Most of our Q&A's tend to be with upperclassmen and people who are talked about a lot here on MileSplit. For the next couple we are planning over the next few weeks we'll be taking a look at the next generation of stars, and some others that deserve the spotlight.
This week we'll be getting to know Francis Howell Sophomore Sarah Russom. Sarah was a virtual unknown throughout her freshman cross country season, but really burst onto the scene in track. She won both her conference and district meets in the 3200m, and was one of only three freshman to qualify for state in that event in Class 5. Her PR of 11:29 that she ran at Sectionals was the fastest among freshman in Class 5 last year, and is the 10th fastest returning time overall in Class 5. This Cross Country season she has really picked up a head of steam the last few weeks, and recently picked up the GAC South Title with a time of 19:28 which is 5th fastest among sophomores in Class 4.
For those of you who don't know, I'm actually Sarah's coach at Francis Howell so I may or may not have pressured her into doing this. I thought I'd share a little anecdote about her. I noticed Sarah answered that her favorite workout was a progression run. As someone that runs with Sarah on a regular basis, I can say that almost all of her runs are progression runs. There have been several occasions (I can see Sarah rolling her eyes at me right now) where we've turned around to go back to the school and Sarah has decides its time to make Coach Taylor hurt and drastically picks up the pace and makes me feel like I'm in a race. Anyways lets see what Sarah had to say below.
Q: When did you start running? When did you realize you were good at it?
A: I began running the first day of school my Freshman year. I didn't really realize I was good at it until I broke 12 minutes in the 3200m the following spring.
Q: You just won your conference
meet as just a Sophomore, last year you weren't even on varsity. How has the
transition to running JV races to winning varsity races been for you?
A: Last year I had just started running and didn't really know what I was doing or what I was capable of. As time went on, I improved and had higher expectations of myself. Now I am more driven to try and be successful.
Q: As a distance runner mileage is obviously an important training factor, what does an average week of workouts look like for you?
A: The team workouts change as the season progresses, but usually Mondays we do Repeats, Tuesday easy-runs involving hills, Wednesday we do Fartleks, Thursday & Fridays vary depending on when we have a meet.
Q: Do you have and idols in the running world that you look up to?
A: My teammates who keep me driven and on task.
Q: Who do you look to for inspiration outside of the running world?
A: I look to both of my parents for help and guidance.
Q: What is your go to pre-race meal?
A: I really don't eat anything in particular before I run.
Editors note: Don't let this fool you. Sarah and her teammates eat loads of fruit snacks and cookies.
Q: What is your favorite song to get you pumped before a race?
A: Whatever my teammates decide to play in tent works for me!
Q: What is your favorite type of workout, and what is your least favorite?
A: My favorite workout is definitely the Progression Run. My least favorite would have to be Repeats.
Q: Do you have any running superstitions/rituals?
A: My superstition is that I always have to put the timing chip on my left shoe.
Q: If you could play any sport besides XC/Track what would it be and why?
A: Swimming is a lot of fun because I love the water and love to swim.
Q: What is your favorite XC Course, and what is your least favorite?
A: My favorite XC Course so far has been the Parkway West Invitational course followed closely by the state course. My least favorite BY FAR was Sioux Passage.
Q: What is your goal for the end of the season?
A: My main goal for this year is to make it to the State Meet with my teammates, and keep improving each meet along the way.
Q: What is your coach like, and how much of an effect have they had on you and your team?
A: My coaches are positive and keep me motivated during the long season. They have given my teammates and I the tools we need to improve.
Q: Do you have any shout outs you'd like to give?
A: To all my teammates and coaches who keep me focused, motivated, positive, and make me laugh along the way. Especially to my teammates (you know who you are) that ran with me the day after Christmas last year in 20 degree weather with ice and snow on the trail.