COMMENCEMENT (3/3)- Faith

Part 3 of 3: COMMENCEMENT- Faith

Jesus said… “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”

– Matthew 17:20

Have you ever held a mustard seed? It’s literally the size of a period at the end of a sentence. Coach Innocent gave me one while in Calabar, and it really convicted me. Just holding it made me realize that God requires a simple and committed heart, one that does not waver or doubt. It made me question–if faith this small can move mountains… how much doubt do I really have?

My faith is not shaken. I can say with 100% confidence that God allowed my injury in order to better prepare me for something bigger, and something better that He has planned for my future. I know how my leg felt the morning of the 1st round of trials. I was without a doubt, miraculously healed. I went to the warm up field and got through my entire warm up routine without pain. I even did my sprinting drills (which the day before seemed so impossible). The only reason I got into the blocks to start my race was because God, in his infinite power, had removed the pain from my leg! 🙂

I started the race in lane 7 and was able to push out of the blocks and get out hard without any problems. I got through the 1st 200 with ease. Leading into the second turn, I felt a building tightness in the same left hamstring… the first thing I thought was “Get behind me Satan!”. I’m pretty sure I probably said those words out loud mid race lol. The awesome thing about it, was at the exact moment when I said that, the building tightness stopped growing!! However, it didn’t go away. It was a weird feeling, because my mind and my body were divided. Mentally, I was healed, strong and going to finish the race.. Physically I was having an outer body experience, I was in an almost paralyzed state, almost numb to the pain. This was the Olympic trials, this was the race I had envisioned and dreamt of so many times…quitting was not an option.

I finished the race in the slowest time I’ve run all year! But I finished the race with absolutely NO regrets. I knew without a doubt that for some reason, God intended for me to run that race… Why else would He have removed the pain long enough for me to get into the starting blocks? My gut assured me that God had a plan that was greater than what I could currently see and understand.

I knew that 2012 would be a huge year! Not only as an Olympic year, but I knew it would be a year of change….

God has been so faithful this year!

Not only did He lead my journey in moving to Atlanta to train with the Nigerian Team, He allowed me to be favored amongst the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, and provided me with a future that I never saw coming.

I went into this year believing it would be my last year running track. Although I am only 23, I have been running track for the last 17 years! I’ve been blessed beyond measure, and gifted with speed that has given me amazing opportunities and success. But as my mother always reminded me– “To whom much is give, much is expected”. I grew up running the 100, 200 and 400. I hated training and competing in the 400 as a child ( why would I want to volunteer for lactic acid and buttock at 8 years old?). So I dropped the 400 once I got to high school and focused solely on the short sprints. It was during high school that I was presented with opportunities of running on an international level. My collegiate career was marred with injuries that kept me from sprinting. After a few quad injuries, I opted to quit the short sprints, and train for the dreaded 400m my senior year of college. That decision was essentially what God used to open the doors of training professionally and running for Nigeria.

There are no mistakes…

There are no coincidences..

We are all a sum of our experiences

I am FINALLY beginning to understand that. Something God revealed to me while in Nigeria was that there is no part of my life that was in vain. There is no part of my history that will not affect my future. In order for me to be healthy enough to run a 400 professionally, I also have to be healthy enough to run the 100 and 200! Sprinting is not in my past, it is a part of who God made me to be…. It seems like the last 5 years, I forgot that . I took it for granted.

I say all this because even though I would have loved to have run a PR this year and made the Olympic Team in London, I know that God’s plan is and has always been perfect. The minute I started to think that all the work I have put in was in vain, this passage was definitely a good reminder of what God requires of me.

The Servant of The LORD

(From: Isaiah 49)

Before I was born the Lord called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me…

He said to me, “You are my servant…
in whom I will display my splendor. ”

But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all….

but I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength —
He says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant …
I will also make you a light for the people,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”.

Initially I thought my professional career started in 2010 when I first received the vision of running the 400m for Nigeria, and using the stage of track as a platform to minister and share Christ’s message with others.

I’m beginning to see the bigger picture. I’m beginning to see that since day one, God designed me to be exactly who I am today- for a much bigger purpose. There are so many things in my life that have lined up in such a perfect way.

