BRAZZAVILLE WEEK TWO & THE END OF MY OUTDOOR SEASON
My last week at the All-African Games sped by much faster than the first one. Once Sunday hit, I barely had time to look for WiFi or watch any other event that wasn't happening at the track.
The 100 preliminaries and semi-finals were scheduled to be on the first day - the first round early in the morning and the second later in the evening. This was the first day that the temperature outside actually reached a point where I could positively say it was hot. Even the ever-present fog lifted that day, and left the sun beating down on us during warm-ups.
My warm-ups that day were a struggle. Somewhere between getting to Brazzaville and warming up for competition, I had done something to my hamstring (I think?), but I only noticed it that Sunday morning when it presented itself as a weirdly exact pain that reared its ugly head whenever I walked anywhere. Luckily, the pain dissipated by the time I got to the sprinting portion of my warm-up, so mentally it didn't affect me. Who knows if it did physically. Either way, I still struggled my way into the semi-finals with a horrible time that did nothing to lift my mood.
We had so much time between prelim's and semi's that we just decided to go back to the athlete's village and rest before coming back for the next round. Unfortunately, in that time my mood soured horribly. I'm not sure if it was the terribly unorganized conditions of the Games, my horrible run in prelim's, or something that was just a long time coming. Or maybe it was even a combination of the three. Nonetheless, I pretty much got to the warm-up track questioning my life choices. Why was I putting myself through this? Did I really make the right choice for my future?
I guess my face reflected my mood because a few friends from other teams asked me on two separate occasions if I was alright. One of them actually got me to smile right before I headed into the call room when my heat was called by joking around with me. While in there, I thought back to what Coach Sanders had said earlier in the week when I had mentioned that I was starting to feel a lot of pressure while being there. He told me to start writing down things I was thankful for each day. He also told me that ultimately, I'm running for myself first and foremost. I think that stuck with me the most. No one is holding a gun to my head forcing me to run. I chose to continue running track for a reason, and in the end I just needed to remember that and who I'm running for. By the time I got to the track, I had made myself feel a lot better. I would just put whatever I had into this race and if I made finals fine, but if not, at least I know I tried.
@@I'm running for myself first and foremost.@@
I ended up not making finals, but because of my personal pep-talk I wasn't too choked up about it. I still had a relay to get through, after all. That went a lot more smoothly, thank God. There's always a different feeling you get being on a relay than when you're just in an individual race. You're no longer running for yourself, but for the other 3 girls on the relay, as well. I always feel like I don't want to be the person that f*cks it up for everyone else, and make sure I stay focused on hitting my marks and paying attention to my teammates and their needs. It all ended up paying off in that end - we got second place and ran the fastest 4x100 time (43.72) in 15 years for Ghana and the fastest time ever at any All-African Games.
Luckily, after that I was able to spend my last days in the Congo supporting my teammates as they got through their events. At times it even felt like I practically lived at the track.
Medal ceremonies are always an exciting affair. Even if they're rushed and disorganized.
Ghana Athletics has the biggest struggle-fest as we try to get a good group picture together
All in all, I didn't go home with the PB (personal best) I was looking for, but I did leave with a new feeling of purpose and determination to make my next year better. I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can go with my renewed positive outlook :P
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