Sunday, October 07, 2012

Catching up with Granite Bay HS runner, Trent Brendel...

Today we chat with Granite Bay HS senior runner, Trent Brendel.  At yesterday's Clovis Invitational, Brendel ran the Woodward Park course in a personal record time of 15:25 (previous mark was 15:48 from last year's Clovis Invite).  He was the fastest Northern California runner by 11 seconds and 5th fastest runner overall in the hotly contested Invitational.  The previous weekend, Brendel won the prestigious Stanford Invitational Division II race covering the 5k grassy course in 15:36.  In the 2011 Track and Field season, Brendel finished in 2nd place in the 3200m. at the SJS Masters meet to qualify for his first state meet in 9:23.98.

1) How did you get your start in running?
I started running back in seventh grade when I decided to run with the Olympus Junior High School cross country team. I had previously been playing tennis and had tried soccer, baseball, and basketball as well but nothing really seemed to click for me. I was very aware, however, that I really liked to run. I would run just for the fun of running. When I signed up for that very first cross country team, I knew I was headed in the right direction. What I didn't realize at the time was that I had found my passion in distance running and that I was bound to be a distance runner for as long as my legs will continue to propel me forward.

2) What was the first success that you remember in both XC and TF?
The first success I experienced in my running was actually my very first cross country race at Olympus Junior High. We had our first meet out at Miner's Ravine, the same trail that we had been training on for the month preceding that first meet. I went out on the first half of the race following an athlete that seemed to be twice my size (although he was probably only about 4 or 5 inches taller than me). At the turn around point 3/4 of a mile out, I passed the taller and much more mature runner as we climbed the hill towards the halfway point. Just as my coach taught me, I never looked back as I proceeded on to win the race by a relatively large margin (at least for a 1.5 mile race). That race began my streak of two undefeated seasons of cross country running (only cross country, not track) in junior high.
In track and field, my most memorable early success was in 8th grade when I finally broke the five-minute barrier in the 1600m. I had run close to five minutes for the whole season and I was ready to go under. I was up against my junior high rival, Jon Horvath of Silverado, and I was ready to win. Up until then, Jon had always bested me in the mile. That day marked a reversal of roles. Since that day when both Jon and I both broke under a five minute mile (4:52 for me), Jon has not been able to best me in any race, which I find rather astonishing. Probably just chance. Anyways, I consider that race to be my first really big success on the track.

3) What were some of your highlights in both sports during your freshman and sophomore seasons?
Some of my highlights during my freshman year were:
-making the varsity squad as the third best runner in xc
-breaking the 2 minute barrier in the 800m with a 1:58.85
During my sophomore year:
-finishing 2nd behind Chris Kigar at the Del Oro Invite 4k with a time of 13:12
-breaking under 16 minutes at the CIF California State Championship with a time of 15:55
-breaking 10 minutes in the 3200m with a time of 9:56
-setting a JV school record in the 1600m with a 4:24.60

4) Tell us a little about your junior season in xc. Did you do anything different during the summer (training wise)? What were some of your proudest accomplishments?
To begin my junior cross country season, I upped my mileage over the summer. I didn't really get into the Natomas Lake loop 12 milers until early track season of my junior year but I was running longer stretches at a faster pace to prepare for a tougher season. Workouts became more intense during my junior year.
My proudest accomplishments of my junior cross country season were becoming the captain of the Varsity boys squad and competing in the Footlocker Regionals race at Mt. SAC.

5) What about track? What are your current track PRs? 
Track, on the other hand, was a much more successful endeavor during my junior year. I started out my track pre-season with 4 mile tempo runs, every Saturday for about five weeks straight. They began at a 5:35 mile pace. By the end of pre-season, I had worked my way down to a 5:17 pace. I set myself up to succeed with those agonizing tempos early in my season. I began with a 3000m PR of 9:02.53 and a win at the Sac State Track Classic. I then went on to improve that mark to an 8:52.18 at the Stanford Invite, following the next day with a one mile (1609m) PR in 4:20.38. I then went on to run a 3200m PR at Woody Wilson in 9:27.62. After that came a 1600m PR at the Sacramento Meet of Champions in 4:21.56. On that same night, I ran in the 4x400 meter relay and had the opportunity to hand off the baton to my freshman brother, Tyler. We may have placed dead last but we were only a tenth of a second off of the school record and I ran a 50.85 second split for the third leg. I can honestly say that I was terrified during that race. Sprinting is not for me. Finally, my pride and joy, my 3200m PR with which I qualified for state: 9:23.98 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Finals. Junior year was a great year for me on the track.

6) Tell us a little about your coach and how she has helped you develop into the runner you are today.
I owe everything to my coach, Carla Kehoe. She is the reason why I am the athlete I am today. Without her, I would probably only be a mediocre athlete without much motivation to improve. She has designed every single one of my workouts by hand and has designed them to fit my needs. She is flexible with workouts when I'm not quite achieving what she asks of me but is persistent in her efforts to maintain the trend of improvement that I have experienced throughout high school. Coach Kehoe has molded me into the tough competitor I am today.

7) What does a typical week look like for you right now with a Saturday Invitational? Workouts? Length of long run? Morning runs?
A typical week for me begins with a Monday afternoon long run/speed/tempo workout. If a long run, usually 10-12 miles with strides. Tuesday is always recovery, usually 6-8 miles. Wednesday morning is almost always a speed workout, usually 800m intervals or 1000m intervals. Sometimes we'll switch it up and do a mix of 1000's, 800's, 600's, and 400's. Thursday is recovery, as is Friday. Fridays are usually short runs if I'm racing on Saturday. 4-6 miles. And then, race on Saturday. I either take Sundays off or do some light cross training.

