History of Footlocker

3 days till Footlocker.

Originally known as the Kinney Cross Country Championships (1979,) was established to determine the national elite high school cross-country runners. In 1993 the races name was changed to what is now refered to as the Footlocker Cross Country Championships.  To this day, these races are the longest running national competition for high school athletes.

The US is divided into 4 regions, The Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. The regional races typically take place at the end of November, (Thanksgiving weekend). The top 10 finishers from each division are invited to the National Championships. 40 runners in both male and female divisions race 5 kilometers  for the national title. The National Championships are usually held in California, although a few times the race was conducted in Florida.

Footlocker is a very prestigious race. Over the past 32 years 11 of the Footlocker National Champions have gone on to win NCAA Championships.  Therefore it is an experience of a life time to compete against some of the top runners in the country. I am fairly confident that several of the runners who attend Footlocker have also competed for the United State at the Olympic Games.

With 3 days to go I am so excited to watch Seth and Andrew run one more great race!!! Good Luck and be Thankful for this opportunity!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!  SEE YOU IN WISCONSIN!

Purpose of the Workout

Every workout we do has a underlining purpose. Today for example, was for you to FEEL the race pace. If you did the workout correctly, you should have felt as if you were on cruise control. Just gliding along the track effortlessly. Since this workout felt easy you could have also focused on your running form, making sure little extra movement was wasted on arm and head twitches.

While completing the workout, both runners mentioned that they had to concentrate on what they were doing. I am so glad this was mentioned. In a race you have to be able to strategize. Once the gun goes off, as the coach, I have no control over what happens. It is all up to you! This workout was perfect practice for dipping into your deep concentration to make sure you stayed on pace and focused on what that pace felt like.

Throughout the workout Andrew and Seth looked very controlled. It was a successful workout, hitting each interval within the ranges provided.

One week till Footlocker. Keep those positive thoughts flowing.

Our next and last “hard” effort workout will be either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Would You Rather…

Winning is fun and exciting and tends to give you a sense of accomplishment. Standing on the podium all eyes on you is a great feeling. There was such satisfaction knowing I won the race. Growing up my Mom taught me the importance of giving my best effort. She emphasized how in life it is not always about being the best and winning the race. If I ever started to get a little too confident with my success my mother would ask me:

“Would you rather win the race with a poor performance, or place 4th with the best race of your life?”

Take a moment to think about that question. You can apply this question to running and other aspects of life. Standing on the podium as the top athlete means you were the best that day. However, when you pair it with a poor performance, the gold medal draped around your neck loses its meaning.  Although you obviously could not have placed better, to know you could have ran a more strategic race and set a new personal best is disappointing. There is so much pressure in winning; we lose sight of what is really important. We get caught up with the GOLD, SILVER, and BRONZE medals. When in fact it is not always about who crossed that finish line first. It is about who fought the hardest. Who raced the smartest? Who wanted it the most?

This all brings me to another question. Is your heart in this for the right reasons? This sport is so difficult, injuries are always hunting us. Pressures are always suffocating us. If you do not have the right mind set, running will become too difficult and you will break down. I personally would rather place 4th, miss my chance at medaling, yet run the best race of my career. Because when I cross that finish line I want to know there was absolutely nothing else I could have done. Yes, it is upsetting to know you gave 100% and that the 100% you just gave was not good enough to claim the Gold. We cannot get stuck in a rut believing we did not run well unless we have won. If we start believing those sorts of ideas we will spiral downhill. Injuries and disappointments will arise and ultimately it will become very easy to give up.

Figure out what situation you would rather have. Make sure your heart is really in this for the right reasons. So ask yourself…. “Would you rather win the race with a poor performance, or place 4th with the best race of your life?”

NXN Midwest Region

Check out the NXN results!!!

This is the largest field of racer and most competitive race Andrew has ever had the opportunity to compete. With roughly 350 runner Andrew managed to place 187th in a time of 16:59. Andrew ran a fabulous race. He really gave us a race to watch. We are all very proud of him.

One unique aspect of NXN is they place hay bales around the course for obstacles.  Andrew was racing with the top guys from Missouri the entire way. With 800 meters left with a pack of runners surrounding Andrew he did not see the hay bales. unfortunately this cause him to fall and do a few somersaults in the processes of getting back up to race. At this point runners were stomping all over Andrew. He managed to get up and fight through the finish. I would suggest if it were not for  the fall he would have finished a good 30 seconds faster.

I am most proud of Andrew’s determined mind. He was not going to let the fall stop him from finishing a great race. I must say, if Andrew has this much fight left in him at Footlocker he will really show us what he is capable of.

