Support From My Peers, Past and Present

As far behind as I was at the start of this season and after having to play as much catch up as I have, I feel like I’m been doing pretty well so far this year.

I don’t know exactly where I am. I know I’m not in great race shape, but this year, I might have to race myself into shape.

During this eight months I was sidelined, I wasn’t even allowed to trot or jog. Because I hadn’t done any kind of running motion in so long, when I first started running this year, I couldn’t even run smooth.

I had to ease my way into it. I couldn’t do my mileage runs. Stuff that I can normally do and have no problem with, I had to do little-by-little and inch-by-inch. My leg wasn’t strong enough, and my knee hadn’t been pounded on in so long. It’s funny to think back on; now I can workout. At least I know I’m making progress.

But that progress does have a price. Because I’m doing all these different things, sometimes my body is kind of screaming at me. Everything makes me feel sore.

My body is trying to adjust. To help, we do just enough to keep my knee from getting irritated. Bobby Kersee, my coach, is doing a good job of pushing and backing off in that regard.

The other thing that’s incredibly helpful is having my training group by my side. They’re all really supportive. Our group is really close-knit, so even when I wasn’t training, we still would get together and talk all the time. But it’s different when we’re all out there working out together.

It helps a lot in terms of support. We all go through things. We all have little injuries and nicks that hurt us, and we can all share that with each other and go get treatment together after. It lets you know that in track and field, things are going to happen. That’s the nature of the sport. Hurdlers have knee problems and hip problems. Runners have hamstring problems and shin problems.

Training Partners

We all have those things that we go through. We can support each other.

One thing this experience has taught me is that no one is going to run forever, but I’ve built friendships that are going to last forever. Not even just in my training group or in my event. Natasha Hastings and Kristi Castlin have also become really good friends of mine. I talk to them all the time. These are the people I vacation with, and no matter how much time we spend apart, when we talk or we get together, it’s like we haven’t missed a beat.

RESPECT FOR TRACK’S PAST

Another thing that helped me get through the past eight months is having so much support from those people I looked up to in this sport.

To be connected with people like Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Gail Devers, athletes I watched growing up, means everything to me. It makes me feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and this is what I was meant to do.

Gail and Jackie

Back when I was growing up, I never would have thought they would be friends of mine, or I would be able to have contact with them. It’s a privilege I have because I’ve made it this far, and I’m grateful for it.

Even if I’m down, I can always count on positive energy from my conversations with Jackie. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say anything negative before. She checks on me and I like to be able to check on her as well.

Gail and I recently connected via Twitter, which was a fun experience for me. She was one of Bobby’s athletes, and she and Jackie are really good friends. I’ve always been a huge fan of hers. She’s one of the best American hurdlers ever, if not the best. I remember when I was in college, I really looked up to her.

She had that collegiate record in 1986. I was looking at it like, “I was three years old when she set that!”  It was something I really wanted to go after, and try to break. She was really supportive, and congratulated me afterward.

Now, she’s just a very positive role model and person. I see her at different meets, and just like Jackie, she always has something encouraging to say.

Personally, I think it’s important for current athletes to stay connected to those who came before them because of what they’ve done for the sport means for us.

They probably don’t really know how much it means to me to have their support and encouragement. But I looked up to them, and they laid the groundwork for women like me.

They definitely set the stage. They gave us standards to live up to, and records to aspire to break. They gave us something to work for and push past so we can set the stage for the next generation.

Rehab Progress, Turning 30 and Enjoying Seattle

It’s been almost two months since I had surgery, and so far, the recovery is going pretty well. I still have a little ways to go, but I hope that this next six weeks will be that jump up to that next level, closer to getting me back on the track.

It took a while for me just to be able to walk. I couldn’t walk for the first two weeks and was on crutches for the next three weeks, then moved to a cane, and gradually, worked my way back to walking on my own. I’ve been doing it on my own for the last couple of weeks, but I’m still trying to get the strength back in my legs and still building that up day by day. I also still have some scar tissue in the area where they did most of the work that needs to break up.

