Gasparilla Distance Classic Gasparilla Distance Classic
           be healthy • get more fit • race faster
Enter email to receive e-newsletter:
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

"All in a Day’s Run" is for competitive runners, fitness enthusiasts and anyone who needs a "spark" to get healthier by increasing exercise and eating more nutritionally.

Click here for more info or to order

This is what the running elite has to say about "All in a Day's Run":

"Gary's experiences and thoughts are very entertaining, all levels of runners can relate to them."
Brian Sell — 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathoner

"Each of Gary's essays is a short read with great information on training, racing and nutrition."
Dave McGillivray — Boston Marathon Race Director

Skip Navigation Links

Emily Infeld — October, 2015
Emily Infeld is the 2015 World Championships 10,000 meter Bronze Medalist. She is also the 2015 U.S. Championships 10,000 meter Bronze Medalist. Emily is the 2012 NCAA Indoor 3,000 meter Champion. At the NCAA Cross Country Championships she placed eighth in 2009, second in 2010 and led Georgetown to the team title in 2011 while placing fourth. The ten-time All-American also earned Silver medals in the NCAA Outdoor 1,500 meters (2012) and 5,000 meters (2011) and a bronze medal in the NCAA Indoor distance medley relay (2010). Infeld finished in eighth place at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 5,000 meters. She placed 21st at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships after finishing 4th at the 2013 USA Cross Country Championships. Emily is three-time Big East Conference track champion and twelve-time medalist. She anchored the 2011 Penn Relays Champion distance medley relay. Emily competed for Beaumont High School in University Heights, Ohio, where highlights included eight Ohio State titles including four at 800 meters, two at 1,600 meters and two in cross country. Her personal best times are: 800 meters - 2:06.05 (2009); 1,500 meters - 4:07.77 (2012); mile - 4:38.01(2010); 3,000 meters - 8:41.43 (2013); 5,000 meters - 15:07.19 (2015) and 10,000 meters – 31:38.71 (2015). She is a member of the Bowerman Track Club, is coached by Jerry Schumacher, and lives in Portland, Oregon. Emily was very kind to spend an hour and a half on the phone during November, 2015.
GCR:It’s been a few months since you finished third in the World Championships 10,000 meters, bringing home the Bronze Medal. Has it sunk in that you are now and forever a World Championships medalist?
EII don’t know if it ever will really sink in – it’s crazy and so cool and just not what I expected coming out of the season. I feel so lucky that it all came together the way that it did. I’m really blessed that it happened. It’s super hard to medal and I feel like everything worked out in my favor. It was a race situation that worked out well for my level of fitness.
GCR:How much increased confidence does your racing performance on the World stage give you heading into 2016?
EIIt makes me hungry and exciting going forward – especially with this next year being an Olympic year in Rio. It definitely gives me confidence for the future.
GCR:Let’s look back at the events leading up to your making the U.S. team and heading to Beijing. From late 2013 to early 2015 you dealt with a stress fracture, recovery and resuming training, and another stress fracture. How improbable was it for you to return to a high level of training and racing, much less to make the World Championships team?
EIIn the fall of 2014 I was running and getting in good training, but I was training through all of my races so I wasn’t showing great performances on the roads. I was a bit frustrated and ended up getting that second stress fracture in December of 2014. I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen for me as the previous stress fracture had taken so long for me to get over. I thought if this took just as long I wouldn’t be able to prepare for 2015 racing. I knew I had to set small goals and didn’t get my hopes up too much. I was realistic and took it month by month to see how my body was feeling. I obviously wanted to try and make the team, but at that point I just wanted to qualify to run at the USA Championships. I hadn’t run well at the past two USAs due to injuries so I was just hoping to get out there and back on the racing scene. I was thrilled with how my training came together and to discover racing the 10k, which was phenomenal. I didn’t think I would run a 10k this early in my career because I was more of a 1,500 meter runner in college and I hadn’t really tackled the 5k that much. But it worked out in my favor and now I love the event. I’m really happy in the best way.
GCR:It may have been earlier in your career than you planned to race the 10k, but you have been blessed with a great training group under Coach Jerry Schumacher with Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher and others. How instrumental have your coach and teammates been in your success and in helping you with seeing that the opportunity was there at 10,000 meters and to just go for it?
EIWhen I first joined the training group in the fall of 2012, Jerry told me, ‘You’re going to be a 10k runner. Even though you’ve been a 1,500 meter runner for so long, the 10k is going to be your best event.’ I didn’t really believe him, but with the strength work and long runs that we were doing, Jerry could see that is where I would be most successful. This spring my speed was taking a long time to come around so he put me in a 10k as he knew I would be aerobically fit and that with my running and cross training I could handle a 10k better than a 5k. I still think I surprised him with the time I ran. Then he and I thought I may have a chance to make the USA team at 10k so we focused and buckled down. He wanted me to have the mentality that I was going to make the team and to train with that mentality. That helped and encouraged me. Having Shalane, who is phenomenal, to look up to and train with was so helpful. To learn from her wisdom and to train with her was amazing. I soaked it all up. Kara is such a great friend and is so motivating. It was amazing to be able to train with Shalane and Kara, especially for the strength work. Jerry focuses on strength, so that gave me confidence that if I could do what they could do in workouts that I would be in pretty good shape.
