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Emma Coburn — August, 2017
Emma Coburn is the 2017 World Championships Gold Medalist in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, breaking her own American Record by five seconds in 9:02.59. She is also the 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist, finishing in an American Record of 9:07.63. Emma has progressed steadily from 12th place in the 2011 World Championships to 8th place in the 2012 Olympics to 5th place in the 2015 World Championships. She is six-time U.S. Champion in the steeplechase (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). Emma has finished in the top three of over ten Diamond League steeplechase races with a first place in Shanghai in 2014. Coburn also won the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup. She ran the 1,200 meter leg to lead off the World Record setting indoor distance medley relay in early 2017. Emma won NCAA championships in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 2011 and 2013 and indoor mile in 2013. At the NCAA Cross Country Championships her highest finish was 20th place her senior year. The six-time All-American also won four conference championships and anchored the school record indoor distance medley team. Emma competed for Crested Butte High School, where highlights included eight Colorado Class 2A State Championships (1,600 meters – 4; 800m – 2 and 3,200m – 2). She finished in the top ten at the Colorado 2A State Cross Country Championships all four years including fourth place her junior and senior seasons. Coburn finished second in the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals Track and Field Championships in the 2,000 meter steeplechase. Her personal best times are: 1,500 meters - 4:05.10; mile - 4:20.6 (road); 2,000 meters – 5:41.11 (indoors); 3,000 meters - 8:48.60 and 3,000 meters steeplechase – 9:02.59. She is a driving force behind the inaugural Elk Run 5k Race in her hometown of Crested Butte, Colorado that will take place in late September, 2017. Emma graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Marketing and resides in Boulder.
GCR: When we did a lengthy interview last fall, you had just won the Bronze medal in the Rio Olympics. You said you wanted to win more medals at the upcoming World Championships and Olympics and now a year later you are the World Championships Gold Medalist. How does it feel to know that you will forever be the World Champion?
EC To be honest, to be a World Champion is never something that I thought would be a realistic part of my career. I thought if I was diligent with my hard work and training and focus that I could win more medals in my career, but the thought of being a World Champion wasn’t something that I ever really pictured for myself. I never pictured being on top of the podium and the National Anthem playing for me. It still is very surreal in a way. I wasn’t picturing that, but I knew if I worked very hard I could be close to being on the podium. Anyhow, the race played out perfectly.
GCR: You also mentioned to me, and rightfully so, that the steeplechase is just getting more and more competitive, so you definitely needed to continue to improve and continue to get faster if you wanted to be in the medal conversation or in the conversation for a Gold Medal. What did you do in your training and race preparation to mentally, emotionally and physically improve that little bit that moved you up two rungs on the podium since last year?
EC I did incorporate a few different things with my training this year. I did more strength work, training more like a 5,000 meter runner in a way so that I could get to the battle at eight minutes, or low eight minutes with a lap to go and feel strong through then. Joe and I focused a lot more on developing my strength, which was a little weak, and it paid off. I continued my focus in the weight room and with rehab to make sure I’m as muscularly strong as I can be so that my body is prepared to handle the trauma and the chaos of all the water jumps and the hurdles. So, we tweaked things here and there to focus on my aerobic strength and my muscular strength in the weight room.
GCR: Due to the back injury you sustained in 2013, you had cut out a lot of the water jump prep and hurdle practice the past few years and had trained more like a flat 3,000 meter specialist. Did this continue in 2017 or did you increase your specific steeplechase work as your hurdle and barrier technique looks so smooth? Do you work on your technique much or do you just have it down pat after so many years in the event?
EC We work on it some during the year, but it honestly is not a huge focus of ours. We definitely do workouts over barriers throughout the season, but I really don’t start doing hurdle flights or hurdle drills until about April. Even then, it’s maybe once a week going three times over a set of hurdles before I work out. I’ve been running the steeplechase for nearly ten years so it’s something that has started to become more and more natural and feels pretty comfortable.
GCR: I do want to get to the details of your Gold Medal race, but first the big picture. Even though you usually compete against the same athletes, is it different to earn a medal at Worlds versus the Olympics?
