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Hi SRLA Fam! My name is Nelly and I’m finally back to writing blogs! The past few weeks have been hectic, but I’m happy to be back!
The 18-miler has by far been my favorite run because it’s in my own hometown. For the first time in 2 years, my parents and siblings were out there waiting for me at the finish line. I didn’t know what to expect since last year’s 18-miler was at Irvine but I was ready! My brother and I headed out the door and, when we were in the car, I began to talk to him and advise him on how we are only one month away of what will soon be the best day of his life.
Having my brother join SRLA this school year has by far been the biggest blessing to me because I have someone who I can relate to and who is following in my footsteps. He represents what I wished I could have been when I was his age and seeing him accomplish the same things I’m accomplishing at age 17, when he’s only 12, makes me extremely proud.
We got out of the car and headed towards where we were supposed to each meet our teams, and I was ready. We then headed to the starting line and flashbacks of last year’s 18-miler at Irvine came to mind. The 18-miler at Irvine last year was my worst run due to injury and a teammate getting injured as well, and I was afraid that this year was going to be the exact same thing. That’s where I had my first setback in the race. Instead of entering the race with the mentality that I’ll do just fine, I began with the idea that I’ll probably get injured along the way. I was afraid.
Once the race started, so many things came to mind and I reminded myself why I was doing this and that’s what kept me strong the whole way. I also had the support of one of my teammates, Esme, who supported me the whole way and stuck by me to pump me up when she saw that I was falling behind and eventually, I was able to catch up.
The support from the crowd was also the best! I was proud that the people from my own hometown had come out to support and motivate us so we can finish! There was unity here in Pacoima that you don’t see often.
By the time we got to the second loop, I knew I had it all under my control, and I did. The second loop went by faster than the first one and in no time, I was already exiting the dam and heading to the finish line. I wanted to cry. Not because I was in pain, but because I finished this 18-miler in a much better way than I did last year’s at Irvine and because my mom and siblings were also waiting for me at the finish line, which is something that hasn’t happened before due to transportation.
When I finished, I instantly felt a form of satisfaction with myself and I felt happy to be where I was at, in that exact moment.
SRLA has given me so much and I’m forever grateful for that. My best life-lessons have been taught to me while I was at SRLA and I know that because of SRLA, I’m a much better individual than I was two years ago. Overall, my experience in this 18 miler was SO much better than last years and I am ready for the Marathon next month! We got this SRLA ✨!!!
Enjoy reading Nelly’s stories on the Friendship Run? Be sure to check out more student stories on the SRLA blog!