GREAT JOB and KEEP WORKING HARD. We are almost there!!!!

Nike Cross and Practice

Yea ANDREW!!! Nike Cross Nationals is less than 24 hours away.

Andrew will be representing our club team up in Indiana tomorrow. I am so excited for him. It will be a great race. He is ready for this. Andrew has relaxed  a little this week to help regain the strength needed to tackle the course. Stay tuned for results tomorrow!

Seth had a great workout today. It was a little windy and warmer than normal but a great effort. With 2 weeks till Footlocker training is still in high gear.

If you need a little extra motivation for Nike and practices this week take a look at The Big Mazungo. It is a very interesting documentary about Craig Mottram. He is an Australian who specializes in the 5000 meter. I find it interesting to hear how he thinks when it comes to racing.  My favorite the he says is said in the first 5 minutes! He says you have to be “desperate”. Are you desperate to be good at this sport? The season is almost done. 2 weeks to go. At Nike and in practices be desperate. This not only applies to running but to life in general.  Being desperate will make you work harder. You need to be willing to give it all you have got to accomplish your goals. Be desperate to be the best you can be. Be motivated to be the best you can be. YOU can reach your goals.

One other statement Mottram says, is that he feels most comfortable standing on the starting line with the best in the world. He loves knowing he is good enough and has worked hard enough to be out there. These next few races are with the top runners in the Midwest region of the United States. When you are standing on the starting line, feel comfortable out there. It can be a tad intimidating. Just know you deserve to be out there. YOU have worked hard enough to have these opportunities.

Most importantly DO NOT FORGET TO HAVE FUN AND SMILE!

What did you learn from his video? Leave a comment below.

Top 10 Nutrition Suggestions

Everybody is different. No two people are the same. We all have different nutritional needs and requirements. In my case I have Celiac Disease, therefore my diet is much different from the average person. However what we eat is very important. Our fuel will dictate how well we run. Some think I am overly cautious with food choices due to my bachelors degree in Nutrition. But really, why would you want to put “bad” food in your body.  It is funny how we will put sunscreen on our skin to prevent skin cancer but we do not treat our insides with the same respect. We consume countless amounts of sodas and processed foods not really taking into account what it is doing to our insides.

As runners we have to be cautious about what we eat. Not only will your choices affect your running ability but it will also affect your life in a positive way. So now you are probably thinking, What do I need to eat?

That is easy. My advice is to consume about 75% of the food you eat in its most natural form. Meaning lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. Try to stay away from overly processed foods as much as possible. I do realize we can not avoid processed food. I understand we are not cavemen. What I mean by natural is instead of buying prepackaged spaghetti from the frozen section. Try making your food from scratch. Boil water and cook your own pasta. Also try making fresh tomato sauce and freezing the leftovers for future uses. There will be less preservatives this way. You will be fueling yourself with the best possible option.

I also realize we may not have time to put in that much effort into your meals. That is fine. Just try to think about what you are consuming before you eat a fried Oreo.

My Top 10 suggestions:

1. Use your crock pot. All you have to do is let the crock pot do the work for you.

2. Nuts and seeds make great snacks. They are full of protein and heart healthy fats.

3. Eat your Sweet Potatoes. They are full of energizing carbohydrates and loaded with potassium to help you get through your workouts.

4. Veggie Smoothies. If you are not getting in enough veggies buy a bag of Kale and add it to your smoothies.

5. Eat your Beans. They are easy and cheap. And can be added to pretty much any dish to increase not only the protein but fiber content.

6. Add Berries to your cereals in the morning. This way you get a serving of fruit!

7. Use olive oil based dressing and sauces.

8. Read the first 5 ingredients on packages. Those ingredients tell you what your food is made up of.  If you can not pronounce those first few ingredients but it back and look for something else.

9. Drink WATER!!!!

10. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW

There are many aspects to being a great runner, athlete, and individual. Nutrition is just one of them. What are some of your nutrition suggestions?

20 Questions with a Professional

First I want to thank David for giving me the time to collect this interview. David and I did run together when we attended Oklahoma State. After he graduated he headed up to Michigan to run for the Hanson Brooks Project. After a few years in Michigan fighting through the cold winters David moved down to North Carolina to run with Zap Fitness. Currently he is in Idaho training and will be racing in Manchester in just a few weeks. I hope you all enjoy the first interview: 20 Questions with a Professional!!!

DAVID JANKOWSKI

Home town: Idaho Falls, ID
College: Oklahoma State
PRS: Marathon: 2:16:15
          10000: 28:14.6
          5000: 13:40.3
          1500:3:45.3

1. What is your Favorite Movie?

Let’s go with Blood Sport. I don’t really have a favorite, but Van Damme is awesome.

