We took a few minutes to catch up with UC Davis graduate and New Balance Silicon Valley athlete, Kaitlin Gregg. First off, congratulations on a solid 4th place finish at the PAUSATF Cross Country Championships against a strong field.
Club Nationals are coming up next weekend, I know that USAT Club Nationals is a team race but can you tell us a about your individual goals for the race?
Thank you! The PA Championship race was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to Club Nationals this weekend. Individually, I hope to improve upon my 13th place finish there last year. I’d like to finish in the top 10 and give myself a chance to make the Team USA squad for the Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country Meet and NACAC Cross Country Championships in January.
Last year New Balance Silicon Valley placed 9th at Club Nationals. How is the team doing this year and do you think the team is in the position to move up in the placings this year? What would it take to make it into the top 5?
I think the team has a great opportunity to improve upon on our 9th place finish from last year. Last year, one of our top 5 women suffered an injury in the first 200 meters of the race and was unable to finish; losing her was a definite blow to our team score. Thankfully, she’s back this fall and is healthy and running fast. We have a strong women’s squad – our lineup is deep and if everyone has a good day, I think we’ll be a competitive team.
How are you balancing training for USATF Cross Country Nationals in February of 2013 with racing these fall country races?
These fall XC races are great preparation for USA Nationals in February. The Nationals course in St. Louis is fast when conditions are nice, but last year it was muddy and the course was very technical, which made it hard to get in a rhythm. In that sense – being able to find your rhythm — XC is so different from track and the roads. So, I’m hopeful the time spent this fall racing on muddy, hilly XC courses will serve as good preparation for USA’s in February.
What did you learn from the 2012 Cross Country Nationals in St. Louis that will help you prepare for this year’s race?
At USA XC last year I didn’t get out hard enough and spent a good portion of those 8 kilometers trying to move up in the field. I was running well in the last 2k and was catching a bunch of women, but it was too little too late. I ended up in 10th place but missed making the NACAC Cross Country team by 4 seconds – which was pretty tough to swallow. I’ve learned that I need to get out harder in the first 4k and focus on sticking with the lead pack.
St. Louis is quite cold in February! How to prepare for racing in those conditions especially coming from California?
St. Louis can indeed by chilly – last year it was below 10 degrees on race morning! In San Francisco we rarely get below 45 degrees so the St. Louis weather was definitely a shock to the system! Thankfully, I’ve gotten some good practice running in the cold when I’ve visited Ohio, where my boyfriend is in medical school. Last January I did 2-mile repeats in 18 degree weather – very challenging in the chilly weather, but good prep for St. Louis!
What will be your2013 focus beyond Cross Country Nationals?
My focus will be on the track season, with an emphasis on running a fast 5k and 10k on the track and then the 10k at USA Nationals in June. Depending on how track goes, I may focus on the 5k/10k distances on the roads in the summer and fall. Or, a half marathon may be in my future!
Thank you Kaitlin for taking time to share your thoughts with us. We look forward to following you in the upcoming races! We wish you the best.
Team: New Balance Silicon Valley
College: UC Davis
Track 5000: 16:12
Track 10,000: 33:01
Road 5k: 16:34
Road 10k: 33:56
Coach: Bill Gregg and Dena Evans