not where it was supposed to be. I wasn’t sure what will happen on race day because my foot pain was lingering (scaled at 0.5-1 out of a 10) and my fitness wasn’t anywhere near where it should have been. I knew though, that I am a fighter and my past running experience will take me to the finish line.
Heading out to Atlanta, I felt a whirlwind of emotions. I learned to control these emotions and transformed my crying to an excitement and happy state of mind. So, when friends and other athletes would ask me how I was feeling, I responded back, “I am excited, whatever happens will happen!” Composing my emotions, I made the best out of my situation. Thankful and humbled, I was able to meet new friends, hang out with my friends, and we were treated like queens before our race.
During the Race
444 women walked to the starting line. Some doing strides, some standing, some talking with other friends, and some making a quick stop to the bathroom. When we all got to the line, I stood there, anxiously waiting for the race to start, I knew this race will be painful but instead of worrying, I took deep breaths to keep my mind relaxed. I saw 3 of my friends so I walked towards them, and each one gave me a hug and we wished each other the best of luck. The race then pressed, and the goal that my fiancé and I spoke about was to get out conservative. At mile 16, there was a cut off mark so I was a bit skeptical that I wouldn’t make it. I set out a pace that wasn’t planned which was a lot faster than my fitness allowed for since I’ve only been training for a few weeks. I felt I had the power to push and keep pushing because of the crowd. Supporters, friends, Oiselle, screaming: “Go Lopez!”, "Go Oiselle", and some saying, “Latina power!”. It was so remarkable that I felt goosebumps all over my arms. I had emotions of gratitude and joy. Instead of feeling self-conscious about my training, I felt so lucky to be part of this remarkable history of women running at the Olympic Marathon Trials. I kept stating in my mind, “I can do this,” “my family”, “my culture”, and “my community”. Repeating these words helped me stay in the moment, to get gritty, and keep my head up. Miles 18 through 26.2 were a struggle. I had a thought in my mind at around mile 24, what if I have to crawl on the floor or what if I have to stop. My legs were giving out! The wind also didn’t help, I felt my body swaying side to side, catching my body to stay in an upright position. I knew once I stopped, it would be extremely hard to begin again, so I didn’t. Seeing my friends out on the course, helped me to keep my eyes on the prize. Supporters yelling, "I can do it, give me one last mile" turned my shuffle to a horse gallop. And seeing my fiancé the last mile gave me another gear. Pumping arms, lifting legs, calm face finding this force in myself that I Sabrina Lopez can dig deep. I made it to the finish falling to the floor. I DID IT! I COMPLETED THE OLYMPIC MARATHON TRIALS!
I got wheelchaired to the medical tent where they provided me with an IV, heater, fluids, and checking my blood pressure after every few minutes. Everything in there seemed like a blur, I remember feeling immensely emotional, cramping from my legs, and my blood pressure was to high (218 systolic). All I wanted was to see my fiancé, my friends and my sister. About 30 min later, the doctor called my fiancé and I was able to see my friend and sister who were wheel chaired out of the medical tent. I saw my fiancé, and I couldn’t stop laughing, I was in disbelief. I laughed hysterically because, “I couldn’t believe I just ran 26.2 miles!”.
The result, I realized that not every season is going to be great or go according to plan. When you think about it, there is a lot of failures, setbacks, and defeats which makes the wins and success much more rewarding. Instead of reacting or pondering on every bad situation, it’s always best to make the best out of each situation. I didn’t have the placement that I envisioned but the best part is competing at the trials with many of my friends, my sister and the best women in the world. It has been a dream of mine and I’m so excited to get healthy again, reminiscing about the trials and its journey, sleeping in and taking some much needed time off from running.
Thank you for joining my story!
- Huge thanks to my acupuncturist (Lily), nutritionist (Will), fiancé, coach and chiropractor (Andres), Level running equipment, and my support crew(friends, family, community, Oiselle).