As far as training on the track, I can honestly say I gave 100%. I put in work on the track! I was a professional at every practice, every competition, and every time I stepped on a track. But off the track, things were different. I didn’t take my muscular strengthening and flexibility as seriously as I should have. That’s going to change…

I’m back in Los Angeles and feeling empowered. My plan is to rehab not only my injured hamstring, but my entire body and mind, and then come back stronger than ever before. Nothing is off limits, 100m, 200m, and 400m are all my playground.

Something I learned while competing in Nigeria was that while I’m not sure where He’s taking me, one thing I do know… this is exactly where I belong. The beginning of this journey was NOT in 2010, but rather in 1988 when He allowed me to be born in Lagos. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you do not see”!

My faith is stronger now than it has ever been! God has always been there, and continues to be there for me. He has opened so many doors of opportunity with this Nigerian team. I couldn’t even begin to list all the ways He blessed me and continues to bless me in this journey. But one thing I will say, if you have any doubts, if there is anything holding you back from believing God is real, and has an amazing and unique purpose for your life and mine… hit me up privately and I will be more than happy to share more with you one on one.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11-13- “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future..Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

I always thought it was interesting that they referred to graduation ceremonies as commencement. After working for four or more years to get your diploma, I would say you’re done, finished, accomplished…. but I apparently it is just the beginning. It’s as if all that you have invested in, and the seeds you have planted can now begin to show, and manifest.

That’s the best way for me to describe how I currently feel.

This is my commencement ceremony. My journey doesn’t end here.. it’s just the beginning….


side note: i have about 300 pictures to sort through and edit, once I have done that I will definitely post them so that we can all relive my experience together 🙂
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By run4theprize

COMMENCEMENT (2/3)- Miracle

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:6-7

Part 2 of 3: I need a Miracle

The Grand Prix meet  was an international meet and athletes were flown in to Nigeria from over six different countries. Most of the athletes coming in would be staying at the Bridgeview Hotel. So the AFN gave me the choice of moving back there. Being that they had free internet, I packed up the few things that I unpacked, and moved again :). Surprisingly, when I got to the hotel I met some of my friends from back home at the hotel. One was running for Liberia, and another for the United States. It was pretty cool to see familiar faces on the other side of the world.

The Grand Prix was definitely a turning point for me. I felt my left hamstring tighten up mid race, and had an internal battle about whether or not I should stop running and call for the medics, or just finish. I ended up finishing the race, not knowing my place or my time.. and honestly not caring. The only thing I wanted at that moment  was the Medic. I got on their table, and after putting me through a few tests, they concluded that my right hamstring (which should be my stronger leg)- was super tight and weak… and my left hamstring was strained (which is a nicer way of saying slightly torn).

I later found out that since it was a Grand Prix meet the top 6 athletes in each event would be getting paid. Miraculously, despite running one of the slowest 400s I have run in a while, God took care of me and allowed me to get 5th place.. which meant and I got paid!

The Grand Prix was on a Thursday the 14th, and the All Nigerian National Olympic Trials were moved from the 21st to the 19th. This gave me only five days to do whatever I needed to do to get my leg as strong and healed as possible…. I needed a miracle.

Ice was my best friend. I went to the athletic trainers daily, and went through the most painful “massage” in an attempt to flush out any knots and excess pressure on my hamstrings.

On Sunday the 17th all the athletes and coaches packed up and loaded several buses and headed to Calabar for the trials. It was an 8 hour road trip.

We stayed at the Tinapa Resort. It was definitely the nicest hotel so far.


We went to the stadium to get our final practice in before the trials. At this point, it hurt for me to jog! I walked around the track, visualizing my race, and then lightly stretched… i needed a MIRACLE!

The night before the 1st round of the 400, I went to sleep at peace. I had prayed until the point of tears… and I knew there was nothing left for me to do. For the 1st time in my life, I was not anxious and over analyzing the race I had to run. My mind was clear and I held on to Phillipians 4:6 & 7.

Coach said that I should make a decision in the morning, and I knew that if I felt the same pain the following morning that had kept me from jogging, and if I couldn’t get through a proper warm-up, then I would not compete.

I went to sleep completely overwhelmed in peace.