Once I was first allowed to start doing rehab work, I had to do a lot of straight leg work because I couldn’t do anything with a bent knee that shortly after the surgery. It was a lot of work with ankle weights, calf raises, ankle curls, glute exercises, all designed to strengthen the muscles around the knee to help take pressure off the knee.

I can feel the difference on a week-to-week basis. Since they’ve cleared me to do a little more, I’ve also been riding a stationary bike and running in the pool, which has helped a lot. The next step is to do more with a bent knee because that’s going to simulate more how I run, and the position that my body will be in.

At this point, I have to just go based on what my body feels like. With certain exercises you can feel when you’re ready to move up or do something different. The last couple of weeks, I started feeling like that and the trainers I’m working with felt that way too without me even having to say it. The doctors have said, “You know your body. You can feel when you’re ready to move up.”

The important thing is to listen to my body because my mind is definitely ready ahead of when my body will be. Until my body is ready, I have to listen to the pain, and really think about what I can and can’t do. If I feel any type of discomfort, I just have to back it off and maybe try again in a couple days.

You can progress pretty fast, but you don’t want to push it to where you hurt something else because you’re not ready.

This rehab is similar to what I went through the last time I had knee surgery. It seems like it went a little quicker last time, but I had different work done this time so I had to be a little more careful with the exercises in the beginning — that’s why they implemented some of the straight leg exercises — to make sure I was progressing slowly instead of jumping right in.

Outside of my rehab, I have to remind myself to limit my activities. I’m used to doing a lot of things in one day and really getting after it, but sometimes I really need to remember to slow down.

Having the surgery toward the end of the season has helped me take it slow a bit. But at the same time, I haven’t run in a couple of months, so I can’t fight the feeling that I am a little behind. Because of that, I would like to get started earlier than I normally would if I had completed a season. It makes me want to speed this thing up so I can do some running and jogging.

I’ll be checking back in with the surgeon in St. Louis in a few weeks, and I’m hoping to be cleared to ramp it up a bit so I can get back on the track soon.

TURNING 30

I just celebrated my 30th birthday earlier this month, so I was in Seattle for a while to enjoy it with my friends and family.

I feel like when you go through things like what I’m going through with rehab, the important thing is to remember that there’s still life outside of track, and to enjoy the important moments that are still there. That helps me keep my mind off of sitting there and beating myself up because I’m watching everyone else compete while I’m just sitting out.

Everybody that I have around me has been really supportive during this time. My parents and my friends have been great. My husband has done so much for me in the last month, there are times I don’t want to even ask for anything else, but I’m sure he enjoyed it, even if I got on his nerves at times.

While I was in Seattle, I got to participate in several great events for the city.

After speaking at the Love and 4Giveness event in St. Louis, I helped Jackie Joyner-Kersee organize to bring the Love and 4Giveness program up to Seattle last Saturday. It really meant a lot to me for her to come and shed some light on the athletes in Seattle, and the running programs they’re trying to set in motion.

That night, Jackie and I attended the Tabor 100 banquet, where they honored Paul Allen and Chris Hansen. Obviously, Paul Allen is a big deal here in Seattle, so they wanted Jackie to attend and they invited me to attend as well. It was a fun-filled day.

PART OF THE 12TH MAN

To complete a great weekend, I went to the Seahawks game against the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night with a bunch of my friends, my brother and my dad.

It was so much fun — that was probably the best time I’ve ever had at a game. It was so loud — we used the word crackin’ — it was crazy. Everybody was totally into it. It’s great for Seattle to have an environment like that. It just shows you how successful the city is and can be. I think the city is thriving now with jobs and sports. Without a NBA team here since the Sonics left, everybody channels their energy into football.

I also feel a little more of a connection to the Seahawks because of Pete Carroll, who is doing an amazing job. Pete was the coach at USC during my time being a Trojan, and he took our team to a whole new level.

