Loves to Run: Cross-Country and Track
How does it feel to be an elite-runner and full-time college student?
Tough, believe it or not. All of the traveling makes school really difficult, especially while being at Georgetown. Being on a team, means that I am running for something bigger than myself.
We are like a family. Day-in and day-out, I live and train with those guys. Even though it is tough, I would not change it for the world.
What are your PR’s?
- Mile 3:58.5
- 3k 8:01:0
- 800m 1:47.3
How did it feel to run, the 800m, in the USATF Indoor Championships?
Really, nerve-wracking and funny. It was my first time coming into the preliminary. I was freaking out about the preliminary, because there is so much pressure to make the finals. I finished strong.
It felt awesome making the final and being top 8 All-American. I went into the final with a positive attitude, and finished 5th. My coaches were stoked!
How did you feel, after running a sub-4 minute mile? How did you celebrate!?
It's not a typical story. There were six runners from Georgetown, and two were pacers. I felt like I was in a training run, because there was one teammate in front and one behind me.
Once we crossed the finish line it was 1, 2, 3 Georgetown. We all hugged and our coaches were screaming, “THEY DID IT!” It was really something special, to finish with my friends and teammates.
That day in the United States, 36 people broke 4-minutes and we were four of them!
What was your greatest challenge this season?
After the USATF Indoor Championship, I went into surgery for a hernia. The following week, a diagnosis of mono, delayed my come-back even more. At the end of the season I came-back, to run the 800m event in the USATF Outdoor Championship!
How did you start running?
In the sixth grade, I joined the Marcellus Central Schools Running Club. I remember winning a 3k overall, and finishing 2nd in my age-group for a 5k. In the eighth grade, I started running modified cross-country. It was tough to drop baseball and soccer, but running was different.
There is such a great community in the running world. Runners are so competitive with themselves, but not with competition. During a race we challenge each other, but afterwards we congratulate everyone.
How did you choose Georgetown?
Following my junior-year of high-school, on July 1st, coaches could start recruiting. After getting fifteen different offers, I started researching my options. I really clicked with my current coaches, and teammates. Georgetown was the best decision for me, both athletically and academically.
How did running change, transitioning from high-school to college?
My mileage significantly increased from 40 miles a week, to 80 miles a week. I went from being a big-fish in a small-pond, to running with national champions every day.
It is humbling when you’re not the best anymore, and the expectations are higher.
Who have been your greatest supporters?
My high school coach, Oscar Jenson (OBJ), without him I would not be the runner I am today. I still talk to him on the phone several times a year.
This is a tough question, because I have so many supporters. I always have support from my family, friends, teammates, coaches, and even my biggest rivals. I need to thank everyone.
What is the best piece of advice OBJ has ever given you?
My coach’s advice was more important than running advice. OBJ, showed me how to be a man. My coach, teaches athletes to be grown people in society and he is always there for support.
In running, everyone loves everyone and appreciates individual success. Runners really care about each other, and that’s what makes the sport so great.
Over this summer, what has been the greatest part about training in Mammoth, California?
This summer, I have been training at altitude. At 6,000 ft. there is about 83% oxygen, versus, if you are up to 8,000 feet it drops to 76% oxygen. While running, breathing feels more like fighting for air.
The best part about Mammoth, has been hiking with my friends. We hiked to, Clouds Rest, eight-miles at 10,000 ft. elevation. After that, we almost turned around and headed back to the car. Instead, we hiked 12 more miles to Valley.
The shuttle that was supposed to bring us back to the parking-lot, had already departed. Everyone was toast. We hitch-hiked to the car for 16 miles, ration-portioning the last cliff-bar, until someone finally picked us up.
Every time we go for a hike, something crazy happens!
What is a typical week of training, at Mammoth?
Monday's and Friday's, we have a morning and night session. Tuesday's and Thursday's, we have a morning workout followed by strides. On Wednesday, there’s a recovery long run. Saturday, we take it easy. Sunday, we go out on a hard morning-run.
What is your favorite distance?
The mile, is for sure, my favorite distance to race. I feel like it is the American event, because of our metric system!
What are your running aspirations?
My eyes are on the 2020 Olympics! 2016, might be too soon. If I keep progressing the way I have been, my coaches think I can do it. I hope to run professionally.
What is the most memorable race you have ever ran?
This year, definitely the DMR. It was basically versus Penn State, on their home-track. We were all sophomores and freshman, our legs ran the perfect race.
Everything was right, you would just get amped up! It went 1200m, 400m, 800m, Mile. I ran the 800m. My roommate had the last leg and passed the Penn-runner during the final-lap.
We won and crushed the school record! After that race, I knew that this year would be something special.
How do you warm-up before a race?
We run 14-21 minutes, do some drills, and then strides. I do leg-swings, and sometimes punch my legs to get them loose. Typically, I change up the drills depending on what I need to stretch.
What are your favorite things to eat before a race?
When it comes to eating, I’m not that picky. The night before a race, I try to eat chicken parmesan. For breakfast, I eat a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. The whole team loves peanut butter!
What is your go-to for cross-training?
Running is the best form of cross-training, for running! I do like aqua-boarding and swimming, too.
Other than running, what are your favorite activities?
Slack-Jumping! I take a tight rope, put it between two trees and jump on it. I started doing this to strengthen my legs, after having chronic shin-splints. If I were not running, I would play Basketball. LeBron James, is my favorite athlete!
Favorite music to listen to on a run?
I have never listened to music on a run. I just think about stuff or run with someone. Warming up before a race, I like to listen to bands like Hozier, Mumford and Sons, Kings of Leon, or slow hip-hop acoustic stuff.
Do you have advice for rising-running-stars?
When it comes to running, you have to do it for the right reasons. Some people run just to get into college, and are miserable once they are there.
If you enjoy what you do, you will be more successful. I really have a passion for running. Nothing feels better than being in great shape, and running ten miles for fun!
Photography, courtesy of Ryan Manahan.
That Pretty Runner