Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Emily Brown: Getting Back on the Horse

DtB caught up with Team USA Minnesota's Emily Brown upon her return from a recent three-race junket. The Gopher alum finished 7th at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race on Saturday, was 4th at the Antrim International Cross Country in Northern Ireland before that, and returned to competition with a runner-up finish at the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run 4 Mile in New York City.

Brown hadn't raced since the prelims of the women's 5000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trails in Eugene, Oregon last July, where she raced soon after learning she had a stress fracture in her sacrum. Hopes to race last fall were thwarted by a flair-up of the injury.

Here's what Brown, a member of the USA Team at last year's World Cross Country Championships had to say ...

DtB: It had been a while since you raced, how exciting and meaningful was it to compete again?

Brown: Like the old saying goes, if you fall of the horse you have to get right back on again. And the sooner the better. Unfortunately I wasn't ready to go again until now, a long 6 months since the Olympic Trials.

These races were really important for me because I had been approaching each workout and each run with the fear that I wasn't going to be able to be as good as I was last year. I needed these races to prove to myself, no one else, that I could still compete and compete well and come out of it all pain free. To me these races signified that I am injury-free and completely able to start rolling again.

DtB: How frustrating was it to deal with the injury after all the success you had early in 2008?

Brown: The frustrating thing was not the fact that I wasn't able to reach all of my goals that I had for 2008. It was the fact that I realized I wasn't invincible. Push yourself hard in your training and see the results pay of on the track. Push yourself too hard and find yourself sidelined for weeks or even months.

Unfortunately there is a fine line between the two and it is often not clear where that line is before it is too late. What is clear is that I am going to have to dedicate more than just workout time to becoming a smarter, better runner. It is going to have to be more of a full-time job than just a sport if I want to reach my full potential. I know that I have many years of running left and that the best is yet to come.

DtB: How did you feel about the results of the races?

Brown: I felt good about my time in the Midnight run but was frustrated that I did all of the work only to get out kicked for the win. I was really happy with the pace and when I finished I felt like I had at least another mile or two in me.

The unfortunate thing I realized from these races is that I am still missing that racing instinct. I was running some good, solid "workouts" but fell a little flat in the later stages when it became time to really start racing. I now know that I need to get that competitive edge back and starting fighting for each inch no matter how bad it hurts. These races were good opportunities to shake the cobwebs out but now it is time to get after it.

DtB: What's next for you?

Brown: Next up is the US Cross Country Championships. I am glad I had these races as a little reminder of what cross country really is and I have gained quite a bit of confidence going into the championships.

In Good Company ... We noticed that Runner's World Online just posted THIS interview with Brown.

Photo by Sean Hartnett.

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