Saturday, February 08, 2014

Catching up with Monta Vista HS senior, Bridget Gottlieb

Today we chat with Monta Vista (CCS) senior, Bridget Gottlieb.  This past cross country season, Bridget led the MV Matadors to the CCS team title just outdistancing Gunn and Menlo Atherton in the hotly contested Division I race.  She finished in 2nd place behind Gunn's Sarah Robinson with a lifetime best time of 17:37.  As a junior, Gottlieb's best time on the Crystal Springs course was 20:03.  This past Sunday, Gottlieb won her age division at the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon running 1:21:55 (6:16 pace) to finish as the 7th fastest female overall.  Gottlieb has now committed to running at Johns Hopkins University.

1)    How did you get your start in running?  What was your main running experience before high school?
I started running in seventh grade. I ran cross country all through middle school, but in seventh grade I started running more continuously. I remember I made myself a goal to run every day over December break.  I think I totaled only 26 miles over 2 weeks, but I was really proud of myself for running every day, and I just kept running after that. I think I started because it was a sport I had never tried, and both of my parents ran so they encouraged me to try it.

2)  What do you remember most about your freshmen seasons in cross country and track and field?  Highlights?
During freshman year I really didn’t expect much out of the season; I had no idea how I would do. I think my highlight was CCS which was at Toro Park, and my time was exactly one minute faster than when I ran my first cross country race at Toro, which made me happy seeing how much I had improved over the season. I think that was the most memorable part of freshman year for me.

3) Who were your running mentors as a young runner?
I went to a really small middle school, so for middle school my dad actually volunteered to be the cross country coach. In eighth grade, I joined a USATF team because I wanted to run track races, as my school didn’t even have a track team. My coach for that was Coach Michael Davidson, and I really appreciate what he did because he was so patient with everyone and so encouraging, no matter how slow someone was.

4)  What about your sophomore seasons in XC and TF?  Highlights?
Honestly, sophomore year season was sort of disappointing for me. All of my times remained close to the same as my freshman year times, which was disappointing. I would say that a highlight was our team placing 4th at CCS, as this was the start of a transition to a strong girls’ team.

5)  Following your junior seasons what were your PRs at the Crystal Springs course, Woodward Park, 800, 1600, 3200?
My PR at Crystal Springs by the end of junior year was 20:03. I had never run at Woodward Park before my senior year. My 800 PR was 2:36 (I’m not a sprinter), 1600 was 5:36, and 3200 was 11:31.

6)  What did do differently as far as training during the summer before your senior season?
This is a funny story that I don’t think people will really expect as my answer. During the off-season before track junior year, I started running longer runs, and doing tempo runs once a week. I saw the immense improvements that had on my track times, and I planned to continue this during the summer. I usually spend my summer at Mike Dudley’s summer boot camp, which I’ve really enjoyed, but this summer I was unable to attend.

Instead, this past summer I was part of a research internship program for High School Seniors in Boston for six weeks, where I interned in a pharmacology lab. My ideal plan before I arrived was to get a solid base in for cross country. However, I was working 9-5 in the lab every day, and the only way I could run was either before, or after (when I didn’t feel too safe running by myself). I chose to run in the morning, but I had time constraints as I would have only from 7:00 (when I was allowed to leave the dorm) until 8:30 (when I had to catch the bus for my lab) to run, shower/get ready for the day, pick up my lunch, and eat breakfast. My time was thus severely limited.  So, every day I was stressed trying to get in my mileage and still catch the bus.  Because of this, my average pace on my runs became a lot faster, and my endurance improved a lot.

7)  Looking back at this past XC season, what do you feel was your best race?  Proudest achievements (individual and team)?
 I think my best race was probably Mt. SAC, where I won one of the Varsity Girls D1 races. I think this was my best race because it was still earlier in the season, and I didn’t have any set goals for the race for how I wanted to do. I ended up running most of the last two miles by myself, and that was such an unusual feeling that I think it really empowered me. As an individual, my proudest achievement this past season was just how much I improved at Crystal Springs. I raced at Crystal Springs in middle school actually, so I’ve always been running on that course. This past season my time at Crystal went down from 20:03 to 17:37, and I think it was a great way to culminate all of my races run there.  As a team, my proudest achievement is definitely that we made it to States. Freshman year, our girls team didn’t even make CCS, and we moved in four years to winning CCS which I’m incredibly proud of.

