Chasing the Olympic Dream
I was not one of those kids who grew up saying "I want to be an Olympic athlete." I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and didn't spend much time stressing out about it. I loved to dance, (tap, jazz, ballet, pointe) but had no interest in competition. Trying out for parts in musicals was out of the question; the fear of rejection was too great. Eventually I started playing soccer, but mainly for the team aspect, we were not competitive at all. It wasn't until freshman year of high school that I eventually succumbed to running as a sport. I did cross country in the fall to get in shape for soccer, but I was too afraid of soccer tryouts in the spring and track was no cut, so I just chose track. Even then, I wished I could just practice and not have to ever actually race. My dad was my coach in high school and although he saw potential in me to be a good runner, he never put pressure on me to perform. When I panicked, he was calm. When I beat myself up over a bad workout, he put everything in perspective. It wasn't until later that I realized how important a good high school coach is! He got me hooked on running without burning me out.