Moving On Up: Exclusive Interview With Lauren Fleshman Tell me about Worlds…congrats on an awesome race!

Fleshman finished fourth in her semifinal heat at the world championships in South Korea, earning a spot in the finals. Photo:

Lauren Fleshman: It was great! The trajectory of my year was incredibly steep improvement after nationals. Eighth was great but it wasn’t really where I wanted to be. I wanted to believe I could do better than that while also being grateful for being healthy enough to race.

My breakthrough in London and qualifying for World was very dramatic. All these factors had to happen for me to make it—people deciding not to run, others not running well. If I were religious I would say it was God’s will.

When I got the call that I had made it, I felt so validated for that small little belief that I had that I would make it. There was a little piece of belief that I wouldn’t let die. There was a lot of “just in case” going on—just in case I make it I should train like this or do this. I kept on thinking: Give me a lane. Give me the chance. Let me go!

At Worlds I got to measure myself against the best in the world. I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way or stop it from being a good experience. I kept telling myself that I have a lot of experience running and I’ve wasted my opportunity at Worlds before and didn’t want to do it again. I had my doubts, but I had to fight those battles and stay positive.

How do you stay so positive even in such a stressful situation?

I focus on what I want to achieve and try to think about it from a perspective from what I can control. I ask myself, how can I walk away from this race feeling good and feeling proud? That mindset forces you to differentiate what you can control and what you can’t control.

I also focus on giving 100 percent of what I can for that particular day.

You’ve really been able to step up your game and really improve in the last few months. Tell me about going from eighth in the U.S. on June 24 to seventh in the world on Sept 2nd.

I did it in eight weeks; that’s nuts. It wasn’t just all me, though. My coach kept on believing in me and kept right on board with my same attitude. I had him on my team—it helped a lot.

Plus everyone in the running community and on my blog are just so supportive.

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