Oct. 20, 2011
By Kathleen Spence
Athletic Media Relations
How did you become interested in running?
My mom is a former marathon runner and I actually ran in middle school and hated it. I started up again in high school to get in shape for basketball. I look back at it now and kind of laugh at that idea and think, what does that actually mean? But God works in mysterious ways and every season is a chance to build on what I came from.
What goes through your mind when you are at the starting line?
A lot of nerves. I wish I could say very cool under pressure, but I am definitely someone with a lot of high nerves. A lot of it comes down to details in the race. How I want to move at a certain time in the race, but it also comes down to who I race for. Other details are important, but I usually have to remember these two main points as to why I’m running. Those are usually the glue that holds the details in the race.
What do you think about while you race?
I can look back at my races and there is such a state of mental exertion that you don’t really remember what is going on. I always try to refer back, but part of me thinks that what I think during my races was something that I have contrived during the race. I think my thoughts are pretty primitive, pretty simplistic. ‘I have to move a little faster, move up with Spenser’, those kinds of primitive thoughts that don’t really involve a terrible amount of effort.
What has been your favorite course to run this season?
Pre-Nationals was actually a pretty cool course because it is defined as a cross country course. We run a lot of golf courses, which is fun, but it was cool to run a course that was specifically designed as a cross country course. I’m really looking forward to our conference course; I think it is going to be a course where it allows spectators and coaches to get a lot of chances to see the runners and it is two 3K loops and one 2K loop to get a final 8K. It could be a really cool way to see a lot of runners and for me having spectators cheering is just a really good feeling.
What has been your goal for this season?
I have tried to orient myself to team goals. Our team goal has been conference and to win has been something we have never done as a men’s cross country team of the Mountain West. And this has been a year that it has not been guaranteed, but certainly in our reach. On a personal side, I have definitely tried to keep a place on the team where I can be a source of excitement for running, a source of joy at the actual fact that I get to run every day.
Who is the person who most influenced you? Why?
There are really two people that influence me. First, the easy one is my brother Carl. He’s my little brother and he acts in such a way that really shines Christ’s light. We have always been best friends and we have always been really close. He does a really good job of lifting me up and knows when to just leave me alone. It has been hard in college not to have him around. He has definitely been a strong influence on my life. The second one is my faith in Christ. The power of that influence is that I can look at that and say, ‘You know I screwed up today’ and I know his power will be there to lift me up.
What is the most important thing your father/mother taught you?
Both of my parents have taught me in regard to running the ability to be thankful. To be thankful for the ability to run, for the people in my life from running, and it’s amazing what a thankful mindset does for your performance. I am so privileged to be able to run in college. When you show that thankfulness, that gift, suddenly you work harder and it becomes more valuable. That thankfulness gives me more excitement in doing what I’m doing.
What’s the most important thing you have learned in life?
Well, thinking about the race last weekend, I was really down on myself. I kept thinking, ‘Why aren’t you running faster’. ‘You need to be better than this’. I realize that was me taking glory away from myself. If I run better on a day in which I pull the reins then I get the glory. I realize I have very little to brag on accept the love of God I have in my life and if I look for something in my life worth bragging, I usually end up failing.
What was the best day of your life?
The best day of my life was when I first started dating my girlfriend, Liz. Right now she’s in San Diego and we have a long-distance relationship. We made the decision that it was worth the effort, and I still look back on that day and think how much that day has changed my life. Even though it’s hard, every day I can wake up and say, ‘You know what? We’re still making this work’. To have a very correct answer, though, I would say that today is the best day of my life. I still have Liz, my parents, my brothers who love me and God’s love in my life.
What was your first job?
My first job was mowing lawns. I think that’s pretty stereotypical of boys and I think my parents did a very good job of making sure I was dirt poor. They would talk to the lady that I’m mowing for and tell her that she couldn’t pay me more than $5. I mean, these little old ladies, if my parents weren’t there, would pay me $10 an hour and a plate of cookies.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
God gave me a lot of talents, but they’re just useless. I wish he would’ve given me a talent I could have made money on, but they are all useless. I love to juggle, I love Rubik Cubes, love guitar, and I also love to unicycle. I really do enjoy guitar and this year especially I have really started to play more.