Monday, April 16, 2012

Catching up with La Costa Canyon HS junior, Ellie Abrahamson...

Today we chat with La Costa Canyon HS junior (SDS), Ellie Abrahamson.  According to, La Costa Canyon HS has the fastest 5 x 3200m. girls' team in the country averaging an impressive 10:43.40 (7th fastest team average in history).  Ellie recorded her 3200m. PR at this past Arcadia Invitational running 10:46.63.  During cross country, she was part of one of the top teams in the nation as La Costa Canyon won the seeded race at the Stanford Invitational, finished 2nd at Mt. SAC in the girls team sweepstakes, 2nd at the CA state meet in Division 2 and qualified to NXN, finishing in 13th place.

1)  How did you get your start with running?  What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I started swimming on a swim team at around age 5. Every once in a while, my swim team would hold mini-triathlons that I enjoyed competing in. I found myself winning these mini-triathlons and eventually realized that I gained the biggest lead on the running leg. I started competing in youth triathlons around the country, and I continued to bring home first place medals. Along with triathlons, I began to compete in local running races like the Jr. Carlsbad, which is where my parents and I eventually came across a local youth running club, the San Diego So Cal Roadrunners. Eventually, I decided to join this club team and compete in youth running races. I quit swimming before middle school started and began to focus on running full time. Since triathlon isn't a school sport, and since there aren't many youth triathlon clubs, running became my main focus. I've been running ever since, but this past summer, I became interested in triathlons again. I joined the school swim team this year as well as a club team in order to get into shape for triathlons, and I'm looking to do some big things with triathlon this summer.
I also tried out other sports as a kid, such as volleyball and basketball, but I wasn't nearly as good in those. They just weren't for me.

2)  What was the hardest part for you as you joined the cross country team as a freshman?
The hardest part about joining the XC team as a freshman was coming onto to the team as one of the top performers. I didn't expect to come onto the team as the team's number 1 or 2 runner, so it ended up being a lot of pressure to handle.

3)  What were your freshman highlights in XC and TF?  Best race effort for you in both sports?
During my freshman XC season, my biggest race effort/achievement was qualifying to the state meet. I had dealt with severe tonsil problems the entire season and knew that I had to get my tonsils out in December, so being able to push through the pain and gaining a spot to the state meet was awesome! After I finally recovered from my tonsil issues, my freshman track season began. I didn't know what to expect at all. I just went out and raced my best. I still remember the joy I felt when I finally broke 11 minutes in the 3200m for the first time at the Arcadia Invitational. That was definitely one of my biggest race efforts/achievements. I ended up being the #2 freshman in the state for the 3200 meters that year, only a second behind the #1 freshman.

4)  Who were your mentors when you were first starting out in high school?
My biggest mentor when I first started high school was my coach, Coach Vice. He was so welcoming and understanding about every problem that I had with my running. He made me feel comfortable coming into a big school and being apart of such a great cross country team.

5)  What did you change in terms of training during the summer as you prepared for your sophomore cross country season?
During the summer as I prepared for my sophomore cross country season, I upped my mileage from the previous summer and became more mentally focused on my training. I knew that my team had potential to perform extremely well that season, so I was determined to help my teammates out. 

6)  What does a typical week look like for your team during track season?  Similar to cross country?  Weekly Mileage?  Longest run?  Toughest workout?
During track season, we have our toughest workout of the week on Mondays. So far this season, we've done a variety of interval sets, from 400 repeats all the way up to 1600 repeats. (Earlier in the season, we did tempo runs and hill repeats). On Tuesdays, we have a long run, and our dual meets are on Wednesdays. On Thursdays we usually have another workout of some kind, but the workout is never as difficult as Monday's. Then on Friday we have a shorter run, and on Saturdays we usually have an invitational. Sunday is our off day.
Mileage wise, the girls usually get up to about 40-45. During cross country season, we do less track workouts and have our harder workouts on grass/trails. The mileage during cross country is usually a little bit more, around 45-50. This year, I'm also swimming. So three or four times a week, I swim with my club team or my school team for an hour and a half.
The longest run we do is 10 miles, nothing more.
The toughest workout I've ever done was definitely during my sophomore cross country season. We had to do one mile all-out on the track, jog over to a hill right by the track and do 5-10 hill repeats, and then come back with another all-out mile on the track. It was rough!

