Tell me a little about yourself, not running related.
I’m a junior at DSA. I was born here in Durham and have lived here my whole life. My favorite subjects in school are math and science, and I hope to some day work in the medical field. Besides running, I love to play other sports, like basketball. I also really enjoy playing piano and singing in my school choir.
When did you first start running?
I first started really running in 6th grade. Through most of elementary school and all of middle school, I was a year-around swimmer, and I kept finding that my favorite practices were the ones where we were able to go for a run as part of our cross-training. Then later that year when I took gym, we had to run the mile and I ended up being pretty good at it, so I decided to try my luck with cross-country the next year. I ended up loving cross-country and track, and so I’ve stuck with it ever since.
What is your favorite running workout and your least favorite workout and why?
My favorite running workout would have to be 8×400 @1600m pace, with 60 seconds rest between each. I did this workout for the first time last year during track season, and really liked it. For me, 400s are my favorite workout distance because they are long enough that you can settle in and do some work at pace, but short enough that they don’t seem overbearing. The rest also keeps things interesting because it is relatively short. I like to do this workout (or a slightly modified version) a week or so before a big race because it’s a big confidence booster for me. On the other hand, it is my least favorite work out would probably be 5×1000 on the track. 1000s are great for your fitness, and I do them frequently, but they are just long!
Do you do any other sports other than running?
I don’t do any other sports at school, but I love just playing them for fun. I really love playing pickup basketball, and the competitive nature that surrounds other team sports like it.
How do you fuel your body the week before a race?
I usually try to keep my diet pretty regular so I don’t upset my stomach, but I do take extra care to drink lots of water and to make sure I have enough electrolytes in my diet as well. Typically, I like to have a lot of carbs two nights before a big race, and something lighter the night before. Race morning, I usually have a hearty bowl of oatmeal and a banana; sometimes if my race isn’t t until later in the morning or afternoon, I will have a protein drink as well.
Do you have a favorite person to run with?
I really like running with my varsity team at school. They’re all great guys and we have lots of laughs on runs that make them go by so much faster. I also like it when our coach runs or bikes with us because he has some great stories as well.
What’s your favorite thing about running?
I think my favorite thing about running is that races really come down to who wants it more. There’s a famous quote by one of the greatest American runners ever, Steve Prefontaine, where he says “the best pace is a suicide pace, and today seems like a good day to die.” I really like this quote because it shows how running is really just a competition of who can be the most uncomfortable for the longest. Desire to win in this sport is huge in deterring the outcome of a race, and that is just one of the many things I love about the sport.
What’s your favorite running distance?
My favorite racing distance is probably the 1600. I love the 1600 because by the time it really starts hurting it’s halfway over! There’s just enough time in the race to have a few surges and make a tactical race out of it, but it’s also long enough that it’s not a complete sprint.
Do you have a favorite running outfit? Or a lucky clothing item?
I used to always wear the same socks in race crazy socks on race day, but after a few bad races in them I realized I was just being a little superstitious. Now I like to change it up a little bit, and vary my racing outfits, especially socks, and in the rare occasion, headbands.
How do you fit running in with your school, social life and family?
It’s really tough to fit in running and school and family and everything else that goes on in a typical high-school life, but I’ve found that if I’m not running most of the other things seem to fall apart. When I’m not running, I can’t concentrate as much in school, and I’m just generally in a less optimistic mood. Because of this, I try to fit running in first. Sometimes this means waking up at the crack of dawn because I have a super busy day ahead, or just doing a short 20min run around my neighborhood at 10:30 at night. Fitting it in has been tough at times, but once I realized how important it was to my overall well-being, I try to fit it in as often as possible.
Do you have a running bucket list of places or trails you would one day like to run?
I think it would be really cool to go for a run on all seven continents, but that might be pretty tough. I also really want to run at Hayward field in Eugene, Oregon.
Would you like to run at college?
I would really love to run in college. As I’ve gotten a little bit older I’ve realized just how tough that goal is, but it’s still something I would love to do. If I decided not to run for the college I go to, I would definitely still keep running and maybe try a triathlon or two.
What does your team mean to you?
I really love my team, and the fun atmosphere that they help create. My school team is pretty big compared to other schools, but that just adds to the fun. Meets are awesome and you can really feel the support from other runners and teammates. Even during workouts, there are always teammates cheering each other on and having a good time.
Who inspires you?
My coaches and parents are probably my biggest inspirations. Hearing stories from their past about challenges they have overcome always helps encourage me to work harder. My parents have been there throughout my entire athletic career, and have always pushed me to dream big and work for those dreams. Coach Huggins has been there since the start of my running career as well, and has taught me very important lessons about running and life in general.
Thanks so much for the interview. We have a similar bucket list – I want to try and run on all seven continents as well. I will be running a 5k this summer in England and one in Scotland. My family is planning a trip to Australia and Singapore in 2018 and I have already found a 5k Park Run in my grandparents home town in Australia – just need to find something in Singapore. We can figure out Antartica together!