The calendar has flipped to May.
A rough senior season of football is behind him. A roller-coaster basketball season that ended with a fifth loss to rival Jackson is over. They provided fuel for the spring. Anger, which he channeled into speed.
But it's May now. And Johnson can smile about his athletic endeavors a little more.
It's his time.
The third-place finisher in the 800-meter race at the Class 4 state meet last year is shifting into high gear.
On Monday night in the SEMO Conference North meet at Poplar Bluff, Johnson ran his fastest 800 meters of the season, coming in at 1 minute, 58.38 seconds.
He is ahead of last year's pace.
"Last year, it took me all the way to sectionals to break 2 minutes," Johnson said Monday night. "I did it a couple weeks ago, and I just did it again, and this time it was faster. Our practices are really getting intense now, and I'm working on my second wind. My kick is getting faster every week.
"I wanted to get below a 1:59, and next week I'm trying to get to 1:56 so when I get to state, I can run a 1:49, 1:50."
Johnson has found a new fuel on which to run his final weeks of his final high school track season -- a championship. The path starts today with the district meet in Hillsboro.
"He's got goals," Central coach Lawrence Brookins said. "He's close. If he can get a 1:56 this weekend, that will get him close. I think he'll get there."
Ultimately, Johnson may need to run five seconds faster than the 1:54.63 that placed him third in 2007 and left him three-tenths of a second behind first-place finisher Darwin Price of Normandy.
Price is back this season and already has posted a 1:54.57.
Johnson won't see Price in the district meet Saturday in Hillsboro or the sectional the following week at Eureka. The showdown won't take place until the state meet, May 24 in Jefferson City.
The 800 meters requires more than sprinting speed, but it doesn't have the distance for a runner to spend too much time plotting strategy or start too slow.
Runners stay in their own lanes in a staggered start for about the first 100 meters before bunching into a pack.
"It kind of reminds me of lacrosse and hockey because you're running with a group of guys and it's elbows and you've got to fight for your spot," Johnson said. "Whoever fights the hardest is going to win.
"The first lap is just to see how strong you are and the second lap is to see whatever you have left, and you just want to push it on the last 200."
Johnson's goal today is to knock off that first 400 meters in 55 or 56 seconds.
"On the second lap, I maintain my speed until the 200, and then I give it all I've got," he said. "I depend on my kick in the last 200 to break 2 minutes."
It's two races in one.
"It's stamina and speed combined," Johnson said. "It's mental."
Johnson won by more than five seconds Monday, racing the clock, racing only himself.
"He's fun to watch run," Brookins said. "He really is.
"I think Chase is just one of those people who is blessed with his metabolism and body that he can wake up out of bed in the middle of the night and run a respectable 800. He's just built to run. He's got that natural build and he's got good endurance."
Brookins coached Johnson during the football season in the fall, a 2-8 campaign that marked the end of the Brookins era at Central.
During the fall practices, Johnson was installed as the quarterback, starting at the position for the first time in his senior season.
He completed over 50 percent of his passes and threw for 1,049 yards. He had four TD passes and four interceptions in his 177 attempts, and he also ran for three touchdowns.
He then went into the basketball season, playing guard for the Central team that finished 11-15. Every time Central put something together, such as the back-to-back wins at the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament, it ran into Jackson.
"Football, after the season was over, I thought nothing was going in my favor," said Johnson, who did make the Southeast Missourian's all-star team at quarterback. "Basketball, we started winning some games. It might not have showed, but we were out there giving it everything we had. Some teams made shots we didn't or got more yards than we did.
"I took all that anger that I had from the losses from football and basketball and put it on the track, and that carried me for the first half of track."
Johnson likes the individual responsibility that comes with track, even though that's not his favorite sport.
"It's all on me," he said. "I don't have to rely on anybody to keep us in a certain place.
"My passion is basketball and football, but my talent is track. I'm good in track, so I'm going to stick with it."
Johnson plans to stick with it for the immediate future.
He said he hopes to be involved for the second straight summer with Down Under Sports, which offers training and competition in Australia and Hawaii.
He would like to showcase his talent on the collegiate level as well. He has expressed interest in attending Division I Arkansas State, but adds, "Any school that's going to offer, I'll take."
Johnson's time Monday would have placed him eighth in the recent Ohio Valley Conference meet in Cape Girardeau and would be among the top four times run by an Arkansas State athlete this year. Of course, he believes his best is yet to come this year, and Johnson may get bigger and stronger during his college career.
"Track is a little different than football and some of these other sports with stats," Brookins said. "The clock don't lie, and the tape measure don't lie. You either ran fast and jumped far, or you didn't."
The coming weeks may show just how fast Chase Johnson can run.