Stanton Prep senior and UGA signee Janaya Chambers won the 3A state championship in the 400m dash at the 2015 state meet running a PR of 54.17. Chambers was invited to the Brooks PR Invitational where she 5th against the nation's top athletes. In 2016, she faced some setbacks that caused her to cut her senior season short and focus on school and her health. However, she was a little surprised when she was invited back to Seattle for the 2016 Brooks PR. We talk to her about getting the invite, the road back, and her plans for Saturday.
Flrunners.com: How and why did you get involved in the sport?
Janaya Chambers: When i was little i used to love to race kids , whether it were my brothers, cousins, or neighborhood kids. I've always loved running but i never officially did competitive running util my 8th grade year in middle school. My middle school gym teacher saw how fast i was on the basketball court and suggested (well actually told me lol) that i was going to run track for him for school and i ended up doing it and I've loved this sport ever since. Its all on you, you cant blame anyone else for how you perform and thats what i love about it. It makes you a better person all around.
FLR: When did you first learn that you were invited to the Brooks PR Invite and how did your react?
JC: know the exact date. I was sitting in class during 4th period on April 18th and i got called down to the office to pick up a package. When administration handed it to me i honestly had no clue it was an invite for this year; i assumed it was the ticket from last year because i never actually got the physical ticket and wanted it for souvenir purposes. So i got back to class and sat down and opened it and as soon as I saw the golden ticket and the date i literally screamed in the middle of class and got super excited.
FLR: What does it mean to you to be invited back for another year?
JC:I know i said this last year but this literally means everything to me and to be able to get an invite back felt so surreal. The invite really came at just the right time because I started getting down and hard on myself when I wasn't able to perform at my best or remain healthy enough to even compete to my full potential or at times even compete at all. The invite served to be a confidence booster and a bit of motivation to not give up and continue to work harder in my training in order to get back to where i was and beyond that as well as let go of all the negativity holding me back. It just helped me realize that things were starting to look up for me again.
FLR: Your 2016 season wasn't ideal. You had several setbacks that halted you from competing as much as you'd like this season correct?
JC: My main thing was my health; trying to stay healthy long enough to make it through a full practice or to even get back into training. The new thing that held me back for awhile happened to me my migraines. They were very debilitating and kept me floating in and out of the hospital for pain control and treatment -- they were just that bad. So after months and months of the chronic migraines i was finally given medication to control the pain and able to practice and function normally . That didnt last very long because with the medicine i began experiencing a lot of effects that also served to be minor setbacks in my training because I wasn't able to complete a whole practice without overheating or getting hurt.
FLR: How is your health now?
JC: Everything has finally been under control though recently. Ive been able to make it through weeks of complete practices and train to my full potential and finally back to where i was before the setbacks took place. It's been a long couple of months and I'm excited to see just how much I've been putting into my practices to be able to pull out whatever I can in the 400 at Brooks.
FLR: How has your training been leading up to the meet?
JC: My coach had the task to try and get me back in shape and back to where i was from taking almost a whole season off from being sick and unhealthy in a very short amount of time, But with that being said training and practice is always intense and challenging-- and since BrooksPR was bought into the mix it was more about keeping me healthy and motivated enough to try and get myself better despite whatever i was going through. My Coach doesn't believe in an easy way out, you have to be at practice ready to work hard and give it your all no matter how painful it may be. He always says pain is good and makes you better lol. Train hard, run easy.
FLR: What do you hope to achieve at the meet ?
JC: I'm more than positive with the competition there, I'll be pushed to a PR. But honestly i just want to prove to myself that I am good enough(fast enough) to be there. It'll serve as a reassurance that my training and dedication is paying off. Ive also developed a mindset that my only real competition is myself so I'm only trying to be better than i was this time last year; I wanna show improvement and good execution in my race.
FLR: Do you have any specific goals?
JC: My goals for Saturday: run smart, execute a good race, PR , medal, come out of the race injury free knowing i gave it my all and leave everything on the track and of course have fun. Fans can expect to see a very competitive race take place and hopefully a new meet record set , especially with some of the times coming in. Regardless of how the race plays out, I'm ready to turn heads and shock people (especially the ones who don't believe in me)
What are you most looking forward about the race?
JC: I'm most looking forward to redeeming myself, this is my redemption meet. Also being able to meet back up with the people i met last year to catch up and sort of hangout one last time before we all go our separate ways in college. Also gaining new track friends that have the same drive and determination as i do. This is almost like a business trip-- you get to travel out of your state to get a new experience and almost "chill time" but when it comes down to it, its all about taking care of business on the track come race day.
FLR: Brooks is known for giving the athletes a great experience off the track as well. What were some of your favorite off the track experiences.
JC: I loved the entire experience as a whole. Being honored with the chance to run against other top sprinters and runners in the country to see "who's the best" and gaining friends in the track-world was honestly the best thing for me. The gear of course and all the activities we got to do along with the meet were all pluses and i enjoyed every bit of it. What Brooks does for the athletes and the experience they put together make you feel like am elite professional athlete and its really the best experience I've ever had and I'm very blessed to be given the opportunity to do it all over again.