GCR:What was your race plan at the U.S. Championships and how did the race transpire during the twenty-five laps as you aimed to make the team, thought you could make the team, knew you were going to make the team and eventually placed third?
EIJerry thought there were some players to watch and that it would quickly be whittled down to five or six of us. There was the thought of making it hard from the gun. Based on our workouts he thought we could run pretty quick – right around the thirty-one minute mark. I was just going to hang on if the pace was pushed. I admire Shalane as she can lead and push the pace. I don’t think I’m that tough so I was going to go with the pack and see what happened. The weather was awful as it was over ninety degrees and so humid. That changed the race plan as it would still be hard from the get go, but not as fast. Shalane took it out the first couple miles but it was so hot and humid and challenging that I could tell she didn’t want to press the entire time. Then Molly Huddle and Amy Hastings took over and led though it wasn’t as fast. I feel like our times didn’t indicate how hard we were running because of the hot conditions and how hard it was on our bodies. We could have run a lot faster if we didn’t have to contend with such high heat and humidity. Jerry had told me that at some point Molly and Shalane would probably break away from everyone and at that time I should just stick on them. He said, ‘I think you can run with them and I don’t know if anyone else can make it that far.’ That was my race plan – to stay on Molly and Shalane as long as I could and hope that people would start to fall off of the pace. That’s exactly what happened. We started separating with maybe 1,200 meters or a mile to go and a gap opened. I was thinking in my head how hard I was running. It was the hardest race I had ever run. It was miserable but I kept telling myself to stick on them, not to let a gap form and that it was going to hurt but to hang in there. It helped as I stayed relaxed, tried to stay in lane one close to the rail and didn’t do any extra running. It worked out and I was real excited to make the team.
GCR:It’s interesting how you mentioned staying with Shalane and Molly as long as you could. One legendary runner I interviewed a few years ago who won eleven NCAA titles, Gerry Lindgren, did that when he started out in high school. As time went by he found he was challenging them and then he was winning. One of his amazing feats was at one time during 36 straight races he was at World Record pace halfway through the race pushing everyone. That’s sort of like what you described – staying there as long as you can and then at some time you end of placing and then and up winning. Getting back on track, Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle were favorites to make the team - How exciting was it for you to make the U.S. team in the 10,000 meters and to have them as teammates?
EIIt was really exciting as Americans are doing well on the World stage. In the World Championships we were clearly strong as we finished third, fourth and sixth. It just goes to show that it is hard to make teams. Those two women – Shalane and Molly – are the best of the best. They are amazing caliber women and runners and it felt phenomenal. Everyone felt they were going to make the team and that there was an open spot. There are so many great runners. Amy Hastings is phenomenal. Emily Sisson is a force to be reckoned with. I thought I could make the team, but there were other women thinking the same thing. Also, you never know on race day and especially with that weather. I knew it was going to be uncomfortable from the gun, but I’m glad I could hang on as long as I did and show that I had been training really hard. I hadn’t raced that much in the past few years as I’ve been interrupted by injuries. It makes me happy that the training is in my legs and that I can be competitive on the U.S. stage and on the World stage.
GCR:I watched your race and have reviewed the last lap video a few times, but what was your race plan going into the World Championships 10,000 meter final and how did it change as the race progressed?
EIWe kind of had the same plan for Worlds that we had for USAs – to hang in there as long as we could. It was going to be hot and humid and Jerry wasn’t sure if anyone was going to take it out. He talked to Shalane and me beforehand about sticking with the pack. A lot of people thought Molly had a chance to medal. Jerry and others told me that if Molly had a chance to medal and if Shalane had a chance to medal, then I also had a chance to medal. Jerry said that if I was with then group with a lap to go to not count myself out. I did believe and, as the race got closer and closer, Jerry kept telling Shalane and me to run with the pack, to run with confidence and to see what happens when a move is made and the kick to the finish begins. We went in with the mentality to stay with the pack, stay on the rail, cover any moves and to stay on top of all of the women who were in the race. It ended up being another slow race. I think we were at 16:15 through 5k. We picked it up the last 5k, but with the conditions no one really made a big move and it was all manageable running. I think our last 800 meters was pretty quick. I was hanging in there and waiting for a move to be made.
GCR:On the last lap it turned into a kicker’s race and opportunities opened for competition for medals. Please describe the home stretch. How you were feeling and what you were thinking as you powered toward the finish line in fourth place with a possible shot at a medal?
EIWith 400 meters to go I was feeling pretty good and I thought I would use my kick and see where that left me. I wanted to run all of the way through and just keep running. Molly made a little surge with about 200 meters to go and opened up a little gap on me. At that point I was thinking, ’Keep running, keep running, I think I can get fourth place.’ Then I was creeping up on her with about 80 meters to go on her outside and she surged again. I couldn’t really match it so I came back on the inside and kept running. I was thinking, ‘Don’t be fourth; don’t be fourth!’
GCR:Could you believe that Molly Huddle slowed in a premature celebration as you just got past her at the line and how much did you learn from your own similar late race slowdown at the U.S. Championships?
