A Little Love, Loss & Life Change

So 2014 begins and a new adventure starts. Although I have been here for 24 years, I do feel that my life has only just begun. I sure have had a great run till now – not much to complain about at all however I can’t say life has been peachy till now. There have been ups and downs, super highs and extreme lows but I can only look back and see this as one big adventure and a rough road only builds character…. So I will continue to share the good, the bad and the ugly but also emphasis that I love what I do, I love where I have come from and I’m ALL about where I’m heading in this exciting life ahead.

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(photo by Frankie Owen)

I guess I will start by wrapping up my past season. Lets just say that 2013 wasn’t the best year for me with my running after taking a nasty fall in my first diamond league race in Birmingham, England. After qualifying for the World Championships back in May, I wanted to get one more fast 3km steeplechase in to gain some race experience and better my personal best before Worlds. Just two laps to go I took a spill in the water pit and broke my ankle.

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(Birmingham Diamond League, breaking my ankle)

Since then I have been recovering and rehabbing to get back to where I belong. Due to this speed bump in my career I decided it was best to make a few decisions on my overall direction with my running. The few months after my injury were the toughest I have experienced in a while just because I came to a fork in the road with where and what I wanted to do. Obviously leaving my base in Gainesville at the University of Florida was something that was always on the cards for me since you can’t really stay at college forever (as fun as it may sound) so it was more the timing of everything that I struggled with. I graduated from college a few months after the 2012 Olympics however because I had everything I needed and more in Gainesville, I had decided to stick around with my college coach, continue living with my best friends and have access to the best facilities around. Florida really felt like home.

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(Coach Paul Spangler and I at SEC 2012)

After a lot of thought after my injury, I decided that I would make the move back home for good and let me tell you, this was a tough decision to make. My college coach (Paul Spangler) was almost too understanding – he always said the right thing in every situation. Coach Spangler had honestly become a best friend and father figure so to leave behind a great friendship and coach I gained so much success from was very difficult. The girls I had spent the past few years with was another part of Florida I found hard to let go of. I had last left them thinking I would see them again soon; to then deciding I wouldn’t return to say goodbye. I guess I can now just thank social media and modern day technology because it allows me to keep in touch with these special people from my American life. Through the many highs and lows I faced along the way in college, I not only met some amazing people but I was able to learn that the important friendships I found along the way are very rare but extremely special.

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(My girls from 25th Street, Gainesville)

This injury may have forced a lot of change on me however I can confidently say that it has also brought so many new and exciting aspects to my life. I am thrilled to say the least about my new adventure ahead. I am now based in Melbourne and have joined Melbourne Track Club where I have been given an opportunity to train with Australia’s best distance athletes and Coach Nic Bideau. I am currently up at Falls Creek with MTC getting a month of altitude training in to get me fit, fast and strong again to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Last but not least, I get to train with my best mate Ryan Gregson. He has been there through all of the tough moments in 2013 and helped me come out the other side. Not sure if you have heard the history of our relationship but it has been floating around the internet recently about how we met so check out the article by runners tribe here. It’s a funny and true story!

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(The R.G)

Well I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the new love, loss and life changes of my 2013. So much more to come in 2014 so I will continue to blog my running progress of the big year ahead and anything that falls in between. I hope you enjoy my site and thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

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(Any of the casual photos in New Balance gear were taken by Frankie Owen. To see more of her work go to her instagram or visit her facebook page MomentsbyFrankie. Photos in casual wear were taken by Brad Anderson Creates Graphic Design. More of their work can be located here.)

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