Support Systems

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The PostSecret blog is a community art project run by a man by the name of Frank Warren. Each Sunday, he uploads scanned images of anonymous postcards that are sent to his home in Germantown, Maryland. He has asked that senders find a creative way to share their secrets, through pictures, drawings or words. Some secrets are sad, some are happy; some are dark and some are inspirational. And every now and then, I will run across secrets that really hit home. The image above was one of them.

It took me back to my last 300 hurdle race, over a year ago. My best friend, Erin, and I had both qualified for the regional meet in this event, but were sitting 15th and 16th out of 16 runners going into the race. We knew that the odds were not in our favor, so we vowed to ourselves and to each other to just run; to run and enjoy that feeling one last time.

Erin was in the first heat, I was in the second. The gun went off and I watched her go as I took off my sweats and stepped into lonely lane 8. I set my blocks and took a deep breath. All I wanted was a smooth race. Stay on your feet, cross that line. Walk away proud. “On your mark.” I lowered into the blocks, raised to set and I was off, running alone in my outside lane to the curve, and then watched as the other girls caught me on the stagger.

With a “late surge through the last 100 meters,” as the reporter said, I made one final attempt at a spot in the final, coming up short by only tenths of a second. At the time, I was unaware of how close I had come, but my smile could not have been any wider. Because all the way down the home stretch, I could see my best friend, waiting for me at the finish. I crossed the line and ran right into her arms. I have never been happier after a fifth place finish in my life.

I am so blessed to have the support system that I do, consisting not only of my family and friends, but my competitors as well. I ran that last race with the toughest field of hurdlers in Ohio. In fact, when I attended the state championships this year, I realized that I had run against nearly every finalist during my senior season. It makes me so proud to see them succeed, and I know without a doubt that they would have been cheering me on as well.

Next year, I will run my very first 400 meter hurdle race. I wish that those incredible central Ohio girls could be right there in the lanes beside me. Faith Washington, Jasmine Greene, Sara Johnson, Diamond Gause, Jocselyn Powell and Kamil Muse, just to name a few. Not to mention my very best friend, Erin Gerds; and even Kayla Brown (who always seemed to be just tenths of a second better than me. I was finally able to run her down in that very last race, I remember Erin saying “You got her, you finally got her!”) I would kill to run with those girls again. They were the epitome of class, the definition of talent. It’s people like them who make it all worth while.

I have known support; I have known love in this sport, and in life and I feel so blessed. So in case you’re ever wondering, you better believe that I will be at that finish line waiting for you, just like you would be for me.

 

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