Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 JAX Olympic Trials Marathon Project - My Story

It all started with a facebook announcement, from Richars Fannin, that at the moment I felt very fortunate  to read.

"OK - Listen up ! For all of you elite runners who have JUST MISSED qualifying for Olympic Trials Marathon !! Here is a plug to take a swing at it here in Jacksonville at the Jax Bank Marathon HALF ! 
My rationale:
1.) Course is pancake flat, certfied and lightning fast
2.) Weather January 3rd is usually PERFECT (40s and dry)
2.) If you make it, you have a full 2 weeks recovery time if you were instead aiming for Houston
3.) If you DON'T make it .. you can re-load and take a swing at Houston 2 weeks later.

I am trying to put together a HUGE pack of women running 5:43 pace (1:15:00) and men running 4:57 pace (1:05:00) to pull each other along !
Please message me if interested and I will TRY to work on getting you a cheap package (or small incentive $ for those who make it" Richard Fannin

 Now, I can say the universe and a whole community was really conspiring in my favor. Im friendy, social, nice, stuborn, hard worker etc but one of my weaknesses  still is to ask for help. I think twice before I send an email to a race director for assistance and dont ask me about sponsorships. I guess that is the reason I  buy my own trainers from my In The Arena stippend. 

This time instead of hesitating I felt good about sending the following message:

"Richard..First of all, hats off to you for this wonderful inniciative..  I'm interested in joining the field that will be trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials.. I got seriously injured at the 2012 trials and was inactive until this year. Run 2:46 in January at the Rock n Roll Arizona. My first marathon back and since then it's been a steady, slow process. Hopeful to make the trials again. Having lived in Southern California and the trials being in LA was all the inspiration I needed to make a come back to this wonderful world of running!  Thank you in advance for your consideration.." Zoila  

To be consier an elite runner one must prove such status with recent results. My past results acomplishment are only that.. Past.. and since I decided to start running again everything had to come from my pocket, my own investment. I was okay with that idea since I had no clue my decision to start running again would lead me to this point. It was in January 2014 when it was announced that the Olympic Trials were going to be in LA that my mind and heart  had started talking.. "LA, my family, place were I started running, my high school teammates, my coaches, my junior college years.."
See, my brothers and sisters that live in Los Angeles area have never seen me compete in a Marathon. I see this as a great opportunity for them to see me compete at the highest stage. The "girl" in me still wants to make them proud. I know that when they get to see me in action, then they will fully understand my love ans passion for the sport. Who knows maybe in the process I will inspire my nieces and nephews to follow my steps. 

Within minutes of my request, I receive the following message from Richard..

"We would LOVE to have you !!! We can waive your entry and get your hotel ... Unfortunately, we do not have an airfare budget ..." Richard

That was all I could ask for.. 

The race did more than just giving me an opportunity to find my second wing, to get closer to my dream.. It allowed me to keep believing. The frienships developed at the race are lifetime frienships. It was wonderful to dine with other people that share the same  aspirations. For the first time in 2 years I did not feel alone.. Thank You Richard for making that idea, dream of yours a reality. 

A huge bonus when the news crosses the border and we get to inspired others in Mexico... No doubt the universe was really conspiring in our favor, participants and organizers alike... 

The 2016 JAX Olympic Trials Project gave me the moral support needed and wings to continue to fly. Finally, I felt heard and understood. The athletic arena is a great plataform to help and to be helped. Even tough I did not qualify, the event got me closer and helped many qualify. Starting from scratch is not easy, but it's very rewarding. I came home with a wonderful experience, a big season personal best and a burning desire to stay in the sport. Since Richard love stats,  yesterday I had seasons best in the 5km, 10km, 15km,  10mile, 20km and Half Marathon = Huge bonus.  Richard Fannin I hope this event continues for many years to come.  The news crossed the border and landed in a huge article that was published in El Sol de San Luis, main newspaper in San Luis Potosi, Mexico (Reference, San Luis Potosí is where Leo Manzano, Shalane Flanagan, Nick Symmonds, Shannon Rowbury and others have done altitude training.. Flotrack has even been there..) Link to the article online here:
A photo posted by Zoila Gomez (@zoilagomezita) on

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