Sunday, November 1, 2015

In The Arena in Oklahoma

Today I got a chance to practice, challenge myself, encourage others and get inspired and encouraged by the best.. From a 68 year old woman who ran a 5km to a 13 year old boy who took a wrong turn and ended up running double the distance; to the greatest and most supportive #sister and the amazing runners from today's #greatratrace #kids and #adults 1 mile #5km #10km at the #watonga #cheeseandwine #festival Hoy tuve la oportunidad de practicar, retarme, animar a otros y ser animada e inspirada por los mejores.. Desde una señora de 68 años que corrió 5km a un joven de 13 años que corrió doble de la distancia; a la mejor de las hermanas que siempre me apoya y todos los corredores de hoy, niños y adultos en Watonga, Oklahoma en el festival del queso y el vino.. #HowWeBean #WeAreInTheArena #outerstrength
A photo posted by Zoila Gomez😊 (@zoilagomezita) on

After my short visit in Oxnard I headed to Oklahoma City for a 3 week sea level training stint. The goal was to test how my body would respond to the training. Like anything all decisions come with a risks, adjustments and many logistics. Where to go? Where to stay? Where to train? Financially, how much is this going to cost? etc I have been in Oklahoma before when I came to visit my siter Alicia and her husnad Luke. I was already somewhat familiar with the area and knew of the places to train. Alicia and Luke have always been very supportive. A few moths ago, they offered me their place for me to stay whenever I wanted to go train or race at sea level. Both know how much it means to me to be back training and what it would take for me to get that  Olympic Trials qualifier.

My comeback has not been easy. For the contrary, it has been more difficult and slower than expected. Nonetheless, trust me when I say that I am enjoying every step of the way, every result. This "comeback" has allowed me to look back and truly appreciate and put into perspective the achievements from the past and enjoy to the best every time I get to lace my shoes now. 

The first week in Oklahoma was a challenge as I could hardly walk after the mountain run the day before my arrival. For 5 days,  I had to train according to how my body felt  each day. By Saturday, I was able to get back into my normal training schedule and I found myself running some 1km repeats on the track. The following days you would see me running around Lake Hefner or around the neighborhood.

The second week I signed up for a local 10km race in Watonga, Oklahoma  just an hour away from my sisters house. The support and encouragement I receive from participants and race director was second to none. It was fun to participate in a race where people were genuinely happy to be there. 
 That morning I ended up running by myself the whole way. I was hoping to run in the high 35s, low 36s but again my legs would get stuck on one pace and not wanting to switch gears. Even though I won the entire race there was a feeling of disappointment, but thankfully that did not last
too long as I was able feed up from the positive energy from other participants and see the experience from another perspective. I was able to put in a good run and in the process inspire and be
inspired by a few. It was wonderful to share another running experience with my younger sister Alicia and it was wonderful to be able to run pain free.  After I finished, many people and kids came to say hi and congratulate me on the win. Some asked for advise and shared their running story.

During my cool down I decided to head back to the course and see if anyone needed a pacer. To my surprice 1km to go I came across this young boy whom by mistake ended running the 10km instead of the 5km. We connected and he accepted me pacing him for the the last 1km. At the award ceremony, we celebrated together the fact that we made it to the finish line.
A photo posted by Zoila Gomez😊 (@zoilagomezita) on

Since Watonga did not go as planned, I decided to stay for another week. The following weeks of training there went great. I enjoy the sunsets at Lake Hefner as well as some beutiful encounters with other runners and other people.
We arrive at the same time, they inspired me as I see them cheerfully  running away from me.. The scene was beautiful.. 1 hour later, we come across each other at the other side of the lake.. I notice the youngest one is struggling, so I cheer her on. They are 4km away from where they started.. 15 minutes after  I'm done with my  run, I look around, I don't see them so decide to get on the car and check on them.. I find them 3km out.. Asked if they need  water, a ride back.. For a moment they hesitate, then accept the ride.. "Do you speak Spanish Ricardo asks" "Si" I answered.. Ricardo: "Where are you from?" Me: "Soy de San Luis"  Ricardo: "Nosotros tambien"  Big lake, small world! Llegamos al mismo tiempo, me inspiro al verles muy contentos alejarse corriendo de mi..La escena fue linda.. 1 hora mas tarde nos reencontramos del otro lado del lago.. La pequeña se ve exhausta, así que con una sonrisa la animo..Están a 4km de su punto de partida.. 15 minutos después de que termine de correr.. Los busco no los puedo ver, así que me subo al carro para ir a buscarlos.. Los encuentro al kilómetro 3.. Pregunto si están bien, si ocupan agua, o un aventón a su carro.. Sudados y muy cansados, dudan pero aceptan el aventón. . " Hablas español?" Pregunta Ricardo.. "Si" le contesto.. Ricardo: "De dónde eres?" Yo: " De San Luis Potosi"  Ricardo: "Nosotros también"  Lago grande, mundo pequeño!  #makesomethingtodayimpacttomorrow #hazalgohoyimpactamañana  #outerstrength #lakehefner
A photo posted by Zoila Gomez😊 (@zoilagomezita) on

The highlight for Lake Hefner was the day I arrived and I was inspired by a group of two teenagers and two kids running away from me as they looked excited to be outdooors. The scene was so inspiring that I was only able to take a mental picture. An hour later I saw the group 4km away from where I first saw them. Roughly 15 minutes after I finished my run, I looked around and I could not see the crew. I got concern so, I jump in the car and went to look for them. I found them 3km out and struggling so I offered them a ride back. After deliberating, they say yes and I took them back to their car. I congratulated them for being outdoors and gave them a few tips on hydration and on how to make the next trip to Lake Hefner more enjoyable.

A photo posted by Zoila Gomez😊 (@zoilagomezita) on

Also, I would like to thank, the athletic dicrector from Piedmont High School for allowing me to use their track facilities and hurdles during my stay.

Part of being #InTheArena means knocking on doors, asking for help, finding resources and ways  to accomplish that workout of the day.. Shout out to #Piedmont Athletic director for allowing me to use their facilities. My morning was more than complete when I got to encourage a group of elementary school kids at their 1/2 mile run during  P.E Class.. It was in the fall of 1997 in a mile run during P.E Class that my love affair with running started.. #HowWeBean #llbean  #makesomethingtodayimpacttomorrow #memories #madetolast #outerstrength Parte de estar "En el ring" significa tocar puertas, pedir ayuda, buscar los recursos y maneras de lograr hacer el entreno del dia.. Un reconocimiento público al director de atletismo de las escuelas de Piedmont por permitirme usar sus instalaciones.. Mi mañana más que completa al tener la oportunidad de animar a un grupo de niños de primaria mientras corrían 800m en la pista en su clase de Educación Fisica.. Fue en 1997 donde mi amor por el atletismo  comenzó justo en una clase de Educación Fisica.. #hazalgohoyimpactamañana #memorias #hechoparaqueperdure
A photo posted by Zoila Gomez😊 (@zoilagomezita) on

My theme for this trip was "Add color to your life" and it all started when I started packing.. I believe bright colors bring are magical. They pump me up and make me feel energized. I love sporting my L.L Bean singlets and shorts. The weather and training venues in Oklahoma were perfect to sport my most favorite training gear.

The most rewarding part of chasing a dream is being able to share the journey and adventures with love ones. I enjoyed every dinner and moment I got to share with Alicia and her husband Luke, the ones I will get to blame for feeding that burning desire to go after my running dreams...

 Be, Dream Believe!

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