Some of you may already know Brianna. Last year she moved to Atlanta to chase her dreams as a professional distance runner, training with the Atlanta Track Club. She also joined the team here at Phidippides. Last week, Brianna qualified for the USA Track and Field Indoor Nationals, competing in the 800 meters. She will be one of only 20 women to compete for the national title. We caught up with Brianna (via email, not on foot!) to hear about her experience qualifying for nationals.
First of all congrats! How did you feel when you realized you had qualified?
A: I felt extremely accomplished and excited! We have been heavily training since September and all of that hard work — early mornings, tough workouts, and simply putting in the effort everyday to live the lifestyle of an elite athlete feels like it has paid off. I’m also extremely ecstatic to be able to represent Mizuno and Atlanta through the Atlanta Track Club at the national level! I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to prove myself against some of the fastest women in the nation this weekend!
Leading up to the qualifying race, what were your expectations? Did you think you had a shot at qualifying? Tell us about the days leading up to your race.
A: Initially, I was not sure this would be my year to qualify. However, leading up to the race, I completely changed my mindset. We traveled to Boston on Thursday and competed at Boston University on Saturday. The days leading up to the race I focused on myself, and stayed in tune with my body. Making sure I ate enough, making sure my runs weren’t unnaturally quick (that I actually felt rejuvenated after them, not exhausted), as well as sleeping enough! I also took the time to soak in the city of Boston with a bit of sightseeing. Being able to relax and have fun before a hard race is key! What’s the point in over stressing days before a race?
OK, tell us about the actual race.
Going into race day, I felt great. I made the decision to take advantage of that feeling. I had run at BU many times in college and produced amazing times in the past. Why not do that again today? I was luckily placed in a heat with 2 additional teammates, as well as another teammate who would pace us for a third of the race. As soon as the gun went off, I decided I would stay with one of my teammates, a much more experienced runner than I am, and stick with her no matter what! By focusing on that tactic, I was “dragged” to a fast time that ultimately qualified me for nationals! Between my mindset leading up to the race and my mindset on race day, along with my confidence in the training my coaches give us, I was able to make the decision to go after it on race day!
Now that you’ve reached your goal of qualifying for nationals, what are your goals for the nationals race and beyond?
I am determined to make the final of the 800. A select few runners, depending on time and place during the trials race, will move on to finals the following day. I strive to be toeing the line that second day! After that, I have my eyes on a qualifying time for the 2020 US Olympic Trials in Eugene Oregon this June.