They made history and it was great being at USC during that era to be a part of that. There are several other members of that USC staff now in Seattle, and to be able to enjoy that connection in my home city now, it’s a good feeling. I feel like they’re my people and now they’re here in my city, so I get the best of both worlds.

DRIVEN BY YOUR SUPPORT

I just want to say thank you to all of my fans for supporting in me and believing in me.

I’m always thankful to the people who support me even if it’s just a little message. After I tweet something about therapy, people will tweet something like “hope you’re having a speedy recovery” or “get better soon,” just those little things. I’m very appreciative of those things. I may not get to respond to all of them, but I do read them, and it helps me get through that time.

You guys push me to do nothing but great things, and I want you to expect nothing but great things these next four years. I expect to have the best four years of my track career.

The Choice to Run Clean

This entry originally ran on the sports page of the Seattle Times.

Over the past year, I’ve seen a lot of people commenting that everyone in track and field is on drugs. With the recent doping charges in our sport, I want it to be known that are still a lot of hard working people out there – people who go through things like what I’m going through right now just to get back out on the track, and be able to race and do what they love.

I’m a clean athlete, and my life has completely changed from last year to this year. Last year, I was ranked fourth in the world and running all over the globe, having a pretty good season except  for not making the Olympic team. This year, I ran in three meets and had to have surgery on my knee. I missed the entire European circuit and pretty much my entire season.

When I first hurt my knee back in March, before the outdoor season started, I thought it was something that would go away. Instead, it lingered. I continued trying to race and train hard but I couldn’t perform the way I wanted to. It’s very frustrating when you give your all to train at your peak performance, but your body is stopping you. I was not able to train my best going into the U.S. Track and Field Championships this spring, and I tried to push through.

My club coach, Shirley Wroten, used to always tell me I was a warrior because I would fight through anything and race through any conditions.This year, after fighting through this injury at USAs, I finally understood what she meant. I just keep going and going until my body can’t go any more. Most athletes do that, but it’s not always a good thing. After not making the finals, my season was done.

It turned out that I had bone-on-bone bruising in my left knee, and there were two big patches where there was no cartilage. Without the cartilage, there was nothing to absorb impact, and that’s my lead leg for hurdling. So that’s where the constant pain was coming from in my knee.

After consulting with a doctor, I went ahead and had surgery. Surgeons went in and cleaned it up, and then inserted some artificial cartilage. It’s a new technique, and my doctor said he’s been having pretty good results with it. The hope is it will make my knee like new.

It’s really very hard coming back from injuries. You have to take the time off. You have to know how to be patient, and slowly climb your way back to peak performance. It can be a long, grueling process. But that is exactly what it takes.

That’s what makes athletes who compete dirty so frustrating. You see them have injury after injury, maybe even a surgery, and come back a few short months later just flying. I’m not saying that those kinds of recoveries aren’t possible naturally, but they’re not normal. And when an athlete recovers and then tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs, it’s a real slap in the face of everyone else who’s clean. Because we’ve believed that coming back quickly was possible when it wasn’t. We’ve questioned why our recoveries took so much longer.

It takes away from everything that sports should be about. I’m spending a lot of money on my body just to be able to run again through these surgeries, going through rehabilitation and traveling from place to place. It’s because this is something that I love to do. I have a real passion and love for this sport, and a talent in it.

I wish there was a way that people could see that not everyone in this sport is doping. I wish they could be with us and see what we go through: How much time we put in at the track, in the weight room, at physical therapy, getting in ice baths and maintaining a healthy diet. For a lot of athletes, it’s a matter of having to train in different places and being away from your family.

There are certain demands put on us through sponsors and appearances. Some athletes even compete without contracts and have gone years without a contract, just doing it for the love of the sport and trying to climb their way back to the top. To me, the true athletes are those who say that no matter what, they’re going to do this, to accomplish a personal goal for themselves.