EIThat last fifty meters I tried to switch to another gear. I was kind of even with her and almost blacked out in my thinking and don’t exactly remember. I just ran as hard as I could. I got an extra rush of adrenaline when I thought,’ I could be third.’ It just propelled me and I gave it everything as I crossed that line. I’m really thankful. At USAs I had passed Shalane with 400 meters to go and Molly was out front. On the home stretch with about thirty meters to go I thought, ‘Oh, I’m second.’ I was too excited that I made the team and didn’t run through the line. Shalane passed me at the finish line and was telling me to run through the line and not to let up. We worked on that in practice so that I wouldn’t make that mistake. Shalane would joke with me saying, ‘I’m a marathon runner. How does a marathon runner pass you with ten meters to go?’ It was crazy as I was even with Molly and ran all of the way through. It was a weird sense of emotion as I was focused on my race and kept going. When I was even with her she kind of was raising her arms up as I passed her. As I crossed the line I kind of got a mixed sense of emotions just because I didn’t want to feel like I beat her in that way when she was kind of letting up and wasn’t aware I was there. It was a shock and would have been easier if it wasn’t someone on the U.S. team. I know how incredibly hard she works and how incredible she is. Molly pushed a lot of the race and put herself in the best position she could. Chances for medals don’t come up too often. I wish Molly, Shalane and I could have all medaled. That would have been the best scenario.
GCR:In your post-race interviews you couldn’t believe you medaled and said it seemed like it was a dream. Even though it is three months later, does it still almost seem like a dream?
EIYes, definitely. It’s incredible because of how the season played out. Each season and each year I have short-term goals and goals that we think are achievable and then our ‘reach goals.’ I don’t think I even had a reach goal. Before the race when Jerry was telling me to put myself in position to medal, I felt like I had it in the back of my mind but I didn’t really have it. That is one of those super, super reach goals. I wanted to finish in the top ten and if I did I would be happy. Ideally I wanted to make it into the top five and I had that in my mind that I thought I could finish in the top five. If I had a good race and a good day I believed that. I just had a little thread in the back of my mind that believed I could medal, but it was so small and miniscule compared to my other thoughts that I don’t believe that until I was in the race, got my adrenaline flowing and was in position with a lap to go that I thought, ‘I can do it.’ With 200 meters to go I thought, ‘There’s no way – I’m going to get fourth place.’ It’s so funny how our minds can change so drastically I a short period of time. I felt like the whole race I was comfortable sitting and with a lap to go I was trying to make moves while trying to make sure I didn’t use up everything before the last fifty meters. I wanted to make sure I was strong for that last fifty meter kick. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past like at USAs in the 5,000 meters where I made a move with 200 meters to go and kind of used up what I had and I got passed. I have wanted to have a gear for that last fifty meters – I need that. I tried to emulate that in practice.
GCR:This was only your third 10k ever so do you see this as your future race distance or will you and Coach Schumacher work equally toward both the 5k and 10k?
EIRight now I’m possibly a better 5k than 10k runner. The 10k is probably my best event in the long term, but I don’t have as much strength as I need. I’m definitely going to focus on strength more this season. Last spring we didn’t do as much strength running or mileage as I was coming off of an injury and we wanted to be super careful. I think it’s great to be ready for both race distances as they complement each other. You have to have the 5k speed to run a good 10,000 meters and you have to be strong at 10k for the 5,000 meters. It’ll be complementary work though we’re not sure what the focus will be. I’m sure that as the indoor and outdoor seasons progress I will race at various distances. I want to run both races and then see where it will be best to focus.
GCR:Despite you being quite the novice at 10k, isn’t it strange that you and Shalane Flanagan had a similar introduction to the event?
EIIt’s funny because I talked to Shalane and we have the same kind of progression in the 10k. She ran her first 10k in 2008, the Olympic year. We both ran our first 10k at the Peyton Jordan Invitational. She ran her second 10k at the 2008 Olympic Trials and I ran my second at USAs. We both ran our third 10k in Beijing, though it was the Olympics for her and Worlds for me. And we both were Bronze. It’s a weird kind of buildup that happened to both of us. Shalane made that connection and it was like – wow! It was super cool that we both ran at Peyton Jordan, in Eugene and Beijing and we ended up with the same result. It’s really, really cool!
GCR:Maybe there is a 2:21 marathon in your future. Have you ever thought about moving up to the marathon down the road, or is that not anywhere on your mental landscape?
EIOh, my gosh - I would love to race a marathon sometime. But there is so much that goes into it. It is so much different from the 10k. Right now I’m just learning the 10k and I definitely have a lot of room to improve in my 10k and 5k. I can’t even imagine training for the marathon. When I look at the training and workouts Shalane has done leading up to it, she is phenomenal. She is so tough and so amazing. I watched Laura Thweatt run 2:28 and that was amazing as she is a great person and awesome athlete. It’s so incredible that running 2:21 is so much different and so far off from where I am now. Shalane has given us some big shoes to fill. I’ll focus on the shorter track events now and, hopefully, bridge the gap to the marathon in a few years.
GCR:Let’s go back to when you started running in high school and take a quick trip through your running and racing highlights that brought you to where you are today. What was your athletic background as a youngster, when did you start running and how much of an influence was your older sister, Maggie?
