The Next Chapter
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to make a quintessential decision. A choice that, at the moment, feels like life or death. The decision to spend the rest of your life with someone, whether it’s a good idea to move across the globe to start a new life, or in my case, to end an 8-year career in track and field.
The decision was not easy and I appreciate the love and support of all my close friends and family. This was probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make, to continue to go through stress and frustration filled routine or give up a passion that consumes such a large part of my life. Unfortunately, it was later and I reluctantly forgo my remaining career.
I entered the University at Albany with high hopes of a wonderful academic career and a joy-filled college experience. I was graciously given the opportunity to continue my athletic career. I was greeted with an unbelievable support system. Despite being the lone freshman on the distance squad, the sophomores and upperclassmen on the team such as TJ, Chris, Charlie, and MANY more, made me feel right at home. The time spent with other freshmen on our team and others in Mahican hall is the time that will forever be cherished. For this, I am eternally grateful. Although socially I was greeted with open arms, my athletic ability had been sub-par and in efforts to catch up, I developed an unfortunate injury of Achilles tendonitis. Already with slim chances of landing a spot on the indoor and outdoor track roster, the injury landed me on the short list. In efforts to come back stronger and faster, I trained too rigorously and developed a minor hip flexor strain. These two injuries and being withdrawn from competing alongside my brothers on the track had a detrimental impact on my wellbeing. My grades had plummeted and my overall happiness deteriorated. This was the beginning of the end, my love began to fade. I assimilated the mentality I had while running to off the track into everyday life, stay tough and push through. I ended the year on a high note setting a personal best in the 1500m.
Two weeks later, I hit the reset button and hit the ground running with summer training. It was a very productive summer, I averaged 60-70 mile weeks, waking up at 5:30 AM to get in a run before the heat and before heading to work. I put in the work: blood, sweat, and tears. Only to arrive at practice on day one to underperform. This was an extremely frustrating start to the beginning of the year that was supposed to be “my year”. Race after race, I just couldn’t put two and two together. My efforts in practice show I am in shape but it was not translating on race day. I was healthy through the whole fall so I remained optimistic for the try-out meet. However, the results of the tryouts were synonymous with the rest of the fall, catastrophic. The cuts determined after the meet were even more heartbreaking. I was cut again. I would have to wait months before returning to the track.
I did everything right, I ran the miles, ate the foods, got the rest. I did everything I was supposed to, yet, it was not enough. And in that one phone call, all the emotions came rushing in. All the frustration, sadness, absolute anger that I had endured over the past two years from a direct correlation because of track and field. It occurred to me that even before entering the time trial I had told myself “If I’m cut, I’m done”. Why would I be giving myself a way out before I seize the opportunity? I now realize that the passion is gone. I cannot motivate myself to run 17 miles early on a Sunday or hammer out sets and sets of 200s anymore. The light has been fading for a while. Yes, I can continue to put my body and mind through tremendous amounts of physical and mental pain but to what extent? If I am not performing and I am not enjoying the journey, there is nothing left for me in the world of track and field. At some point, we all need to step back and re-evaluate what is important and what brings joy in our short but eventful lives and look at what is worth pursuing. Being told I don’t have what it takes, not for the first time by the same program but for the second time, was an eye-opener for me. The love isn't there anymore. I see it as a sign that it is time to begin the next chapter of my life.
I could transfer to a smaller division or put in even more work to reach the level that I wish to be, but to what extent do I keep chasing this played out the dream. There has to come a time when I would have to hang up the spikes and I could not be more thrilled to advance into this next chapter of my life. This is a blessing in disguise.
Although brief, the opportunities are given, experiences lived and friends made are irreplaceable throughout my college career. For everyone alongside me for every step and stride along the way, friends and memories made, and countless life lessons taught, I thank you for your continued commitment and support. I wish you nothing but the best.