Monday, December 15, 2008

Catching up with Marin Catholic's Theresa Devine...

Today we chat with Marin Catholic's junior, Theresa Devine, who is coming off a highly successful season which included an NCS individual title and a top 10 finish at the state meet in Division IV. Theresa is no stranger to the front pack at the NCS meet as she had two 4th place finishes in her first 2 years in the sport. She has also nicely improved her place at the state meet with a 30th place finish as a 9th grader, 15th place finish during her 10th grade year and a 5th place finish this past season.

1) How did you get your start in distance running?
I ran cross country in middle school in order to stay in shape for soccer. I've been playing competitive club soccer since I was 8. When my teammate Alec suggested that I start cross country in high school I thought it would be a good opportunity to get to know new people while staying in shape. By the winter of my sophmore year I decided to train year-round (or as close to it as possible). My coach Daryl really showed me how much potential I have and how rewarding running can be.

2) What other sports have you played or currently play besides cross country?
When I was very young (elementary years) I used to swim and play baseball as well as play soccer and basketball. Up until this year soccer and basketball ran my life while running was an afterthought. Just last winter I played varsity basketball and varsity soccer for my high school. I realize now that I enjoy running more and love training on the trails in Marin.

3) When you were starting running, what runners inspired or challenged you to become a better runner?
When I first started I really looked up to the more experienced teammates on my team. I aspired to be as fast as Alec and as dedicated as my former teammate Natalee. This year my new coach Mary has been a true inspiration as she has taught me to treat running as a life-long endeavor.

4) During your 9th and 10th grade seasons in cross country, you finished in 4th place at the NCS meet. This year you finished in 1st place with a considerably faster time. What do you think are the reasons for your improvement this year?
After last season I decided to keep up my long runs through winter and spring as much as possible. Then during the summer I ran on many of the best trails Marin has to offer. I think being in better shape gave me confidence as well as fitness.

5) Looking back at this past season, what do you think was your best race and why?
I am really happy with the way the season panned out in general, but I do feel I peaked well by the time state came around. I think I just ran intelligently and followed the "plan" even though I felt a lot of nerves and pressure going into it.

6) Tell us a little about your coach and what he has meant to you in terms of your running?
Coach Daryl essentially brought me into the running world. Before he came I knew little to nothing about training or racing. I just ran hard for the five days a week we had training and played soccer on the weekends. Without his guidance and training I would have never made the leaps I did this year or overcome the adversity I faced.

7) What was your goal going into the state meet in terms of time and place and did you meet them?
Going into state meet I had a goal of running 5:50 pace, but I realize I set the bar high. I really didn't want to have a goal to fall back on. I wanted to be able to run free from expectation and look to either winning or simply running my best race.

8) What was your position during the first mile? 2nd mile? Toughest part of the course?
At the first mile I was near the front of the second pack as a conservative start. Then by the second mile I had taken some control of the chase pack. By then what I considered the worst of the course was over. It wasn't a matter of difficulty, but a matter of strategy. At NCS I went out really hard and I knew that if I wanted to do well at state I would have to run with a little more intelligence. I was happy with my result and I am looking ahead for faster times next year.

9) What did a typical week look like for you in terms of mileage and workouts?
Our mileage varied from week to week and I can't say I exactly know the numbers. I do knew, however, that we tapered down before the last few weeks of season. During the early going, we had anywhere from 3-4 quality days of workouts that ranged from hill training to fartlek to tempos and even some time trials. We mainly worked in phases to build strength and then develop speed.

10) I know you have done soccer in the past during the spring. What are your plans for this coming spring season?
I plan on running track for this upcoming spring. Through the help of my coaches, teammates, and family I have made the executive decision to focus on running. I really enjoy running and am looking forward to track season.

11) Now that you have three years of cross country experience, what would be your best advice for a beginning runner who is eager to improve?
My advice for a beginning runner would be to have patience. The key to improving seems to be running hard and resting well. I wouldn't get too stressed either. Learn to enjoy running and working out and the success will come.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I really owe a lot of thanks to my coaches. Everyday they are out there encouraging the team and coming up with training plans. They are really a special crew.

Thank you very much Theresa! AJC

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