You can also check out another interview with her thanks to Johanna Gretschel and milesplit.com at this LINK.
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?
I started running my freshman year, so I was 14 years old. I of course had to run in middle school but that was only when they required us to the run the mile, etc. to stay in shape but nothing serious. My first success that made me excited to be a runner was my second cross country race ever. It was the Woodbridge Classic and Coach Soles put me in the Rated Race which is right under the best race being Sweepstakes and I finished in 10th place running 17:41 for 3 miles. I finished 2nd for that team of 7 but overall for my whole team out of all the races (Sweepstakes, Rated, Varsity A&B, etc) I finished 6th which was huge because I didn't know if I would be good at this sport. Once I saw that I was Top 7 material, that made me really excited for the rest of the season.
2) Tell us about your freshmen season in Cross Country and Track and Field? Highlights?
My freshman year went pretty well in cross country but even better in track. In cross, I ended up being Top 7 all the way until League Finals. I had the chance to run on the line when we won Mt. Sac Relays and that was the race where Sarah Baxter ran 16:00. I was doing pretty well during the season finishing 6th almost every race but then I had a stress reaction in my foot which caused me to miss being on the line from prelims all the way to State and Nationals. I was devastated because I really wanted to run and be a state champion and get that state ring but it made me work really hard in track. In track I was able to make it all the way to State in the 3200 but didn't have my best race because I was tripped in the middle of the race but I finished the season with a 1600 PR of 4:54 and 3200 PR of 10:30. With those times I was able to get the freshman records at Great Oak and the school record in the 3200!
3) You had quite an eventful state track meet last year as a sophomore. Can you tell us a bit about your 1600 race as well as your 3200?
Last year as a sophomore I decided to double all the way through State running the 1600 and 3200. My freshman year I dropped the 1600 after CIF Finals which allowed a fellow teammate of mine to make it in the 1600, but my sophomore year I felt like I was strong enough to double all the way through and run great times in both events at state. The 1600 was the event I focused on the most because I felt I had the best chance of winning that event. My coach and I mapped out the game plan for the 1600 and I thought for sure I had a really good chance of winning it. The move was to not lead until the final 200m but I went down and was tripped before I could make my move. I went down with 210 or so meters to go and when I went down, Anna Maxwell went down as well. I stayed on the ground for a good 4-5 seconds in complete shock that this was happening again but once I got up I used all that was left in me and ran to the finish line. I salvaged a second place finish by a hair and it was a great learning experience when running close to other competitors. I ended the year with a PR of 4:45. Now for the 3200 I was already heartbroken from the 1600 because I thought that was the race I was going to win so going into this race I had little to no motivation. I essentially went through the motions and came out with a 4th place finish (10:20) at state which was a few seconds off my PR of 10:14 run the week before at Masters. So to wrap up my sophomore year, I had second and fourth place honors which was a huge accomplishment considering how hard it is to double all the way through CIF.
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 I made the biggest jump this past cross country season. I went from being a girl in the mix of races but near the front to a girl who could win races. I think what led to that improvement was my summer training because I didn't slack at all and also I gained more confidence. This year I went into races knowing I could win if I set my mind to it and raced well while years prior I just raced hoping for finishes near the top but never truly for the win.
5) Looking back at your just completed cross country season, what do you feel were your best races and proudest achievements for you and your team?
I think I could speak for my teammates and myself on this one being our proudest achievement this cross country season was at Nike Cross Nationals where we finished 2nd! We have been ranked Top 2 in the country for a few years now but we never raced well at nationals. I don't think we were ever really prepped for the course and for the weather but things changed this year. The course moved from the horse track to a golf course which is way more similar to the courses we run and it wasn't freezing cold outside like the year prior where it was under 14 degrees when we raced. I think with those 2 conditions plus less mud, and stronger faster girls, led to us finishing 2nd which we were all so happy about. Of course the win would of been nice, but FM ran a way better race than us that day so we couldn't hold our heads down for the 2nd place performance. Placing 2nd at nationals was huge for me but I didn't quite race like myself. I had tendinitis in my foot and after Clovis I wasn't as strong as I was in the beginning of the year. With that being said, speaking as an individual my proudest moment would have to be a tie between breaking 16 minutes at The Seaside Invitational running 15:58 for 3 miles and breaking 17 minutes on the Woodward Park 5K course with a time of 16:57. Both of those races I led wire to wire and went for the wins and came out with the wins. After those races my confidence really grew because I realized I could run with the best girls in the country with these type of performances so those were my favorite two races and moments from this past cross country season.
6) What does a typical week look like for you during each season in terms of training? How many workouts? Length of long run? Any morning runs? Weightlifting?
Here's a typical track week for training. My cross country training week would be very similar but different speed workouts.
