Third place is not a win, but it is a podium, and in our sport, podiums matter. That is the difference between making the team and not, between Olympian and not, between medalist and not.
I took the lead in the race with a lap to go. It wasn’t something I had planned, but no one was making a move and we kept stutter-stepping the pace. By going with a hard acceleration, I forced my competitors to respond. Shelby and Jenny passed me in the end, but at this moment they are ranked top of the world, and that is not the level at which I have been performing. Yes, I probably should be looking to win, but I also want to be realistic with my goals and season progression. Today, a podium is a win.
I went into this Championship with the shakiest confidence of the last three years. Training has been hard, I haven’t been racing that well, and I don’t feel like I’m thriving yet in the program. Even with all that background noise, I was able to perform under pressure.
This marks three years in a row that I’ve finished top three at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, three years ever. I’m proud of the consistency I’ve been able to maintain since my breakthrough year in 2016. Since starting my post-collegiate/professional running career in 2012, I have aimed to learn and grow as an athlete. With the help of coaches, training partners, and other experts, I’ve tried to develop and apply systems and knowledge to the goal of bettering myself and my performances. I’m proud of the developments.
That’s not to say I feel finished. I continue to understand different interventions I can implement based on feedback from my training. But I leave Des Moines at least knowing that I can still put up a fight.