Growing up as a twin, I remember we would be each other’s playmates. We were extremely shy, had our own twin language since the age of five, had twin celebrity status and were/are best friends. I would describe our relationship growing up as desperately needing each other to fulfill our weakness and strengths. As a twin, I found myself speaking in unison with my twin. We would finish each other’s sentences and feel a sense of peace whenever my sister was near me. I had a bad stuttering problem since longer than I can remember, and my twin sister was always next to me to help finish my sentences. I would help her take responsibility to act, provide encouragement and motivation. My sister was my safe net and I never felt alone. We were inseparable!
Twins can relate to one another and both are uniquely different. Many of our differences may cause disagreements. Different values and dreams from one another can bring frustration and anger. This is absolutely okay! It is important to be understanding and accepting towards your twin; after all, we are our own individuals! I realize that a lot of twins (not all twins) have encountered twin separation that can spiral into a “twin divorce”. For example, my twin sister decided she wanted to focus on her own identity this year which meant she wanted to hang out with me less; it felt like a divorce. We were constantly fighting and there was a time where I felt that I lost my sister forever. I must admit, it felt like my other half of my soul was missing. I became depressed and had more anxiety than ever. We had no trust among each other due to our separation. I also want to acknowledge that these feelings of negative disapproval among my sister was fear of losing my sister. Trust me though, all that built up anger I had did subside once I realized that separation was inevitable. It is part of the process, especially in separating with my twin whom I was once inseparable with since we were womb mates. With that being said, we started to run with other people and hang out with different people. I had the conversation with my twin sister on how we can still be close while still maintaining our separate lives. We had the conversation and agreement that we must call each other at least once a week or so, have dates, listen to each other with no judgement and accept what the other sister is doing.
This past week, I attended a camp that was organized by Oiselle. This is an experience that I am incredibly thankful for. I was overwhelmed with excitement, but I was also nervous. I have never traveled alone. This was out of my comfort zone and I did find myself feeling uncomfortable and awkward because I felt something that was a part of me for so long was missing. Whenever I found myself feeling overwhelmed with emotions, I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. This helped soothed my mind and to truly be in the moment with my own soul. While being away, I realize that I have a lot of growing to do in knowing who I really am without my sister.
Twin separation has helped us mature more into our own individuality and helped us to accept each other for who we are. I can honestly say that I admire my sister, she is strong, confident, and bold. We respect each other’s freedom from twin marriage. I want the best for me and my sister, this is where we are now. Being a twin resulted in so many great things in our life. I truly believe that being a twin is the best thing in the world. We will always have a best friend and we are also able to grow older together. Sisterhood for us will never change and I am still learning to live my uniquely individual life.
To be continued...
After a race, my mind is usually scattered with many thoughts on what just happened. When races go beyond expectations, I feel unstoppable, happy and fierce. When races don’t go as planned or as I hoped, I feel a little bruised, disappointed, and hurt. It is easy to dwell on the bad moments of a race but we must also try to embrace the moments that we are proud of. Looking at the positives will help you overcome a “bad” race and help you move towards the next one.
Many of my competitors were close friends, which is something that I love because of the strong camaraderie that we all share. As the race pressed, the scenery the first half of the race was breathtaking. It was really green, birds were flying, and the was moon out. I tried to take it all in. During the first half of the race, I was using a lot of positive self-talk; “Sabrina, breathe in and out." "You are strong." I started to run my goal pace of 6:00 to 6:05 pace which felt incredibly easy and pleasant. A friend of mine approached me and we were running side by side. I gave him a fist pump a few times to keep us motivated and strong. As mile 18-19 approached, I felt my stomach squeezing tight and my quads felt achy. I started to feel cramps in my stomach and the agonizing pain kept on getting worse and worse with each step that I took. When mile 21 approached, there were porta-potties and I booked it to the bathroom. After the bathroom stop, my quads felt worse and the achiness became pain. As I kept running, I ran past the Oiselle women squad who were cheering me on at mile 22. They really helped me finish the race because ultimately, my mind and my body was over this race. Thinking back at this, I learned that you have to keep pushing even if it isn’t your day. As I did feel like my bad ass self by hitting my goal pace for the first 17 miles, I know that with positivity and hard work, I will hit my A goal one day, but this past weekend wasn’t the day. It was indeed a good step forward.
