BY: KENDRA CHAMBERS
It can be scary. Change is defined as: to give a different position, course, or direction to. Some people hate change while others crave it. In our sport of track and field change CAN come swiftly and fast and sometimes unexpectedly. One minute you're in front and the next you are in the back; or one season it’s working out great when in another season; eh, not so much. So, for elite athletes change can be a way of life.
My biggest change of 2017 was to end it and start out 2018 with a completely new life. Although I am a big fan of change and have been known to enjoy big changes especially when it comes to my track career, this was by far my biggest yet. I was raised and lived the majority of my life in Texas. My comfort is there including friends, family, familiarity, my alma mater (HookEm!) and life as I’ve always known it. After a disappointing 2017 season, I decided to move to a new training group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I decided on this big move in about two to three weeks time and set deadlines and move-out dates immediately after the decision was made. Even though it may seem like I had it all figured out I honestly didn’t. I hit the panic button and had no idea where to start, how to truly just say goodbye to my home for last 20 years and just… leave.
Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
I want to continue my climb to the top in the United States as one of the best 800 meter runners, so I knew this was the move I had to make. I truly know that I haven’t reached my full potential and I need to be surrounded by the best of the best. So what better place was there to go than to train with two of the best women in my event? I’ve always eagerly tried to put myself in situations where I was surrounded by the best in all aspects of life. I am a sucker for challenges that seem out of my reach. All along I’ve used my faith in my God and His will over my life to combat doubters and my hard work to show it rather than speak it. This is just another challenge that I am embarking on and now I have the beautiful Oiselle Nest of sisterhood and support to share this amazing experience with me.
I honestly haven’t done much exploring but I have gotten a dose of the snow, cool air, fall leaves and snowy and muddy trails. Philadelphia is diverse in its landscape; full of big rocky hills and mountains, tall trees, and small rivers, all located in the city outskirts all while having a scenic and bustling city center just a few miles away with tourists and visitors. It is such beautiful city with rich culture and a lot of history, full of helpful and diverse people. I’ve enjoyed getting lost driving to practice trying to memorize my routes. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of change and newness. The snow, cobble stone, the churches, the big bridges, crazy traffic and city lights make me feel like a real city girl now.
I’ve been able to wear my awesome Oiselle gear that keeps me warm on long run days and track days when the high is only 30 degrees. The entire dynamic of my surroundings have changed but ONE thing has not: my goal. I continue my search in finding the strength to adjust to a new and tough program all while being patient with myself and not rushing true growth and lasting transformation. I must say the best part of my days consist of getting to know my new training partners. While some of us knew each other prior to my big move, getting to know and meeting new people is what life is all about. My new training group is filled with beautiful and special people who I’ve come to cherish and respect over a short period of time. The warm welcome from my new coach and team has been an amazing one and I can't wait to show the fruits of our hard labor on the track in our upcoming seasons.
Change. It’s an interesting concept and if you have anything in your life that you’re unsure of: you already know the answer. Long before the choices sit before us we know what our hearts truly desire. Risk it all, every damn time. Regardless of the odds, what people say and what it looks like on paper. My God is greater and little is much when God is in it! My journey has taught me lots of things. The most important is by far: change is inevitable. At some point the race will change, the training will change, the weather will change and life will change too. We can often fight or resist change when it seems scary or too much to handle.
The great Barack Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Look deep inside and actually live, no more waiting. I promised myself when I began this journey in 2014 of attempting to be the best professional 800 meter runner that I, Kendra Chambers could possibly be, that I would give it my all and when I was done I’d be able to look back and say: "Ok, you gave it all you had” with no regrets.
I will forever fight for my dreams and goals. Change is part of life, it can look ugly and unappealing or it can come disguised in a pretty package. Regardless, take it in stride, take it in at your own pace and never run away from it, for change truly is what keeps the next chapter interesting. Sometimes life will throw us an opportunity to present a different position, course, or direction to take our journey. Take it! I am truly blessed that this opportunity came knocking and I will not take it for granted. Change is the answer to your question, your desire and your goal. It is truly a beautiful thing!