I want to encourage fans to keep supporting track and field, especially with the recent cloud that has been hanging over the sport. There’s a lot that goes into this as a career, and not everybody is a cheater. A lot of people are putting their blood, sweat and tears into this, and making sacrifices so that they can accomplish something great. We still do have a lot of genuine, hard-working athletes out there who are wonderful people to look up to and follow. There are the Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s of the world, who are no longer running, but are still out there, doing good.

We need your support to keep doing it. We aren’t all taking the easy way out. I hope my journey is a clear example of clean athletes going from peak success, to injuries, to climbing back to success with nothing more but pure, hard work.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee: My Friendship With an Idol

Like a lot of female athletes, I grew up watching Jackie Joyner-Kersee. She was and remains an icon to me.

Now I am also lucky enough to call her a friend and mentor.

When I was younger, I read Jackie’s book, and I remember her coming to Seattle for a clinic about asthma, a condition she has prospered through. I remember all of us being at the Garfield Community Center, and running around following Jackie’s every move, listening to what she was saying. That was a big deal. THE Jackie Joyner-Kersee was in our town.


After seeing her that initial time when I was a kid, I saw her as my career went on — at appearances and things like that — but never really got the chance to talk with her. It wasn’t until after I started training with Bobby that I truly met her. My first year training with Bobby, I hurt my knee and he sent me back to St. Louis to see the doctor, and stay at their house.

All of a sudden, I was under the care of Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

She picked me up at the airport, took me to their house, took me to my doctors appointment, and that’s how my relationship started with her. She treated me like family from day one. In the beginning, I was still star struck, like, “Oh my god, this is Jackie Joyner-Kersee.” It wasn’t until the last couple years that we’ve gotten really close.

She’s a great mentor who gives great advice, someone I consider a friend and like family to me. I was able to build that type of relationship with her because of the type of heart she has. I definitely feel that it’s her who spearheaded the relationship. She takes the time to reach out and have those types of connections with people.

So when I hurt my knee again this year, I went back to St. Louis for the surgery and stayed with Jackie. She looked after me, checked on me and took care of me.

With this latest setback and throughout the different injuries I have dealt with in my career, there have definitely been times that I’ve wanted to quit. But she’s constantly telling me that she’s thinking about me, encouraging me not to give up, and letting me know that I still have what it takes to succeed in this sport. It’s the little things she’s always telling me that mean the most.

I still look at her as THE Jackie Joyner-Kersee, but she’s definitely more like family. There’s nothing I can’t tell her or talk to her about. She’s just pleasant. She works hard and still years after running, she’s still working hard in the community, not for recognition, but because that’s what she feels her duty is.

LOVE AND FORGIVENESS

Since Jackie was letting me stay here, and I feel like I can never truly repay the things that she and Bobby have done for me, I asked if — while I was here — there were any projects she was working on that I could help out with in any way.

She happened to be hosting a program called Love and 4giveness at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis days before my surgery, so I was able to help out with that. There were about 50 middle school-age girls in attendance, and we spent the whole day there. We had breakfast and lunch, did a bunch of activities and contests to encourage them.

Love and 4giveness is something Jackie is really passionate about. It’s based in an area of East St. Louis, where Jackie is from. The goal is to teach kids how to love. That starts by teaching them how to love themselves first, and then goes into how to love people around them, and how to forgive others who have hurt them in their home life or just their peers at school.

She breaks down the whole program into segments. As part of one exercise, she had everybody close their eyes and picture themselves and how they view themselves. The message behind that was to teach them how to love the skin that they’re in, and how to take that same emotion and carry it over into their interactions at school, at work, through sports or anything else.

It emphasizes that whatever your goals are, keep love first and forgive people. You never know if you’re going to be on the other end of that, and need somebody to forgive you. It can go a long way to stopping violence and things like that if we have people forgiving, and just taking that time out to really encourage one another.