7)  Favorite track invitational?  Favorite XC invitational?  Favorite track distance?  Favorite run?  Favorite XC workout?  Favorite track workout?  
My favorite track invitational is definitely, by far, the Arcadia Invitational. I love racing at night!
My favorite XC invitational is probably Mt. Sac. I know that sounds crazy, but the team dynamic is so strong at that race. This past cross country season, as a junior, I suffered from an enlarged liver (weird, I know), but it affected almost every race I did, so I didn't get to perform as well as I had hoped at Mt. Sac. However, at Mt. Sac sophomore year, I remember how awesome my team and I felt when our coach came over and told us we had won the combined Division 1 and 2 Seeded race! It was incredible!
My favorite track distance is the 3200m. The longer the better!
My favorite XC workout is 800m repeats on this grass course that we have nearby, and my favorite track workout is 1600m repeats. I like going a steady pace for longer distances rather than sprinting shorter distances, like 400s.

8)  Your team is currently ranked first on with the fastest team time in 5 x 3200m.  Is there a certain pride on the team to be able to run the 3200m. well?  What is your strategy when it comes to running the 3200m?
 It's awesome having 5 girls who can run so well in the 3200m, and it's also a bit crazy as well. I never thought my team would have this much success. Just knowing that I'm apart of the fastest team time in the 5x3200m feels great!
When it comes to running the 3200m, I usually try to hold steady splits. I take it out hard in the first mile and try my best to hold on during the second mile. During one of our dual meets this season, just to try it out, my coach had me run a 5:40 for the first mile and negative split in a 5:19. That was definitely different than what I'm used to.

9)  Is there friendly competition with the boys team during cross country?  Do the boys and girls train together?
Our boys and girls teams are really close! We run together occasionally, but not a lot. We have a lot of bonding events, like "Jamba Juice Mondays", where we go to Jamba Juice after our hard track workout on Monday. It's a lot of fun.

10)  Tell us about your coaches and how they have helped you and the team reach their current level.  Being in the San Diego Section, how do you feel they best prepare the team to face the best runners and teams in California?
My coaches, Bill Vice and Taylor Hindle, both encourage the team well. They're always there to discuss any sort of problem and never fail to address questions that one may have. They strongly focused on forming a team bond this year and made us promise to our teammates that we would try our hardest no matter what. I think it really helped.
Being from the San Diego section, we only get to compete against our biggest competition at Mt. Sac. Then it's the state meet. Since we have 5 solid girls on the team, we often race against ourselves and try to mentally prepare for the tougher competition that comes at the end of the season. Our coaches help us with our mental preparation and constantly remind us of how far our team has come. They make us believe that we can come out on top and succeed no matter what the circumstances are.

11)  Your sister is a sophomore on the team.  How do you feel she has helped you become a better runner and vice versa?
My sister and I both encourage each other. It's a healthy relationship. Back in our youth club running days, we always ran similar times, especially on the track. One day, I would win. The next day, she would win. When she first came onto the team, it was hard knowing that she was so talented and had the ability to beat me, but it's gotten a lot better. It's really nice having somebody to run with and talk to about running whenever I need to. She pushes me to try harder, and I push her to try harder. It's nice knowing that I'll always have somebody beside me no matter what. 

12)  Anything else you would like to add.
Although I've succeeded as a XC runner, I've always been better at track, ever since I ran on the San Diego So Cal Roadrunners. This track season, I'm finally getting my act together and running the best I've ever run. It's going to be awesome to see what my team and I can accomplish by June!
Thank you for this opportunity.

Thank you very much for your time Ellie!  AJC


Anonymous said...

cross country express is the new dyestatcal....

Anonymous said...

How is the 5 x 3200 m AVERAGE 10:43 if Abrahamson runs 10:46 and is the top runner? What are the stats on the whole team?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you mean 11:43? Because even Saugus never had an average of that, even in their prime.

Albert Caruana said...

You can see the team times at this link:!__postalchampionship-girls

Ellie's time is the 3rd fastest with the slowest time being 11:08.48.

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