Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Courtney Frerichs: 5 Things That Are Different Now That I’m a Pro

What a difference a year makes! At this time last year I was a student-athlete at the University of New Mexico, thinking about grades and winter break as much as training and racing. Now I’m a full-time professional runner in Portland, Oregon. Here are five ways my life is different these days.—Courtney Frerichs

1. I’ll start with the most obvious one: no more school! After having been in school since age 5 and being a student-athlete in the NCAA for the last five years, I can finally say I am done with classes! (Well, at least for a few years.) I have so much more free time now, which has definitely been a change. I’m still looking for a good hobby to fill my time when I’m not running.

2. New city! Making the move to Portland was a big one for me. My first four years of college at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, I was a short drive away from home. I moved a little farther away for my fifth year, but the University of New Mexico was still a one-day drive home if needed. While I miss my family a lot, I have enjoyed exploring my new city, and really enjoy what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. It definitely doesn’t hurt that Portland is known for coffee shops. I have enjoyed seeing new parts of the city while trying new coffee shops.

3. The professional schedule is quite a bit different. In college, my big competition seasons were the fall and the spring. Now, the main racing season is during the summer, with the long base training phase in the fall. This last fall I found myself very antsy because I was so used to racing during this time. I’m definitely looking forward to 2017 coming because that means indoor and cross country racing will finally be here!

4. Altitude trips! In college, I spent my first four years training full-time at sea level, and then my fifth year entirely at altitude. While I found the year at altitude to be very beneficial, I am excited to have specifically timed altitude trips, because always being at altitude did get difficult mentally sometimes, because you can’t run some of your workouts as fast. Team altitude trips are also a blast and the benefits from training are great.

5. New team and coach! One of the biggest changes so far has been changing coaches and teams. It has been one of the most exciting changes! As soon as I visited with Jerry Schumacher, Pascal Dobert and the BTC Babes, I knew it was where I wanted to continue my career. Change can be difficult and training has been hard, but I am loving every second of it. I feel so lucky to be working with the best group I could ask for!

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Colleen Quigley 1st, Sammy Silva 3rd at Club Cross

Supporting the adage that good steeplechasers make good cross country runners, Olympic steepler Colleen Quigley topped a strong field to win the USATF Club Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. Her Bowerman Track Club teammate Sammy Silva finished third, helping the BTC squad take third in the team standings.

Colleen and Sammy were part of a seven-women pack who were still together 5 kilometers into the 6K race. Colleen closed the best, running a final kilometer of 3:04 to win in 19:31. Sammy was 5 seconds back, in the same time, 19:36, as second-place finisher Sarah Pagano of the Boston Athletic Association.

Full results are here.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Colleen Quigley Wants You to Do Your Push-Ups

Want to win some Nike swag? Then drop and give Colleen Quigley 20!

Colleen is challenging fans to post on Instagram a video of themselves doing at least 20 push-ups. If you tag Colleen (@steeple_squigs) and post your video by December 18, you’ll be eligible to win Nike gear, via a random drawing.

Full details on Colleen’s site.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Andrew Bumbalough is Back on Track, Literally and Figuratively

On November 26, Andrew Bumbalough ran 28:09.35 for 10,000 meters, less than 13 seconds off his personal best, at the Hachioji Long Distance meet in Tokyo, Japan. A late-in-the-year near-PR on the track is notable for pretty much anyone, but for Andrew, who’d spent much of the previous year and a half injured, the performance was even more remarkable. It also gives him a huge confidence boost as he eyes his debut marathon in 2017.

“I was really pleased with the way it went,” Andrew says about his first track race in two years. “I thought 28:00 was possible on a good day, and I felt really good through a little past halfway. My lack of complete fitness caught up with me the last two miles, especially once they picked up the pace.” The race was won by Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi, the world junior record holder at 1500 meters, in 27:33.94.

“Just the fact that I’m talking about being near my PR after such a long layoff is really exciting,” Andrew says.

Andrew’s year-plus injury woes started, as they sometimes do, at another time when he was in great shape. In March 2015, he ran a PR of 1:02:04 at the NYC Half Marathon to place fifth overall and first American. The race was intended to be the first step in a slow build-up to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last February. Instead, once he started his transition to training for outdoor track, he was bothered by what was ultimately diagnosed as a sports hernia. In July 2015, he had surgery to repair the small tear that extended from his lower abdomen to his upper thigh. He didn’t run for three months.

When Andrew resumed training, it was time to start gearing up for 2016. “If it had been any other year but an Olympic year, I would have taken a slower approach coming back,” he says. Rushing his comeback while not yet feeling like his old self mechanically led to a sacral stress fracture. “By late spring it was obvious I wouldn’t be running the Olympic Trials, so I decided to stop and get healthy,” Andrew says.

He began running again in July, and did only easy running his first two months back. With September came the addition of workouts and the obligatory rust-buster race, an 11th-place, 14:18 performance at the national 5K championships in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 18. “I wanted to get out there and race, but I knew I wasn’t fit enough to mix it up with those guys,” he says of runners like winner Ryan Hill (13:57) and U.S. Olympians Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir and Donn Cabral. Andrew’s progress continued two weeks later with a 48:13, 8th-place finish at the national 10-mile championships in Minnesota.

Despite now feeling on the cusp of 10,000-meter PR fitness, Andrew won’t be tackling the distance again soon. Instead, next month he’ll head to Flagstaff, Arizona, for an altitude training block before his debut marathon in the first half of 2017. “I’m not looking to knock it out of the park in my first at-bat in the marathon,” Andrew says. “I plan to run conservatively, to have a good experience my first time out.”

The site of Andrew’s debut has yet to be announced. Regardless of the locale, when the only person ever to make Chris Solinsky vomit after a workout is healthy and eager, as Andrew now is, it will be a race worth watching.

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