EC There are all of the same young ladies out there, but this year there was an even more competitive field than last year. All season, going back to the first Diamond League race, there were four women running times at or near nine minutes in that race alone. That showed that the women’s steeplechase was serious this year and even more competitive. We do end up racing the same women pretty much year around so we learn what their tendencies are and what their tactics are. I try to be as best prepared to handle it as I can be. Both races were exciting and both have their highlights.
GCR: When you came into the race, the competition was very strong as all of the top runners were there and you were only ranked fifth or sixth based on time. Did you feel it would take a great effort just to get on the podium again?
EC Yes, I think that based on time I was sixth and pretty distantly away from fourth. So, I knew that I had to bring everything. At our workouts in Crested Butte in May and June I realized that my workouts reflected that I was in nine minute shape. That was something that was the focus all year. I knew that to medal I had to be in low nine minute shape. I feel like you have to train to be in nine minute shape to execute a race and run 9:05. I knew that, based on workouts, I was in about nine minute shape. But you can rarely race exactly, perfectly up to your fitness level. I thought that I had to run 9:05 or 9:04 to get on the podium and Joe told me to stick with the leaders for as long as I could. He gave me the 2,000 meter mark as my goal to stay with them and, when we got to that point, I was still feeling really good. I just kept going and it worked out.
GCR: Some of the Kenyan or Ethiopian runners work together in races. Did you and Courtney Frerichs discuss working together or did it just happen that you were in the pack together and maybe you were able to help each other?
EC We didn’t discuss anything beforehand. We’re competitors. We’re definitely friendly off the track and support each other in our careers and root for each other. But, kind of when you get on the starting line, it’s every man for himself. Based on some of the post-race interviews, she said she was keying off of me for a lot of the race. Having her right behind me and right on my shoulder kept me pushing because I thought, ‘if Courtney’s up here, I’m going to do my best as well.’ Seeing her up in the front pack definitely motivated me to stick with it. There is a comfort level when one of your peers pushes the envelope and it kind of makes you want to push the envelope too.
GCR: If we take a look at the early part of the race, there was water jump drama as at the first water jump Beatrice Chepkoech ran wide past the barrier and had to double back to go over the water jump. Then the second time over the barrier several runners went down. I’ve raced the steeplechase and there sure are ample challenges and instances where something bad can happen. How complicated do these barriers make the steeplechase compared to other distance races?
EC It was kind of crazy when I saw Beatrice miss the first water jump. I was just thinking, ‘whoa, what’s that!’ She ran well beyond it. Someone had told me that she had said in an interview that she only ran past the water jump because she got pushed. But when I saw the replay it looked to me that people tried to push her to cut in because she was in the way of others. It was a little chaotic, but I had the inside line at that point and it was really nice that it didn’t affect me. Then I heard the crowd go, ‘Oh,’ when she fell fifty meters later, but I didn’t know who had fallen. She had kind of a rough go at it, but I just had to continue to focus on myself.
GCR: You mentioned your coach wanting you to be in the thick of things at 2,000 meters and I know you wanted to be pretty close to nine minute pace. Were you pretty cognizant of being on that nine minute pace and keeping the dual goals of that pace and staying with the leaders?
EC I didn’t care about the pace during the race. I just knew that leading up to the race that to medal I would have to run hard. Typically in a race I’m playing really close attention to the splits, but in this race time is really irrelevant. My first one kilometer was 3:03 low or 3:02 high for me and I knew that was within my ability. If I saw 2:55 I probably would have dropped off a little bit. But seeing that it was generally in my range gave me comfort to continue doing what I was doing. Then I went through two kilometers and the leaders were 6:03 while I was probably 6:04 high. And so I knew I knew I had just run 3:01 for that middle kilo. Again, had I seen a ridiculous tempo or some ridiculously slow split, maybe I would have adjusted. Those were the only times I looked at the clock during the race. It was analyzing the effect on what I was doing. When I crossed the line, based on my effort level, I thought it was going to be a 9:07 type of time, just because I was feeling pretty comfortable. So I was surprised to see what my time was.
GCR: On the last lap you got on the back stretch with the lead group and then Courtney makes a move on the outside. What were you thinking and how were you feeling on that last lap? You must have been feeling pretty good since you said it felt like a 9:07.
