Thanks from Arnie Figueroa

Thank-You Note from Arnie Figueroa

September 10, 2019

Arnie Figueroa writes:

I had the opportunity to communicate with Jay Jacob Wind about an unfortunate incident that led to the content of this brief reply letter I shared with him. He has graciously offer me the opportunity to bring it forward to your organization. With that in mind I took some excerpt from it with the hope that in doing so I could return something back and hope to give you an understanding of the fruits of your labor. It would have been sufficient enough to measure the successes of this organization just in the athletic endeavors but that is just one angle, here is mine.

I have enjoyed for quite a number of years participating in the summer season's track meets. I wanted to enjoy and experience the athletic competition and friendships that are developed out of it.

My initial experience with the events came out to one of the meets when drawn by curiosity and a sudden rush of sudden athleticism I was convinced that "I can do this". Well, soon enough, I discovered that it takes commitment, discipline, and fortitude to participate and even much more to achieve some level of success.

I was hooked the first time when I met Mr. Oscar Peyton. We are almost the same age -- I believe he is 4 months younger -- and I had to face him in the end-of-season championship meet. I ran against him, and although I did not enjoyed being outkicked, I could not help be in awe at his performance and witness his ease of running -- such an outstanding athlete.

I remember saying to myself, "One of these days, I'll be there, at his level and I will become his competition". It did not take me long to realize how good he actually is and to learn -- going through my own personal journey -- that takes great mettle, will, and sacrifice to become not just good for a season or two but to consistently be at the top of the heap year after year.

I have been chasing him ever since. It has been a little more than 10 years now. I tried to compete at his level for three seasons, and he was just too much of a challenge. In my fourth summer season, I tried again, and between the pains and aches of what it takes to run well, I got a bit discouraged and quit for two seasons. It didn't take me long, however, to discover how bad I missed the competition and rivalry. The next season, I started again, a rebuilding season nonetheless; although I did not do that well that year, I began developing better discipline. The fall of that year, I just had this desire take it more seriously and began my training committed to the sprinting events I enjoy so much. During the few months of the fall of that year, I envisioned it would become my best season yet. Soon into the first of the year, I started to not feel that well, and the progress that I was making so far in my workouts and drills became burdensome and strenuous. I thought to myself, well, I'm not that young, and I can't just train as a 20-year old. But something else was going on, and I was dismissing it out of ignorance.

In February of that year as I was heading to my office, I recall being unable to walk up flight of stairs. Unbeknown to me, I was suffering a massive heart attack and ignoring the symptoms of it. I thought I just needed to go to the gym to get rid of the chest pains that I thought were just a muscular thing. Fortunately, the gym at my facility was in a remodeling phase and closed. I decided to call my doctor. I went to visit his office with my wife, and soon he told me that I'm in the middle of a heart attack.

Well, I had seven blockages, five of them at 90%, two at 50%, and also a heart valve not performing properly. I ended up in a 12-hour marathon surgery for an open heart procedure, five bypasses, and four stents.

It has been four years now and taken me three years to get back to participate again. I tried last year and got aknee injury, but this year I was back at a 100%. I had my best performance so far -- I won in my age bracket (65 to 69). Yes, I know, I did not face Oscar, as he is still 64, and besides, he is just at a different level altogether. Nonetheless, I won in our regional. Racing Oscar is my next-year goal.

I just wanted to share my story, and I don�t think that mine is just that unique nor the only one. I know that just like me, you can find many other stories of those who participate with great enjoyment the seasons that are put together with the love, sacrifice, and commitment of such a great organization.

  • My gratitude to all of you, and to each of you who give so much of yourselves for these events. As much as sometimes you may feel your efforts are unappreciated, for it takes so much effort to do it well, is not true. It does not go unnoticed.

    Thank you! Arnie Figueroa

    PS: Let Mr. Peyton know I'll be meeting him on the track soon. LOL! Sent from my iPhone