Flashback to 2 weeks before Grandmas marathon. I was not sure if I wanted to race a marathon due to stressors that were occurring in my life. I was built up with tension and stress that felt like a pile of bricks sitting on my back. I then met with one of my good friends, Valerie, whom I feel at times is my guardian angel because she is a definition of a woman whom is upfront and the kind of woman who believes in you that you start believing in yourself too. While I was facing some tough patches, she helped me to realize that at times I must toughen up and be positive for myself, my clients and for those who are in my life. I had set a goal to race the marathon and I must finish my goal, even if I fail. She explained that I am still a winner no matter the outcome. That I must try!
A week prior to the marathon, I then started practicing visualization, meditation, learning about essential oils, and drinking herbs (recommended by my mentor). Lily is an acupuncturist who has literally helped me progress in less than a week. I am extremely thankful for her time and grateful since she saw me in such a short notice. Until next season, I am ready to work on myself, face my fears and grind on what God intended me to be!
Filled with Joy
To all who have been commenting and reaching out to me on my engagement with my boyfriend of five years. Thank you so much for all the love and support poured out. To my family, friends and social media connections, you all have filled my heart with joy with all your remarkable blessings and congratulations. I am writing this blog to share my remarkable love story at Big Bear with my fiancé.
Big Bear Week
My fiancé is an outdoorsy type of man who loves to surprise me at different opportunities throughout our dates. We enjoy camping and trail running. My fiancé is someone who is an adventure seeker and brings out the adventurer in me. He has taught me to live each day with purpose and not to stress over the little things. He is a very patient man who is honest, courageous, kind, he loves unconditionally, and cares for people deeply. He organized our camping trip that lasted for a week and it turned into an experience of a life time. He was my expert camp leader who took over all amenities including cooking fresh meals and setting everything up. We explored trails, star/moon gazed, ran, and hiked incredible trails in the wilderness. Big Bear has and will always hold a special place for both of us. It is where he first surprised me for the first time with our very first trip together as a couple. Big Bear is also one of our favorite places to train because of its high altitude. I have to mention that running at Big Bear is phenomenal due to its trails that are historic and have many scenic routes. We love how new memories are created at Big Bear and how we feel close to God’s grace & peace each time we visit, along with the sight of beautiful green trees, the smell of clean weather, and the sound of birds chirping.
Engagement Day, 08/22/18
The day I’ll always remember, the Cougar Crest Trail. It is a trail where we did our first run together at Big Bear and where I quickly learned how difficult trail running can be. He explained to me, get ready because we were going to go hiking and that when we get to the top of the trail, we will be having a fun photo shoot. I remember changing into clothes that didn’t match so he ended up choosing my outfit for me, haha. After we reached the top of the trail, we both sat and rested on a bench drinking Gatorade and glazing out at the scenic view. After resting, we started our fun photo shoot and he had me first take solo photos. He told me not to look back at him & to keep looking at the lake. I told myself, “okay, these pictures better be good”. He then stood up on the bench and stand next to me. He said that he loved me and asked me if I loved him too. I said ‘yes’. He then got down on one knee and proposed to me, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?” I was breathless, shy, surprised and my hands started to shake and sweat (fluttering excitement). I said YES with tears in my eyes! ❤️
I am grateful to God my Lord Jesus Christ for bringing this man into my life. I am truly thankful for an amazing experience I had with the man of my dreams and the answer to my prayers. I am still soaking everything in and excited to share a life and to create new memories with my fiancé. Please enjoy some of the photos we took and you can see more on my strava running account. There I have uploaded all the fun photos taken at our Big Bear camping trip. Thank you for being part of my story.