As I opened my eyes the next morning, one of the first things I did while still in bed was was stretch out my leg….

it was gone.

the pain was gone!!!… I needed a miracle, and I got it!

I jumped out of bed and started reaching for my toes. For the last 5 days this task was IMPOSSIBLE ( I could probably get my hands to my shins before feeling extreme pain) but this morning, my fingers were touching my toes and I felt great!

… to be continued

By run4theprize

COMMENCEMENT (1/3)- Travel

I haven’t updated in a little while. It seemed that WiFi connection was available on my busiest days. But I am going to do my best to fill you in on all that has happened for the last couple of weeks. It’s going to be a pretty long update, so I’m splitting it into 3 parts. Before I start that though, I should tell you that unfortunately I strained my hamstring a few days before trials, at the Grand Prix meet and  am now in route back to Los Angeles. Although my 2012 track season is officially over, I walk away knowing that my career as a professional athlete is just beginning.

I always thought it was interesting that they referred to graduation ceremonies as commencement. After working for four or more years to get your diploma, I would say you’re done, finished, accomplished…. but I apparently it is just the beginning. It’s as if all that you have invested in, and the seeds you have planted can now begin  to show, and manifest.

That’s the best way for me to describe how I currently feel. 

Part 1 of 3: COMMENCEMENT- TRAVEL

Today marks my 22nd day in Nigeria. I have been back and forth between 5 hotels in 3 different states. I’ve competed in 3 track meets. The Final Golden League and the Grand Prix Meets in Warri, Nigeria and the All Nigeria National Olympic Trials in Calabar.

I feel like a year’s worth of things happened in the last 3 weeks.

Here’s the travel rundown:

I arrived in Lagos on June 2nd. 1st time flying to the other side of the world solo. Plus 1st time flying without knowing who was going to be waiting for me on the other end.

 

But from the moment I took off, God was in complete control. I landed and had 3 different groups of people welcome me at the airport. Family members from both my mom and my dad’s side were there… along with a guy that was sent by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

I got to stay in Lagos for Saturday night with my Aunt, and then took a plane to Warri on Sunday morning. Once I landed, I was received by two members of the AFN who took me to a Hotel Excel. I found out that I would be competing in the final Golden League Meet in Warri in three days time. So my first question was– “when can I go to the stadium?”

 

I was taken to the stadium and completed my shake-out, as an attempt to undo the last 15hours of flying. Thankfully, I was able to take an ice bath that night… [the ice blocks in Nigeria are LEGIT- blocks 🙂 but hey, ice is ice]


Even though I was settled in on Sunday, most of the other athletes were in Port Harcourt and wouldn’t be arriving in Warri until Tuesday.

It was while I was at Hotel Excel that I heard the news about the Dana Airline plane crash that killed over 150 people. I got so many messages of concern from you all, asking if I was okay.  I thank God that the flight I was on landed safely, and I pray for those who lost loved ones in that crash.

On Tuesday morning, I was moved to a different Hotel. The other athletes drove up from Port Harcourt and we were all placed  at Bridgeview Hotel since it was closer to the stadium. Most of the athletes that I met in the training camp while in Atlanta arrived that day,  and so I was pretty excited to reunite with my “atlanta family”.

 

The places we were staying in Nigeria were tropical and surrounded by water and forests. The weather remind me of Miami. It was generally anywhere from 80-90 degrees with about 90% humidity. And it rained sporadically throughout the day. Surprisingly, my body adapted really well to the conditions though. My training was going extremely well. I was running the fastest times I’ve ever run during each session, and so I felt confident going into the next competition.

The Golden league meet went really well. I ran a season best 53.41 and was 0.2 seconds off of my personal best. I noted what needed to be worked on and used the next 6 days to prepare for the Grand Prix Meet.

After the Golden league meet, the group of athletes downsized and were moved to the BB hotel.

I liked that the hotel was set up like a suite and had a separate living room area. Unfortunately, unlike Bridgeview, the BB hotel had no wifi internet, so I felt super disconnected from everyone back home. I was only able to talk to my parents and sister through my nigerian line. However, it did have a weight room and a descent pool, which we walked around in after workouts to help with recovery.