It also teaches love and forgiveness through sports. Jackie uses her journey and her love for track as an example. You can have that same love you have for someone for something you do, like track. Sports can be unforgiving because at any moment, things can just change for you. There are so many examples — myself included. But if you have that love, you can get through it.

It was a message that resonated with me and a lot of the other adults there too, including parents who stuck around. A lot of them told Jackie afterward that they needed that message as well, to provide encouragement and reassurance in themselves about their lives.

As another part of the program, Jackie asked me if I would speak during a segment called, “Refuse to Quit.” Being in the situation I’m in and with my whole story in track and field — dealing with injuries but still having success — I was actually the perfect person for Refuse to Quit.

She was really hands-on and she went out and handpicked this stuff for the girls to give them goody bags at the end of the day. Most people probably send someone to does those things, who they tell to grab this and pick up that. But she and her assistant went out and did it all themselves. To be right there witnessing the effort she puts into it was pretty cool.

The whole program was a great experience. But most of all, I enjoyed being in Jackie’s presence, watching her do the things she does in the community, and learning from her. Just watching her preparation for the event was motivating.

Summer Through Ginnie’s Lens

It’s been a whirlwind summer for Ginnie Crawford, from competing through pain at the U.S. Championships to coaching in Cali, spending time with friends in family in LA and Seattle, then heading over to St. Louis, GC has seen plenty. Through her Instagram, she takes us along for the journey.

Ginnie Falls Just Short in U.S. Semifinal

Ginnie Crawford’s bid to make her fourth IAAF World Championships came up just short on Saturday at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

After a great performance on Friday evening to finish second in her heat and place seventh overall in the field during preliminaries, Ginnie finished fifth on Sunday in her semifinal heat with a 12.67 second time identical to that which she ran in Friday’s preliminary.

Her time was eighth fastest between the two semifinal races, but rather than taking the top eight overall times, the USATF takes the top four from each semifinal heat to the final, which left GC out of the final for the first time since she started competing at the senior level. Afterward, Ginnie took to Twitter to share her thoughts.

A Season’s Best in Rome

With just two weeks until the USA Outdoor Championships, Ginnie Crawford picked a great time for her best run of the year.

Ginnie ran the 100-meter hurdles in a season’s best 12.90 seconds to finish third on Thursday at the Samsung Diamond League Golden Gala in Rome, Italy.

It was Ginnie’s first sub-13-second run of the 2013 outdoor season and she as she tweeted afterward, a confidence builder.

TRAINING PARTNERS
Prior to racing on Thursday in Rome, Ginnie got so practice time in during the Italian trip with training partners Allyson Felix, Dawn Harper and Jeneba Tarmoh. After they finished their session, the quartet mugged it up for the camera.

CATCHING UP

Meets like Thursday’s in Rome are about more than competition for Ginnie and her fellow athletes. They also enjoy a special camaraderie of elite athletes and the Golden Gala give GC a chant to meet up with good friend Natasha Hastings, a 400-meter specialist.

Like Ginnie, Hastings finished third in Rome and afterward the two posed for a photo that Hastings later posted on Instagram.

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Ginnie Takes Second in Beijing

The 2013 outdoor season is sure to present it’s challenges, but Ginnie Crawford got over the first hurdle well on Tuesday night in Beijing.

In her first event since April, Ginnie took second place in the 100-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Challenge Beijing meeting. Times were low across the board in Beijing and GC’s time of 13:03 was just .16 shy of winner Kellie Wells, last year’s bronze medalist in the event.

GINNIE’S VIEW 

Ginnie Crawford relishes the opportunity to give her fans an inside look at her life and career and this season, she’s using Instagram to give fans behind the scenes access.

The IAAF World Challenge Beijing meet took Ginnie on her first international road trip of the 2013 Outdoor season. For the trip across the Pacific Ocean showed off her Team Nike pride.

Upon arriving at the hotel, Ginnie tweeted out the view from her room.

