It’s incredible how I’ve already done two months of training here in Houston, TX for 2019, as I arrived to the U.S. in late March and will stay until early July. I reunited with coach Bill Collins and settled into a consistent routine of alternating gym and track workouts throughout the week, with daily yoga, meditation and prayer. I’ve been eating well and recovering adequately, as proper nutrition and rest are just as important to my training as the workouts themselves. While I caught the occasional cold, I’m incredibly thankful to have no serious physical or mental injuries or conditions as a result of my training. I’ve had a track meet every Thursday to compete and lower my time in the 400 meter dash to qualifying levels.
Running is a mental sport, as you require the strategy to know when to accelerate and when to hold down your speed at every meet, and the discipline to keep yourself accountable to every achievable goal you set with yourself and your team. Right now, the goal that I’m working on is going under 50 seconds in the 400m. I’m on my way there, but the difference between 51 and 49 seconds might as well be an hour for sprinters, so I’m learning to be incredibly patient and persistent with myself on and off the track, and count every lowering of time as motivation for the next meet.
Once I go under 50, my goal will be going under the Palestinian national record for the 400m, which is around 48-47 seconds. Breaking the national record will open doors for major corporate sponsorships, and will give me the case for the Palestine Olympic Committee to endorse me and have me on their team. Once I beat that record, my goal will be meeting the Olympic qualification standard for the 400m, which is 44.8 seconds. Meeting this standard will guarantee my spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics according to the International Olympic Committee rules, and will prepare me to compete on a level that’s expected for all 400m sprinters at the official event. It will also be a historic breakthrough, as no Palestinian sprinter has yet to meet 44.8 seconds. The IOC’s official deadline to meet the qualification standard is July 2020; I have 14 months left to give all my strength and will to reach this standard and become the most optimal shape to win.