Monday, June 19, 2017

Catching up with St. Mary's, Berkeley '17 grad, Owen Woo

Today we catch up with St. Mary's, Berkeley 2017 grad, Owen Woo. This past Track and Field season, Woo was one of the most improved runners in Northern California that culminated with a 9th place finish at the California state meet at Buchanan HS. As a junior, Woo had bests of 4:30.05 and 9:39.68. He improved this past season to 4:19.38 and 9:03.77 (time accomplished at NCS MOC meet).

1) You ran 9:11.86 at the CA state meet to finish in 9th place. What was your plan before the race and how do you feel about your final high school race?
My plan before state was to not get out too fast in the first 400 but then move into the front pack for as long as possible. My goal was to podium so I was a little disappointed about not doing that but I was happy being in the top 10 and just getting an opportunity to race at the state meet.

2) The week before, you ran a personal best 9:03.77 to finish in 3rd place. What were your expectations going into that race and how satisfying was it to make state in track?
At MOC, I was hoping to be in the top 3 and I thought I would be able to run about 9:10. I was super excited when I saw the time and qualified for state.

3) When did you feel like you had a chance to make the state meet this year?
I first thought I had a chance for state after I won my heat at Stanford because I ran a fast time without really any doing any speed-work.

4) Runners makes jumps in their running careers. When do you feel like you made the jump to your current level?
I think I realized I had made a jump after Dan Gabor because I ran a big PR in the rain and wind in the first race of the season. After that I had a few more PRs which showed me that I had made a jump.

5) Did you do anything differently over the winter to prepare for your senior track season? 
During the winter kept my mileage high much more consistently than I had in the past. I also did a lot more lifting to get stronger.

6) What did a typical week of training look like for you during this track season? Weekly mileage? Any morning runs? Any repeated workouts? Distance of long run? 
Monday: Uphill run on Arlington Ave. First .75 miles warm up, next 6min easy pace, next 6min long run pace, next 6min tempo. Then turn around and go back down the hill. After, fast strides.
Tuesday: AM: 2 mile run
PM:Hard workout. 3 mile warm up. Workout is usually some shorter repeats with some combination 200s, 400s, and 800s.
Wednesday: AM: 15-20min crosstrain
PM: 7-10 mile run depending on time of season.
Thursday: AM: 2 mile run
PM: Hard workout. 3 mile warm up. Usually longer reps like miles or a run with fartleks. Sometimes I have a league meet which I usually do 3 or 4 events.
Friday: AM: 15-20min crosstrain (if there is no race next day)
PM: Easy run or shakeout run. Usually 4-8 miles depending if there is a race the next day.
Saturday: AM: 2 mile run
PM: Race or another hard workout
Sunday: Long run
My weekly mileage is usually in the 60s during the track season. It sometimes went up to 70 and went down during the end of the season until 40 the week before state. I usually do short morning runs before hard workouts and races to wake up my legs. During the middle of the season I did lots of sets of 200, 200, 400 or 200, 200, 800. My long runs are usually from 12-14miles.

7) Looking back at your four cross country seasons, what are your proudest achievements and what do you feel was your best race?
My proudest achievements in cross country were running at the state meet when I was a freshman. I think my best race was at Stanford this year.

8) When did you get your start in running? What other sports did you play before high school?
I started running cross country in 6th grade but only 2 days a week. I started running seriously my freshman year. Before high school I played baseball for a long time.

9) How did you get your start in running? What was your running experience before high school? What other sports did you play?
When I was in middle school I knew I was too small to play flag football so I decided to run cross country in the fall. I had a good time so I decided to keep doing it. I only ran 2 days a week in middle school but I had a fun time and did well in a few races. In middle school, I also played Basketball and Baseball.

10) Favorite track event? Favorite track invitational? Favorite track workout? Favorite cross country course? Favorite cross country invitational? Favorite cross country workout? Favorite long run? Favorite free time activity?
My favorite event is the 3200m because it is not as chaotic as some of the shorter races. There is also a lot of time to move up in the race. My favorite invitational is Arcadia because of all the great competition and the environment at the meet. My favorite workout is 3 sets of 1000m tempo with a minute or rest then 400, 400, 200, 200 fast with a lap jog after each. It's my favorite because it is long which makes it satisfying when it's done. My favorite cross country course is the TCAL league course at Point Pinole. My favorite cross country invitational is Mt. Sac. My favorite cross country workout is long repeats in Tilden Park because it is so scenic. My favorite long run is starting from Berkeley and going to and onto the Bay Bridge and back. My favorite free time activity is going to get food with my friends or playing basketball.

11) Where will you attend college and how much running was a factor in your decision?
I will be attending Pomona-Pitzer. Being at a place where I could run and enjoy it was important but so was how I liked other aspects of the school and the academics.

12) Who are the coaches, adults and fellow runners that made the biggest impact for you and what did you learn from them?
My coaches Rogers (cross country) and Mohun (track) have been amazing guiding me through my running for the past 4 years. I've learned a lot about being patient, hard work, and how to be a smart runner. The older runners on my team have made a huge impact on me. Especially the 2013 cross country team who really got me into the sport of running. They taught me all the basics of running and how to have a good time while doing it.

13) Anything else you would like to add.
I'd like to give a shout-out to the St. Mary's Cross Country/Track team and NAGO Track Club (runners, coach, and fan/fans) for being some great training partners and friends. I also want to thank everybody who has supported me in my running. Thanks for the interview Albert!

Thank you very much for your time Owen! AJC

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