EII did a bit I everything growing up. I did gymnastics, softball, Irish dancing for a bit, basketball all through grade school, soccer for a little bit, and tennis and swimming in the summer. My parents wanted me to be well rounded and to try many sports. I loved running at an early age. My dad and I used to do road races in the summer which were fun. The distance was usually a mile or two mile fun run. We would run together which was awesome bonding for us. Then sometimes we would go rock climbing together. It was so much fun. That got me into running as did watching my sister race on the track. When she was in about seventh grade I went to one of her meets and was sitting with my mom. I watched Maggie win a race and I said, ‘I want to do that. I want to win.’ I was so proud of her and saw how she had fun with it so I wanted to also. In the summer she would run AAU track meets and I did that in fourth grade. Maggie was racing the 1,500 meters and the national championship was going to be in Orlando at Disney World. My mom said that if we all qualified – my older sister, me and my younger sister – that we would go to Disney World and stay there for a week. Maggie ran the 1,500 and qualified. I tried it and didn’t qualify so I ended up doing the race walk and my younger sister also did the race walk. It was about a 2k race walk and we both made it. I didn’t really get competitive about running until high school. Our school had cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. I wasn’t tall enough to play basketball in the winter so I did indoor track and then outdoor track.
GCR:What did your coach, Coach Emory, at Beaumont High School do to develop your excitement about running and to groom you in your early years as a runner and racer?
EII loved my high school coach as Coach Emory wanted us to have fun with running. I did lots of 200s and fast work and thought I was going to be an 800 meter runner. I ran the 200 meters, 400 meters and was on the 4x400 meter relay at dual meets. I liked the shorter events and liked running fast. At that time I thought I was pretty fast. I won the 800 meters my freshman year at the Ohio State meet and beat Bridget Franek. She was so good that I thought it was so neat that I was able to win. I thought that I’d be an 800 meter runner from then on. But when I got to college I realized I didn’t have quite the speed necessary to be an 800 meter runner. Coach Emory had us work hard, but not too hard. We had fun and I’m so thankful that it was like that and not so serious. I got to enjoy running, still be a high school kid and have fun. We did workouts and Coach wanted us to push and challenge ourselves. But I was still a kid and didn’t train like a professional.
GCR:Did training and focus change much under Coach Miltenberg when you went to college at Georgetown?
EIHe helped me to grow slowly as a runner as I moved up from the 800 meters to the mile and 1,500 meters a lot in college and then to a few 5,000 meters toward the end of college. It was great to slowly progress. I still love running and am passionate about it. I’m happy for the way it happened for me with the coaches I had. Coach Miltenberg, was phenomenal, was very careful with me and didn’t build up my mileage too quickly. He wanted to make sure that I could have a long career afterwards if that’s what I wanted. I’m just so thankful for that and thankful for him. I had great coaches and a great support system and family.
GCR:Back to high school racing, you won state championships in cross country and won multiple Ohio State Championships in the 1,600 meters and 800 meters. How tough was it balancing running several races in one day with leaving enough mental and physical energy for each race?
EII ran the 4x800 meter relay, 4x400 meter relay, 1,600 meters and 800 meters in most of the meets. I hated the 3,200 meter run when I was in high school. We could only run four races so I ran those instead of dropping one and running the 3,200 meters. I loved the faster events. I loved the 4x400 meters as it was so much fun. I remember running in high school against Jessica Beard and her getting the baton about eight seconds behind me and smoking me. It shocked me into reality that I probably wasn’t going to be a sprinter. I loved the relays and team atmosphere. I was part of a great track team and great cross country team in high school and I’m still friends with a lot of the girls. It was important to have friends and to have fun with it. We had a ton of fun with what we were doing. I loved running with the girls as it made it that much more enjoyable.
GCR:You also were part of championship teams in both cross country and track. How important to you was your team success?
EII’m so lucky that my team was able to win my senior year in high school and then that at Georgetown my team was able to win the NCAA Cross Country Championship my senior year in college. I knew how hard everybody worked. Even back in high school when we were having fun, my teammates wanted to be the best that they could be. That is a great attitude - to have fun, to do it for the right reasons and to be the best that you can be. It is nice to see how our hard work paid off. I was fortunate to have great teammates and great coaches. It was nice to be able to share the success with each other as we all worked hard for a team goal. It was a wonderful feeling to know that we all did it together and I was inspired by girls on my team and my coaches. I hope that I inspired them as well and that it was a mutual inspiration.
GCR:It is interesting how you mention the importance of team and a lot of times people tend to focus on individuals. I live in the Orlando area, am friends with Jenny Simpson and knew her in high school, so she is one who finished second twice at NCAA cross country, but loved running with her team. There is also Jordan Hassay, who never could get an NCAA individual cross country win, but loved winning the team title. You finished second at NCAAs in cross country to a tough Sheila Reid, you also finished fourth, but it was probably even more exciting to win the team title than if you had beaten Sheila and won as an individual.
EISheila is so phenomenal, is one of my close friends now and is a force to be reckoned with. She is such a great competitor. I am happy overall and I would have loved to have beat Sheila at the end, but I know how great she is and how tough she is. I was so excited after the NCAA Cross Country Championships my senior year when we got that team title. When I crossed the finish line in fourth place I remember thinking that I hoped we didn’t lose by a point or I would be so upset with myself. Those girls on my team ran together and the spread was so close in places like 51, 52, 54 and 58. It still gives me chills as we believed in ourselves, listened to our coach and did exactly what he said. I was so happy that we were able to pull it off, that my finish was able to help us to get that team title and it is something we will cherish forever. Coach Milt worked so hard for us and he deserved it.
