Sunday, September 22, 2013

Catching up with Alameda senior runner, Cameron Tu...

Today we chat with Alameda HS senior, Cameron Tu seen here competing at last year's Stanford Invitational courtesy of  He finished in 10th place in the Division II race to lead the Alameda boys to a 4th place team finish.   He went on to help the Alameda boys team qualify to their 4th state meet in a row.  On the track, Cameron lowered his 3200m. PR at the NCS MOC meet to 9:29.98 to finish in 7th place.  At last week's Lowell Invitational, Cameron won the first heat of the Varsity boys' races as he outran the field of over 180 runners and record a personal record of 14:52 which ended up as the 2nd fastest time overall.

1)  How did you get your start in distance running?
I started running the summer before my Freshman year. My dad ran in Florida when he was in high school and my sister ran at Alameda HS so I figured that I would be pretty decent. I was still really into basketball at the time but my sister finally convinced me to train through the summer with the team. When I met coach Nino that summer and began running with some of the older guys, I realized that distance running was actually a lot of fun and have continued ever since that time.

2)  What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I played baseball through little league and soccer recreationally, but I was mostly interested in playing basketball throughout high school. Going into my freshman year I had still been playing with the high school summer league team as well as training for the cross country season. After running my freshman season, coach Nino convinced me to give up basketball so I could focus and train in the off-season.

3)  Tell us a little about your freshman cross country season?  Highlights?
As a freshman I had run really low mileage (around 40mpw) and wasn't totally into the sport. I ran a good amount of frosh-soph races and placed in the top 10, but was never able to win. After climbing on to the Varsity team, I was able to travel to Clovis and Mt. SAC which was a lot of fun as the only freshman. Having graduated the top 4 guys from the 2009 state team, we went into NCS champs without expectations. Qualifying to the State Meet was definitely a highlight.

4)  As a young runner, who were the runners that you looked up to whether it was on your own team or other teams?  What were some of the lessons you learned from them?
As a young runner and even now, I definitely looked up to the 2009 state qualifying team, especially Zach and Charlie Perkins who now run at Air Force. They ran workouts with us in the summer despite graduating and really motivated me to improve. I also was heavily influenced by Duc Nguyen and Stephen Carlson who I ran with up until they graduated my junior year. All of them taught me the value of taking every day seriously and that every workout is run for a certain reason; whether it's an interval workout, a long run, or just a recovery. I also look up to my neighbor Alexi Pappas who occasionally will run workouts with us during the summer.

5)  What about your freshman track season?  Highlights?  PRs?
I was hurt with a foot injury and missed most of the track season. Coming back with only a month to train, I ended up running 4:45 in the 1600m.

6)  What did you do differently before your sophomore season in cross country during the summer?  What were some of your highlights from your sophomore xc season?
My sophomore year, I was still running low mileage (around 50mpw) but I became more comfortable racing in big meets. After winning a couple of frosh-soph races, Nino put me back on to varsity for the remainder of the season. At the Asics Clovis invitational I ran 16:24 on the Woodward course which was big PR and a highlight. At NCS champs I ran a PR 16:01 and qualified to the state meet as a team once again.

7)  Fast forwarding to your junior season in both sports, what do you feel were your best races in cross country and track?  What was the race that gave you the confidence that you could compete with anybody in this area?
I didn't have much of a cross country season due to an injury. However, I was able to place 10th at the Stanford Invitational and was able to help qualify as a team to state. Winning NCS Bayshore in the 3200m was a huge confidence booster. I was heavily intimidated when arriving at MOC Berkeley seeing all of the top guys in the section. I was able to run 9:29 and place 7th at MOC Berkeley and realized then that I could hang with the some of the best guys in the area.

8)  What does a typical week look like for you?  What are your favorite workouts at this point in the season?  How long is your longest run and what pace do you do most of your medium to long runs?  
A typical race week starts on Monday with a paced long run as well as strides. Tuesday is usually 5 x 1000m intervals. Wednesday is another conversational long run.. Thursday is a shorter interval workout with 800's and 400's followed by strides. Friday is a short fartlek workout. Sunday is short recovery shake out run. At this point, 5 x 1000m intervals are my favorite. In the summer my longest run would be around 90 minutes, but in-season only 60 minutes. Usual long runs will be anywhere from 6:45 to 7:30 depending on how my legs feel. A lot of my workouts are based on feel.

9)  Tell us a little about the Alameda coaches and how they have helped you develop in the runner you are today.
Coach Nino Hernandez is really laid back and chill about everything. He gives me the training schedule but he puts a good amount changes based on my feedback. I definitely look up to Nino for his amazing flexibility and outstanding sense of humor. Coach Marty Beene is one of the most outgoing coaches you will every meet. Marty is the reason for the continuous success of our developing runners. Both coaches create an environment that is fun and has allowed me to develop smoothly without any brutal mileage. Coach Nathan Brassmassery is no longer with the team but he heavily influenced the team into doing "all the small things" and how to train perfectly.

10)  Favorite cross country course?  Favorite cross country invitational?  Favorite long run?  Favorite XC workout?  Favorite opponent(s)?  Favorite track distance?  Favorite track workout?  Favorite track invitational?
My favorite cross country course is Woodward Park. I enjoy the flat course and the fact that it's a 5k, as well as the high level of competition. I enjoy the Stanford Invite the most. One of the only meets besides the state meet and NCS you can truly stack up against some of the top teams and individuals in the state. My favorite cross country workouts are the interval work done on the Hayward course in the weeks leading up to NCS champs. I really enjoy racing Logan Marshall of Half Moon Bay and Andrew Melendez of Bishop O'Dowd. We're all pretty close speed wise which makes for good competition and solid times. And there's never any animosity in races which is nice. My favorite track event is the 3200m because it feels the closest to cross country. My favorite track workout is 12 x 400m. I enjoy racing at MOC Berkeley because I get to run against the best guys in the section.

11)  What races are you most looking forward to the rest of the season?  Who is the biggest competition for you as an individual in North Coast Section (Div. II)?
I'm really looking forward to the Stanford Invitational  and the Asics Clovis Invite. As an individual in NCS DII, the toughest competition will be Ryan Anderson of Maria Carillo, Matt Salazar of Casa Grande, and Jackson Crose and Tyler/Todd Olsen of Livermore.

12)  Anything else you would like to add.
I'd like to say thank you to Nino Hernandez, Marty Beene, and Nathan Brassmassery. Shoutout to Brandon Sepp, Cameron Beene, Deepak Sharma, Hector Lopez Garcia, Duc Nguyen, and Stephen Carlson. Thanks Albert!

Thank you very much for our time Cameron!  AJC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Proud of the Alameda XC boys, keep it up Cameron. - Zach

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