Arriving early gave Ginnie and training partner Jeneba Tarmoh a chance to explore the city before the meet.

Tuesday was race day at the Bird’s Nest and Beijing, but not before Ginnie and training partner Allyson Felix had some fun for the camera.

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Nate the Great Flourishes in the NBA Playoffs

Growing up in Seattle, I was surrounded by great athletes. But there are a few that have stuck out above the rest this spring.

I’ve known both Nate Robinson of the Bulls and Jamal Crawford of the Clippers a long time and I’ve enjoyed watching both of them in the NBA playoffs. I’ve watched pretty much all of Nate’s games and all of Jamal’s games. I’m a real fan of the sport and used to play myself for years. I’m a fan of athleticism and I just think it’s incredible watching people that you’ve seen grow up pursue their dreams.

Nate and I started running track together when we were like eight years old. From then on, every summer we ran track together all the way up until we went to high school and we went to the same high school as well.

After competing together for years, you naturally become friends, but he’s really like family to me. I’m really close with his mom and his entire family is an extended family to me. Seattle is big city, but a small community so everybody kind of knows everybody.

Nate hasn’t changed much at all from back then and that’s one thing that we can really respect and appreciate about him. He’s still the same person as he was when we were kids. The way he plays on the court now is the same way he’s always played. That’s how he is. He’d be doing back flips at our track meets and running around. He always had a lot of energy and it just seemed like he never got tired. He’s also a great dancer and when we were in school, he and a few of his friends would always perform New Edition songs at our assemblies.

He might not do that anymore, but he’s still the same caring person, still hyper and loud, and he never acts like he’s too big for anybody. He pays homage to Seattle. He recognizes where he came from, who his friends are and the people closest to him who helped him get to where he is.

He’s a great father and a compassionate man to other people, especially his family. As a father, he’s very hands on and will do anything for his children even though he doesn’t live in the same city as them. He might spend more time with his kids than a father that does live in the same city as his kids. His family is everything to him and he really puts an emphasis on that. There’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t let them know how much he cares. He’s a really good friend. If anybody is ever in need of something, Nate will have their back.

But he’s always been treated that way by other people, so you learn from that. People have extended their heart and been compassionate to him, so I feel like you learn from that and become that kind of person. That’s something that both of us take from growing up in Seattle.

That’s why you see a lot of athletes from Seattle coming back to give back. We all pay respect to the city we grew up in because nobody makes it alone. We’ve all had somebody along the way that has helped us and boosted us, so it feels right to be able to do that for somebody else and give back to the community if you’re able.

I've known Nate and Jamal a long time and they represent Seattle well.


It was cool to watch both of Nate and Jamal in the playoffs having the year of their lives. I think this was the best year that each of them has had. I’m glad that Nate and his team are in their second round. I hope they can get out of this hole. Miami is going to be a tough team to beat of course, but I hope the Bulls can advance. I was really sorry to see that Jamal and the Clippers didn’t advance because they played so incredibly well this year. I love watching these guys do well and I always want success for them.

Nate has always been an incredible athlete. Growing up he was really good in basketball, football and track. From the time we were little, people started calling him “Nate the Great” and if you hear something that many times, you believe it. In his mind, he has to live up to that name and he does.

He was always one of the shorter kids and stocky, but that never hindered his performance or stopped him from being the athlete that he is. I’m sure some people took him for granted because of his size, but I think as they watched him compete, they learned quick who he was and what he could do.

He used to always challenge me at track practice because, believe or not, as short as he is, we both did the hurdles. He always wanted to see if it he was going to beat me and I would say “of course you’re going to beat me, you’re a guy.” But I was so fast that I think a lot of people just wanted to challenge me. I like to think that I beat him at least once. I can’t really remember, but I think I must have. I was just too competitive not to.

I remember him saying in high school that in college he was going to play basketball and football, and run track. We were all like “yeah right.” But I feel like if anybody could do all three of those it would be Nate.