8)  What does a typical week look like for you?  Miles per week?  Length of longest run?  How many workouts?  Any doubles?  Strength work?
    A typical week for me is generally like this (during Cross Country season)
    Monday: Long trail runs (about 8-10 miles).
    Tuesday: Usually some workout in the hills either hill repeats/fartleks.
    Wednesday: Easy/recovery day, about 5 miles, with core.
    Thursday: Tempo run (about 4 miles flat + continuous)
    Friday: Another easy day, either core or pre-race strides.
    Saturday: Either we have a race, or fartlek workout again.
    Sundays: Rest day.
I run about 45 miles a week, but I’m increasing to 50 gradually right now to prepare for college running. The length of my longest training run is about 12 miles. We do some strength training and core on our easy/recovery days.

9)  Favorite xc invitational?  Favorite xc course?  Favorite xc workout?  Favorite track distance?  Favorite track invitational?  Favorite track workout?  Favorite team tradition?
My favorite xc invite is the Stanford Invitational. We didn’t get the chance to run it this past year, but I like how big the meet is considering how close it is to where we are. It’s also a 5k, and we don’t have the chance to run many true 5ks during the season, other than Woodward. I also love watching the college teams run, and it is so cool to be at the same race as them.

My favorite course is probably Crystal Springs.  I think because I’ve run it so many times, it feels familiar, and you can figure out how to race there. My favorite xc workout is definitely tempo runs (usually 4 or 5 miles). My favorite track distance is the 3200, but I want to run 5k/10k in college, and I think those will become my favorite.

My favorite track workout is (if I can’t say tempo runs), probably a ladder of sorts especially when you start at the longest distance so the distance + faster because it’s a good way to run a fast workout. Sometimes our team does certain interval workouts where our recovery is our partner running the interval (so a relay), and those are always very fun because you get a great workout in, but it seems so much easier. My favorite team tradition is probably either the secret sisters tradition our girls team has during all of cross country, or all of the different dinners that our team has during the season (i.e., before or after specific meets).

10)  Tell us about your coach and how he has helped you develop into the runner you are today.
My coach is Coach Kirk Flatow, and he’s one of the most passionate people I know about running. He is willing to talk to anyone, that has anything to do with running, and I appreciate that.  He also has brought in a lot of interesting speakers to speak with the team.  He has helped me create a strong base, and increase my mileage each year safely, without injuries. Also I think he has helped me with working on the stuff that isn’t running but is important (strength, and core), because I’m not sure how much I would work on it without him.

11)  What are you most looking forward to during this coming track and field season?  Goals?
I’m looking forward to seeing where my times are, I have an idea of where they might be, but I also have no idea. Some goals I have are to at least break 11 in the 3200, (and this seems like a large jump), but to break 10:45 in the 3200 as well. I also want to run a 1600 that I feel really proud of, I think I’m so much better at longer distances, that whenever I run the 1600 I feel like I have some energy left in me.  I want to run a 1600 where I know I’m completely spent. Place wise/qualifying for different races, I want our girls’ team to make the Arcadia 4x1600, but otherwise we’ll see.

12)  Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks for interviewing me, this really means a lot! I just want to add to any other runners, that you can always improve, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Thank you very much for your time Bridget!  AJC


Marius said...

Hi Cross Country Express team,

I’m a Norwegian two-time Olympic runner (13.06 5k back in ’04) as well as an MD. I have been following your blog and want you to know that I’ve added you to a list of the Top 100 Running Blogs for 2014!

You are there, and deservedly so, in spot # 54!

100 top running blogs 2014

If you like it, please feel free to share with your readers. ;)

Keep up the wonderful work.
Kind regards,
Marius Bakken, MD

Anonymous said...

Very good interview.

I liked reading about her struggles to fit in her running time during her internship ended up increasing her endurance pace.

Anonymous said...

Any reason why she chose Johns Hopkins for school? Great academic school and good for a D3 school, but it seems like she could really push herself and have a lot of training partners at a good D1 school (and if academics were a concern, there are plenty of good D1 schools good at academics too).

Rob said...

Great Article on Bridget, Albert. Kirk has done a fantastic job on bringing Monta Vista running program back.

Anonymous said...

Johns Hopkins women's distance is more than just "good for a D3 school". The XC team was NCAA champion! She'll have plenty of training partners there.

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