Steeplechaser Colleen Quigley discusses psychological well being, modeling and being ‘hungry’ for Olympic success

Steeplechaser Colleen Quigley discusses psychological well being, modeling and being ‘hungry’ for Olympic success

For Colleen Quigley, a 3000-meter steeplechase runner from the US, there’s some reduction that she “found psychological well being” a 12 months and a half in the past.

The revelation has not solely helped her to face the challenges of canceled monitor meets and a disrupted schedule, but in addition to turn into a greater athlete.

“Solely in 2019 did I begin realizing that my psychological well being affected my bodily well being, and if I stored ignoring that, I used to be going to be lacking out on a lot of my potential as an athlete,” Quigley tells CNN Sport.

“And I form of bought over the ego of truly engaged on that aspect of my sport — thank goodness I did — and began with some meditation and a few journaling stuff alone.

“Then in the summertime of 2019, I lastly bought satisfied to begin speaking to a psychological coach.”

Quigley clears a hurdle during the 2019 USATF outdoor championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
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Limitations and water jumps

Quigley, who has been coaching at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona, as she prepares for Olympic qualification later this 12 months, now builds meditation, respiration workouts and weekly conferences with a psychological coach into her schedule. Strolling her canine Pie has additionally proved a tonic for the thoughts.

“All people wants somewhat little bit of psychological teaching, somewhat psychological assist, particularly in a 12 months like this the place regardless of who you might be, you’ve got been challenged in a brand new, totally different, loopy method,” she says.

“I feel a variety of athletes do not give that sufficient credit score or see it as a weak spot.”

Quigley positioned eighth on the 2016 Rio Olympics, a outcome she goals to enhance on this 12 months if the Video games proceed as deliberate, which organizers insist would be the case regardless of rumors of a cancellation.

Her private better of 9:10.27 within the 3000-meter steeplechase — an occasion that requires negotiating 28 limitations and 7 water jumps round seven-and-a-half laps of a monitor — is the third-best time in American historical past behind Courtney Frerichs and Emma Coburn, each of whom ran alongside Quigley in Rio.

The 28-year-old arrived at skilled athletics by way of an unconventional path, by no means anticipating when she was rising up that she would run at an Olympics. As an adolescent, it was a profession as a mannequin that beckoned.

Growing up, Quigley balanced schoolwork with a modeling career. Here, she poses during a photoshoot in 2019.
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“It was a unique highschool expertise for me,” says Quigley.

“Positively none of my different classmates had been skipping out on a few days of math and English and science to go to Turks and Caicos and shoot with some firm for Glamour journal for a few days.

“It was tremendous enjoyable — I really feel very fortunate that I had a very constructive expertise.”

‘No regrets’

After highschool got here the choice of whether or not to take up an athletics scholarship with Florida State College, or to maneuver to New York, signal with an company and attempt to turn into a supermodel.

“I am not going to take a seat right here and say it was a no brainer; it was a tough determination for me on the time,” says Quigley.

“I believed that life was going to be actually glamorous and superior. And I did not actually know what being an NCAA athlete was going to be like. It was by no means a dream for me as a child.”

Quigley takes victory in the 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships.

Trying again although, Quigley has “completely no regrets” about her profession path.

Since turning skilled, she has undertaken modeling campaigns for Nike — the sponsors of Bowerman Observe Membership, her former coaching group in Portland, Oregon — however insists that being an athlete stays her precedence.

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“I am coaching actually exhausting and I haven’t got the pliability to go from Flagstaff, the place I am spending eight weeks at altitude, to fly to New York for 3 days and shoot one thing and are available again to coaching and try to choose up the place I left off,” she says. “It is simply actually exhausting in your physique to do this.”

After profitable an NCAA title in 2015 and becoming a member of the Bowerman Observe Membership shortly afterward, Quigley made her Olympic debut the next 12 months.

“I feel I stunned myself in that just about instantly after the Video games, I used to be simply hungry for extra. And I needed to see what else I might do,” she says.

“And I needed to instantly begin planning to return in 4 extra years and do it higher and do it larger … I used to be eighth and did not know what the heck I used to be doing.”

Quigley races during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

With five-and-a-half months till the Olympics are attributable to begin, what format this 12 months’s Video games will take stays unsure.

Organizers have insisted the Video games will go forward as deliberate, citing a “toolbox of Covid-19 countermeasures” which embody immigration procedures, testing, quarantines and vaccinations.
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Upcoming indoor monitor races had been wiped from Quigley’s schedule, and final week, she competed in her first race with out representing a sponsor or her nation having not too long ago left the Bowerman Observe Membership.

But to announce the place she will probably be coaching sooner or later, she stays assured and targeted with the Olympics on the horizon.

“I’ve gotten so much stronger and simply realized so much about myself as an athlete and as an individual,” says Quigley.

“And in order that’s actually thrilling — to enter one other Olympic 12 months feeling like an much more assured model of that child that I used to be in 2016.”

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