It has been quite awhile since I last blogged. As you read in my last blog, I was dealing with an injury (a bone stress response in my foot) which did not allow me to run for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks of resting, I started up training easily and progressing back to the gym. Easing into training, I wanted to plan out what is next for me. At first, I was reluctant to train for another marathon. The marathon is a huge time commitment and a mental investment that one must put 100% when you want to achieve a goal. Knowing that there will be tiresome days, disappointing days, and exciting days. I realized that marathon training is something that I want to keep pursuing and learn along the way on how to overcome the challenging distance of 26.2 miles. Training will be hard work but I am ready for the battle, the mental battle of grit and lots of joy running long miles and learning something new about myself.
This season, I was eyeing for my first major marathon. I was pumped, ready, and also planned out my summer/fall racing. These past few weeks, I have been contemplating if I would be ready for Chicago, and if my build up will be enough time to hit my goal of racing an A standard time. Quiet mornings, praying, and meditating is where I really listened to answers and hoping God can give me a sign. On a solo run, I got rushed with a feeling that I haven't felt for a while, I started to day dream of racing fast at CIM. I wanted to race CIM and also be filled with peace and look at Gods beauty by running through trees, fresh air, and the Sacramento crowd pushing me to the end. I called my coach, and we both decided that CIM would be perfect and a better option since I'll have more time to build up for the race. This meant that my training build up will be a lot of focus, positive thinking, long mileage runs, and investing my whole heart into it. Coach told me that this season, training is going to be intense, different, and do specific workouts (gym & training) that I have not done before. I told him, I AM READY!
My goal is to become more resilient, believe that I am capable of performing fast and when things knock me down, I'll choose to step forward with being positive and run/race with strength. My focus is to learn to embrace the pain and dig deep when I want to give up. Marathon training teaches me that when I feel weak that it will be subsided with strength especially when I run for something larger than myself.
Excited, ready, and blessed to have the support of my friends, family, Oiselle family, and my boyfriend/ coach. Marathon training are not complete with out the love that is close to my heart.
Hi Everyone! If you've been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that I have not been posting about any races, training, or running. To be honest, I have been dealing with a condition called hypothalamic amenorrhea. Some of you, might be thinking, what is that? Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a loss of my monthly period that may be due to weight-loss related to stress and exercise. I know many women might think not having a menstrual cycle is something good because you get away from cramps, headaches, hot flashes, or not having to stress over your period on a race day. Unfortunately, there are side effects that can result in not having your period. So I did a little research and also spoke to my boyfriend who took a class on the female triad and focused on this topic of hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Women who are athletes or who has had one, two or all three of the female triad have a likelihood of having some side effects. What is the female triad? The female triad are women who has had an eating disorder or a decrease in food intake, amenorrhea (loss of period), and osteoporosis (low bone density). The consequence can be unrecognized and can result to bone injury. It is estimated that women who exercise regularly have a 50% chance of experiencing menstrual disorders while 30% experience amenorrhea (Hobart, Douglas, and Smucker, 2000).
In my late 20’s
The last 5 months, I had the absence of my menstrual cycle. After competing at the California International Marathon in January. I have had issues with not starting my period. Missing my period made me realize that there can be some health risks such as having low bone density problems and having a difficult time wanting to start a family in the future. Low bone density problems can lead to stress fractures and can cause serious injuries that may become long term. Currently, I am dealing with a bone stress response in my foot which is one step below a stress fracture but can result to a stress future if I try to run through the pain. Therefore, I currently must take some time off to deal with this issue, including my future races like this coming weekend at Grandmas half marathon. I have been feeling disappointed and cried yesterday because I have been hopeful. My coach and I decided that it is best to take some time off and look at the long-term goal to running fast and racing healthy.
