Inspiration to Go Forth: Even When You're Being Figuratively Shoved Backwards
As we have gotten to know Kendra this past year, through training, racing, and life updates, we’ve learned that this woman really knows how to move forward despite any forces trying to push her back. Many forces that reach far beyond the track. Essentially, she’s the Go Forth Queen.
So we wanted to know, what made Kendra go forth and…
1. Move to a new city and join a new training group?
What made me go forth and move to a new city and training group, was the strong motivation to stretch my comfort level and give my last Olympic cycle a true, genuine opportunity. I felt like I wasn’t being challenged enough in my previous training group, where I only had one other training partner. Now I train with five other women, who are some of the best in the world. I felt comfortable in Texas, in a way, I certainly was - my family was close by and the familiarity often made me feel stagnate. Moving to a new place can be a fresh start for many, but for me it is was putting myself in the unknown, taking the risk so I can look back at my track career with no regrets. I refuse to leave this sport asking myself "what if?" So I made the move!
2. Back off of your career to run and then decide to get your master’s degree?
I backed off my professional career to run because I knew that if I did not put all my effort into running I wasn’t going to fulfill my goals as a professional runner. I had wonderful positions and internships coming out of college and the most frustrating part was that I wasn’t able to pursue them further or take the next step because of track. There’s a saying that goes, “A jack of all trades is a master at none.” I honestly felt like having work and track, one would most certainly suffer. As an athlete I refused to settle, and as a professional I refused to give companies less than what they deserved. I decided to go back to school because I knew that while I put my time and energy into running full-time, I could also be productive in my recovery or travel time. I wasn’t getting any younger and my experience on my resume wasn’t getting better while I was running. I realized early on that track would end one day and then what would I become? I’d be an older job candidate and I wanted to set myself apart from others. I went forth and chose to get my master's degree in order to manage my running and my future more successfully.
3. Race when you knew you didn’t have an ideal buildup?
Going forth and deciding to race this season was a tough call. After having one of my kidneys seemingly fail out of nowhere in late March right before my very first outdoor meet, it was hard to recover and produce quality workouts. I was in a hospital bed for a full week, then followed by a month of slow and progressive cross training. The training started to get better on the track, but the longest aspect to come back around were my long runs and mileage build-up. I had to use an anti-gravity machine to get my legs used to the tempo and long runs again. It felt like my body had to relearn running after a grueling and hard fall. I was discouraged because I felt I had lost everything from fall. I had put in the work and had nothing to show for it. I wasn’t ready to open for another two months, and was able to run relays at Penn Relays in-between. I finally ran my first real 800 meter race at the end of May. To my surprise, I ran a 2:02. As many would think I should’ve been happy, but I wasn’t. I knew what kind of shape I was in before my health scare and still feel like my body took a big toll and lost a lot of fitness that I had gained.
Regardless I chose to run the remainder of the outdoor season including USA Championships, because even though I wasn’t in top shape compared to the field, I wasn’t afraid to go out there and not be the best. It may sound crazy, but racing does so much for the mind and body. Racing is often less grueling on the body than high intensity training and it teaches you how to strategize and compete. I wasn’t scared to lose because losing comes before the wins, before the PR, before the season best. I am a very transparent athlete and felt like whatever my best effort was for the rest of outdoor, would be taken with grace and humility. To be honest, I am grateful I can even run right now. I am eager to have a pain-free, healthy, consistent season next year. I often have to remind myself to look how far I’ve come, not how far I have to go. At the end of the day every athlete on the start line is dealing with something. There’s an injury or a story they could tell. It’s inspiring, yet the one who refuses to let that impact their race often wins.
"Go forth and Iive your life to fullest, no regrets, take the risk and love every minute of it!"
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