Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gabriele Anderson On Europe and Her PR 1,500

New pro Gabriele Anderson, now racing for Team USA MN, didn't wait too long to show her stuff, getting a PR at 1,500 meters in a meet in Belgium. She talks to DtB about her PR and her experiences on her first trip to Europe.

Down the Backstretch: You just set a big PR in the 1,500. Could you tell us a bit about the race. How it developed and your take on the result.

Gabriele Anderson: The race in which I set my personal best was on Sunday, July 11, in Brasschaat, Belgium. It was a pretty warm day, as we had fairly hot weather for the whole trip. I was just hoping to go out and have a good effort again, and hopefully put myself in a good position to follow the pace setter and hang on for a fast time! The pace was honest through 800-meters, and I just tried to finish strongly and hang on to the front pack. I couldn't quite move with the leaders in the last 400, but I held on as best as I could and was happy to come home with a new PR!

DtB: You've had a long season, now you're racing well in Europe. How are you able to remain sharp for this long? Did it just take this long to hit your peak or was it more a matter of getting the right
conditions to run a fast time?

GA: I think that, for me, it was easier to extend my season because I didn't race the typical collegiate year consisting of three seasons: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. I had only outdoor eligibility, and my training all year was focused on performing well in outdoor track.

Racing less in the fall and in the winter allowed me to train a little bit more than usual and thus race a bit more here in the summer.

DtB: You've talked about finishing your masters in public policy at the U. Are you picking up any public policy experience from your trip abroad? Getting views of how things are done over there? What can be learned from that?

GA: You know, it was a really eye-opening experience in general! I can't say that I picked up too many details about politics and policy from just being there, but it was my first time in Europe, so I definitely enjoyed learning about that part of world's unique history. The trip was a balance of focusing on running and racing well while also enjoying the opportunity to be immersed in a new country with a distinct culture. We had a great time exploring -- and running!

DtB: Any memorable experiences during this trip to Europe? Have you been able to get out into the area and get to know the people?

GA: We managed to take the train to Brussels from our base in Sittard to see the Tour de France. That was definitely a highlight for me! We traveled several hours just to get there and then waited another couple of hours just to have the peloton breeze past our faces for about 25 seconds. It was worth it!

We didn't necessarily get to know too many of the locals (due to the language barrier to some extent), but it was actually really great to get to know some of the other runners on the trip from different training groups across the country. Since I'm new to the professional running scene it was interesting to hear about the experiences that other young athletes have had post-collegiately in different training groups like McMillan Elite, ZAP Fitness, and Team Indiana Elite. We're all in different places, but we're all pursuing the same type of goals. We definitely made a lot of new friends!

DtB: Are you coming right back after the running is done in Europe or will you be able to take some time to travel and see some of Europe?

GA: I arrived back in Minneapolis on Monday, July 12. However, I do hope to get back to Europe and see more someday! It was a great first experience and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to race abroad.

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