No. 98, Revisited [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“One of my biggest setbacks in high school would be having a stress fracture from my last season of track. This was going into senior season, big goals ahead. I had already committed to Michigan, but I still had times I wanted to get. … I had a really good indoor season, then two meets into the outdoor season, my shins just completely gave out on me. So I got an MRI, found out I had two stress fractures. So that kinda put a damper on training right away. I got to the Golden Triangle Meet at Saline, kinda like a state meet preview, and I got to run the 8 [800 meters] there—it was the last thing I did before taking a month-and-a-half off. So I spent a month-and-a-half in the pool. I’d get up in the morning and swim with the swim team. Then after school, either elliptical or bike and then get back in the pool. I did that all the way up to the regional meet, so I got to regionals, and I hadn’t been on a track up until like the day before, and that was just a couple of strides. So I got through that, qualified with a time, made it to the state meet. My coach from there had me doing workouts every once in a while. With 200 meters left in the state meet race though, I felt something shift in my shin, and it just gave out on me. So I went from being third with like 250 to go, to dead last. I got a pity clap coming in the homestretch—probably one of the worst moments ever. … So that was my transition into collegiate running.

“I got back for cross-country [at Michigan], and then same thing: double stress fractures again right before indoor started, except it was both legs this time. I kinda rushed back into training because I was really eager about starting college running. I felt like I had a little bit of ground to make up. … It was one of those things where you got to know the pool, the bike and the Ann Arbor swim club that comes in between 11 and 1. I knew their times, they knew me. We were on a first-name basis in the diving well. So that was one of those things where you didn’t really get to see the team very much freshman year, which was difficult. … But with maybe two months left in outdoor, I started training again, so I got to do my base mileage, and the upperclassmen girls were really good about bringing me back. I got to race one meet at the end of the season. It was just an 800, and I literally had not touched a track since doing a race [simulation] 600 indoor back in December. So [Coach] McGuire came up to me before, and in terms of life advice, McGuire is a pretty quiet guy, very few words. And the only thing he said to me was, ‘If you go out and try to lead this in a 60 or 61, I will run out onto the lane and tackle you’ and walked away. So I pretty much went out, sat back the first lap and then picked up the second lap again. Took his advice, and it went really well. I think I got second in the heat and broke my high school PR. So I went 2:14-low, and I was really happy with it for a first race back.”

Nos. 95, 96 & 97, Revisited [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

Right: “I want to do a road mile. I want to break 16 in the 5K. I have wanted to break 17 in the 5K for a long time for cross-country, and I did it in my 6K on Sunday. I was so happy when I saw the time. Because that was my high school PR [17:00.2]. And we don’t run 5K very often [in college]. For so long I was like, ‘I can’t break my high school time.’ But I finally did it.”

“Talk about Coach McGuire. What has he taught you that you’ll take with you beyond Michigan?”

Right: “Tough love, don’t feel sorry for yourself, and just work hard. … There’s a level of accountability on the team, and so whenever there’s a period of no leadership and no seniors making sure everyone’s running enough miles, then the team’s way worse for a few years. … He really lets us create our own culture. He knows that even if he tried to create our culture, he couldn’t. You know what I mean? He’s one person, there’s 30 of us.”

Center: “He’s not really that involved in every single aspect of our training. He doesn’t tell us how many miles to run—it’s up to us. We adjust it to how we feel and how our bodies are reacting to it. … [Coach McGuire] is old enough and wise enough to know that this is the best way it works.”

No. 96 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“The harshest [running] times are when you go into a race and you’re really fit and really ready and really excited, and you just run awful, and there’s no reason why. You question everything. You question your talent, you question your preparation, you question if you’re cut out for it, you question if you’re mentally tough. You just question everything, and it’s really hard to bounce back from those [races] more so than injury. You just have no idea why it went so horribly. It’s hard to go into the next race after that happening. How do you get your confidence back? How do you feel ready to race again? Those have been the darkest times, but I’m lucky because Coach [Mike] McGuire has invested a lot of time and energy and resources in me, and helping make sure I’m prepared. So usually when that happens, I’ve been able to either get stronger the next year from it or get stronger the next race. It’s just been a huge learning process.”

No. 93 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“My darkest running moment was from my sophomore year during track season. I had a really bad ankle sprain. I was working out and going over the barriers, and on the water jump on one of the intervals, my foot was just twisted there, and I came down on it and sprained it really bad. Everyone thought it was broken, but luckily it wasn’t—it was just a very severe sprain. So I had to go through about six to eight weeks of rehab. I was in a walking boot, on crutches. Eight weeks later was when I was able just to start jogging, very light jogging. During that month-and-a-half to two months, it was pretty frustrating because I was just out of the loop, and it was hard to see the end of the injury. What kept me seeing through it all was continuing to be on the rehab and making sure I was doing everything I possibly could to get better and as fast as I could. I would try to put myself into team situations or events and just talk to people as much as I could. Without running, without practice every day, you don’t get that aspect as much. … Coach [Mike] McGuire is very supportive, and he’ll tell you to listen to your body and make sure you’re not overdoing it our pushing too hard. He doesn’t want [an injury] to get worse, obviously. He’s very encouraging, and he believes in you, which is the biggest thing that helps you get through something like that.”

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“I definitely want to do a half marathon officially in a race. We do [13.1 miles] in a long run every week, but I’d like to do a half marathon race. After that, I want to do a marathon. Eventually, I would like to do at least one triathlon and one Ironman. This is kind of the sequence of events that I eventually want to get done. I want to do all those things at least once, and then after that maybe see if I like one particular thing or the other. I definitely still want to have that competitive edge when collegiate running is done.”

“I’m a high school senior, I’ve narrowed my college decision down to Michigan and three other schools, I want to run. How would you pitch Michigan to me to convince me to come here for running and academics?”

“I could relate, because I was down to Michigan and a few other schools, and what really sold me was the academics here and just the history and the tradition of all the athletic programs—especially women’s cross-country in general, and with Mike McGuire being such a highly respected coach. To be an athlete under him, I knew I’d be able to reach my potential, and he’d be able to turn me from being an average high school runner to a pretty good collegiate runner. I’d tell a high school senior to look at the history and all the runners he’s coached and what he’s done.”