Monday, May 21, 2012

Catching up with Palos Verdes runner, Jonah Diaz...

The following interview was by xcnation.com editor, David Taylor.
Today we chat with Palos Verdes senior runner, Jonah Diaz.  This past Saturday, Jonah finished in 2nd place in the SS Division III 3200m. with a time of 9:05.85. Next up for him will be the SS Masters meet where he will attempt to qualify for the state meet again after his 9th place final last year in a PR of 8:58.28.  During cross country season, he helped lead his team to their 2nd state team championship in the last 3 years with a 2nd place individual finish behind rival, Danny Martinez of St. John Bosco in a time of 15:16 on the Woodward Park course.  The Palos Verdes 5 x 3200m. team is currently ranked as the 17th fastest team in the nation with a team average of 9:28.16 according to xcnation.com.

1. Three words that describe you and why?
Determined, because I hate to call anything quits; Competitive, because I love to compete in everything I do; Friendly, so long as it's not during a race, I try to be friendly to anyone that approaches me.

2. What does Passion mean to you, how does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life? 
To me, passion is the fuel that ignites determination. My passion for any goal that I have, whether its running related or not, helps me do my best to accomplish that goal.

3. How do you want to be remembered as a runner? An all-time great, a record breaker, or one of many? An example of something greater?
I want to be remembered as the runner who gave it his all at every race, no matter if I lost or won.

4. If you met an 8th grader transitioning into high school who dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice would you give to him? 
I would tell him that it's a tough road. I would tell him that it's a road filled with success and disappointment. But if he's willing to follow this road, then he will see success in the end.

5. Humility in all things...what does that phrase mean to you?
To me, this quote hits home. I try to live my life based on keeping myself humble in everything I do. So this quote means a lot to me personally.

6. Looking back, what is the most significant moment in your running career?
Being fortunate enough to be on not only one, but two state championship XC teams was one of the best moments in my running career and I will cherish it always.

7. What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I tried to play basketball when I was younger but I wasn't that good at it. I also played soccer and even a bit of tennis. But eventually it all led to the sport of running.

8. How did you get your start in running?
My father was a runner and he instantly knew that I had the build to be a runner too and he tried to convince me to run as my eighth grade graduation approached. But when I wouldn't listen he eventually made a deal with me that I would run one race my freshman year and if I didnt like it, I could stop. Turns out that my dad and I loved racing and here I am now, still doing what I love to do.

9. What were some of your highlights from your high school career so far?
I would say my top three highlight of high school were: 1. winning two state XC titles with my team, 2. finishing 6th at Nike Cross Nationals my senior year, and 3. making lifelong friends along the way.

10. What is your favorite racing moment thus far?
My favorite racing moment to date is probably winning the CIF title with my xc team my senior year because my brother was on the team and it meant a lot to me to win a title with him along with my best friends.

11. Tell us a little about your family and how they has helped you develop during your years in high school.
My family has been incredibly supportive of me over the past four years. They have taught me to be respectful, humble, and an overall better person. They have taught me through example, through lessons, and through experience.

12. Your coach...how has he influenced your running, team?
My coach has taught me and my team that we can't simply expect greatness and success to fall into our laps. We have to work for it and only then will we have the privilege of having the opportunity to achieve success.

13. Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run?
I've always loved to race the 3200m, it's intense and it's a fun race. My favorite run has to be the run up to Iceberg Lake up in Mammoth Lakes, CA. It's a great run that has an amazing view at every part of the run. My favorite invitational is the Palos Verdes Invitaional during xc season; it's a fun 2 mile race on a really tough course but you get to do cool stuff like run through a small river and jump over hay bales. I would have to say that my favorite opponent would have to be Danny Martinez of St. John Bosco; he's been a sort of rival since my sophomore year. Whenever we race there's never a guarantee of who is going to come out on top for that day. Over the years, he has also become a friend to me and that makes racing him a little more fun.  My favorite track workout are those special days when I get to do a tempo piece on the track, there's something about tempos that I really enjoy and they always make me feel good when I'm done.

14. What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your track and field season? 
Well at this point I'm looking forward to the Master's Meet and hopefully, State Finals.

15. Running ultimately will not define who you are, how would you like to be defined?
I want to be defined as an approachable person who cares about his friends and his family. And also someone who is grateful for everything in his life.

16. Favorite running movie, running song, and favorite runner?
My favorite running movie is "Without Limits", it's a great movie and it always gets me motivated to run. My favorite running song is " 'Til I Collapse" by Eminem. I just like that song and it gets like "Without Limits", it just motivates me. Steve Prefontaine is definitely my favorite runner. The fact that he gave it everything he had is very inspiring and he was an amazing runner to say the least.

Thank you very much for your time Jonah!  AJC

1 comment:

AZ Jones said...

Cool to see Palos Verdes on top in Cross Country. We dominated in the 70s with CIF championships in several years. Go Sea Kings