By run4theprize

CIRCUMSTANCES

Gaze upon the Lord & Glance at your circumstances

2 months ago, I moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta to join the Nigerian Training Camp for the 2012 Olympics. It has been such an amazing opportunity and blessing from God to be a part of this program. I’ve been challenged in new ways and able to watch my body get through workouts that seemed impossible.

Although I am still chasing the Olympic Standards, I’ve learned that with or without it, God’s going to do what he said he would do. He’s the reason I’ve been a part of this camp, and He’s the reason I’m getting flown to Nigeria. It’s funny, because sometimes I wonder if he’s kept me from running the standard at this time so that I have absolutely NO room for pride… I mean now there’s no way I can say that its by my work or merit that I am here… because on paper, looking at my circumstances– i don’t deserve to be here. But I guess that’s how God works.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 tells me that God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; He chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chooses the lowly things of the world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

My mantra for this 2012 track season has been “Run For The Prize”…. It’s from the passage that says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever… Lately Coach Innocent has constantly reminded me that in this race I am running, in this journey for an eternal prize I must fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith… He reminds me to Gaze upon the Lord and to Glance at my circumstances.

After being here for 2 months I find myself in a situation where my circumstances seemed daunting. I have only competed three times, and only run the 400 twice.

My normal program involved me competing on a weekly basis in multiple races at a time. My training was at a different tempo and I would use competition to really watch my times drop over the season. But now, this program is set up to have me peek at a later point in the season. To allow training to be as difficult as competitions and to get ready for the grueling rounds during the trials and the Olympic games.

About a week ago the majority of the athletes in the Atlanta camp returned to Nigeria and were merged into the training camp there. There are several competitions in June in Nigeria so the hope is to finally witness all the training manifest itself in a race.

I waited for about a week in limbo not knowing if I’d be asked to join the others in Nigeria. But as of yesterday night, I got another one of those life changing phone calls. I was given permission to compete in Nigeria and would be flown out in less than 24 hours!

—-

My sister recently shared this with me… “During this time the Lord provided a sign for the Israelites- a cloud- to assure them that He was with them. Whenever the cloud lifted above the tabernacle, the people knew it was time to move on. However, when the cloud stood still, they set up camp and remained there until the cloud lifted again. Sometimes the cloud hovered over the tabernacle from evening until the next morning. Other times it stayed for a month or longer. The Israelites didn’t know when they would go or where they would be going. They had absolutely no control or say in the matter. They lived day by day in complete dependence on the guidance of the Lord. And yet, despite the uncertainty and inconvenience of this lifestyle, they obeyed” (Numbers 9:15-23)

Although It’s intimidating, I took this time to remember what my coach told me… Gaze upon the Lord, and glance at your circumstances…

  • God has definitely called me to do something amazing this year:
    • When God called Abraham , he asked him to leave everything behind and set out for a new land. (Genesis 12)
  • Despite having little to no notice, I realize that this is another opportunity for me to have faith
    • Joseph and Mary were told to escape to Egypt in a dream, they literally left in the middle of the night (Matthew 2:13-14)

God never changes, He’s the same yesterday today and forever. He still calls people to get up and move at the drop of a dime… and best of all He’s still in the miracle making business 🙂

I couldn’t even begin to tell you the number of things that God has lined up as only He can. But i will share the most recent one with you.

—-

I’m sitting in the Atlanta Airport currently waiting for my flight to Lagos, Nigeria. The funny thing about that is that my itinerary log and my email ticket confirmation both say that I have a confirmed flight through Amsterdam, and an extremely long layover before arriving in Lagos Saturday night. This would make things very difficult for me to meet up with the others in the camp before Sunday. But as God would have it, when I scanned my passport at the check in counter, my ticket was changed. I noticed that the ticket only said Atlanta to Lagos and there was no second ticket for Amsterdam. I figured it was some kind of mistake and proceeded to my gate to board the plane. When I got to the gate I found out that my ticket was changed and I somehow am now on the direct flight from Atlanta to Lagos!!! Instead of leaving Atlanta at 7:50pm tonight, I won’t be leaving until 10:45pm. But despite the 3 hour delay, I am going to be landing in Lagos 1/2 a day earlier!

