There are some wonderful moments about the month of June that remainded me how bless I am for pursuing my athletic dreams, for being a part of ITA, and for having family and friends that will always love and support me no matter where I stand in life.
June 09, 2008
The Olympic Training Center
Chula Vista CA.
My experience at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. I was at the center for 3 days and the purpose of my visit was to do a Vo2 max and blood test. These tests will allow my coach to figure out more accurate paces for my workouts and we will have an opportunity to hear my body speak of itself through the fascinating world of physiology.
While at the center I had the opportunity to dine and go for a run with Sara Hall. Sara and I had met previously, but this time I had the chance to share a story I had in storage for Sara from 10 years ago when I first saw her compete at the Mt. Sac Cross Country race while she was in High School and I did not speak a word of English. This particular experience proved me that indeed there is a place and time for everything.
This was the time where a new door of opportunity had just opened. There I was, walking, dinning, sleeping, running, icing, and getting a massage at the USA Olympic Training Center. Now, I can say that I am closer to my dreams and I am more than ready to keep going in this wonderful world of athletics. I am excited, pumped, and inspired. Thanks to Team USA California and all the staff at the training center for making me feel like at home.
Woodland Park Middle School
San Marcos CA.
The difference we can make in someone's life just by sending an e-mail blows my mind. A few days after the Olympic Trials I received an e-mail from Jose Pena a professor from Escondido California. In his e-mail he mentioned how impressed he was not only by my performance at the Marathon Olympic Trials, but my story in general. After Jose came home from the Boston Marathon he could not help it and went to school to share my story and a few pictures of me to his English as a Second Language Students. In his e-mail Jose asked me if I could send a poster of me to his class. To be honest I was so moved by Jose’s willingness to motivate his students, but I did not and do not have any posters of me so I offered to send the students some “In The Arena” t-shirts. Everything worked out perfectly as I ended bringing the ITA t-shirts myself to San Diego and personally gave them to Jose, so that he could handle them to his students on their last day of school ( June 10th). Unfortunately, I could make it to their school as I had the V02 max test that day. Later in the week, I had the honor to dine with Jose and his family at their house in Escondido CA. Jose's wife, Marion, has posted some of her impressions of my visit in their family blog.
I am extremely thankful for Jose's e-mail. My trip to San Diego turned out to be a great one as I did not only enjoyed my stay at the Olympic Training Center, but had the opprtunity to meet a wonderful family that received me in their house with open arms. In top of that we made 32 middle school students happy as they received the In the Arena t-shirts Amory Rowe did not hesitate to provide.
The following are some of the notes I received from some of Jose’s students:
“Dear Zoila, It is a really nice thing of you to give us t-shirts. I am 12 years old and I care about getting god grades, so I can get a good job. You should keep working hard so you can get where you want to be. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Leslie Ortiz”
“Dear Zoila Gomez, Than you for the t-shirts. It is amazing how you got 4th in the trials. When Mr. Pena came back he talked to us about you. He also told us that you were also in ELD (English Language Development) like we are, and that you got out of ELD. Like me and my friend Amy are going to regular classes next year. You are and amazing person. Good luck in your running. My name is Alondra Calva. I am 12 years old. I am in 7th grade and the total number of members in my family is six. Mr.Pena also showed us pictures of you”
“Than you for the T-shirts, they are really cool. Good luck on your next race. I am counting on you. I saw you run the trials, sorry you came in 4th place maybe next time you can come in much better pace. Sincerely, Luis Sanchez”
“Dear Zoila, Thank you for the t-shirts you gave us and I hope you visit our school. Arturo Alba”
Costa Mesa, CA
I do not even remember when was the last time I run at Fairview Park or to Huntington Beach. I could not come back home without visiting my family and friends in Costa Mesa, CA. I had a blast spending some time with my former Junior College coach Dave Fier and a few other people I have not seen in years.
It was nice having, my sister Nohemy and my 5 year old niece Mariana, around to time me for my 6 time 1 mile workout at Orange Coast College. After my 4th repeat, I was breathing so hard that my niece asked me if I was crying. Before my last repeat she came up to me and said “Remember, No crying!”
On Sunday, some members of my family had a Carne Asada to celebrate father’s day. The highlight the day was that we ended up having 100 meter races on the middle of the street and many kids from the neighborhood got excited and asked if they could race. See there is always an opportunity to reach out to our youth and I could not pass this one.
By the time Monday came, I was so ready to come home and get back into my small world of running, eating and sleeping.
Thank you to every single member of my family and friends for your unconditional love and support.