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!