2016 was a roller coaster year for me. After graduating college in December 2015 I quickly moved to Athens, GA to train with my former college coach at UGA. It was a huge adjustment for me. Being away from family and for the first time, I was truly on my own with no “safety net”. I was eager to have a great season following my national title but that didn’t happen. I started training late and struggled with injuries and frustrations day after day. I felt like I was just going through the motions. I would show up to practice with a negative attitude and just complained a lot. I could not figure out what was wrong with me!
In the middle of one race I just quit. I was running a 200 and as I came around the curve I just stopped. When my coach asked why, I had no excuse it was just simple: I didn’t want to run. The feeling crushed me because running has always been my outlet, my passion, my happy place…and I just quit on her, like all my love had been drained. I allowed all the outside distractions get to me and distract me from performing. But most importantly track had become a job, and no longer my outlet.
I finished out the season (probably my worst season to date) and I blamed only myself. My off season consisted of daily tears and trying to distract myself from “track life”; I was barely interested in the Olympics until I realized that these disappointments are a part of the sport. I looked at Allyson and Sanya and thought their seasons probably weren’t ideal for them either, but they recovered and they moved forward, and I needed to do the same.
So I began to rebuild my confidence and honestly I missed the sport. I missed the weight room and sweaty days. But I was hit with another upset….my coach could no longer coach me. I was heart broken. I fought so hard to train under him and we just won a national title together, I had trust in him and now I was left with nothing to show for it. Life was throwing me so many blows I felt like I was a boxer and not a runner.
Yet again I tried to pick up the pieces in my life. Now I’m in the middle of moving to Atlanta to train under Dwight Phillips, a man I have grown to trust and respect. I am super excited about these next couple of months and just to get back to running. My professional career hasn’t started out how I imaged but Track has always taught me some of life’s hardest lessons. I’m learning to take the setbacks and control what I can but most importantly i’m learning to find my peace and happiness.
As I’ve reflected on these changes and challenges I realized how important it was to share my story because there are many athletes out there who will struggle and are struggling as I am. So as I share my story I want to encourage others to just keep pushing and lean on others for support.
Sidenotes: I really want to thank my agent Paul Doyle and DMG for all the support they’ve given me and I hope we have more success going forward.
Also I want to thank Ken Harnden and his family, you believed in me when a lot of people didn’t and you have always been more than a coach for me. Thank you for caring and seeing me as more than just an athlete. As we part ways I know your success will continue and I will always be grateful for our seasons together!
Lastly, thank you to my amazing family, I cant thank you all enough but I know you guys have faith in me and I will give this 2017 season my all to make you all proud!
#London2017 here I come!