Kendra Finds Joy in the Journey
Kendra Chambers missed USAs this year. It was the first time she missed going to USA Outdoors since 2014. When she talks about finding joy in the journey, that attitude is hard-earned. She says, “[Injuries] are truly inevitable and it’s a matter of how well you handle it that determines what that comeback looks like.” Her comeback looks strong, hopeful, and full of potential.
What she has to say about truly finding joy in the journey and how she got to that mindset is so inspiring. If you’ve ever had a setback, you’re going to be jotting down so many quotes from this Q&A with Kendra.
You said on IG that you’re finding joy in the journey this spring and summer as you've had a setback. What does that mean to you?
The joy in the journey hasn’t been easy for me to find. When I first started out as a professional runner I was constantly comparing myself to others and trying to rush the process. I was never satisfied and always felt I could do better. After two injuries I learned how amazing I was when I was healthy and decided to stop taking my health for granted and change my perspective on my running career. Now that I’m healthy I’ve decided to keep the joy in journey real simple and true: I’m joyful and grateful that I can run that I am healthy and for every opportunity I get to step on the line to race.
What wisdom are you bringing out of this setback?
The setback has helped me realize that most of us athletes professionals or amateurs will experience an injury or a setback of some kind. It’s truly inevitable and it’s a matter of how well you handle it that determines what that comeback looks like. My perspective now is to appreciate my health, the present, the struggles, the small stuff because we never know when that big setback is coming. Someone once said “We’re all either coming out of a storm, in a storm or preparing to enter one.” This is the sport, this is life. There’s never a better moment to start appreciating it than now.
Someone once said “We’re all either coming out of a storm, in a storm or preparing to enter one.”
How have your incorporated Jasyoga into your comeback to full health?
When I first got injured I was completely unaware how to stretch my foot. Prior to the injury I never experienced problems with it. With Jasyoga I could start preparing for practice with my feet, calves and legs ready, go to practice then get through treatment and physical therapy. This routine really helped me get back to running fully healthy.
What is your most used Jasyoga session during this 'comeback'?
I would say the Preventative Medicine for Lower Legs & Feet really helped me reset my feet after hard days and prepare me in the mornings. Even when I was in the boot transitioning into full body weight on my foot I would use most of the feet and lower leg videos to help me get back right.
You jumped in a meet in the end of summer — what did that mean to you?
I missed USA Championships this summer because I just wasn’t ready in time to run at that level but soon after I was cleared and fully healed. A lot of people just would’ve thought to end the season and prepare for next year because that’s THE meet of the year, but there was something I had to prove to myself. I worked extremely hard on the track, in the weight room, in the pool, in physical therapy and I wanted so badly to end the season with a race and a time I could be proud of and show off all that work. So I tried to look for some local and national meets I could race well at.
Even though I wasn’t as fit as everyone else I wanted to keep fighting because every time I stepped on that line I felt myself getting faster and stronger. I ended up running a decent time but most importantly I learned a lot about myself as an athlete. If I could pull off this kind of time with little preparation imagine what I could do healthy and fit. The future is exciting and this season, as wild as it sounds, gave me so much confidence in what I can become.
What's next for you?
My sights on 2020 are very clear: Make the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Final in the 800 meters and qualify for the Olympic Team. I want to give myself the best chance I have to do that by clearing myself of distractions, maintaining my health and therapy needs and really listening to my body. My steps to get there will be hard training with focused energy into the things my body needs!