2. Do you have a favorite workout or pre-race tune to get you pumped up?

I rarely listen to music before I race. Not out of principle or anything, but I typically get pumped up on my own.

3. What Running Shoe do you wear?

I am switching between the Asics 2000 and the Adidas Glide at the moment.

4. What is your favorite workout of all time?

Either 6 x mile or a good old 4-mile tempo

5. What is your Favorite Pre Race food?

Usually spaghetti, but I am pretty flexible.

6. What is you all-time favorite food?

Mom’s meatloaf (which changes every time)

7. What is your favorite event?

The 10,000-meters on the track. I like the rhythm you can get into on the track and the atmosphere that a confined space brings.

8. What do you do for fun?

Outside of running I mostly read the Bible and play the drums.

9. Who or what inspires you to keep running?

The challenge that running presents keeps me going. I like to think that I can still pr in every event I have run, and for that reason I would like to progress until I don’t think there is more in the tank.

10. How do you stay motivated?

It depends on the day. Sometimes waking up is enough. Other days remembering a future or past race is helpful and still others I think of the people who wish they could be doing what I have done and am doing.

11. What is your greatest running related accomplishment?

I am not sure, but I will say the 2009 USATF Club XC individual and team titles.

12. What is your opinion on the importance of recovery days?

Recovery days are vital to a training segment. Without giving your body sufficient time to recover it is difficult to continue to progress in workouts and races. These days also serve as great mental buffers to help avoid mental burnout.

13. What is your best memory?

I would have a hard time picking a best. One of my favorites would have to be working with my teammates from Oklahoma State University to cruise to our third consecutive regional title, before going on to finish third at the NCAA DI Championships 10 days later. Being surrounded by the teammates who worked hard all season toward one goal was a lot of fun. I remember looking to my right and seeing Matt Barnes-Smith and David Chirchir then looking to my left to see Ryan Vail and Dan Watts and thinking, “this is too easy.” The addition of Colby Wissel (Kansas) and John Beattie (Tulsa) running with us over the final 2k added to that experience.

14. How has your training changed through the years?

The main change in my training has been an increase in mileage. I ran between 15 and 25 miles per week in high school, 50-65 in college, and now run between 95-115. With that change the duration of workouts has also increased.

15. What was your highest mileage in high school versus now?

I hit one week of 35 miles, generously measured, in high school. Now, I believe my highest mileage week is 122. I had consecutive three weeks of 120, give or take 3 miles, last fall.

16. What do you think is the most important aspect of training?

Putting in the work is the most important thing. No matter how talented you are, if you don’t put the work in you can never achieve what you are capable of. Once the work is in, confidence and belief in your ability to perform are the most important things.

17. What is an example of a workout you would do before a major race?

I don’t do any major workouts in the week leading up to a major race. Typically I am tapering my mileage at that time. I will do something like 5 or 6 x 1k at 3:00-3:05 on the track with 1 minute recovery in the days leading up to a big race. 10 days out I will do my last major workout of the season.

18. What is your typical day like?

Pretty laid back. I wake up, run, eat, mess around or go for a few hours of work at a local running store before running again then having dinner and going to sleep.

19. What is next in line for you, where are you headed?

On Thanksgiving Day I will be in Manchester, CT running the annual Manchester Road Race. I am pretty excited to be a part of their race. I would go so far as to say it is the best Thanksgiving Day race in the US.

20. Do you have any words of wisdom for up and coming runners?

Listen to your body. Being aware of how you feel on a day-to-day basis can help you to stay health and recovered for races and workouts.  Sometimes taking one day off today is better than needing to take 2 or 3 weeks off later.

THANK YOU AGAIN DAVID FOR GIVING ME THE TIME TO INTERVIEW YOU!!!!

No Time to Take it Easy

With the State Championships out-of-the-way, we get to relax a little. At least for a day or two that is. Footlocker is just around the corner. Just over 2 weeks away. Which means just enough time to get in some last-minute training. We are still in full gear. After Footlocker there will be time for the much deserved break.

I loved my experiences at the South Footlocker Regional Championships. Although my experiences were not ideal they were a opportunity of a life time. I was sick with the flu during my first attempt and diagnosed with potassium deficiency my senior year. Going into these races I knew I was not 100% healthy. However, I loved racing. I loved having the opportunity to compete against some of the best runners. Footlocker will be FUN!