How to regain positivity and monthly cycle
What I’ve been doing to stay positive and start my monthly cycle. At home, I watched an encouraging movie called “Remember the Goal”. My body speaks to me and if I have pain, I must take care of it and make sure that I recover 100%. I have a goal and that goal is to be the best runner that I can become, so it’s important to make sure I’m consuming the an adequate amount of calories, resting, and recovering. You do not need to have an eating disorder to suffer from the female triad. If you are eating like you regularly do and suddenly increase your exercise load without increasing your food intake, you will not have enough calories (energy) to help build strong bones. This was the problem that I had. I increased my mileage but did not increase the amount of calories I was eating.
This is what I have been doing to start my period:
1. Decreasing Mileage and Increase food intake:
My miles were decreasing because of preparing for grandma’s half marathon. When I was not hungry, I ate a lot more snacks which helped with my energy availability. I know, It is tempting to cut down the calories when you are running less but that isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. Your food intake is your fuel to build a healthy and strong body and decreasing your mileage or taking days off can help offset the amount you need to eat to replenish your system. The foods that I choose to eat more of were almonds, avocados, salmon, and steak. As for snacks, I ate a lot of fruits.
2. Removing Stress
Removing stress is a huge part on not having your period because of hormone factors. Remember, tomorrow is a new day and when you are feeling upset or sad, know that everything is going to turn out okay. You may not know it then, but the best advice that my mom told me is, "Be still and let God help guide you through".
Things you can do to help with stress:
- Sleep; Sleep is the most effective way to rebuild and recover your body and mind.
- Meditation; it takes 5 to 10 minutes, once a day to think, breathe and to be thankful that you are alive.
- Care for yourself; get a massage, dress up, get a pedicure/manicure, or buy new clothes.
Maybe these things aren't what helps you be stress free but when you find ways to relieve stress. Your body and mind will be thankful for it.
3. Take your supplements:
These past few months, I haven't been taking my vitamins. The following is what I've been taking and I hope this helps you too:
Vitamin C- Supports your body’s response to stress
Magnesium- It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady and helps bones remain strong.
Calcium- helps with bone structure and strength
Vital collagen- helps with skin, nails & hair growth, and bones
4: Overcoming Injuries
Injuries suck, I know. I never thought I would have a problem with my foot because I am always used to having issues with my IT Band. When finding out I had a bone stress response in my foot, I didn’t want to believe it because I never thought it'll happen to me. If you ever feel a small pinch in your foot, immediately seek a chiropractor or physical therapist. Taking some time off sucks but getting treatment, recovering, and strengthening my feet will help in the long run so I can enjoy running and setting personal records in the future.
This is just my journey. Everyone's journey is their own. If you need support or help, feel free to send me a message and seek advice from your Doctor. This is by no means a treatment protocol for your symptoms. If you are experiencing any type of pain or discomfort, call your Doctor.
Hobart, J. A., & Smucker, D. R. (2000, June 01). The Female Athlete Triad.
Eliminate the mindset of CAN'T? Because you can do anything! - Tony Horton
The mindset is an essential part in running - especially in endurance running. You can be in the best shape of your life but without mental toughness and grit, you will not be able to perform. This season has been one of those seasons that has had much more lows than highs. I have used the word, "CAN"T" a lot more during my training. I have been stopping a lot more in my training which has led me to cry. Running can be heartbreaking and I am always asking myself; “Why is this happening to me?” I want to be fast, unstoppable, fearless and like my boyfriend loves to state, "Have the eye of the tiger when you run/race”. The training has not been the problem, but rather my mindset that has me feeling defeated. I am learning to break through my own negative self-talk, especially during my tempos and training segments which has been occurring for the past three months. I won't be rambling about what has caused my negative self-talk since I don't want to bore you with my personal life. But a lot has changed this season in my personal life and I have been struggling with the change emotionally which has caused a lot more doubts in myself.
