My Biggest Life Dissapointment

My Biggest Life Dissapointment (and of course, the silver lining) By: Stacie Dorius

The fact that I’m calling this event one of the biggest disappointments in my life tells you that I have had a pretty good life. But often times the trials that seem the hardest are the ones that you are in at that moment. I had forgotten about the disappointment of this event until Saturday when I was cleaning out a box at my parents’ house and I came across a letter from my sister. She had written it to me in hopes of giving me some encouragement, which she gracefully did at the time.

The year was 2008, my senior Track and Field season.  At this time in my career I was a seasoned athlete, held a few school records, and I was all about Track. Track season had always been my favorite as naturally I was given more speed than long distance endurance.  
My track season was going pretty well. I finished my previous season ranked 17th in the nation in the 3,000 meter Steeplechase with a time of 10:17 and my hope was to move to an even better ranking. The season was setting up for perfection and immediately following the NCAA National meet was the Olympic Time Trials with a ‘B’ standard qualification time of 10:20.00.  Throughout the season I had  been dancing around that time but had not been able to put a race together to qualify prior to regionals.

(Driving from the airport to the hotel. Van rides with teammates make for some great memories!)

Alas regionals came along at Cal State Northridge. Running at sea level after training at nearly 4800 feet was like candy for me as a distance runner.  Your body runs more efficiently, your muscles don’t get that dull ache and recovery is twice is fast. In workouts leading up to the race my teammates and I were running fast, very fast.  I remember doing 400 repeats at the end of a grueling workout and coming across at 59.  There was simply no reason for me not to have a good race, and I was ready for it.
The day of the race presented itself and I stepped onto the track with numbers sticking to both my hips. As the official let us onto the track I, along with 16 other girls began doing strides and our quirky pre-race rituals to warm up.  In order to qualify for the National meet I needed to be top 5 in the region which included all schools west of Colorado.  I was racing against girls from Stanford, Oregon, BYU, Colorado state, etc. So, combine excellent competition, great training, and sea level and you know you are going to run fast.Going into the race I was ranked 6th and unfortunately for me our region was the fastest in the nation.  None the less my goal was to finish in the top 5 and if I didn’t do that I wanted to at least get my time below 10:20 to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
Now back to the race. The starter called us by name to the start line and as each of us toed the line. In the 85 degree heat our legs shook in anticipation. Bang! the gun went off and we were on our way. I found my way into the back of the leader pack and held on for dear life. The Steeple chase has 4 barriers that are similar to hurdles, and one water jump per lap. The race is 7.5 laps, just under 2 miles.
 The race was so tight that the only way you knew a barrier was coming was by watching the timing of the athlete in front of you to begin to prepare to hurdle. Each of my hurdles was flawless and my water jumps were also perfect as my acceleration into them allowed me to pick off at least a girl or two.

On the final lap I heard my Coach, Steve Reeder yell, “let’s go Stace, you are right on pace, finish it off!” The 5th place girl was within striking distance down the home stretch and I put on my final kick in hopes of picking her off. In the end I didn’t catch her and here’s the real kicker, I came across the line at 10.20.2,  2 hundredths off the time trials!  As I came across the line and saw my time, I crouched with my elbows on my knees and grabbed my head in disappointment.  I had just gave it everything I had and came in 1 place short of nationals and less than a second short of the ‘b’ standard. Such a gut wrencher!

(CAN YOU BELEIVE THIS PICTURE! My husband took it in hopes of it being an awesome moment. The only problem is that I was a stride away from the finish line. So crappy.)

 As I walked off the track with blood on my legs from being spiked at some point during the race, my coach came and put his arm around me. I remember listening to his “you did what you could” speech and all the while I was stuck looking over at a girl from Weber who took 2nd place and was sobbing on the ground for not taking first. Obviously, she was unhappy for missing her goal of first place but honestly I just wanted to slap her.  I remember being  angry as she had qualified for the Olympic Trials AND received the automatic bid to the National Championships and there she was crying!
  My coach continued to reassure me that I would receive the ‘at large’ bid and to go for a long cool down before going over to receive hugs from my cheering section.  I always ran with loads of family support which always consisted of my parents who traveled everywhere to watch me race.
The next week my coach continued to train me alone as none of my other teammates were in the running for the at-large bid.  His confidence in my getting to Nationals kept me running faster and faster at each workout. About a week after the race I arrived at the track with spikes in hand ready for more grueling repeats. My coach walked up to me and told me that I had not received the at-large bid. He explained that they did not know why. They had appealed to the NCAA Regional committee, made calls, and done what they could. For some reason my name did not end up on the list despite my time being faster then ¼ of the field that was headed to the championships. Clearly, the at-large system was flawed. The bid system has since been changed  but from what I hear it still has its weaknesses. None the less, for me it was to date, one of the most disappointing times of my life.
At the time, in my mind, it was 10 years of training, learning, experiencing, and becoming that ended in missing a goal by hundredths of a second.  I felt like I had a body that was at its absolute peak but didn’t have any more opportunities to reach it.
This is the first time I’ve told the story itself publicly. For some reason my husband likes to brag about it and say, ‘oh yea, she’s a big runner, she missed the time trials by 2 hundredths of a second.” I have not loved that introduction for two reasons: A) Now that I’m old it makes me sound like a has been and b) I’m really just fine not being remembered by people through an announcement of my biggest disappointment. Don’t worry, my sweet husband knows that now.  I suppose the older I get the more I realize how this experience has shaped me and talking about it seems less like bragging and more like a good story.
The Silver Lining (Cont’d from yesterday’s post)


Like most stories there is a silver lining behind my story.  Just previous to the conference meet (2 weeks before the Regional race) I found out that I was accepted to the Graduate program at Utah State University.  I wanted to accept the invitation however, if I made it to the National meet and/or the time trials I would have to forfeit the program.  As time went on I came to realize that missing those meets was a tremendous blessing from a loving Heavenly Father who had a bigger plan for me.
But wait the silver lining continues.  A week and a half after the Regional meet I began my graduate work. The program I attended was an out-reach program which allowed me to work in my field while completing my degree.  As newlyweds Mitch and I had just purchased our first house and were struggling financially. Without the added income from my job, we would have been at risk of losing our home, put added stress on our marriage, as well as potentially messed up our credit for years to come. Do you think the Lord could see the bigger picture? Definitely.  Often times, what appears to be the biggest upset of our life turns out to be some of our greatest blessings.
 In a competitive world we are often blinded by one sided goals, personal appearances and titles.  In a spiritual world we are able to see a greater plan, a more peaceful way as well as a more fulfilling life.  So in the spirit of gratitude I would like to be grateful for experiences that mold and teach us. No matter how disappointing life can be I hope that I can always hold out long enough (even if it is a year after!) to see how the Lord lovingly guides our life.


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One Response to My Biggest Life Dissapointment

  1. Six Sisters November 19, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    I absolutely LOVED this! I had no idea that you ran the track like a MANIAC! Holy Cow girl!!!! I actually had to run to the bathroom after reading this because I was so nervous for you! Thanks for playing today! Love your guts! – Kris

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