EC In retrospect I probably should have protected my space a little more with 300 meters to go. There were five of us and it was pretty crowded and pretty chaotic. Both Chebet and Chepkoech were starting to fade and were causing kind of a traffic jam in lane one on the inside. Then Hyvin and Courtney were kicking and coming up on the outside. That’s just a recipe for disaster. It’s a recipe for someone falling. So I should have secured my space and made a little bit better of a move. But at the time I was kind of intentionally hanging back and not doing it because in the last two years, in 2015 and 2016, and in a lot of the 2014 Diamond League races, I would get in battles with 300 meters to go and kind of overdo it and then when we got to the water jump I was toast. So I was purposely holding back and looking at the footage now I’m lucky that I didn’t fall. Heading into the last water jump I wanted to get inside perfectly and have a strong last water jump.
GCR: Your form over the barriers was better than Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi and Courtney Frerichs and you emerged from the last water jump with a gap even though the three of you were together when you approached the barrier. How strong and confident were you as you hit the home stretch with a hundred meters to go?
EC I was feeling really strong and I was feeling like I had another gear left. I was waiting for someone to come up and challenge me because I felt like I had another gear. I just felt really powerful. I’m often not feeling great with a hundred meters to go and I’m getting passed and going backwards in the field. It was great to feel strong like that and to really feel powerful. I concentrated on my form. When I cleared the last barrier I looked up at the Jumbo Tron and it looked like Courtney and I were going to go one-two and I couldn’t help but smile.
GCR: It was exciting for you last year in Rio to get the Bronze Medal. How exciting was it when you crossed the finish line and knew you had earned the Gold Medal that you had never even dreamed about?
EC Getting the Gold Medal was definitely something that I hadn’t visualized leading up to this race. In Rio I was ranked third and had finished third in many of my Diamond League races. If I ran like I had been running last year leading up to the Olympics, third place was mine to lose in a way. This time around, being ranked so far outside of the medals, I really believed that I could medal if I ran perfectly. But, like I said, I never pictured ever that I would win. To turn around and to have Courtney there running such a big personal best time and to have both of us getting that moment together made me really proud that the two of us had done this together. Even though we aren’t teammates, it was great to carry the U.S. flag around the track with each other - to be in that moment together was really, really wonderful.
GCR: Last year you mentioned to me you were crying on the podium during the Olympics and they weren’t even playing our National Anthem. So how was it this year to run around the track as champion and to hear the Star Spangled Banner when you were on the podium?
EC It was very weird when I was standing up there. It didn’t feel like it was for me. I would go in and out of realizing that the song was playing for me and, based on my performance, playing for our country. I would go in and out of realizing the gravity of that situation and realizing how special that was. Since it was such a surprise, standing on top of the podium was weird. It was amazing. It is so hard to put into words as it was awkward.
GCR: The doubly amazing outcome was, just like in Rio, your effort in London also broke your American Record by several seconds. Is it truly unbelievable to medal two years in a row, break the American record both times and to move up two steps on the podium?
EC Nothing better could have happened. The next big objective and the ultimate goal is breaking nine minutes and continuing to win medals. I’m definitely working toward that. I’m really grateful how the season went. I was healthy the whole time and happy the whole time and it was just a thrill.
GCR: Since your race was late in the ten day meet program, how did the success of Team USA to that point motivate you?
EC I was really inspired by watching some of the Team USA races throughout the meet. Amy Hastings just gutted it in the marathon. She was kind of going back and forth from third to fourth place and showed such grit and such toughness. That really motivated me. Seeing Jenny Simpson do what Jenny does best and come away with a Silver Medal in arguably the best 1,500 meter field ever assembled was just incredible. For both of those races I was crying and sweating and yelling at the TV. I was so motivated and that really helped. When I saw Evan Jager run such a gutsy race in the men’s steeplechase, leading so much of it, and coming up third was great. When I saw my peers win medals in tough situations it fired me up. I think it fired Courtney up too. So we were just happy to get into that and continue it.
GCR: You have continued your linear improvement as over the past seven years you have won six U.S. Championships in the steeplechase and your steady progress from 12th at the 2011 World Championships to 8th at the 2012 Olympics to 5th at the 2015 World Championships, to third in the 2016 Olympics and now to 2017 World Champion is possibly unparalleled. Other than your little setback in 2013, I can’t think of anyone with this constant progress. To what do you attribute this?