After my race this past weekend in Pittsburgh (half marathon). I cried like a baby and I felt defeated once again. Speaking to my boyfriend who is also my coach, he told me that Monday will start the new me and the new mental positive self-talk. I started to laugh because Monday I had a day off. His response, EXACTLY, a day of rest to recover and to tackle workouts in the next 6 weeks to prepare for the Grandmas Half Marathon. We spoke about using more positive self-talk and reading more books on overcoming negative self-talk. Also, he recommended that we fly out of state in July to the NSCA National Sports Conference in Indianapolis, where different professionals will talk about the sport of running and strength and conditioning. He pointed out in the flyer that one of the talks will be about building mental toughness, so I am excited to overcome the mental barrier of my own negative self-talk.
Sometimes you need to experience heart break to find the love of ruining again. While it is so easy to compare myself to last season, which was a breakthrough season with so many PR’s and where I felt strong, physically and mentally. My goal is to become the Sabrina I was last season but BETTER. So, since I have been reading a lot more about mental toughness. I thought I would share some tactics that I read and what I have started this past week. Oh yeah, I killed my workout today while repeating, "DIG DEEP". I will be updating my daily running progress on strava running app. You are welcome to follow. =) While I am currently focusing on this, I thought you can try these steps if you are also struggling with your mental toughness.
To perform your best, an athlete must have motivation when training during a season. To develop motivation, an athlete must set long term goals, short term goals, train smart, and commit to the moment. After defeating races, I had some quiet time on Monday where I wrote down my goals and spoke to my coach about my long-term goals and how I can reach those goals. This allowed me to improve myself as an athlete because when I run, I am aiming for my goals; which are to hit the A-standard for the Olympic Trials and running a really fast half marathon.
2) Positive self-talk
If you have negative thoughts in your mind during a workout or even before, the chances are you, will be defeated. When I had successful workouts, I usually set out a special outfit which are the she roes sports bra and wear a bracelet that has a meaning around it. I then tell myself a mantra or repeat phrases nonstop during a run. For me, the phrases that I repeat are, “I am STRONG”, “I am FIT”, “I am POWERFUL”, and “DIG DEEP!”.
3) Breaking the workout/race into small segments.
When doing longer reps, it is always best to get through each lap on a track or one mile at a time on the roads instead of thinking of the workout as a whole. Running long can leave me frightened, but when I focused on each mile for a 20-mile-long run, my mind is put in another state and I had a sense of effortlessness. I had my best races when I am focused on one mile at a time and when I focus on a particular land mark or a person in front of me.
4) Running hurts like hell
Not everyone is a runner, but if you are, you must know that in order to run fast, it better hurt! 80% of running and racing fast is mental and 20% is fitness. You must remind yourself that it’s supposed to hurt and that you are strong enough to get through it. Keep a positive mindset throughout the workout and know that it will all be worth it in the end.
5. Learn to deal with bad days
Everyone has bad days. Some bad days are waking up on the wrong side of the bed (waking up unmotivated), got in an argument with someone, working has become a lot of work or failed a test. Learn to put those thoughts aside and not allow it to drain your run. That negative energy that is draining you is probably causing a lot more stress than it needs to be. Running should not be a burden instead a time to focus on you, your health, and your running goals. Learning to separate your personal life and running life can help you become successful in both. Clear your mind and meditate on the good things.
I hope you enjoyed this blog on how to work on mental toughness. I hope this helps you!
Next blog post will be on how to deal with amenorrhea.
My heart is full and so happy that I can celebrate this moment with my twin sister. We knew what we were getting ourselves into… long miles, tiresome days, and glorious days. We ran our first marathon in 2016, at Phoenix Arizona. As many of you know, I prepared for that race 8 weeks prior with no practice executing our goal pace and drinking fluids. This time around for CIM, we knew what we had to do and endure anything that comes our way. The prep for the marathon and build up went perfectly. My coach/boyfriend stated a day before CIM, you 3 are ready to qualify for the OTQ standard, his athlete Lauren, twin sister Regina, and myself. Our plan was to race conservatively and maintain 6:10 pace. The goal was to hit the Olympic Trials B standard and later when we get more experienced, try to hit the A standard.
