1) What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I played baseball for about seven years prior to high school. I have also been competitive at triathlon since sophomore year, as well as in bike racing. Freshman year actually saw me on the swim team instead of out at track.
2) When did you get your start with running? What got you hooked on the sport?
I always enjoyed running the mile in PE, but was far from serious about it. I remember in 8th grade being blown away by how fast my middle school mile record was (5:41, held by my teammate Cody). Once my Dad and I went out to the track to see what I could run a mile and 2 mile in. I ran a 6:45, followed by a 17 or 18 minute 2 mile. That was about the extent of running prior to high school. In the fall of my freshman year, I had the desire to do a sport for the school, and two of my friends brought me out to cross country about a month already into the season. I was immediately drawn into the team atmosphere and the running tradition that Sobrato held at that time. Many of my teammates were inspired by Lance Wolfsmith, who had won the CCS 3200m the year before and became almost a legend at the time to most of us freshman. The older kids offered incredible support and drew my interest into running as that would be the topic of nearly all conversations. By my sophomore year, Sobrato not only had a strong varsity team, but also a great Frosh/Soph team. My coach, Dave Wolfsmith, along with those other elements, led to cross country becoming my passion, and to the decision to run track instead of play baseball.
3) Highlights from your freshmen cross country and track and field seasons?
Making the 7th spot on Varsity and having the opportunity to race at CCS was the highlight of my cross country season. Freshman year I was on the swim team instead of track as I had a back injury (dating back to 8th grade) and could not run again until the beginning of sophomore year.
4) Sophomore seasons?
The highlights from my sophomore year were breaking into the 17 minute range in cross country, and, while running in a pair of Lance's old spikes, breaking 4:40 in the 1600 and advancing to CCS Semi-Finals in track.
5) When do you feel you made the jump to the elite level in CCS? Was there a specific race that gave you the confidence that you can compete with anybody in the section?
My progression has been very consistent year by year, and I have always had the belief that one day I could compete on the elite level in the CCS, yet the race that really shone in my mind as proving I could be competitive with anyone in the section was the Stanford Invitational 3000m last year (junior year). That race went perfect and was the first time I was even close to other top guys in the CCS.
6) Highlights from your junior seasons in both sports?
Highlights from my junior year were opening up the cross country season in the 16 minute range, breaking 10 minutes in the 3200 for the first time at K-Bell, the Stanford Invitational 3000, and finally finding a kick in me. Junior year cross country was especially rough as most of our team fell apart and the running tradition at Sobrato took a hit.
7) Did you do anything differently over the summer to prepare for your senior cross country season? How did the season go for you? Highlights?
Over the summer before my senior year cross country season, my coach and I focused on building a strong base. The summer saw me running around 30 miles a week (which includes some speed work), biking around 150 miles a week and swimming roughly 4,500 yards a week. We raced triathlons and crit races on the bike, both in which I was very competitive in, to enhance my racing experience. Weekly solo time trials on the bike enhanced my mental preparation and helped me manage pain and discomfort more in training. Weight training also came into play, and we fine-tuned my nutrition and set up a nutrition plan. As we got closer to CCS, we cut back on my swimming and biking. I was able to preview the Woodward Park course once with Lance, and he gave me great advice and support during my senior year.
My senior year cross country season was a dream come true. Winning CCS felt absolutely incredible, and having the opportunity to race at the State meet against more elite competition was a blast.
8) What does a typical week look like for you training wise in track? Pace of your most frequent runs? Typical workout? Longest run? Cross training?
Usually Monday will be a longer shakeout run, Tuesday will be speedwork on the track (anything from 400 to 1200 with varying amounts of rest) and then weight training or a workout on the elliptical afterwards, Wednesday is a short run in the morning followed by a moderate distance run at night, Thursday is speedwork on the track and weight training or cardio after (same as Tuesday), Friday will be a short run in the morning and then a run or a bike ride in the PM, Saturday is race day (if there is no race I will have a ride - typically 20-30 miles), then Sunday is usually a longer easy run in the morning. I typically run 40-45 miles per week total.
Most of my runs are probably in the mid-6 minute range, and I try to keep my easy runs closer to 7 minutes.
There hasn't been one typical workout I do week in and week out, but one I have done several times this season is 4x800m with varying amounts of rest (45 seconds, 1 lap jog or 2 minutes).
My long runs are usually about 7-8 miles, with an occasional hour long run.
Cross training has played a large role in my training throughout all of high school. I will spend a substantial amount of time on the bike or get in structured swim workouts every week as well. During the track season, we've been focusing more on running but I still get in a workout on the elliptical and a ride once or twice a week.
Every workout or race I do is a structured workout with a purpose to it, with varying specific intensities. We've focused on year-round fitness and strength along with consistency and patience.
9) Tell us a little about your coach and how he has helped you get to your current level?
My coach, Dave Wolfsmith, is the biggest factor in my improvement and is who I owe all my success to. We've had a great relationship since freshman year and he's been a life coach to me as much as a running coach. He brought me into his team, the Wolfpak, which has become my second family and offers an endless amount of support and encouragement. He's taught me to stay humble, and has always believed in me and everyone else he coaches and is the whole reason I'm at the level I am now.
10) Favorite distance event on the track? Favorite relay? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent? Favorite cross country meet?
Favorite Distance on the track: It's a tie between the 1600 and 3200. However I can't wait to race the 5000 in college.
Favorite Relay: I've never really done a relay before but the 4x400m is always exciting to watch at the end of track meets. I think the DMR would be pretty fun to race.
Favorite Invitational: Arcadia
Favorite Opponent: Miguel Vasquez - the nicest guy in the CCS with the meanest kick.
Favorite cross country meet: Earlybird at Toro Park is always an exciting meet to open the season with, however it's hard to beat the epicness of a race at Crystal Springs.
11) What is your advice for a freshman who has dreams of being a successful runner? What does it take?
I've always believed that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Have belief in yourself. Becoming a successful runner doesn't happen overnight - it takes consistency in your training over years, and plugging into and committing to a program under a coach. Let your performances speak for you, stay humble and be a student of the sport. Focus on the small things (nutrition, sleep, etc.), they matter just as much as your workouts. Have a positive attitude and, as Pre said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."
12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you for the interview! Cross Country Express is a great resource and does an incredible job of promoting the sport. Also, I couldn't have gotten this far without the support of my coach, the Wolfpak, my team, my family, Camila and my friend and great training partner, Cody. I'm thankful to have them in my life.
Thank you very much for your time Ryan! AJC