GCR:You will cherish it forever and a good example is from an interview I did with Todd Williams. It was about twenty years ago when he was at the University of Tennessee and they won the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Todd got a second place and fourth place when running the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. He was telling me how nice it has been having reunions with the NCAA Championship team, so you are really going to enjoy that. And cross country is interesting too as everyone is together in one race – you have runners from the 1,500 meters, steeplechase, 5k and 1k in track all duking it out. It is hard to win as an individual or team as all of the distance runners are there.
EII think cross country is cool as 1,500 meter runners do well and 10,000 meter runners do well. It is neat to see that wide spread and to know it is about toughness and grittiness. I was a 1,500 meter runner, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t run a good 6k in cross country, be there for my teammates and be competitive. A lot of times people put themselves in one category and think they can’t run well at other distances. I believe that is an awful mentality and that you should be the best you can be, give it your all and don’t count yourself out before you even start the race. You never know what you can do. I was so proud of seeing girls who were focused on track distances from the 800 meters to the 10,000 meters all give it their all in cross country, focus on their team, and know that when they were running for each other special things can happen.
GCR:In track you improved at the Big East Conference from year-to-year starting with some Bronze medals, then Silver medals the next year, followed by triple Gold medals your last year. Were you just getting more and more fit and learning how to race better?
EIDefinitely. I think my freshman year I don’t know if I wasn’t as serious as I should have been or if I just didn’t believe in myself, especially during cross country season. It was different and new the first semester as it was an adjustment in general. It’s hard going from high school to college. By the time that track came around and I was trying to make the 1,500 meter final I was excited to be as competitive as I was. I trained with my older sister, which was great, and I was able to watch what she did and try to get some of her mentality. It was hard as a freshman as a lot of times it is easy to lose confidence in oneself and not be sure of exactly where you stand as you’re kind of at the bottom of the totem pole. Looking up to Maggie and being able to run with her in practice gave me confidence that I should be able to finish with her in races. That is how I thought and what I tried to do. I tried to push myself and stick with the pace as long as I could. My thoughts were I would rather die miserably out there on the track and to at least know that I gave it my all than to cross the finish line and think that I could have run harder.
GCR:You had some very good success at the NCAA Championships. Let’s take a look at your individual medal performances first with your Silver Medal your junior year in the 5,000 meter run. What were key points in this race that led to your second place finish?
EIThat year I was second in cross country at NCAAs and then Coach Milt put me in the 5,000 meters at Big East. We thought that since I was second for 6k cross country I should be good at 5k in track. Sheila Reid and I raced so often in cross country and track and I was always in second place behind her. Indoors we raced at distances from 800 meters to 3k and then outdoors we both jumped in the 5k. It was really fun having her there. From my perspective it was a rivalry, but I don’t know if she felt that way because every time we raced she beat me. I worked to chase her down. I really wanted to beat her and tried, but she has a wicked kick. I’m happy I got to race her so much as getting to race against her elevated my game and my fitness. Hopefully I helped her a bit as she knew I was behind her somewhere.
GCR:The next year after your great racing at the Big East Conference indoors, did you and your coach feel you were primed to contend for the NCAA 3,000 meter title and did you plan accordingly?
EII was a bit frustrated the previous fall in cross country as I had a bit of an Achilles tendon issue. I didn’t train as much or race as much as I would have liked. Then I ended up fourth at NCAAs and was frustrated since I felt like I was more fit the year before when I was second at NCAAs in cross country. So I really trained hard in the winter and felt very fit and good going into indoor season. I came to win at Big East and won a lot of events. My coach put me in a bunch of races and I was just going for wins and trying to score points for my team so that we could win. That was fun. I also felt like I was old enough and a veteran and I wanted to get an NCAA title. I had so many second place finishes to Sheila at so many meets and at NCAAs I had three second places, a fourth place, two eighth places and a couple of thirds in relays, so I just wanted to try to win. I was also mad because in the Distance Medley Relay I got the baton a little behind, took over and got in the lead, but then, I don’t know what happened, but maybe I pushed it too early, and I felt like I lost it for the girls. I didn’t have the race I would have liked as I would have loved to win that relay with all of those girls and, unfortunately, I didn’t. So I was all fired up for that 3k. I wanted to win something, to show I was tough and that I could put it together.
GCR:What were key moments in the race that led to your first and only NCAA title and how did it feel crossing that line as NCAA Champion?
EII tried to hang in the pack. Coach Milt told me to focus on my kick. He knew I was frustrated because of the Distance Medley Relay. He told me that I probably got tired catching up in the DMR and that is why I got outkicked. He said not to think that I didn’t have a good kick and that I did have a good kick. He thought I could win the 3k if I just chilled out and had a good last fifty meters. He told me, ‘Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t be mad because of the DMR as you had to work hard early in the race and it took the kick out of you. Focus on your kick.’ So that’s what I did. I was in fourth or fifth place the entire race and then with fifty meters to go kicked really hard and won.