Monday: 11 mile long run in the morning and 1 HIT and 12x endurance hills
Tuesday: 4 miles in the morning and 5x1000s in the afternoon with a 2 mile cool down
Wednesday: 7 miles in the morning and 1 HIT and 8 miles in the afternoon
Thursday: 4 miles in the morning and 12x400s in the afternoon with 3 hammers and a 2 mile cool down
Friday: 4 miles in the morning and 1 HIT and 5 miles in the afternoon
Saturday: Race plus 3+ mile cool down depending on how many and how long your races are
(60 mile week)
We do core routines everyday before our workout sometimes after which focus on different things like balance, etc to keep us strong and healthy throughout the season.
7) Who is your coach as well as assistants at Great Oak HS? What have you learned from each coach and how did each coach help you get to your current level? Who else has been integral and a big part of your success?
My Head Coach is Doug Soles an our Assistant Head Coach is Daniel Noble. We also have other assistants being Coach Fowlie and Espinoza. From Coach Soles and Noble, I have learned many things but one thing that sticks out to me is to be tough. They always push me to be the best person and athlete I want to be because I set the goals that I want to achieve and they do everything in their ability to help me reach those goals. They make sure I'm receiving the right workouts and doing the right strength routines to be able to run the times and stay as healthy and fit at all times during the season. I don't work much with Coach Fowlie and Espinoza because they work with the JV and Freshman athletes but they are the coaches I talk to when I need someone to talk to even if it's not directly running related like diet. Since they are both females, they are in a sense the motherly figure coaches that you need every once in a while to love you up. My parents and most importantly my teammates have also contributed a lot to my success. My parents are always there to help me and talk strategy. I may not always listen but I know they only want the best for me and they are always trying to help to me become the best athlete I can be. My teammates contribute SO much to my success also because they are the ones I train with day in and day out. They are the ones to push me on a bad day, uplift me after a bad race, make me laugh during warm up, they make the runs go by quicker on days where we have a 12 mile long run and it seems to never end but I can say I do the same for them as well because our team is a family and that is so crucial to having success. We all run for each other and we are all good friends which in my opinion makes us unstoppable. So again my teammates contribute a lot as well to my success. They make the long days and hard workouts not so long and tough because they make everything so fun and we laugh ALL the time and I'm so thankful to have such amazing girls to train with everyday.
8) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run? Favorite Track and Field event? Favorite Track invitational? Favorite Track workout? Favorite opponent(s)?My favorite XC course would have to be Woodward Park. It's the state course and we have run some really good races there which makes it a good course to always come back to. It's a real cross country course that has some uphill and downhill and it's just the ideal course when you think of a cross country race in my opinion.
My favorite XC invitational would have to be the Woodbridge Classic because the whole meet is essentially run under the lights. Everyone runs PRs, the girls all wear their hair in 2 braids as a tradition and it just has a great vibe while you're at the meet. Everyone is excited to be there and it's one of our first fast 3 miles of the year so everyone gets pumped up for it. Many people medal and it's just a meet we all love on the Great Oak Cross Country Team.
My favorite XC workout would have to be blend intervals or 1000m repeats. I like blends because you're constantly going different paces for different lengths of time and it's just like a race. The race will go out fast and then slow and then random parts of the race will speed up and then slow down and it's just a great and fun workout to do. I also like 1K repeats because it's just breaking down the state race which is a 5k into little pieces. We run them on this dirt trail out and back and I run that workout well making it one of thee reasons why I like that workout.
My favorite long runs are the Saturday long runs when we run at a nearby park in Temecula. There are different loops you can do and they are for the most part on dirt which is very nice. By our school there isn't a lot of soft services so it's nice on long runs to be able to do almost all if not all of it on the dirt.
My favorite track and field event would have to be the 1600, but if we can count special races I really like running the 4x1600 and DMR! I love running the 1600 because it requires more speed than a 3200 but less than an 800. It's the perfect median and I run it so often that it has just become a favorite of mine. I also really like the 4x1600 and DMR because it brings the team aspect out of cross country into track. You are running the best race possible to put your teammates in a good spot to hopefully end up with the win and it's fun racing. You also have the chance to cheer for your teammates throughout the race which is nice. The DMR allows the track team to really unite because it takes 2 good distance runner, 1 good middle distance runner, and a good sprinter to win it. It's nice putting all those girls together on one team especially when it ends in being successful like when we won at Arcadia and at the Mt. Sac Invitational.
My favorite track invitational is the Arcadia Invitational because it's the biggest invite of the year. All the best athletes come and we get to run in some really fun relays as mentioned before as well as some fast individual races too. Everyone gets a neat backpack that you see ALL the track athletes wearing at school and they have nice medals too. Our 4x1600 team has won the past 2 years and we won this year in the DMR which meant not only an awesome medal, but a baton and Arcadia Invite shirt which was really cool!
