Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Catching up with Lowell HS senior, John Hogan...

Today we chat with Lowell HS senior, John Hogan.  As the season quickly nears the halfway point, Hogan has established himself as a runner to watch in Northern California.  He started out the season at the Big Cat Invitational winning the 3200m. in a new PR of 9:50.57.  He followed that up with an even more impressive double victory at the K-Bell Invitational as he won the 800m. in 1:55.46 (2nd fastest time in state) and followed that up with a 1600m. first in 4:21.48.  At the just completed Dublin Distance Fiesta, Hogan won the 1600m. in 4:20.34 (14th fastest in state) and crushed his 3200m. PR with a 9:26.34 in the 9th heat.  His time placed in 8th place overall surpassing 16 of the competitors in the fast heat.  

1) How did you get your start in running?  What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I've always been athletic. I played soccer as a child, basketball in middle school, and I have always loved to play pick-up football. But I am too short, too thin, and can not shoot well enough to play competitive ball. So when I was cut from the local club basketball team, I realized I had to stray away from the sport, so in turn I joined the local club track team, Team Onalysis, which competes in the summer. My first race was the 100m, I tripped out of the blocks and got last.

2)  What events did you do as a freshman on the Lowell HS Track and Field team?
During my freshmen and sophomore years, I ran the 100m, the 200m, the 400m, and the 800m a few times. I continued to run summer track after my high school seasons. Since the summer was much more competitive in the sprinting events, I performed relatively better in the 800m. My freshmen summer I ran a 2:04. My sophomore summer I ran a 1:58. Both of which were at USATF Junior Olympic Nationals.

3)  When did you run your first distance race?  How was that experience?
My first distance race was an 800m. It's probably my most vivid memory of running yet. It was late in my freshmen year. One of my best friends at the time had just committed suicide that previous week before the invitational. I decided to run anyway. I got out slow, I was in like 6th or 7th with 200m to go, the guy in first only had about 130m to go. I was tired as hell and that's when I realized two things. First: In distance running, all you want to do is give up. Quitting was a sensitive subject in the lives of me and my friends at the time. So in my mind I asked my passed friend, look man give me something, and that brings me to my second realization: I have a pretty mean kick. I felt a strong boost in my legs, I picked up the pace, and I ended up winning my first distance race with a lean at the line, with a 2:12.

4)  From your first two years on the Track and Field team, what do you feel were your best races and proudest accomplishments?
It feels like forever ago, but first I am proud of my two JV medals in the 400m and then the 4x400m. People say well what if you ran distance all four years. I say yeah maybe but perhaps those two years gave me some quality speed training, which has gone a long way at the end of races -- who knows. My second would probably be in the summer of my freshmen year. I had a 2:12 800m going into the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals Qualifying meet, which happened to fall on the same weekend which my family goes on our annual camping trip. My mom said, hey John look since you probably won't qualify how about you just skip it and come camping. I said no way this was my chance, I ended up running a 2:04 -- an 8 second pr, third place, which was just good enough to qualify as it was a top four qualify meet, I passed about 5 people on the last curve. I have continued to surprise people since.

5)  What led to your decision to join the cross country team as a junior?  Highlights and proudest accomplishments from your junior and senior seasons?
My fast progression in the 800m and my slow progression in the 400m, along with advice from my godfather Ron Elijah, who is the current record holder of the Dipsea cross country race, convinced me to take the scenic route of competitive running. I joined cross country, and I have no intention of turning back, as I quickly found success in the longer events.
My biggest accomplishments have yet to come, but some foreshadows would definitely be: running a sub 4:20 in only my 5th 1600m, anchoring a school record 4x800m with a 1:56 to run a 7:57, and anchoring a school record in the 4x400 with a 50.7, running a 9:26 in only my third 3200m ever -- really my first with effort -- and opening my senior season with a 1:55, which is currently ranked second in the state.

6)  What was your training like over the winter period to prepare for your senior track and field season?
Junior year's winter I ran an average of 40 miles a week. Senior year's winter I ran an average of 60 miles a week. I typically take one day off. And I don't just believe in mileage, I believe in quality mileage. I redefined your typical runner's blog's "easy run" to "medium run" because I believe you should save your easy runs for after your race or interval workout when you can't breath. Otherwise you should be pushing yourself past threshold to improve. On Sundays, a buddy and I would run 10+ miles. And then during the week we ran twice a day: 3 miles at lunch, and then at least 7 miles after school.

