Getting back on the track

Ivy Gates,

I started running track in the 7th grade.

Track and field became the perfect sport for me because I am skinny and have long legs. I learned everything about track and field by going to my sister’s track meets. My sister started running track in 6th grade. She participated in field events, the 100 and 200 meters and relay. I went to every one of her track meets; my mother and I were her biggest fans. I loved watching her run against other people, and the competitiveness of it all amazed me. I told my mom that I wanted to run also and quickly fell in love with the sport. My dream was to go all the way to the Olympics.

While competing, I received 30 medals in the Bay Area and took first and second place in my solo events and relays. I am proud of all my medals, which took a lot of hard work, time and dedication to earn. My best time in the 100 meter throughout my track career was 12.6 seconds and it was 25.4 seconds in the 200 meter.

Those times are pretty decent, but my goal was always to run faster. I always wrote down my time on my hand when I was done competing, then I would go back to the drawing board to reach a personal record, or P.R., a target time that you want to beat or achieve. I always pushed myself to run under 11 seconds.

My first track coach at Crittenden Middle School — Ms. Applegarth — taught me what I needed to know in order to be a fast runner. I learned what type of running shoes to get when competing in a race: spike shoes are very light on your feet and give you the ability to run faster. I also quickly learned the 4×100 relays, the 100 and 200 dash, the 400 dash and the 4×4 relay.

By the time I entered Los Altos High School, my favorite event was the 100 and 200 dash. In the 200-yard dash, you run a half a lap of speed. Both are speed events.

I ran in junior college at De Anza College from 2010 to 2012 and also while attending Concordia University of Irvine from 2012 to 2013.

I recently hung up my running shoes to focus on my school work, but it wasn’t an easy decision. I began to think about my life, career and future, and shifted my focus to school and graduating on time. I received my AA in communications at my junior college and am working towards my BA in communications at Cal State East Bay.

However, my love for running never leaves my mind, especially during the Olympics. Watching the games on television every night reminded me of the dream I used to have: to compete in the Olympics.

I recently decided that I am ready to get back on the track once I graduate. I am slowly making my way back into the gym, and I do cardio and abs for an hour Monday through Friday.

Track will always be the sport that I love and have dedicated my heart to. It is something that I will always cherish. I will continue my track journey by putting in the time to make my dreams come alive.

The next summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020; I have four years to prepare.