My favorite track workout is 400m repeats. It's the perfect workout because you practice your race one lap at a time finding that 1600 or 3200m race pace depending on what the focus is given to us by Coach Soles. It's really easy to dial in on the pace during 400s and just find your goal race pace and just attack the workout.
My favorite opponent would have to be Fiona O'Keeffe because I believe we bring out the best in each other. We always race each other hard and the outcome always changes. Sometimes she wins and sometimes I win so it's a nice rivalry that we have because you never know who the better athlete is that day until the race is over.
9) What was your plan leading up to the 1600 at the state meet? How did the race unfold for you? What did you do between events that gave you strength for the 3200? Did you have any lasting effects from the 1600 as you ran the 3200? When did you decide to make your move in the 3200? What was your reaction to winning and seeing your final time?
The plan for the 1600 was the same as always. Lead from the gun, go out hard, and try to PR. My goal was to run sub 4:40 but I just wasn't quite feeling it in that race. I didn't hit the right splits and when the bell lap came I didn't have a lead and Amanda and Marissa were right behind me with one lap to go. I led until the last 75m where they passed me finishing 1st and 2nd in 4:39 while I finished 3rd in 4:41. I really wanted the win and I was the favorite coming in but that didn't mean anything because everyone was going to race hard regardless of who coming into the race was the favorite. After the race I was frustrated with my performance and I was sad because I was so close to winning my first state title but I let that drive and fuel me during the 3200. I didn't want to leave Fresno with out one state title so I made it my objective in the 3200 to not let the leader get away from me and to give it all I got. After the 1600 I cooled down, laid out under my tent, and fueled up for my next race with a little snack and hydrating. Going into the 1600 I was very motivated and I never let Fiona get a foot step away from me. I was tired because these were my 3rd and 4th miles of the weekend while she came in fresh having run no races or miles before but I didn't let that affect me. I went out with her and stayed with her through 7 laps constantly telling myself I could do this while focusing on her shoes making sure I don't hit her feet. I started to feel really good going into the 7th lap but I wasn't ready to make my move because I didn't know if I could hold her off for the win at that point so I waited for the last lap. The last lap came and we had been running 10 flat pace the whole race. We came through the mile in 4:57 and with one lap to go the clock read 8:46. As soon as the bell lap rang she took off and I followed. That curve I took off a little harder to catch up and run along side of her for which lasted for about 50m or so and then a huge rush of adrenaline came over me and my feet and before I knew it I was accelerating. I didn't consciously make the move to start kicking but I really really really wanted this state title and my legs and heart went for it before my brain could even process what was happening. I started to speed up even more and she matched/ covered my move for the first 6 steps or so but then the lead started opening up more and more after that. I could picture my Dad saying "Pump those arms" and "Start sprinting Destiny, you need to change from a runner to a sprinter to win the races" and with that being said I continued to take off and I closed my last lap in a 66 with a 32 second last 200. When I crossed the finish line all I had was a sigh of relief. I finally did it. I just won my first state title but when I crossed the line I couldn't believe the time. I'm still shocked to this day about the time I ran. When I was running down the home stretch the crowd was going crazy. They were cheering so loud and I heard the announcer say 9:45 when I was already half way done with the final 100m. I couldn't believe it and when I finished I threw my hands up in excitement and looked at the big screen completely shocked I had broken 10 minutes by such a huge margin. The whole year I was striving for 9:58 but 9:53 was a gift because I had no idea I could run that fast especially after running the 1600 earlier that day some 2 hours before. All I can say was that was an unforgettable moment and experience that I will cherish for a while.
10) What other races will you be participating in during the summer?
My summer this year consists of quite a bit of racing. I'm racing at the Adidas Dream Mile/100 in New York. Then the following week I will race at Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle in the 2 mile, and then lastly I will race in Illinois for World Youth Trials. I don't know which event I'm running yet but I hope to qualify for the championship team and be given the chance to run in Cali, Colombia against some of the best 16 and 17 year olds in the country.
11) You have accomplished much during your first three years in high school. What are you most looking forward to as you peek ahead to your season seasons?
What I'm looking forward to most is completing my senior year on a high note. I hope to accomplish many things as a team and individual at Great Oak High School such as being national champions, rewriting the state and national record books and signing a scholarship to run at the school of my dreams (I haven't decided which school yet, but when I do it will be the school of my dreams, haha!). I hope to continue PRing and to just keep doing what I love which is running! (:
12) Anything else you would like to add.
I would like to say thank you for this opportunity to answer a few questions about myself and my running career. I really appreciate this and I hope others get to know more about my school and myself from these questions I answered. I'd also like to give reverence to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because with out him I would be nothing and all of this would not be possible without. I'd also like to give a huge thank you to my parents, coaches, teammates, and friends for being there for and with me every step of the way and a huge shoutout to my CNTARN family who you can follow on twitter! (:
Thank you very much for your time Destiny! AJC