God works in mysterious ways, I was secretly praying that I had more time before I left. I still had a ton of phone calls to make, bills to pay online and of course I wanted an opportunity to update my blog before leaving the country. 🙂

Ooh another thing, I found out that two of my cousins are leaving the United States tonight and also visiting Nigeria. I have no idea how long ago they planned their trip, but what are the odds that they would literally be leaving the exact weekend as me?? I get to see my family after all 🙂

My parents left Nigeria in 1994 and brought the entire family to California. I have basically been there ever since. I’m so grateful that 18 years later I get to go back to where it all started!

I’m still uncertain of all the details, but there is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord is leading me. and so I will live day by day in complete dependence on His guidance.

Thank you so much for taking time out to read my blog and for all of your support. Please continue to keep me in your prayers. Please pray for my patience, that I would remain confident in the fact that God is in complete control. Please pray for my health, that I would be stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been [and that all those immunization shots do their job 🙂 ].. and lastly please pray for my speed… that God would equip me to run faster than I even believe possible, and that He would continue to keep me focused on Him.

Thank you!!


By run4theprize

One Thing Remains

 

 

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trials and the change
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me

On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
There’s one thing, remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me

Your love, your love

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

By run4theprize

MOVING FORWARD

You make all things new… Yes, you make all things new and I will follow you forward

I absolutely love that song, I’ve been singing it for the last couple days.

I have a whole lot of catching up to do. I’m sorry for not updating sooner– but it has been some busy and exhausting weeks…

I competed last saturday at the Mt. SAC relays in an open 400m. My initial response to the race was that it didn’t go well because I only executed for about 300m of it. However after talking to my coach and watching the tape and I was actually really excited to see that my turnover is back to where it should be! I’m sprinting again! 🙂 I get another chance to properly execute the 400 this weekend, but in relay form.

I have a bunch of random pics that kind of explain the last two weeks, so here it goes:

The first couple of weeks here I didn’t really get to see much besides the track, the hotel, and restaurants that we ate at. However 2 weeks ago on our recovery day, I got a chance to meet up with one of my friend’s Dee. Dee was the long jump coach while I was in high school, and she recently moved to atlanta with her family. She took me to Lennox Mall and helped me to get a ton of errands done. I also got to spend some time with her family- she has a newborn son, Maximus.

I think he’s the smallest baby I’ve ever held

So I’ve officially seen more of Atlanta than the track and the hotel. We drive by the 1996 Olympic Stadium almost every day on our way to practice. They turned it into a baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves. Regardless, it’s still pretty cool to drive by this street

Oh and one of my clients, Lissette from 24 Hour Fitness Burbank, sent me a care package that included an Atlanta Tour Guide. So I guess I’ll be able to see more of the city without getting lost 🙂

It was so thoughtful, it also included a Hollywood postcard, a bookmark and a travel journal. What’s really cool about the journal is that it comes with poetry on one side and scripture on the other. Here is one that she pre-highlighted for me. (1 corinthians 9:24)

Something that I definitely took for granted in Los Angeles, was the consistency in weather. Atlanta has been pretty nice to me since I’ve been here. It’s been more or less 75 degrees and sunny. This is generally what the weather is like during practice but i guess the difference between Atlanta and Los Angeles is that the weather changes without the slightest warning. It can go from sunny to rainy in a matter of minutes… but the weirdest part about it is that it’s still 75 degrees. I’m not sure whether to take my jacket off or put it on when the weather looks like this

Ok enough about weather, let’s move on.. have you ever seen the movie Kool Runnings .. the Disney movie about the Jamaican Bobsled Team?