Nate probably could have gone pro in football if not basketball.

I don’t really know what it takes for you to be on the pro level in football and basketball, but I always thought he was great at all three and could’ve been pro at each one.  I always knew him on the track first, so I thought he was a great runner, but in high school he really showed himself on the basketball court. At that point, I realized he had a future in basketball.

When he got to college, he played both football and basketball. I went to USC and remember going to the football game when Washington played down here and I thought then that he was good enough to make it at football. But I don’t know if his talent would have flourished the way it has in basketball, so I think he chose the right one for him.

I’ve known for a while that Nate is a capable of greatness, but what he has done this postseason has even shocked and impressed me. Watching him, he’s in his zone and thinking “this is not a game.” He’s serious out there. He’s trying to get it done. He’s really tough and he’s holding his own. When he blocked LeBron’s shot, I thought that was amazing. He’s been hitting some clutch shots that the team needs and making some great plays out there. I’ve always thought he had that in him because I believe if anybody puts their all toward something, you can maximize your potential beyond anything you ever thought you could do.

He’s played through a lot of different things this postseason, from the flu and throwing up on the sidelines to a busted lip, but that doesn’t surprise me. I’ve never seen Nate tired and I’ve definitely never seen Nate quit. I used to think he had all the energy in the world.

Before we would have to race at track meets he would never get a rest, he was never sitting down. He was always running around, doing flips in the middle of the field, but he always went out there and did what he was supposed to do on the track. He’s that person that nothing breaks him. He’s going to keep going regardless and you have to respect that.

Feeling Strong as Outdoor Season Approaches

It’s starting to heat up out here on the West Coast and I’m really starting to feel like it’s that time as we get ready for the first outdoor meets of the season next month. My body reacts to that change and it starts to feel like it’s ready.

The offseason went by really quick. I’ve been training for a couple months now, but to be back in a race all of a sudden, felt quick.

During indoors, I ran the 60-meter hurdles, so it’s a little different than the 100, but I don’t really prepare any differently. Actually, we didn’t even do much hurdling in training before I went out for the three meets I ran in. We don’t put much focus on indoors, so we were training straight through the meets. The races are more of a way to break up training and have some fun.

It felt good to get back in it, but I could definitely tell I have some work to do. I ran my fastest time of the indoor season at the Millrose Games in New York and that was the same time I ran last year.

The week of that meet, we didn’t hurdle at all in training. I just went and that’s when I ran my fastest time, so it may have helped to prepare that way. I was pleased that despite not really hurdling and being in the middle of fall training that I was able to run that time.

Obviously you always want to win the meets you’re in. I think that’s every competitor’s focus, whether you’re ready or not. But I also use indoors to see what I need to work on. It’s an opportunity to get back into the feel and groove of things. I worked a little bit on my arms as I was going over the hurdles, things like that I noticed. I feel better about where I am coming out of indoors than I did going in.

Coming off a strong healthy season for myself last year, it motivates me to keep working hard to maintain that health. It had been a while since I made it through a whole season healthy and I ran better times than I had in a while last year, so that gives me confidence as I approach the new season. I just want to maintain that as I get ready for the 2013 outdoor season.

Being healthy has allowed me to keep a focus on what’s ahead for me and not worry about injuries or going to physical therapy and overcoming things that happened in the past. When you can focus on training and just going harder and harder, mentally it helps you feel good about yourself and your preparation.

For this season, my goal is the same as it has been every year of my career and that’s to be the best.  I want to make the World Championship team this year and be competing for the USA over in Moscow at Worlds. Once I get there, I want to win the gold medal. That’s the goal that I work toward every day. I know that everybody else out there is working for the same thing, whether they say it or not.

That’s the crazy part, it’s kind of an unspoken thing, but we’re all working toward the exact same goal and you always have to remember that. When you’re training and going hard, you think about how everyone else is doing the same thing, so you can’t let up.