Taejha Badal is a senior at Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas, USA, and is a recent commit to Texas A&M University.
She is coming off an outdoor season where she picked up career best times of 11.35 (windy) and 23.69 in the 100 metres and 200m, respectively, and grabbed two runner-up finishes in the 100m and 200m at the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) State Championships.
In 2019, Badal featured for the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 team at the Pan American Under-20 Championships, where she secured a 400m best of 54.80.
In this Dear Running essay, published recently on the MileSplit website, www.milesplit.com, Badal recounts her past four years in Texas and looks back on her high school career.
By TAEJHA BADAL
Thank you for making me the person I am today.
I have had a love for running my entire life, and my love was born when I was seven years old. And yet, we have always shared a love-hate relationship.
I’ll even go as far to admit that I cried my first practice. But that was just the start of all of our hardships that I look back and smile about because it all made me tougher today. You’ve taught me discipline, determination and strength throughout the years. I walked into my first track meet thinking I would be attending some kind of meeting, and I ended that year at my first AAU Junior Olympic Games. I went out and was able to compete in the 400m, 800m and long jump.
And it was then when I realised all I could accomplish if I decided to sacrifice a bit of my time to see where things could lead. It taught me that every experience was important. Ultimately, that was the first moment in my life where I knew I wanted to work toward becoming my best self. In elementary school, I changed in the backseat of my mom’s car to be able to make practices on time, and I made a habit of eating right and doing whatever I was told — I knew that would lead to great results.
From a young age, track and field had me in a disciplined state of mind to reach the goals I had set.
I started off my career running the 400m, and even up to cross country! I trained endlessly to be at the top of my age division, and eventually it allowed me to receive my first individual medal at the AAU Junior Olympics in the 800m.
The next year, I changed my specialty and dropped down to the shorter events; since then, my longest race has been the 400m. While the transition was hard, I challenged myself every day to be my best self.
Not only did you teach me many lessons over that time, but you also gave me so much happiness. But the happiness of winning and racing never came close to the pride I would feel knowing the road it took to reach my accomplishments, both physically and mentally.
What can I say about you now? A long time ago you taught me a very important point: What I put in is what I get out.
Yes, I’ve put hours of hard work into this sport, but it does not compare to all that it has given back to me. By investing my all into the amazing sport, I have been so blessed to receive my favourite experiences and memories all these years. I thank God for that.
I’ve been to countries I never thought I’d be, for you: Traveling to do what I love. I’ve met so many people that have changed my life. More than that, though, these travels have inspired me to think even higher; it’s made me want to be the best in everything I do, and be able to compete at my highest level, always.
Track has given me lifelong friends that have been by my side from a young age and introduced me to people who brighten up my life.
Looking back at how much I have grown throughout the years, I grow excited to see what this sport has planned for me in my future. I plan to continue giving it my all: Through every season, every race and every practice.
This sport has pushed me down repeatedly, but it’s always allowed me to come back, stronger and more prepared. If I had a chance to go back and start from scratch, I wouldn’t. I’d do it all again.
Thank you for all you’ve given me. See you in college.
High School, ‘21