We ate at a Kool Running’s restaurant!! I didn’t even know they actually existed

Here are some of the things we ordered

On another note, last week I had to get my travel Immunization shots for the time that I will be spending in Nigeria.
This is probably the worst part about traveling… but hey 5 shots in a row isn’t enough to keep me from moving forward
random but I’ve never seen my blood pressure this low before. 111/42?? I guess Eat.. Sleep…Train really is working lol
Last weekend while in Los Angeles, my parents were able to host a team dinner at our hotel. They really went above and beyond to make the team feel welcome. Thanks mom & dad 🙂
I’m sitting in my hotel room in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania right now. We got in Thursday afternoon for the track meet this weekend.
I’m extremely excited to be here for the Penn Relays. This is one of the biggest meets in the history of track and field. More athletes compete at Penn Relays than in the Olympic Games! The meet is also called “USA vs The World” because so many countries come to compete.. This is the stadium where things will go down tomorrow afternoon, and from what I’ve heard- it will be completely packed!!
For more info please go to: http://thepennrelays.com/
By run4theprize

HOMECOMING

I’m going going… back back.. to cali cali

I’m headed back to the Los Angeles area this weekend. I will be in town from the Thursday the 19th through Sunday the 22nd. The Nigerian track team is competing in Walnut  at the Mt. SAC relays.

I’ll be competing on Friday at 11:30 am in the open 400m and at 4:00pm in the 200m. There is also a possibility of me running on Saturday at 6:45pm in the 4x400m relay.

I hope to see some of you there.

 

By run4theprize

NO MAN’S LAND

An area of uncertainty or ambiguity, an unclaimed or unknown area

I’m finding that when adjusting to a program where sprinting is an everyday thing, the body’s initial response is to fight against the change, to resist the new program and as a result to be very sore and tight. The ultimate goal is that the body would eventually adapt to the change, and that the change would become a new norm… However before the body surrenders to the new program, there is a short time where the body is neither resisting, nor succumbing… it’s just straight up confused. This state of confusion is what my coach calls “No Man’s Land” — and I am officially there….

My body is in shock. It’s in a different type of pain, yet still responding and working in ways that I never thought possible. I’m learning to wisely push through pains and to rely on Christ more and more as my only source of strength.

I competed last weekend at Auburn  in a 200m. I haven’t trained for a 200 in over 2 years. I ran a second slower than  my personal best, and my initial response was frustration. It’s such a humbling experience to know that the 16-year-old version of myself would have beaten me in that race.  But after talking to my Coach, I was able to change my perspective and realize that the race was just another step in the right direction. He encouraged me to look at the bigger picture and to trust that God’s just getting started with me.

This week I have been echoing the prayer of the apostle Paul for encouragement. He says in Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”

While I was competing last saturday, I had 2 of my clients from 24 Hour Fitness run in the Hollywood Half Marathon. For Melissa (on the left) , it was the 1st she’s ever done… when we started working together in January of 2011 she could barely run for a minute and a half… and for the Jenn (on the right), she’s completed close to 30 marathons! She currently  helps pace people in her running club. Before I left for Atlanta, I got to introduce them to each other in hopes that they would be able to encourage each other and train together. They sent me this picture of them before the race on saturday:

After leaving Auburn, we stopped by a house in Georgia where one of Coach’s friends was kind enough to cater dinner for us.

We’ve been getting Nigerian food at least 4 days a week, so I was actually more excited to see the salad!!!

—–

Greatest man in history, named Jesus.
Had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime.. Yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

This was the 1st Easter I have ever spent away from my family. Traditionally when back in L.A,  I always got up really early on Easter morning and made a huge breakfast for my entire family. Then I would wake them up, and we would eat together before going to church. The best part about it is has to be watching my parents act surprised, despite the fact that I’ve repeatedly done it since I was like 12.

So when Sunday morning came around, I still wanted to have my “Easter breakfast”, so this was my little taste of home:

After breakfast, we headed to church as a group. We were invited to attend service with Mrs. Sholla (she is the lady that helps cater Nigerian food to our hotel for dinners about 3x a week). Here are some pics of the group after service.

