Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Catching up with University HS runner, Holland Reynolds

Today we chat with internet sensation (seriously, just do a search on her name), Holland Reynolds of University HS (picture courtesy of Marin Magazine).  As most of you know, Holland gained national fame after her crawl to the finish line at the California State cross country meet.  Holland led University all year as their #1 runner and the team cruised to the state meet following BCL West and NCS titles.  She was all set to lead University to their 8th state championship since 1996 but things don't always follow plan A.  What followed was a great show of courage and will that was far more memorable than if she had ran one of her usual fast times.

1) When and who got you involved in running?
I started running cross-country and track for my elementary school in 3rd grade, mainly because of the encouragement of my parents. My mom is a runner herself and would take me for jogs on the trails of Mt.Tam or Tennessee Valley. However, it wasn’t until high school that I really started to enjoy and love running.

2) What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?

In 5th and 6th grade, I played basketball for my middle school. I soon realized that I was no basketball player, and started playing tennis. I continued to play throughout middle school, but when I reached high school I had to drop it for running. I still occasionally play tennis for fun on the weekends.

3) In your three years of running cross country, what do you feel like was your best race?

My best race was probably just this last fall, at the BAC challenge in October. Although it was just like any other league race, this one stood out because when I finished, I really felt like I had pushed it, and I ended up tying my sophomore 5k PR. Lucy and I stuck together most of the way, working together and pushing each other even faster. These are the best types of races because you know your competition, and can use it to your advantage.

4) In your own opinion, why do you feel the University cross country teams are so successful?

All the credit has to go to Jim. He knows how to train every runner so that they will improve throughout the season, yet also reach a peak at the State meet. His interval workouts are brutal and extremely beneficial, but he always lets his runners know when it is time to back off. The dreaded 16x400 workout with 1:15 minute rest in between is just one example of his hard interval workouts. Jim is also extremely honest. He will always let you know if he is disappointed in your race or practice. Because of this, every runner tries hard for Jim, so that they can receive a compliment. When you put all these factors together- a carefully planned workout schedule and harsh honesty, the results are some great teams.

5) A lot has been said about what Jim means to the UHS team. How has he helped you personally become the runner you are today?

Through Jim’s training, humor and honesty, I came to love the sports of cross-country and track. Like everyone on the team, I just clicked with his style of coaching. Because of that, I began to improve, and eventually became the runner I am today. There is no doubt in my mind that his humor, style of workouts, and honesty led to my love of running.

6) What do you feel are the key workouts for you that help you race so well?

As described earlier, I believe that the main workout contributing to our team’s success are 400 intervals. The concept of running 16x400, or a total of 6,400 meters, is that we are basically sprinting more than an entire 5k. This speed work gives our team a kick at the end of races, and a head start at the beginning. This key workout has definitely improved my sprinting ability, and allowed me to sprint for over 400 meters at the end of races.

7) When did you first realize that what happened at the state meet was becoming a really big deal? Any funny questions?

I had been involved in a number of interviews, starting on the Sunday after the State meet. But last Thursday I received a call from ABC News and Good Morning America, which was when I realized that our team’s story had become national news. That morning Jim and I had to wake up at 3am for our interview! 

8) More nervous for races or all the interviews you have done?

I am honestly way more nervous for races. The interviews have become fun and enjoyable, and I can always predict how they will play out. But for races, I never know what is going to happen, which is what usually makes me so nervous.

9) Favorite cross country course? Favorite race? Favorite run?

Favorite cross-country course: Crystal Springs
Favorite race: All League races
Favorite run: Lookout to Fort Point

10) You have raced Lucy McCullough of Marin Academy many times over your 3 years in high school. How has she helped you raise your level as a runner?

Lucy has been amazing the past three years. She has always been so open to helping me, either by informing me of races I should attend or by discussing strategies before NCS. We even went on a training run together last winter. During races, Lucy has helped me pace myself, yet also move faster than I ever have before. Without Lucy, I don’t think I would have ever pushed myself as hard these past 3 years.

11) What races are you most looking forward to during track season?

3200! I have some goals set for this track season, including getting better at the 1600, but my favorite is still the 2-mile.

12) Anything else you would like to add.

Thanks so much, Albert! If anyone wants to check out the Jim Tracy website, please visit 

Thank you very much for your time Holland!  AJC

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