GCR:The next year you placed second at the outdoor NCAAs in the 1,500 meters behind Katie Flood. What was it like racing at a shorter distance at that level and what were the crunch points that led to your great finish, but not being able to make the top step of the podium?
EII love the 1,500 which I ran my freshman year at NCAAs. I am a 1,500 meter runner at heart and love that distance. In the prelims I ran 4:10 and ran hard. In the final I decided to wait for a kick and I was a bit mad at myself because I was in really good shape as evidenced by the 4:07 I ran a month later. I should have pushed it from the gun and made it a bit of a harder race. I have a good kick, but I also have a good kick from a harder race and that could have made a difference. I was happy with the race overall and couldn’t be too disappointed.
GCR:Your running success meant you had the opportunity to turn professional and continue your running career. Was this a tough decision to make rather than pursuing career or additional studies in school?
EII thought after the 2012 Olympic Trials that I was going to go back to school. I had no eligibility left to run cross country, but I did have one more season of both indoor and outdoor track. I planned to come back for grad school and the rest of my eligibility. Jerry had approached my coach and they were talking a bit about my future. I didn’t realize I would have the opportunity to go pro. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, but I decided to up my game and proceed to the next level. Right after I made my decision I went to talk with Coach Milt about it. That was when he told me he was leaving to go coach at Stanford and that he wasn’t sure of my plans. That solidified my decision. I didn’t want to run at a different school. I didn’t want to go to Stanford for my fifth year. And if I stayed at Georgetown there would be a new coach and I figured that if I was going to get a new coach that I wanted to turn pro instead of having a coach for just the fifth year and then I would have to go and find a pro coach the next year. I either wanted to stay with Coach Milt or go pro. I didn’t want to go to another school because my heart was with Georgetown and the girls who were there. I didn’t want to compete against them. I visited a couple of other professional running groups, but after meeting with Coach Jerry, Shalane and some of the guys on the team, I knew where I wanted to be.
GCR:Let’s go back and talk about your training a bit more. In high school and college could you compare your training mileage in cross country and some of your key workouts that Coach Emory and Coach Milt had you do that contributed to your success?
EII was a pretty low mileage runner in both high school and college. I ran about forty miles a week in high school my last year. The way high school training is now it seems that mileage is much higher. I focused more on speed and Coach Emory had me do workouts like ten by 200 meters where I would go all out and run them in about 28 seconds. I was pretty fast and ran a 26 second 200 meters. We would do an all-out 700 meters, take a five minute rest and do an all-out 500 meters. High school was fun because we got to run fast. I ran hard and pushed my body a lot. In college I upped my mileage a bit and 65 miles a week my senior is the highest weekly mileage I did at Georgetown. I kind of built my weekly mileage up about five miles a year. I was around 60 to 65 miles a week in cross country and a little less, maybe fifty-five miles a week, in track. I hated tempo runs at Georgetown, but they were probably the best workouts for me. I didn’t like them because in my head I still thought I was a shorter distance runner. With Jerry coaching me after college we went to double workouts with tempos and intervals. It was a shock and very hard because I upped my mileage and intensity. We were doing long runs and hard steady state runs which I liked and was pretty good at. Maybe that’s why Jerry thought I would be a pretty good distance runner.
GCR:Do you like to get off of the roads and to train on grass and trails to soften the impact on your legs and is Jerry an advocate of soft surface training?
EIHe wants us to run on soft surfaces. There are three grass fields at the Nike campus and we run loops on it. There is also the mile and a half Hollister trail. For long runs we meet at the campus, run loops on the grass field and then loops on the Hollister trail. I feel that running on grass fields is therapeutic for the legs and helps them to recover. I try to run on trails and grass as much as I can.
GCR:You raced very well in cross country in 2013 and placed 21st at the World Championships. Do you plan to aim for future U.S. cross country teams?
EII love cross country and I love that race. But, I love track and it’s by far my favorite. Whatever Jerry thinks I need, I trust him - whatever kind of training he thinks I need to be ready for the track. I don’t think cross country is where my future is or my strongest event so I’d like to focus on the 5k and 10k. But if he thinks in the future that cross country will be a good progression leading to track then I would definitely want to run cross country.
GCR:It is interesting when you look back over the years that so many of the top runners like Deena Kastor, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Lynn Jennings and your training partner, Shalane Flanagan, have excelled on the track, roads and in cross country. Maybe there is something to be said for mixing it up as these historically great U.S. runners did so and ran well in all three types of racing.
EIYes, that is definitely food for thought.
GCR:You already spoke about how you loved racing against Sheila Reid. Did you have any other favorite competitors in high school, college or professionally for their talent, determination and ability to bring out your best?
EISheila really did help me to be better at my game and I always had someone to chase after. She helped me to excel in college so much, was a great friend and I’m so lucky to still have her as a friend today. In high school Ohio was really tough as there were a lot of great competitors. There were Angela Bizzarri and Bridget Franek, who were both a couple of years ahead of me in high school. Jessica Beard was a 400 meter runner who I wasn’t really competitive with, but she was phenomenal and we’re still friends today. She was so tough. I loved watching her race as she was so motivational and so inspirational.