EC It’s really just consistent training. That’s something when I was coached by Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs that we were just consistent. We would always take two weeks off at the end of the season, but then we would train year around and stay healthy year around. Nine or ten years of that are really paying off. (Funny aside – right here Emma is breathing hard and says, ‘sorry, I’m out of breath. I just walked up a flight of stairs.’ Yes, a flight of stairs is her nemesis!). But the two important things are being consistent and staying healthy. Now that Joe is coaching me we have improved that even further. We have the flexibility when I am too tired to practice hard one day or too sore to run hard one day to move the workout to another day. There are lots of little things that add up to create that long-term linear progression.
GCR: You have made many U.S. national teams and so you are very familiar with what is needed to peak twice for the U.S. Championships and then at Worlds or the Olympics. It seems like the time in between is different every year. In 2015 the meets were eight or nine weeks apart, last year they were five weeks apart and this year there were seven weeks in between. Have you gained so much experience and confidence that you can adjust mentally and physically to just about any scenario in terms of the time between these double peak championships?
EC I really think that the shorter time line for Rio or London is best. A lot of Team USA struggled in 2015 in Beijing because the U.S. Championships and the World championships were so far apart. It was hard to know and to judge if you should try to ride your peak, run through it and kind of keep the lower mileage or do you go back home, do another hard cycle of training and hope to recover in time? I think that year was kind of tricky to master. But I’m lucky that I have now, and have in the past, had good coaches who were able to master that. I trust Joe’s plan completely. He spends all of his time and effort with my training schedule and the calendar and tries to make it all work. I just do what I’m told and I trust that the people in charge have a good plan.
GCR: Running is a sport of highs and lows and, after the elation of that Gold Medal, how hard was it to sustain that mental, emotional and physical peak for a few more races over in Europe?
EC I did my best to compete well in races. I did PR in the flat 3k though I didn’t run nearly as fast as I had hoped. I ran 8:48 and I had wanted to break 8:40 and be in the 8:30s. I obviously failed on that metric. It is fun competing in races post-Worlds because there is really nothing to lose. You’re just going out and giving your all and trying to wring the towel for all it’s worth and get everything out of your season. It’s fun and I enjoy it. Joe asked after London if I wanted to be done and just go home and relax. But, as long as I am healthy there is a positive feeling and I want to ride the wave as long as I can. I’ve never finished my season at a World Championships, so all I know is to race after Worlds or the Olympics. I just wake up the next day and train for the next race. Even in 2011 when I was still in college I had to get back to Colorado and get ready for cross country season. So all I know is to keeping racing after Worlds and I do enjoy it.
GCR: You mentioned your New Balance teammate, Jenny Simpson, earlier and it was a lot of fun watching during the winter this year on television as Jenny, you and two other relay teammates at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet in Boston were the U.S. distance medley team that set an indoor World Record. How exciting is it to run the 1,200 meter leg and to share this with your three fellow athletes?
EC It was fun. I wasn’t in the best of shape so I was lucky to have really good teammates to kind of carry my weight. It was really great partnering up with 400 meter runner Sydney McLaughlin who is a high school phenom. She is so incredibly talented and poised under such big pressure. That was really fun to race with her. Then, of course, to race with Jenny Simpson on anchor leg, my friend – in college we didn’t overlap enough to be on the same distance medley relay team. That was our first relay experience together and it was really exciting. Brenda Martinez ran a great 800 meter leg and is someone who has always gone out of her way to be kind and supportive in this professional track world. After I broke the American Record in the steeplechase at the Prefontaine Classic last year, she went and called one of my friends and found out what were my favorite treats. The she went to the store and got me all of my favorite things – gummy bears and candy and treats. So, she’s a sweetheart. To do what we did in Boston, the heart of New Balance, and with such crowds and to achieve something so much greater than a medal or a World Record together is fun.
GCR: Let’s look ahead to the 2018 racing season which is the once-every-four-years without an Olympics or World Championships. As we talked about, you will you be focused on mainly on breaking nine minutes in the steeplechase, but will you also focus perhaps on racing some at 1,500 meters or 5,000 meters?
