Q: We know you're currently training under Coach Gagliano and the NJ*NY TC, how is your fitness coming along?
A: Yes, I do train with Coach Gags and Tommy Nohilly, this will be my third year. While the fall did not start off like others for me, between some injuries and a long summer season, if there is one thing I can trust it is that my coaches kick my butt into shape! And they prepare me to race when I am ready. I am looking forward to a lot of strength throughout the winter and hopefully an exciting spring.
Q: You went to Colts Neck HS in New Jersey before attending Princeton, why did you decide to stay in The Garden State for your professional career?
A: I think that there are great reasons to be many places for a professional career, and while my current forever in NJ history doesn't show it, I think I would enjoy many places. That being said, the Garden State is my home, it is where my family is, my old coaches, my friends that don't know what the newest model of my training shoe is called. Professional running is very hard and it takes will and selfishness, but also a support system. I didn't want to leave mine.
Q: Additionally, we heard you are also studying at Rutgers Law. How do you manage to balance running with that level of school work?
A: I am really enjoying law school, it gives me an excuse for the debt I am currently in, ha. In all seriousness however, our college students are some of our nation's best and no one is giving them excuse for the running and school work balance. I think it gives me regime and it helps me to keep running a passion and something I love to do, not a burden or a "job".
Q: Do you know yet where you will be opening up your season?
A: I will be opening up at the New Balance Games next week in the fun indoor mile steeple.
Q: And we assume you will proudly be sporting your Saucony jersey?
A: Yup!! #findyourstrong. I am so happy that I will be able to continue to work with Saucony in preparation for my next couple years of races and goals. It is a great family to be a part of and I am really fortunate.
Q: It seems like your relationship with Saucony as your sponsor has been a great relationship since you first signed on with them. We carry and sell lots of Saucony gear at the store and people love what they make. What makes the company so special?
A: Saucony is special in it belief in remaining a "family company" even though it is huge and worldwide. It picks only a few athletes and invests in them. Often, they are not necessarily the star "emerging elites"everyone wants. They are someone who blends running into their lifestyle and has a story. I like to think that same attitude is what Saucony brings to all their buyers - apparel and shoes for runners who after their runs, run off to do other amazing great things!
Q: What shoes do you train in for your easy runs and workouts? At the Sneaker Factory, we are always curious to hear what our country's best are wearing.
A: For training runs, I usually have two pairs going at the same time (The Ride and the Triumph). Then, for workouts and races, I like the Fastwitch Flat and the Endorphin LD spike.
Q: Last summer after your second place finish at the US Championships, you earned the right to represent the USA at the World Championships in Moscow for the 3000m Steeplechase. What was that experience like?
A: Representing the US at the World Championships was a huge goal and a huge honor. The experience was the highest level I had ever been at, and I hope to be back at that level again, this time prepared to execute. In many ways, that USA singlet is what I think drives most of us to be pro runners. Culturally, Russia was a crazy experience and unique country.
Q: Before the US Championships, was there a specific workout that you did that let you know you were ready to run fast?
A: I think my two "ready to race workouts" are very different but important. First, is a 3 by 800 workout. Three fast 8's with full rest. Pretty honest. The other workout is steeple specific, with a time trial over hurdles (about 2k) and then around 4 or 5 400's over all the barriers.
Q: Is there a secret to your success that you could share with us? I am looking to set some pr's this year and you seem to be pretty good at that.
A: Ha, well thank you. I think I have learned so much from college, but mostly, from the moment I left school, I took ownership in the decision that I alone wanted to keep running. This is for me and I need to enjoy the moment and experience. If it isn't fun, you should be rethinking your goals. As for tips to success, I would say it is critical to trust your coaches system and timeline and to practice lessons in sacrifice on a daily level. Sacrificing little things or resolving to do abs every day may seem small, but they make the bigger sacrifices and goals easier to tackle. Also, SLEEP!
Q: We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. The Sneaker Factory will be rooting hard for you this year as one of Jersey's own. Come stop by the store any time between your hectic schedule and say hey! Good luck and thanks again!
A: Thank you guys so much! Looking forward to seeing the new store!