I also weight lifted quite a bit, primarily olympic lifting as well as plyometrics and core work.

7)  Favorite XC course?  Favorite XC invitational?  Favorite XC workout?  Favorite long run?  Favorite track and field Invitational?  Favorite track workout?
 I've only ran about 6 XC races 4 of them at my local course which is awfully hilly. So I would have to go with Woodward Park, where state meet was held. Although, I wish I could have had a more experience on it. My favorite XC workout would probably be our long tempo run which is about 10 miles total, it is on a path that goes along the beach which is nice, but I particularly like it because it is one if the few places to run in San Francisco where you aren't confronted with a gigantic hill. I'd usually run 6:15 min pace on the first half, take a couple minutes break, then drop a bit below 6 on the way back.
My favorite track and field invitational so far would be the Stanford Invitational, we ran a 4x800 there and got second by less than a second. The atmosphere there is awesome and you are surrounded by top level collegiate athletes and their coaches so the pressure is on, and I think that really brings up the performances of the high shoolers. Also obviously because it is a beautiful track and campus too.
My favorite track workout would definitely be an interval ladder. Like 200, 400, 800, 1200 a few times. That way you get to show off the speed but you also have to go the distance. It really gives you a well rounded fatigue close to that of a race.

8)  What are your current PRs?  What do you feel is your best race and your best chance to place the highest at the state meet?
400 (split) - 50.7
800- 1:55
1600- 4:19
3200- 9:26
Well to be honest I have no idea. It is all so new to me. Both 1:55 and 9:26 felt easy. I feel like I have potential to bring down both of those times. So I think the obvious compromise is to run the mile which is a combination of the two skill sets. This weekend I have my most competitive race yet, the Adidas Meet of Champions'1600m. This race will be a huge indicator of what I should plan to do for the rest of the season, and ultimately state meet. I really feel like whatever I choose I will be the biggest dark horse in the field, cause at the end of any of those events I know I can hang with the best.

9)  Tell us a little about your track and field coach Andy Leong and how he has helped get to where you are today.
I can't express how lucky I am to have Coach Andy. He has been doing this for decades, he has seen it all, and most importantly he loves his job. On the surface someone might think he's hot headed, but once you get to know him that is just a result of his passion and love for the sport. You could be a state champion or a 5:00 miler either way he knows your name, your status, and all your splits. He makes every kid feel like they have a duty to perform, even if it is not for points. He only gives credit where it is due, and that makes every kid feel like they need to maximize their own potential. We are a public school team, we do not get funding from the school. Instead, Andy raises tens of thousands of dollars for the team, which provides us, 100 kids, all with the opportunity to go to an invitational every weekend, and even take a trip down to Socal. Andy is very polished at making sure an athlete progresses at an efficient rate, and peaks when the race matters. What makes Andy so special is that he actually cares. His contribution to the team and the kids makes him not only a great coach, but a great man.

10)  What would you say are the three most difficult workouts that you have done either this year or last year during track?  Include pace and rest.
So far I'd say the three toughest workouts so far were
10 x 300m very steep hills. cycling  easy, medium, hard effort. one:one rest. Did not time the sets though.
6 x 800m intervals at one:one rest. Average 2:15. We plan to eventually bring that pace down to 2:08.
4 x 1200m intervals at one:one rest. Average 3:24.

11)  What races are you most looking forward the rest of this season and what are some of your goals that you would like to share?
I'm really looking forward to my 1600m at the Adidas Meet of Champions, 4x800 at Stanford, whatever I decide to do at Arcadia, and of course State meet. My current goals are sub 1:53 in the 800, 4:10 in the 1600m, sub 9:15 in the 3200, and ultimately medal at State.

12)  Anything else you would like to add.
Huge thanks for covering high school track, makes it much more exciting for everyone to follow. You're website is awesome.

Thank you very much for your time John!  AJC


Anonymous said...

Tear it up at state this year John!

Anonymous said...

haha John you reached your 4:10 goal! now go for the 800 and 1600.

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