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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Road Block

Yup, my road to London came to a dead end in Eugene on Monday. I gave my best effort but fell far short. I made the Olympic Trials final, but only managed an 8th place finish. It's been a long journey and it's certainly disappointing to finish out my 2012 season with such a poor performance. However, the journey isn't over yet. I plan to continue to strengthen my ankle in hopes of qualifying for the 2013 World Championships. I'm heading back to the Bay Area to prepare for yet another ankle surgery. I knew this to be an inevitable conclusion all season, no matter how things went; my doctors were just waiting for me to call it quits for the season. As of now, I have no idea what the surgery will entail... that all depends on what my MRI shows. As of now, my surgeon is suggesting a scope plus a little extra. Apparently the scope is a relatively simple, routine procedure to clear out the stubborn scar tissue that we've been unable to break up during my physical therapy sessions. However, it's not the scope that I'm worried about. I'm worried about that "little extra" that my surgeon has hinted at. "A little extra" refers to opening up my ankle again to attempt to power wash out the remaining sand debris that is still trapped in my ankle over a year later :-/ I don't know how I feel about that. My doctors and I will need to have a serious conversation before any decisions are made.

But for now, I'm just going to live in the moment. This moment is thankful, sad, relieved, blessed, frustrated, tired, ready to eat all the foods I've been denying myself, and excited about my future. As you might think, feeling all these things simultaneously is quite confusing. But more than all of these things combined, the moment that I'm living in is LOVED! Loved by all of you, loved by all the people who read the articles about me, who watched the broadcasts about me, who gave me a nod of recognition. This moment is filled with the love of my parents who came to support me in Eugene, my surrogate parents Kirk and Suanne who literally nurtured me this past week, my little sister, Kelsey, who cheered, tweeted and posted for her "Soupy" relentlessly. This moment is reflective on my high school coach, John Turek, who taught me to be a fighter and who reminded me of who I really am in a simple text this week. In this moment, I'm warmed by the love of my grandma, Helena, who always tells me "You go to your destiny girl!" This moment is consumed with the love I feel and have felt over the last 16 months from my family and friends who have supported me through the most difficult time I've faced in my life thus far.

I grew a lot as a person over these last few months. I'm proud of the person I'm becoming. I truly have a new appreciation for life, myself, and the gifts I've been given. This challenge has opened my heart and my mind. This challenge continues. I shake my head when I try to think about the hardships I will face in trying to compete another track season. I pushed myself harder this year than ever before and it won't get any easier. I learned what it means to fail more than ever before, but I also learned that with failure, comes growth. If you're brave enough and smart enough to learn from so-called "failures," then it was never really a "failure" at all. As I fly back from Eugene with tired eyes and a conflicted mind, it is hard to sort the sad pangs in my heart from the sighs of relief in my breaths. But all that will come. Time heals all wounds and a stubborn, determined heart gets back in the game with a vengeance when the time is right. Well, I am not ashamed to say that such a time for me is not right now. Right now, in this moment, I'm going to take a step back from track. I'm am going to enjoy the many blessing of my life... from family and friends, to the beautiful Bay Area in which I live. I plan to spend some time in the town that raised me, Plano, Texas. I plan to start planning my strategy for applying to business school this fall. I plan to use this moment, which is filled with blessings and love, to become whole again. My attempt to make this years Olympic team consumed so much of my life and I don't regret any of it for a second. In fact, in this moment I AM PROUD!

I especially have to thank my wonderful coach, Edrick Floreal. Using the word "wonderful" actually sounds terribly inadequate for the man that he is and all that he's helped me through. We've had a bumpy year... he gave his all to get me to London. It's hard not to feel like I failed him. There are not enough 'thank-yous' in the world to convey how honored and blessed I feel to have him by my side. I thank the Lord everyday for bringing such an amazing coach into my life!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Shana said...

I was sorry to hear you didn't make it, but glad you are going forward! Good for you! Take a break, relax!! God bless!!

Rhea said...

Hi Coach Erica-
Even if you didn't quite make the cut for the Olympics, you are an amazing coach and super inspirational to us all. You're so motivated and fun and awesome all at the same time :). It was such a great season, and so much to be proud of! Have a wonderful summer <3