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).