EC I’m really hoping to break nine minutes in the steeplechase, win another U.S. title and then also the Diamond League final is a big deal. The CONCACAF meet is also next year so I’ll be getting ready for the CONCACAF meet and qualifying for the Diamond League final. So, I will run several Diamond League races. It doesn’t change that much. I can focus more on off events and that is something that I need to improve upon. Eventually I would like to do a 5k, maybe next year. I’ve never run one so it seems like a new, fun, scary, exciting challenge. But breaking nine minutes is number one.
GCR: Now that you have won an Olympic Bronze Medal and World Championships Gold Medal, how focused are you on repeating your Gold Medal performance at the 2019 World Championships and then at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo? Also, do you have more of a target on your back and do you like that?
EC I’ve had experiences with a target on my back on smaller scales. In 2014 I would lead every race up until the bell lap and then get passed, so I was kind of the group rabbit in 2014. Going back to high school and college I had experiences where I was the fastest person in the race. I’ve obviously never experienced it as a World Champion, but there’s always someone chasing you and always a challenge. I’m not fazed by it or scared by it at all.
GCR: It takes a lot of hard work to succeed at the elite level and you are a professional runner, but are you still having fun and do you love your job?
EC Yes – I couldn’t ask for a better job. I hope to continue as a professional track and field athlete as long as my body allows me to. The sport is still fulfilling and brings me happiness. We get to travel the world while we are competing. Running is a universal language. Everyone all over the world knows running and participates in running. It is a unifying sport and it is fun to have that as my job. Of course the physical aspect of it is always fun and rewarding in finding new ways to challenge myself. It is definitely challenging at times and there are some dark days with injury or a bad race. But I have learned how to get the best out of myself and that, to me, is unmatched in any other job that I know of so I hope to keep doing this.
GCR: Can you tell us about your upcoming inaugural Elk Run 5k Race in your hometown of Crested Butte, Colorado that will take place in late September? How did you decide to do this and please talk about the wonderful charity that is the beneficiary?
EC I wanted to create an event that would give back to my community. I come from a super-small town up in the mountains. Only about two thousand people live in Crested Butte and I am very lucky to have had the hometown support for my entire career. From when I was trying out for track as a sixth grader all the way up to now as a World Champion, the people of Crested Butte are so sweet and genuine. They have always supported me no matter what I was achieving. They are a very tight-knit group of people who support everyone. So I wanted to find a way to engage back with them and give back and create an annual event which would bring runners from all over the country to come and see the beauty of Crested Butte, to come and support local businesses and support this charity. Living Journeys is a cancer support group that provides financial assistance to people who are battling cancer in Gunnison Valley, the area where I am from. Also, they provide counseling services to people affected by cancer and their family members. It’s a really great group that gives direct aid to those in my community who are affected by cancer. It is a natural fit as my mom used to be on their Board of Directors and I used to volunteer with them. One of my closest friends started the charity so it is a great fit to have them as the beneficiary. We are really excited – it’s going really well. It’s coming up soon and there are lots of little details to finalize, but we are all very enthusiastic. We hope to make it an annual event every September.
GCR: You have mentioned to me before that when you speak to youth and speak to groups, you like to tell them about an acronym, ‘R.U.N.’ could you please explain what that acronym means and how you use it to convey your philosophy on running and life?
EC To be honest, I have since moved on to similar concepts when I speak. That was a big point of conversation last year when I would go and talk to school groups. ‘R’ stands for ‘Respect Others,’ ‘U’ stands for ‘Ultimate Effort’ and ‘N’ stands for ‘Never Give Up.’ This year when I am talking to kids in groups I talk about leadership. The theme changes every year. It’s important when you are communicating to have a message that is true to you and inspiring to kids and young athletes. Like I said, I was lucky to grow up in a small community where everyone was supportive and everyone had my back and everyone believed in me no matter what my goals were. I think it’s important for us to make sure that kids feel that their dreams are valid, but that those dreams will take a lot of work and a lot of dedication and a lot of sacrifice, that it’s all worth it, and dreams do come true. So I try to connect with kids when I am with talking kids throughout the country and in my area and in my hometown. I like to tell them my story and tell them that I wasn’t a kid who was pegged to be an Olympic athlete. I just liked to run around and play and hike and didn’t see myself as a World Champion or an Olympic Medalist, but I just kept working and then I set my sights on a goal and I went out and achieved it.
