Two Weeks. It’s crazy how two short weeks can feel like two months. Looking back, that’s how the past 14 days have felt for me. I won’t try and cram every detail into one post, but I will give an update on what I have been up to, and how it has changed me.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend 10 days in Southern California competing four different times. On Wednesday the 6th I headed down to San Diego where I was competing the next day at the Olympic Training Center. Yes, that’s right, the Olympic Training Center! You talk about “seeing an opportunity and responding”, this was my chance to SOAR. When I arrived I absolutely soaked in the whole facility and atmosphere. Not only does it provide a place for Olympic hopefuls in track and field to train, it boasts half a dozen or more venues for other Olympic sports from BMX to beach volleyball. As I warmed up, I wanted to make sure I was prepared to come with my A-Game. And as soon as I found out the opening height was 4.07m (3 centimeters lower than my personal best) I knew that I had to bring it. It was a great day and great conditions so I knew that it was possible. To add to my excitement and my already skyrocketing adrenaline rush, the one and only Stacy Dragila graciously filled in as coach for me while my coach was unable to make it down. It’s one thing to look up video or articles about a previous Olympian and gold medalist, and a whole other thing to have them tangibly there giving you pointers. It was truly amazing. Thankfully I came out and cleared 4.07, first attempt, no problem. I think I shocked myself a little bit in the ease that I felt clearing the height. The bar went up to 4.22 and I was unable to clear, but had some really great attempts at it. After all was said and done that day, I felt incredibly blessed and completely ecstatic that this is the journey God has decided to put me on.
Driving up to LA on Friday I looked ahead at the next day and the competition at Mt. SAC. When I had been there in April I had cleared my personal best of 4.10, and I knew my coach was on his way down to help me improve that mark on Saturday. The bar once again opened above four meters at 4.04 and I cleared on second attempt. Though I had a couple good attempts at 4.20, I was unable to clear, and felt a wave of disappointment wash over me. I had not cleared a bar that I KNOW I can make. That was frustrating.
After Saturday the decision was made that I would stay in Southern California the following week to jump again at Mt. SAC on Tuesday and the OTC on Thursday.
First attempt make at 4.04 on Tuesday brought confidence into 4.20, however I narrowly missed again on my third attempt. Three times, with three close calls, but when the bar falls there’s nothing you can do. However, instead of a huge disappointment, God gave me the perspective of progress. For the first time ever I had been coming into competitions above four meters and doing it with ease. Three times in the matter of six days I opened above four meters. This is a big step forward for me, not only in getting comfortable jumping at higher heights, but giving me confidence those new heights of 4.20 or 4.30 are on the verge!
Thursday posed the most challenging opening bar yet, 4.19 (13’ 9”) and a field of athletes I was honored to be jumping with including Kylie Hutson, April Steiner-Bennett, Melinda Owen, Katy Viuf, Shuying Gao, and Tori Pena. It’s a bummer to say that I failed to make a height on Thursday. And it’s a bummer that overall the spring season ended without reaching that goal of making the Olympic Trials.
But to remain down and not look at the incredible progress and amazing process God has brought me through would be a failure bigger than a goal not reached. Though trials were a target, they were never the sole-objective. The purpose of this process is to challenge myself and challenge others to see and respond to the opportunities God has placed in our lives; to challenge us to take a leap of faith, to invest in the lives of others, and ultimately grow closer in relationship to Him. When I keep that perspective, every chance to jump and every conversation I get to have is a moment of success. Here’s to a million more successes as the next chapter unfolds.