Before the race, I was prepared and ready for the mental battle. My coach/ boyfriend, friend Daman, sister’s boyfriend Mathew, and twin sister drove to CIM on Friday evening. We spent the whole day chattering while my boyfriend and twin sisters boyfriend tried to see who can make the best jokes. While they both tried, my boyfriend won with the most laughs this time around. Lol While it was all fun, the next day, I became focused and started day dreaming to how much I would need to fight in the end of the race. I prayed that night to give my friends and I strength and to race confidently. Lights were off at 9pm exactly!
The morning of the race
I knew the race would be painful when I got to 21 to 26.2 miles. I came in the race with a joyful outlook. My sisters boyfriend paced the elite women, so I knew if I wanted to hit my goal pace, 6:10, I had to run ahead. At the start line, I told my twin sister, no matter what happens, stick with me like glue, do not GIVE UP! She agreed and then the race pressed. We took our bottles and gels throughout the race. I noticed some competitors missed their bottle so I shared my drink with them. At Mile 1 to mile 23 felt amazing, I felt unstoppable until after 23. It was a mental battle to get to the end, legs cramped up and throbbing. Looking down at my watch, I knew a PR would be there and it did. I PR’D, 2:41:16 and exactly 6:10 pace. The pace that I have been training at! The last miles in the race were painful, I prayed and I said my mantra. “I can do all things, through Christ who Strengthens Me.” I also told myself I can do it. I have the Lords strength. When I finished the race, I sat down on a chair, moving back and forth on a chair. Pressing my hands on my legs, hoping that it’ll relieve the pain. The whole time, I kept asking for my twin sister and boyfriend. I then found my sister cross the line at 2:42:06, an OTQ. I then told her, WE did it! I then told her to sit next to me. A few seconds later, my sister wasn’t near me, I greeted my friends, saw close friends crying for their greatest accomplishment, and I was filled with peace and joy. THANK GOODNESS THAT IS DONE AND OVER!” I honestly felt everything was slow motion as I was moving my eyes everywhere hoping the pain will go away. I was then lead by a man, my sisters boyfriend, and my coach’s athlete and friend Grace, to the Stutter Center where I got a massage and was in deep agony/pain during the massage. I told GRACE, please find my sister and my boyfriend Andres. I wanted to cry because all I wanted was to see them BOTH! After the massage and a cup of orange juice, I was back to reality. My sister, Mathew, and Andres then walked to the Stutter Center, I was in complete joy to see them. I told my sister, never to leave my site after the race again. I was worried about her. She started to laugh and responded she was at the medical station getting fed. Seriously, fed! They were spoon feeding her chicken broth soup and pretzels. lol
Many of my competitors qualified today and I am so excited for us all. The marathon humbles you so much. Another PR will come, but I know it will take baby steps to get there. Savoring every moment and finally 2 weeks off, no running. Sleeping in and spending my mornings drinking coffee and eating. The marathon was special and will be planning to race another a year or two.
To all who have been following me on Instagram, I took a much-needed vacation to Oregon, with my sister, my best friend Valerie since college (2011), and her boyfriend Juan. When we first arrived to Oregon (Eugene), we separated because my sister and I went to go explore our former college in Corvallis, Oregon. Before leaving to Corvallis, we took a pit stop at the pre trail. So many runners are excited to run on the pre trail and seeing the University of Eugene, but my heart wasn’t as full as I was hoping for. So, we left and started our way down to Corvallis; home of the Beavers while listening to Jesus Culture on the radio. The music was so powerful especially looking out the window looking at God's beauty. O how I missed you Oregon!
