Exclusive Coverage: USATF Masters Outdoor Championships

How one woman’s unexpected running journey can inspire you to reach new heights in your own life.

The USA Track & Field (USATF) Masters Outdoor Championships in July was a very important milestone both in my life and athlete journey and brought tears of joy. My coach and I not only accomplished our goals but surpassed what we set out to do, as I was the first athlete to run for and represent One Love Track & Field Club on a national level. I set out for a second All-American title in the 100 meters, and not only achieved that but set a personal record, placing sixth in the finals, dropping seven-tenths since my last race in June at the Olympic Training Center. In one year of competing (this being my eighth race), I’ve achieved two All-American titles in the 60 and 100 meters. This is a testament to the power of track and how it can put you on a new path in life once you find your lane.

Every race has a different meaning and story in my life. This race was very personal as it represented my commitment to changing my life over the past year when I first started competing. I raced “for my life” and gave it everything I had as the opportunity was right there before me. I committed to doing whatever it took to make it happen.

Leading up to the race, my coach, Richard Rucker, and I trained up to four hours a day for the month leading up to the Masters Outdoor Championships, with mornings on the UCLA track and nights on weights and technical work to “put it all in the bank” and see what we could accomplish as we took my athletic strength and ability to the next level. It showed me the true power of what is possible when you dream big, get your mind and body in alignment, and commit like never before. One year ago, I never imagined that achieving All American in two events would even be a possibility as I was just starting my journey as an athlete after never doing sports in my life. Now, together with Coach Rucker, I’m utilizing the experience and knowledge I learned while training and serving the community around us through One Love to help others live their happiest and healthiest lives, enabling athletes to tap into their lane in life and discover uncharted possibilities.

This Masters Outdoor Championships meet was different from all the other races I’ve competed in. There’s a common bond—a “runners bond”—that is felt as soon as you walk in, as everyone is so helpful, accommodating, and welcoming to newcomers like myself. There’s a camaraderie, as people of all walks of life from ages 25 to 100 are represented. This year, USATF Masters had the most attendees since 2014, representing every state except Alaska. Athletes weren’t competing against one another, but a supportive community encouraging one another to be your best self—everyone wanted each other to be their best version of themselves and be happy with their accomplishment and achievement, even just by showing up and being there and leaving it all out on the track. Seeing all these people focused and working on themselves at all levels of strength was tremendously inspiring and overwhelming, and we made new friendships to last a lifetime.

I am grateful for this trip and journey as it opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was not just a track meet. To see families gathered, grandmothers to mothers running and having their children watching and cheering them on, moved me and I’m grateful to share these memories together with my coach.

I felt honored to be in the heat with women ages 35–39 as I had an opportunity to race with amazing athletes. In my heat, I raced with the fastest female master’s runner 100-meter time posted this year. My trip was a true representation of sister/brotherhood—a collective supporting one another connected through their love for running. After completing my race, I was anxiously awaiting the board to see my time and, as it posted, tears of joy ran down my face and I started to cry standing on the track. As I was waiting to share this joyful moment with my coach as he walked down the bleachers, a competitor who ran next to me looked over and teared up after seeing my face and said, “Your story really inspired me. Congratulations to you.”

I reflected on my weekend and wanted to share the lessons and takeaways:

  • Life is like a track. Find your lane, go for it, and put it all on the line.
  • Be brave and try something new and throw yourself at it. It can be one of the best things you ever did for yourself as it could turn into a new calling—a newfound passion and purpose that can catapult your life into a field of endless opportunities, allowing you to dream big again.
  • Team makes the dream happen. Be grateful and intentional with those that are there by your side. Find your support system and let those around you know how much they mean to them.
  • Track gives you an opportunity to compete with yourself—to be the best version of you!
  • The power of the mind and body alignment when you set an intention is truly powerful. Find your rhythm and flow. Visualization and manifestation are important tools that helped me see this through to the finish line.

 

As Coach said, “Your opportunity is here—go out there and get it. No one is going to do it for you—you have to make the commitment and sacrifice to yourself and go get it.” Next best Coach quote from the weekend: You don’t have to be a finalist to be in the race, but you have to be in the race to be a finalist. And another, from Coach, reminding me to focus and be present in the moment. “Now is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”

  • Preparation and process is key for life’s journey—every detail counts and makes all the difference in achieving big goals.
  • Dream of the unimaginable and find what sets your soul on fire. It’s never too late to find a new healthy hobby or habit that can be your catalyst and change you, allowing you to step into your true power and help you discover a new you.
  • Bring and share your newfound passions and purposes to ignite those around you as it inspires those you inspire with your new journey.
  • Embrace moments of vulnerability whether tears of sadness or joy—let it go—as it’s all part of the process and helps you get to the next level.

 

Michelle Edgar is a runner, musician, and founder of The XX Project, which empowers women in business and supplements their professional journeys. Read more of Michelle Edgar’s thought leadership here.