GCR:What do you plan to do similarly and differently in your training as you get ready for the 2016 Olympic year to build your base, stay healthy and sharpen up to be faster and better going into the Olympic Trials?
EII don’t know if we’ll do anything different. After getting through the injuries we finally seemed to figure out a recipe to keep me healthy. I think we will stay along the same lines. I make sure I see my chiropractor consistently and get regular massages. My chiropractor has been a Godsend. He’s the person who figured out what needed to be done to keep me healthy and I am so blessed and lucky to have found him. He’s incredible. I have a close relationship with him. Altitude training has worked well for me as I feel like I come out of it so fit. I enjoy the altitude training and it will continue to be in the mix.
GCR:You made a U.S. World Championship team and raced onto the medal podium, but would making an Olympic team be somehow different, even though you will race most of the same women to make the team and in the Games?
EIIt is different and the proof is when I talk to others about what I do as professional runner. The first thing they ask is if I’m an Olympian or how many Olympics I’ve been to. When I tell them I’m not an Olympian, their response will be something like, ‘Then what do you do? I don’t get it.’ I do tell them I’m training for the Olympics which is the only way to help people to understand what I’m doing. The Olympics are so special. The World Championships are incredible and amazing, but an Olympic year has that special something behind it and to say you are an Olympian is a huge accomplishment. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was a little kid. In fourth grade I remember saying what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said I wanted to be an Olympian. I’ve wanted that forever. I’m so happy that I had the experience at the World Championships last summer, but I’m excited for the year coming forward. It is special for me to have the opportunity to try to make an Olympic team. That sticks with you for life and I would like to have that designation.
GCR:What advice do you have for younger runners to improve consistency, minimize injuries and reach their potential?
EIMake sure you are passionate about running and love what you are doing. Don’t be so obsessive about numbers and workouts and mileage. I became so obsessed with the mileage and every single workout. You need to look at the grand scheme and, if you’re not feeling good, switch things up or take a day off. Communicate with your coach. That is something I struggled with as I never wanted to complain. I wanted to be super tough and I felt like I had a lot to prove so I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Listen to your body. Don’t make excuses or cop out of a workout just because you don’t want to do it, but be smart about your training and it will pay off. Treat your body well. You can’t just push and not recover and then expect results. Some days you’re going to be sick or a workout takes more out of you than usual and you go into the next workout feeling terrible because you aren’t recovered. That is when you must communicate with your coach and look at the big picture rather than the one workout. Finally, have confidence that even if you aren’t feeling good or don’t run well one day that your body of work is strong.
GCR:Are there any major lessons you have learned during your life from balancing academics and athletics, the discipline of running, struggling through adversity and health issues, getting second places and working harder to win, and huge racing success that you mention when talking to groups of runners that you would like to share with my readers?
EILook at yourself and try to improve yourself. It’s great to have people to push you to be what you want to be and it’s great to be competitive with others, but you have to be competitive with yourself. Focus on small stuff as you can make a big leap every once and again but you aren’t going to constantly make big leaps. There will be plateau periods. You have to keep pushing through frustration and you will have that breakthrough race or breakthrough day that will make it all worthwhile. Even though it can be frustrating when you are aiming for a breakthrough, you have to be patient with yourself. Injuries taught me to be patient and to listen to my body. I tried to rush back from my injuries and I ended up injuring myself again. Be smart and don’t push for short term benefits – if you want longevity in this sport you have to be patient and go about it smartly. Also, everyone is different and I found that I couldn’t handle as much mileage and when I did too much too soon compared to other runners I couldn’t handle it. I know my limits now and test the limits every now and then, but I do it smartly. I have more patience now, build more slowly, trust my coach and trust myself. That being said, give it all you have and believe in yourself and you will be surprised at what you can do. Lastly, do have fun with running.
