Hello everyone! I am in the midst of my outdoor season and I am very eager to report I have had my best opener in my entire collegiate career in the 800m two weeks ago at Florida Relays! I ran 2:08.70, humble beginnings, you know? This meet was very special to me considering my old coach and my old school were both at the meet, and I did not want to look bad with them watching. Yes, I’m being presumptuous and assuming they all stopped what they were doing to watch my race. I mean, why wouldn’t they? But anyway, there was another coach that I really wanted to impress. She was my old high school coach, who was a former professional runner, who is also my mom.
Growing up I had a luxury that few other people had. I had a former professional track and field athlete living amongst me. I cannot stress how lucky I have been. Each day I spent time with someone who has reached all the goals I hoped to achieve. My Mom is someone who has worn the team USA uniform countless times, competed all across the world, and has a 1:58 personal record. However, this blog is not about my mom. I love you though! It is about how luck continues to put me in the presence of people who are living my dream. Now, instead of getting to spend every day with my Mom, I am spending every day with a different professional track athlete: Chanelle Price.
If you don’t know Chanelle Price, I suggest you Google her immediately. She is 2014 indoor World Champion in the 800, runs for Nike, has a 1.59.1 PR, and has abs of steel. She is also one of the nicest, least threatening (off the track that is) person you will ever meet.
I look up to Chanelle. I hope to be racing against her someday soon. Recently I sat down and talked to Chanelle, and realized her journey is somewhat similar to my own. Let me just say now, in no way am I comparing myself to Chanelle. The woman is astounding; she ran 2:01.61 in high school. I won’t even mention my high school PR out of comparative embarrassment.
Chanelle and I both came into track at about a young age 9 for each of us. We both decided we really enjoyed track when we found out how good we were at it. Winners like to win.
“I started falling in love with the results,” Chanelle said.
We both also started to realize early that track was really what we wanted to do with our lives. When Chanelle was 14 years-old she announced to her track camp that when she grew up she wanted to be an Olympian. For me, it was probably around when I was 10 and won my first national competition. Hershey track and field y’all!
We both came to a bit of a halt in college. I have already discussed my lackluster freshman and sophomore years. For Chanelle, she struggled living up to the pressure that running a 2:01 placed on her.
“Because I ran 2:01 in high school, there was a target on my back. People were like ‘Oh she’s going to be the next best thing, winning NCAA’s every year and the Olympics.’ and I just did not handle that pressure well,” Chanelle told me.
She ended her collegiate career third at NCAA’s with a 2:01.49, yet no professional prospects. She was going to quit track for good believing her best days were behind her.
However, one man refused to give up on Chanelle. This is the same man who is helping me get back to my old self again, Coach J.J. Clark. Coach Clark saw Chanelle’s potential and would not let her quit.
“I credit him for keeping me in the sport because I wanted to give up so many times,” Chanelle said.
Chanelle followed Coach Clark to UConn, a move I also made specifically to work with him, and a change we are both getting used to.
“Finally he told me he was coming to Connecticut and I was like ‘What the heck is in Connecticut!?’ All I knew was that it was cold. But I was excited for a change I had been in Tennessee for 6 years. I’m happy here; I make the best of it. It’s been good.”
Chanelle credits Coach Clark to her introduction to her faith and finding the joy in track again, which was a major turning point in her career.
“As long as I keep it fun, that’s what helps me. What more can you give than your best,” she asked me. “I tell myself now that the minute I stop having fun with it, I’m not doing it anymore.”
Well, personally I have had the most fun this track season than I have had in a while. I hope that along with Coach Clark’s guidance, I will make a turnaround similar to Chanelle’s. So watch out Miss Price! I hope to make my idols my rivals.