Technology is pretty amazing. My mom always used to joke around years ago about how someday people would get to look at each other while they talked on the phone…. well thank the Lord for Skype and FaceTime and for making “someday” into a reality… I got to “spend” easter sunday with my family after all. 🙂

Later that day, we went Moorehouse University to get treatment in their training room. This was probably one of the coldest ice-bath’s I’ve been in. My feet were numb for days (..no really though, not exaggerating–days)

A lot of you gave me heat for smiling in ice bath’s, so here’s a more accurate pic for you:

That’s my teammate, James. He’s a quarter-miler also but wasn’t bold enough to get in waist-deep.

had to do it 🙂



Aside from getting in the whirlpool we get rubbed out by a one of the trainers at Moorehouse, Mr. Dumas . The massage is probably more painful than the ice bath, i mean definitely more painful than the ice bath…but it always has me feeling better afterwards. Later in the week, we found out it was his birthday, and so Coach surprised him at lunch with this:

So that’s been my week in a nutshell. We’re currently training to compete at the Mt.SAC relays. It’s next weekend in Walnut, California. For more info on the meet, check out this link: www.mtsacrelays.com
 We aren’t competing this weekend but doesn’t mean we get a break from the program. Please continue to keep all of us in your prayers. Specifically please be praying for our upcoming meets, for an injury free season, and for strength to get through each of these workouts.
Thank you so much for reading.
By run4theprize

IMPOSSIBLE

With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible

Last week as my sister Laura, and brothers John and Jude dropped me off at LAX, one of the last songs we listened to was a song by Kari Jobe called Healer.

I’ve had this song in my head for the last week. It’s literally been on repeat on my iPod. One of my favorite parts of the song is where she repeats, “nothing is impossible for you”. It has been such an encouraging reminder while here at camp.

I have officially gone through 6 days of training and made it through 6 completely different workout regiments. So my body is currently trying to figure out what is going on… to put it plainly — I am completely sore. 🙂

Aside from kicking our butts daily during our training sessions, one of the really cool things that Coach Innocent has been doing is inviting previous World Champions and Olympic medalists to come and speak with us and encourage us with their individual stories. This week we had two amazing world-class athletes share their stories with us: Nigerian and Great Brittain Track and Field legends Charlton Ehizuelen, and Derek Redmond.

Mr. Charlton Ehizuelen is known as the only African jumper in the history of Track and Field to ever make the cover of Track and Field News magazine. He competed in the Big 10 for Illinois in the 70s and was a 4x NCAA Champion. He is also responsible for breaking Carl Lewis’ NCAA record in the Long Jump.

Some points he made that stood out to me were:

  • We all need to “earn the right to maximize our potential”
  • Take each training session as if it were competition
  • A flag is raised and a national anthem is played in only two scenarios:
  1. When the President arrives
  2. In Sports and Competitions
  • As athletes we are ambassadors of our sports.

Here’s a picture of some of the athletes with Mr. Ehizuelen:

The other legend that we had come in to speak with us was Mr. Derek Redmond. Before I say much more about him, take 30 seconds to watch this video:

Mr. Redmond is a retired British Athlete and former 400m World Champion. He is most known for his performance in the Semi Finals of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Although he was favored to medal, he pulled his hamstring during the Semi-Final round. 13 surgeries later, doctors told him he would never recover from the hamstring injury and never represent his country again.

but with God all things are possible…

He found a new avenue and went on to compete professionally and represent his country in the English Basketball League. He currently is a professional motivational speaker and travels internationally to encourage others with his story.

A few things he said that stood out to me were:

  • To get something you never had before, you have to do something you have never done before.

  • Do all your hard work on the track during practice, the harder you work in practice, the better you compete in meets
  • Be physically and MENTALLY in shape… (he said the reason he got up to finish the race after he tore his hamstring was because Mentally he believed that if he started running, he could still catch his competition)
Here are some pictures of Mr. Redmond after he spoke with us:
I’m so grateful to have these inspirational speakers take their time to motivate us through their stories.
Tomorrow I’m competing in a track meet at the University of Auburn in Alabama. The meet is a little over an hour away, so we plan on driving there in the morning. Coach Innocent wants us to train through the meet and has entered all of us in 200m.

My prayer is from Hebrews 12:1-2 that, I will “run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

Tomorrow is also the day before Easter. This passage has been perfect in reminding me of what Christ did for us over 2000 years ago. And so as I compete tomorrow and as I train through this camp, I pray that God would allow me to focus on Christ, and for the joy set before me (Summer Olympics) strengthen me to endure my cross (the pains and soreness). For with man, it is impossible, but with God… all things are possible.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk to you guys soon 🙂

Here are some pictures of me “enduring the pain” (don’t let the smile fool you lol) :

By run4theprize