 8)  As a young high school runner, who were the runners that you looked up to (on your team or other teams)?
As a young high school runner, I looked up to, more than anyone, Christine Zavesky. She showed me the ropes of high school distance running and I owe a lot of my early success to her guidance. I also looked up to Bryant Hom, Spencer Thibideau, and Trevor Halsted.

9) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run? Favorite track invitational? Favorite track workout? Favorite track distance? Favorite opponent(s)?
My favorite xc course is the Mt. SAC course, mostly because it is insane. And by insane, I mean insanely steep and difficult. It may not be the fastest course but it is by far the most interesting.
My favorite invitational is the Stanford Invite, and not just because of the recent win. I've always had a pleasant experience at the Stanford Invite. Having a budding team this year was an added bonus.
My favorite cross country workout is probably 800m repeats.
My favorite long run is definitely the Lake Natomas 12 mile loop starting from Karen's bakery and circling the lake clockwise.
My favorite track invitational is Woody Wilson, mostly for the ambiance of the UC Davis track at night and for the competition.
My favorite track workout involves 1000's, 800's, and 400's... and maybe some 200's... just maybe.
My favorite track distance is the 3200, as of last year.
My favorite opponent is Jon Horvath because he never ceases to push me to better myself. We are also good friends, which helps us to compete in a positive manner.

10) Did you set any goals for yourself this season and if you did, how did you go about selecting those goals?
I set my goals in order to guide my training. In doing so, I evaluate where I want to see myself at the end of my season and work with my coach to tailor my training accordingly. This season, I want to see myself in the top 20 finishers for D2 at the State Meet. Another goal that I have set for my last cross country season is to take my Varsity boys team to state. I think this could be the year that we have a team go to state. If not, maybe next year. All I know right now is that our underclassmen on Varsity are really stepping it up and we are improving every week. I look forward to seeing what the end of the season brings our way.

11) What is your advice for a young runner just getting in the sport with goals of competing with the best in the state?
My advice for an aspiring young runner is to listen to your coach! Do it! They know what they are talking about. Also, remain diligent with stretching (I stretch on a nightly basis) and doing everything you can to speed up recovery. That means sleep. The occasional ice bath also helps but is not necessarily required. Set goals. Lots of them. Not so lofty that you might never achieve them but nearly attainable goals. Goals that will require you to push yourself harder the next week, and harder still the week after that. Running in big invitationals is also key to being able to compete with the best in the state. You need to know what it feels like to run a 4:42 first mile in a 5k race and be able to stay strong through any doubts that may plague you after the first or in the last mile of the race. Probably just said way too much there but I hope it helps!

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I would like to add that I think it is fantastic that Coach Caruana puts together this site and that I am very appreciative of his efforts. I would also like to thank him for this opportunity to share a little bit about myself. Cross Country Express is where it's at!

Thank you very much for your time Trent!  AJC


Anonymous said...

Albert - very informative interview. I was especially interested in the specialized workouts. I was wondering how common this is on the high school level. I think its a great idea. I know from my own experience with my daughter's xc that she benefits from certain forms of workouts (tempo, intervals) where other types of workouts just seem to only lead to her injury (mid/late season 10 mile, 2 hour "slog" runs). Her team employs a one size fits all approach with no specialized training for any athlete - and they have had a lot of success over the years. I realize with large teams that specialized workouts might be difficult to achieve. I was wondering what other athletes, coaches, commenters might think on this issue.


ghpadd said...

There is always going to be commonality in workouts for individuals racing the same distance. However, there are differing workout needs for individuals based on many factors including:

Running Maturity (how long have they been coached as a runner)

The athlete's physical maturity and gender

The athlete's natural predisposition to having a greater ability in speed or for endurance

The passion of the athlete to achieve increasingly harder goals

The passion of the coach to work with each individual as an individual and also as a part of a team

Understand that within what many may call a one-size fits all (OSFA) workout, coaches can have many athletes concentrating on the work that they need to complete to improve (harder speed work, for instance for one athlete while another concentrates more on the stamina portion of the workout and yet another is concentrating on increasing their endurance). This then becomes individualized workouts within a "OSFA" workout.

Sorry to say that individual attention, even within a OSFA workout is getting harder to find due in part to the skill of the coach(es)utilized by the school. Remember that many school administrator's or athletic directors have little knowledge of training/coaching the runner. Additionally, many schools do not employ a good coach that can teach, they employ a teacher (hopefully good) that can or wants to coach.

A quick acid test would be to not look at how many years the individual has coached, nor what others state about the coach being a great person, but, on their results in regional/statewide competition over their career. Additionally, when talking to a coach, their ability to inform the parent and athlete of what each portion of the workout works on (speed, strength, stamina or endurance) and how their workouts will provide improvements in each of these four areas to each athlete as an individual on the team.

Runners are not born, they are built. It takes parents, the athlete and many good coaches to build a runner. Thankfully, we have many such great building programs within CA.

ghpadd said...

Just a quick observers note on Trent:

I saw him arrive on scene his Soph. year as a league and SJS talent. Other League and local talent was present including runners fro Del Oro, Placer, Woodcreek, Davis, Del Campo and a few others. But, so far his senior year the other talent has paled in comparison. I'm not sure if it is a natural talent, coaching, pushing his workouts, summer prep work or a (most likely) a combination of all. What is obvious is that so far this season his local competition has not been able to touch him. Something that we all hope that other coaches and athletes notice. Great work Coach and Trent! I personally hope to see your improvement continue well into your college years as you are earning it one stride at a time.

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