Monday, January 19, 2015

Catching up with Bishop O'Dowd runner, Colin Burke

Today we chat with Bishop O'Dowd senior runner, Colin Burke. This past Cross Country season, Burke recorded his finest season to date. He won the Ed Sias Invitational (small school division), Stanford Invitational (Division III race) and Clovis Invitational (Division IV race). He finished in 3rd place at the California state meet Division III race in a lifetime best 15:23. He finished in 10th place the Footlocker West Regional race to qualify for the National meet where he finished in 32nd place. With all the above accomplishments, Burke was named 1st team All-NorCal.

1) How did you get your start in running? How old were you? What was the first success that you remember and made you excited to be a runner?

When I was in elementary school I used to go on runs with my Dad and brother just for fun. I was also very competitive in middle school with our weekly PE mile, but during the fall of my freshman year I actually decided to play water polo instead of run cross country, so I didn’t really start running until track season. The first success I had was at the Dan Gabor Invitational where I ran the 1600. It was after that race when I started to love running.

2) Tell us about your freshmen season in Track and Field? Highlights?

My freshman track season was a great learning experience for me. It was what really got me into running, and it was during that season where I caught the running bug. A performance highlight was breaking 5 minutes in the mile, but one thing I always look back on and laugh at is my best time for the 400m - 71 seconds. 

3) How much convincing did it take to get you to join the cross country team as a sophomore?

After track my freshman year, it didn’t take much convincing for me to join the cross country team as a sophomore. I knew that I liked running and that I was better at longer races, so stepping up to the 5k would be right up my alley. In the past I enjoyed playing team sports, and cross country feels like more of a team sport to me especially when I line up next to my teammates at the start of every race.

4) When do you feel you made the biggest jump during your high school career as a runner? What do you think led to that improvement?

I feel that my biggest jump was from my junior track season to my senior cross country season. We did have a coaching change that year, but I sat down with my current coach, Coach David Okikawa, in the summer and we planned out the entire season. It was something that really gave me a lot of confidence going forward. We decided to go up in mileage a little bit, but I believe that focusing on my strength work and nutrition really changed my performances. Sometimes the little things can go a long way, and I attribute that to a lot of my success this year. 

5) Looking back at your just completed cross country season, what do you feel were your best races and proudest achievements?

A race that was a turning point for me was this season was the Stanford Invitational because it gave me a lot of confidence. It was the first time I could see all the hard work I put in over the summer paying off. Ultimately, my proudest moment was when I qualified for Foot Locker Nationals. I spent the last three years watching that race on the webcast. To actually be able to take part in it was a dream come true. 

6) What did a typical week look like for you during cross country season in terms of training? How many workouts? Length of long run? Any morning runs? Weightlifting?

Monday: Medium mileage run at easy pace

Tuesday: Tempo workout (repeats of usually 1-4 miles)

Wednesday: Short mileage run at easy/recovery pace

Thursday: Workout that was usually strength based and a little quicker (hill repeats, 800s on the track, mile repeats on the trails for example)

Friday: Easy/recovery run

Saturday: Long run anywhere from 10-14 miles

We did some morning runs and weight training over the summer, about twice per week, but lightened up on both of those during the season. 

7) You have had several coaching changes during your time at Bishop O'Dowd. What did you learn from each coach and how did each coach help you get to your current level?

Coaching changes can definitely be difficult to deal with as an athlete because each coaching style is different. My advice to anyone going through a coaching change is to just trust your coach and be vocal about how you’re feeling on a day-to-day basis. I believe most of my success came from working with Coach David, and the most important lesson that I learned from him was when to push it and when to back off. Through learning this lesson I was better prepared for the end of the season than I was in years past, and I believe that is why I had so much success this postseason. 

8) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run? Favorite Track and Field event? Favorite Track invitational? Favorite Track workout?

My favorite cross country course is Woodward Park (because it has a little bit of everything)

My favorite XC invitational is the Stanford Invitational (because of how exciting it was this year)

My favorite XC workout is long tempo (because I think that is what got me stronger)

My favorite long run is a run through the Oakland hills on a trail called the Sequoia Bayview Trail (because it is so scenic)

My favorite track and field event is 3200 (because it fits me the best)

My favorite track invitational Dublin Distance Fiesta (because of the great energy and how well the meet is run every year)

My favorite track workout is 1k repeats (because it’s fast but manageable)

9) Your brother Sean and Nick Downs make up a formidable trio of runners. How much of your running is with them and how often does it get competitive in practice?

Every practice we run in a group of four runners: my brother Sean, Nick Downs, Riley Cooke, and me. I’ve run with them since the beginning of my sophomore year, and it has been a great experience. There’s nobody I would rather train with day in and day out. It can get a little competitive at practice, but we always know we are on the same team working towards the same goals. I do however think the competitiveness is something that has taken us to the next level. 

10) What are you most looking forward to this coming Track and Field season?

I am really looking forward to improving my times as best as I can and seeing how far I can make it through the post season.

11) Have you made your decision on where you will attend college next year and if not, how much will running impact your decision?

I haven’t made my decision yet about where I will attend college, but running is definitely something that I would love to continue into my college years. 

12) Anything else you would like to add.

Just a huge shoutout to all of my teammates and training partners over the years, I could never have done it without you, and thank you Albert for running such a great site and giving me the opportunity to do this interview!

Thank you very much for your time Colin! AJC


Anonymous said...

Three coaches in three consecutive season's has got to be tough on an athlete, hat's off to Burke. And what's up with the coaching situation at B.O.D?

Anonymous said...

^hasn't been 3 consecutive years of coaching changes.

Anonymous said...

will be next year.

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