While approaching Corvallis, the memories of this small college town brought back so many emotions. I cried, smiled and laughed. Reuniting at my first college campus kept me grounded and reminded me of the blessings and of all the good and bad things that shaped who I am today. Reminiscing of my journey brought me joy. The things we did at Corvallis were biked for 3.5 hours, roamed around Oregon State University and strolled through some of the trails that we use to run on. We ate at my favorite place called café yum , followed by dessert at extreme yogurt that we were addicted to when living here at Corvallis. It was such a special day and filled with so many wonderful new memories. My heart felt full. Corvallis, Oregon is so beautiful. Quiet and peaceful, just like how I remembered it. The fresh air rejuvenated my energy to be positive and full of light. Meeting new people everywhere we went. The people there were so kind to us that we couldn’t help but smile. Our smiles were so contagious that where ever we looked we would laugh and others would join in.
The next day, we ran at our favorite old stomping grounds, Avery Park to Willamette Park. It was remarkable how we somewhat remembered the trails. We had a decision to choose: left or right at a dead-end street. I ended up choosing left. I listened to my gut feeling. I let my intuition and heart lead the way. I felt God’s peace on that trail while running which is why I realized that God is with me wherever I go. Closing my eyes on some sections of the run, I felt HIS voice. I have fallen in love all over again with distance running and doing what I love the most.
Later that day, my sister and I went to meet up my best friend, Valerie and her boyfriend at Portland, Oregon. I am someone that is filled by time spent with the ones I love. We encourage each other to be better. We are runners whom believe in the unknown and dream big to excel on this sport called running. As we spoke about running, our conversations grew deeper to life on what scares us, our weaknesses, strengths, and what we want to pursue in life. Through this adventure, we ran on the Michael Johnson track. This track is seen on YouTube, flotrack videos and magazines. Running around and around the track was such a dream come true. Later that day, we had great entertainment by watching a live soccer match against, The Blazers go up against the visiting LA Galaxy team.
I am gracious with my time spent with friends, to embark in a new season with a full moon in sight to remind us all that a new chapter begins. I choose to focus on the good and smile more. I look forward to this season of working hard, training, racing, meeting new people, and cherishing every moment of life. Because often, I am too focused on the past and future that I might miss the present. My story is being written by God and I don’t want to miss what he beholds.
Thank you all for following my journey. <3 This is just the beginning.
There are moments in every season that I learn something new about myself. This season was learning to be patient with myself. My training build up started in December and I was suppose to end my training cycle in May. If anyone knows me, especially my coach, I am one stubborn athlete and a dreamer. I want to pursue all my dreams now that I don't realize that my body can't compete at a high level every single race. There will be races that do not go according to plan but that is all apart of the process of becoming a better runner. At times, I feel myself being paranoid on my dreams that I forget to live in the present. During my training cycle, I found my self disappointed at times when I did not break my personal records which left me thinking about a lot of “what if’s”. While my coach wanted to end my season in May, I fought and convinced him that I cannot just stop. I kept dreaming and wanted to run faster and faster!!!! So I competed, competed and then competed again. Instead of being patient with myself, I found my self feeling off some days, crying on some runs due to feeling fatigue, and day dreaming to the unknown.
I try not to let running define me or the races I do or don't do. That is something that I am learning to do, especially in trusting the Lord that it is okay to have bad races. He repairs me over and over again, and I am reminded this season that disappointments are okay. I am not perfect. I will never be, but I can try to be a better me everyday by being patient with my body and mind.
I spoke to my coach after my last race that just ended in late July (Some images of the race are below). We agreed that I am not patient when it comes to being disappointed at races and looking for more races so I can be satisfied with myself. My coach said, I need to have a race schedule set for the Fall season and my season will end after the California International Marathon, no exceptions. He is absolutely right, I love racing more than ever but I need to understand when my season comes to a closing and it needs to come to an end, unfortunately, so I can train for the next cycle. I am excited to start training for CIM. There is truly a time and mental investment into racing a marathon. When you invest yourself into something you love, it finds a way to make a home in your heart. I am passionate about becoming the best marathoner I can be. Starting a new season and it will be full of new adventures, ups and downs, being more patient and pursing God’s heart for me.