  Inside Stuff
Favorite ice cream flavor Chocolate generally, but specifically Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food
Pump up pre-race music This year I was really into Sia. We would blast some Sia before a workout
Favorite Saturday Night Live Character I always loved Will Ferrell with his cowbell. More cowbell
Last book you read ‘Invisible Influence’ which is about how your behaviors affect others around you and how their behaviors affect you. It was interesting
Most annoying habit I’m actually really bad at focusing on multiple things. If my boyfriend is talking to me and I am watching TV I don’t hear anything he says which is probably really annoying to him
Favorite Halloween costume My friends and I do a group costume every year. Last year I was a zebra and had a full-on zip up zebra suit and that was fun
Chore you hate doing I don’t like taking out the trash. Even more I don’t like putting the duvet cover back on the duvet
Television show you’re embarrassed to admit you watch I watch a lot of shows on the Bravo Network, so ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ is one of my favorite shows and it’s a little embarrassing
Last music concert you attended Last summer I went to see Ed Sheeran at Red Rocks
Junk food you can’t resist I love Gummi Bears and I can’t resist them. Also, I can’t resist junk food cereal like Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs
Favorite birthday memory A few years ago a bunch of my friends came up to Crested Butte and we played Paintball and just hung out in all of my favorite places in Crested Butte, so that was fun
First thing you do in the morning  
Favorite meal I let my dog out to use the bathroom and then I usually go back to bed for a little bit. Then I wake up and watch some ESPN Sports Center
Your worst cooking experience I made Risotto for the first time when I was in college and I kept adding salt without tasting it and I totally messed it up. It was so salty that it was inedible
TV reality show would you like to be on I would totally do ‘Wipeout’ or ‘Survivor’ if it wasn’t televised. I would like those experiences, but wouldn’t like for it to be out there
Favorite cartoon I watched a lot of ‘Rug Rats’ when I was little so that is a favorite
Most exciting thing to do at night in Crested Butte Crested Butte doesn’t have a ton of night life, but my favorite restaurant up there is called the ‘Street Patch’ and they have a really delicious pizza called ‘The Notorious F.I.G.’ which is the best pizza in the world and that is my favorite thing to do at night in Crested Butte
Favorite movie line One part of my job is for track meets in Switzerland they fly us in a helicopter to a kid’s clinic. We all say, ‘Get to the chopper,’ like Arnold Schwarzenegger
Worst date ever Joe and I started dating when I was in high school so he’s really the only person I have dated. I’m sure I had some awkward dates in middle school, but I must have blocked them out
Top mentors in your life I’ve had so many great people who have influenced me in my professional life and in my personal life. Growing up, it was always my older sister. I just wanted to emulate everything she did and wanted to just be exactly like her. She does everything with such a degree of excellence and her standards are so high that it makes me have similar standards. And then, this probably seems strange, but Joe is a mentor of mine. He’s extremely thoughtful with what he does and what he says. He studies as much as he can about a subject and really researches everything. If he’s committed to do something, he’s all in and really gives it his all. He’s someone who I have learned so much from over the last year since he started coaching me. And amongst runners, Jenny Simpson and Kara Goucher were both huge for me. I came into college and Jenny was a senior. She really opened my eyes to what was possible as a collegiate distance runner. She broke almost every collegiate distance record that she sought out to break that year. It was great witnessing it. We were roommates when we travelled to meets. She’d break fifteen minutes for a 5k and come back to the room and be totally normal and that was cool to get to watch. Kara has been a big help. She moved back in 2013 and has been a big source of guidance for a lot of pieces in both my professional and personal life. She’s been through the wringer. She’s been through it all. She’s seen it all and she is also just incredibly kind and empathetic. She is someone I looked up to as a fan for years before I ever met her, but she has become such a dear friend of mine who has given me great advice along the way and been there for me
Something new you learned this week I’ve never been asked that question with such a specific timeline. Let me think. I learned that it costs $35 to print a banner with three feet by five feet dimensions if you have a discount. There you go – that’s something I learned
What would you name your autobiography One of my favorite quotes is from Shel Silverstein and it is ‘Anything can happen child, anything can be.’ Sometimes when I’m in a tough race that will pop into my head as a reminder to go for it and believe in myself and that anything can happen, especially when you have people around you who support you fully and believe in you fully. Anything can happen and this year proved that’s true