 Inside Stuff
Hobbies/InterestsI love reading, cooking and baking. I like to try different recipes. I usually read before bed time to help me fall asleep
NicknamesMy mom has a bunch of different nicknames for me – she calls me ‘Bunny’ because she thinks I’m like a bunny. She’s called me that since I was about three years old. My friends call me ‘Fairy Princess’ or ‘FP’
Favorite moviesI love weird movies. I like Tim Burton movies like ‘Nightmare before Christmas.’ I love all of his movies. I also like romantic comedies and other comedies
Favorite TV shows‘Game of Thrones.’ My training group loved it and we watched it when we were training at altitude
TV reality show dreamI don’t know if I’d want to be on a reality show, but I’d love to be on HGTV and have them completely redecorate a house for me
Favorite musicI love ‘Blink 182.’ They are my absolute favorite. I really like ‘Twenty-one Pilots’ and 'Angels and Airwaves.' I like ‘Jimmy Eat World.’ I like that rock-indie-punk type of music. Songs by ‘Blink 182’ I like are ‘Always’ and ‘Josie.’ The video for ‘What’s My Age Again?’ was definitely a go to video with my college mixes. It’s fun music
Favorite booksI love inspirational books like ‘The Boys in the Boat’ and ‘The Optimist.’ Recently I read both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s autobiographies and Oprah’s ‘What I know for Sure.’ They are my most recent reads and they all have life’s lessons and inspirations in there. I do like fiction and go for best sellers
First carMy current car is my first car. It’s a 2005 silver Toyota Corolla. It has crank windows – no power – so I have to roll them down. (I interjected – ‘you’ve got a Bronze medal, didn’t you get a bonus?) It still works so there’s no point in getting another car until it breaks down. It’s perfect as it does the job and gets me from point A to point B
First JobsI was a lifeguard for six summers all through high school and some summers in college. I also babysat and that’s basically it
Favorite Halloween costumesI was a 1980s dancer with a bunch of spandex and fun colors. I was also Ginger Spice, one of the Spice Girls
FamilyI’m so blessed with my family. I have two incredible parents who are super-hard working. My dad, Michael, is a pulmonologist. He is one of the hardest working people I know and is very modest and humble. He has a great work ethic. My mom, Sue, is the Mayor of our city which is super funny at times. She works very hard as well. She helped get our city pool built and cares so much about our city. My older sister, Maggie, is following in my dad’s footsteps – she’s going to be a doctor. My younger sister, Lucy, is in her final year of law school. I feel like they are so accomplished and that I’m not using my brain enough in comparison. I try to soak in what they are doing
PetsI had a cat growing up whose name was Jasper. He was awesome, such a great pet and a part of our family. Other than that we didn’t have any other cats or dogs. We had a number of amphibians when I was growing up. My sister had box turtles and I had little chameleons and frogs and even a couple of garter snakes. That was a little different
Favorite breakfastI love oatmeal with different toppings; or yogurt and granola with fruit. I also love omelets. I have oatmeal most often so it is probably my favorite
Favorite mealI love all seafood, but salmon the most. I like some good bread on the side. Some greens and a homemade salad with parmesan cheese or farrow in there is super tasty
Favorite beveragesI’m pretty boring. I drink water, milk and seltzer water. I also have Gatorade as an exercise supplement. I love different flavors of sparkling water. Shalane hasn’t turned me onto the dark beers she likes – I wish she could, but I’m a wine person and love red wine. I don’t have the pallet for the different beers
First running memoryI remember doing a road race in the summer with my dad. It was like a mile fun run and it ended at a pizza place in our local town and we got a bunch of free pizza and chips and stuff. It was a fun introduction to running for me. I got to run hard and then treat myself
Running heroesI always looked up to my older sister, Maggie, in all aspects of life as well – not just running. I looked up to Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher ever since I was young. They were both huge heroes for me so it’s kind of cool to transition from reading about them and looking up to them to training a lot with Shalane
Most surprising about Shalane FlanaganMaybe how funny she is. She has an awesome sense of humor. Not that I wouldn’t have expected that necessarily, but she has a pretty good game face. She intimidates a lot of people, but she is so sweet, really funny and I love her sense of humor. She has a sassy side and sassy sense of humor
Greatest running momentsIt is the World Championships Bronze medal this past summer just because of everything leading up to it with the training and the injuries and the culmination of a couple years of lots of struggles. That will probably be my greatest moment for a while. Before that, making the U.S. team, going to Poland and running World Cross Country. In college, it would be winning the NCAA team title. It’s hard to say which one means the most to me because they all mean so much at different phases in my life
Worst running momentIt’s a hard question because at the time I may have thought that things weren’t great, but I do learn from everything. Finding out about my injuries and knowing I had to take time off were the worst times
Childhood dreamsI wanted to be an Olympian for as long as I can remember and it is a huge dream of mine
Funny memory oneI’m kind of a klutz in general so I’ve had quite a few moments where I’ve tripped on stairs or run into poles. I’m super clumsy. I have burned myself many times. I had to get stiches in my hand because I cut myself when I was cooking
Funny memory twoWhen I was in Italy I went to use the bathroom before the race and I think there was a sign on it that said the bathroom was broken, but I didn’t notice it. I went to the bathroom and then when I went to turn the faucet on the sink fell to the ground in front of me and completely shattered. Sheila Reid and Nicole Tully were outside and I told them, ‘Look what I did – I ripped the sink off of the wall!’ It was rather crazy
Embarrassing momentWhen I ran at the USA Cross Country Championships leading up to Worlds, I was so nervous before the race. I was warming up with Shalane and she said, ‘Oh gosh, I hope I don’t set the sensor off because I already am wearing my bib.’ I realized right then that I didn’t have my bib and had left it at the hotel. It was probably forty minutes before the race. We were on the course and I said, ‘Shalane I don’t have my bib. I don’t know what to do.’ So she suggested that we try to find Jerry which we did. We got our strength coach to race back to the hotel. He got into my room and got my bib. I’m sure my room was a disaster. He found my bib. It must have been on my bed because I had been packing, unpacking and repacking everything. I was literally on the starting line and they were calling out that there was two minutes until the start when my strength coach and Jerry came running up to me and pinned my race number on me really quickly. It was a real stressful moment
Worst Date EverThis one guy took me out and he had a gift card on him so we went out on his gift card. But it was only for twenty dollars and he ordered all of this food. He expected me to pay for the rest of it so it seemed like he asked me out so that I could pay or his meal. It was so strange
Favorite places to travelI love exploring Oregon as there are so many great places around here. I also like California and San Francisco is one of my absolute favorite cities. Switzerland was beautiful this past summer and I love Italy. But there are so many places yet that I haven’t been. I would love to go to Hawaii at some point. I love to travel