I only had a few goals.
One of them was to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
I was good.
Maybe, I thought, even Olympic Trials qualifier good.
I was not Olympic good.
I may have thought I was at one point.
But I wasn’t.
I eventually understood that.
When you do some strides with a 3:50 miler you can’t help but understand.
I was okay with it.
Because I knew that if I really busted my ass I could qualify for the US Olympic Trials in the 1500m.
I could line up next to the best milers of this great country…and belong.
I could race knowing I earned my bib and my spot on the starting line.
That was one of my mountaintops.
I spent years and years trying to climb there.
I was close.
I could feel it.
The day the accepted entries came out I scrolled down the list.
I had run 3:43.93.
I read the final time listed.
I read the final name.
That’s not my time.
That’s not my name.
There would be no bib for me.
I hadn’t earned a spot on the line.
I was only 24 years old.
I knew I would run faster.
I knew there would be another Trials.
I knew I would make it next time…four years later.
It’s funny. You don’t know you’ve just run the fastest you will ever run when you run the fastest you have ever run.
You just think “I can be faster”. But I never did run faster.
And I didn’t make it next time.
When the 1500m field gets called to the line at Trials, I see me there lining up alongside them.
But I’m really just up in the stands.
I may not be on the line, but my heart still races every time I hear the gun.
The Olympic Trials is my favorite meet.
Because it hurts a little every time I watch.
And I’m proud of myself that it does.