Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Catching up with Granite Bay HS runner, Christine Zavesky...

Today we chat with Granite Bay HS runner, Christine Zavesky.  At the recent Sacramento Meet of Champions, Christine dipped under the 5 minute barrier for the first time, running 4:58.56 as she finished in 2nd place in the invitational 1600m.  She qualified for the state meet last year in the same event and is also a veteran of the CA state cross country meet.  Along with teammate Brooke Holt, Christine continues the tradition of fine athletes at Granite Bay that not only includes the two Caitlins (see below) but a long line of pole vaulters as well.  

1) How did you get your start in cross country and track and field?

I got started in track in seventh grade with the encouragement of my dad, a former high school and collegiate middle distance runner from Sac State. He saw potential in me as a runner while I was playing competitive soccer, and when the opportunity arose to run for my junior high, he encouraged me to give it a try. I didn’t try cross country until high school because my fall seasons were always busy with soccer, but I started running XC for the varsity team my freshman year.

2) What other sports have you participated in?
Before track, I played soccer, which was my passion, for eight years, two of which were for a club team. In addition, I played a couple of seasons of basketball in junior high and almost played for the high school team as well. I also tested the water in softball, tennis, and volleyball, but I didn’t really stick with any of them.

3) Who are the athletes (on your own teams and/or other teams) that you looked up to as you were starting out in the sports in high school?
In junior high, my track coach told me about his former athletes Caitlin Clark and Caitlin Chock, who had gone on to Granite Bay and become running stars. In addition, as I began to immerse myself in the track world as an eighth grader, I learned about Alex Kosinski, Christine Babcock, Jordan Hasay, and Laurynne Chetelat among others,.

4) Looking back at your three seasons of cross country in high school, what were some of your highlights and achievements?
Two moments stand out in my mind. One was our team trip this past season to the Clovis Invitational, where almost the entire team ran PRs, including myself, and we saw ourselves as a legitimate contender to make it to state as a team. We didn’t make it due to illnesses, but it was a great team bonding experience that makes us better for this coming season.
Another really special moment happened not with my school team but at Junior Olympics this past December in Reno. I was racing with the Sacramento Buffalo Chips Running Club. My team won the Young Women’s age group National Championship in blizzard-like conditions, which in itself is an unforgettable experience, but to win a national title on top of it was amazing.

5) What are your current track and field prs in 400, 800, 1600 and 3200?
I have run 61.05 in the 400, 2:15.56 in the 800, 4:58.56 in the 1600, and 11:09.38 in the 3200.

6) What have been some of your track and field highlights for you as you take a look back to your time in the sport?
I have had so many amazing memories from track that I definitely can’t name just one! Freshman year, winning a league title and making it to Masters Finals in the 800 was very exciting for me. Last year, a breakthrough 5:03 at Sections, a seven second PR, was an amazing feeling and then to go back the next week and qualify for state was pretty sweet. The week after state, I ran at the Golden West Invitational and improved my 800 PR by about three and a half seconds. This season, winning the 800 at Arcadia in the day meet with a small PR and then running another PR in the mile at night was surreal. And most recently, breaking through the five minute barrier for the first time this past weekend was huge for me.

7) What do you feel are your favorite workouts during track that prepare you the best for your races?
Running intervals at or faster than race pace is definitely good for me. For example, we’ve done 10x400 with 1 min rest on a couple of occasions and when we did it most recently, I averaged just over 75, which showed me that I was close, if not ready, to break through the five minute barrier. Also, when I start tapering, I love to do 200 repeats at a fast pace. I just love flying off the turn and down the straightaway, and it helps me feel more comfortable at a faster pace during races.

8) What does a typical week look like for you in terms of runs and workouts?
Most often, Monday is a hard interval day with some weight training. Tuesdays, I’ll go run 6-8 miles then usually swim for about 30 minutes. Wednesdays are usually dual meets where I generally run both relays and another event or two. Thursday is typically a day off from running, and instead I go swim for an hour. If we race Saturday, then I will run about 4 miles easy with a couple of strides on Friday, race Saturday, then 10 mile long run Sundays. My weeks are constantly being rearranged to work in the two swims and a long run, though, so I rarely find consistency in the structure of my workouts from week to week.

9) How has your coach helped you become the runner and person you are today?
I have had three different track coaches in my three seasons at Granite Bay, and all have had a different impact on me. Each has taught me different lessons, and I have grown as a person and a runner from all of them. My coach this season, Carla Kehoe, has been amazing for me. My strength has developed greatly under her from the supplemental work I do and she has been so supportive every step of the way. I have also learned that my coaches have always believed in me and my abilities, and I have finally learned this year how to believe in myself and run with confidence. That mental thought process has made all the difference for me this year.

10) Who are some of the famous Granite Bay alumni that have run cross country and/or done track and field?
As I said before, Caitlin Clark, a State finalist in ’07 at 1600, and Caitlin Chock, two-time D2 state champ in XC, were both amazing distance stars for GBHS. However, our school is most known for its pole vaulting. Ryan Shuler, State Champ his freshman year, and Scott Roth, a three-time State Champ and a 17-6 vaulter, graduated from the same class at GBHS. They were incredible pole vaulters, and Scott was NCAA DI Indoor Champ this past winter for Washington, with Ryan currently competing for Cal.

11) What would be your advice for a young runner who has dreams of making it to the CA state meet?
Dream it! You can’t make it unless you lay down at night, falling asleep picturing yourself there and competing. Every day, when you go out to run, remind yourself why you are out there and what you are working for. It helps keep you focused and excited. If you constantly tell yourself how much you want to be there, it will be much easier for your body to do it. From experience, I promise it is worth every painful moment a thousand times over.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Track has been a wonderful experience for me so far. I love the pure competitive nature of the sport and have met some amazing people and made some great friends along the way.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my experiences, and good luck to everyone the rest of this season!

Thank you for your time Christine!  AJC.

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