This is your last shot to run the race of your season.  What I am saying is NO ONE else matters. It is about you going out there and running your best race. The weather may not be ideal. There may even be snow on the ground. Therefore, I am not expecting fast times. I am expecting you to be smart. It looks like the course will be hilly. Similar to State. Lucky for you!!! You already know how to run on hills.

The workouts we will be running over the next few weeks will not be overly difficult. However, next week I do expect 2 hard effort runs. I have given you an easy week, but tomorrow will be a workout. I want you to work hard. Please keep me posted on how you are feeling.

HAPPY RUNNING!!

STATE. We did it!

It has been a long season. One to look back on with great pride. We set our sights high this summer. Some may even suggest we set our sights too high. I disagree. If we had not set impressive goals we may not have made it as far as we did. Ending the school season with an 11th and 18th place at State. I am elated.

Andrew Gordon crossed the finish line at the 2011 State Cross Country Championships in a time of 17:58 coming in 40th place. With one year to train, he set his goals. It would be his last season. He had never earned All State Honors. In order to do so he would need to place in the top 25. At the beginning of the summer, that was the goal, to be All State. However as the season started and progressed Andrew appeared to be dominating races and turning into a highly competitive runner. Going into the State championships, I was certain he would come out of the race in a top 10 finish. It would be tough, but I believed it was possible. The course in Jefferson City is probably one of the most difficult courses I have ever laid eyes on. Andrew gave it everything he had and crossed the finish line in 17:02 to earn 18th place. One could be disappointed in the placement. But when you really look at the outcome, there is nothing to be disappointed about. He improved his time by nearly a minute. Last year this time would have earned him a 6th place finish. This year the race was just faster. Every year is different, every race is different. Andrew did reach the one goal he had been striving for over the past 3 years. He finally earned the All State title. I am so proud of Andrew. But he is not finished yet. This upcoming Sunday he will be racing in Indiana at the Nike Cross Nationals, as well as the Midwest Footlocker championships later on this month. I am looking forward to his performances at these two races.

Hours later. It was Seth Brown’s turn. The class 1A race was about to begin. Going into this race similar to Andrew’s, there were goals. Goals which were intense but were possible. There was one runner who we both knew would probably win, but after him the rest was up in the air, it was anyones race. Seth has been training well and had mentally prepared to blow the field away. He definitely was an underdog. Not many people expected him to run at the top. However at mile 2 he was in 5th place and it looked as if he was gaining on 4th place. It was so exciting. With about 400 to go there is a down hill which leads right to the up hill finish. I saw Seth running, but he did not look the same. I knew something was up. There was a group of 6 runners creeping up on him. I was yelling hoping he could keep them off of his tail. With 200 meters to go, Seth was running in slow motion. I knew something was wrong. Steps before the finish line one runner pasted, then Seth collapsed. The other 5 guys quickly sprinted past him. For a moment I am sure my heart stopped. I had no idea what to do but then in a blink of an eye Seth was up and running across the finish line. I seen runners collapse several times before the finish. This is one of the most intense gut wrenching sports out there. I was so proud of Seth for picking himself of and finishing. He really did give everything he had out there. Nothing was left on the course. After the race, Seth stated, “I could have given more, but it would have taken my life”, Words of a true fighter. I am so happy. Finishing in 11th place in a time of 17:45 earning All State Honors. It was a great day. Seth ran over 40 seconds faster than last year. He still has 2 years to develop and dominate the State course. Runners better watch out. With a the fight Seth has in him he will be someone to watch next year! Seth will be competing in the Midwest Footlocker Championships later this month.

Ultimately I believe these 2 runners ran some amazing races. They worked so hard and made some major improvements over the year. I am so lucky to be apart of their successes!

1 day to go!

Good luck tomorrow.

The Missouri State Championships are finally here.

I have been trying to figure out what to say all day. Searching for some last-minute words of wisdom. I was starting to think that I had nothing more to say, that I have said all that needs to be said. But I will leave you with this:

When you go out there tomorrow and when you are standing there on the starting line. I hope you are smiling. I hope you are proud of yourselves. Those tingles you feel run up and down your spine are not nervous chills they are chills of excitement. When you look around to see your competitors be thankful that you have the opportunity to compete against the best runners in the state. It is not easy to get to that starting line. And you have made it.

When that gun goes off I hope you are still smiling. Be happy the race has started. Be happy there is no more waiting. Be happy you are finally racing!

When you cross the finish line. I hope no matter what the outcome of the race,you are smiling. I hope you are happy with your performance because you gave it everything you had out there on the course.

I will close with one of my favorite quote. Eat well tonight!!

The gun goes off and everything changesthe world changesand nothing else really matters.”-Patti Sue Plummer