Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jamie Cheever is Going Back to Scotland

Photo by Becky Miller
Team USA Minnesota's Jamie Cheever booked her second trip to Scotland with her seventh place finish at the USATF Club XC Championships in Lexington, KY.  She'd qualified last year in the same event, but without a full team.  This year, she and her teammates took the team title and Minnesotans will make up most of the US women's team that goes to the the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country Team Challenge on January 5. Here she talks about her 2012 season, the Club Championships, and her goals for 2013.

Down the Backstretch:  You’re making a return trip to Scotland.  Does that make you the team leader as you already know the “ropes” on this adventure?

 Jamie Cheever: I hope to provide some leadership with running the race last year, especially for my teammates Ladia, McKenzie, and Jon who are on their first US team.  As well as my former Gopher teammate, Stephanie Price, who is on her first US team.  I had a great experience last year, and I am so glad to be sharing it with so many friends.

DtB:  You have had a strong 2012--finals of the OT, PRs, now the Club team championships.  How did the results match up with your goals, expectations going into the year? What were the highlights and low points of the season?

JC: I had a great experience running track last spring.  I am coming into this racing year with many high goals, one of which was to make the Scotland team by placing well at the Club Cross Country race.  I was disappointed I wasn't able to break into the top eight at the Olympic Trials, but I raced my heart out, and had to PR in the prelims just to make it to finals.  I think with another year of training, I'll be able to handle the back-to-back steeple races better.

DtB:  Heather (Kampf) says that the “plot” for going for the team championship was hatched over dinner at her place.  Where all the other team members there?  Had you worked out a strategy to convince Heather to run if she would have said no initially to being on the team?

JC: Meghan and I had already decided we wanted to run Club Cross in order to qualify for Scotland.  We knew Ladia and Mckenzie would be up for the race.  I remember talking to Heather about the race in her kitchen and being surprised she was so excited about racing cross country again.  We all had a lot of fun, and we're planning on running in Bend, OR at the race next year.

DtB: You went out faster than your teammates at the USATF Club Championships.  Any reason for this strategy?

JC: One of our board members ran in the masters race, and he warned us before our race that we needed to get out quick in the beginning because the course was a difficult one to catch people on.  I went out with my Team USA Minnesota teammates in the top pack for the first mile.  I felt great, so when Maddie (Suver), Breanne (Nelson), and Katie (Mackey)  started to break away, I went with them.  I lost some steam the last 1200 meters, but I'm glad I took a risk and went for it.

DtB:  What were your thoughts as the race unfolded?  When did you realize you weren’t going to be able to break away from or hang onto the lead pack?

JC: I was nervous since it was our first race, and I didn't know where my fitness was at.  I started to lose the top three during the second half of the third mile, and I knew I would have to be tough to finish in the top group.  Three people passed me in the last 1200 meters, but I was proud of my effort.

DtB: What went through your mind for the last portion of the race when Meghan and Ladia came by you?

JC: I was happy it was them, and not anyone else.  I've trained a lot with Meghan in the past couple years, and a lot with Ladia during college, so I know what it's like to get my butt kicked by them.  I tried to key off of their energy.  Meghan was enouraging me to keep up, but I just couldn't!

DtB:  Aside from the race in Scotland, what are your goals for 2013?  Are you sticking with the steeple or going to try other events?

JC: I hope to place in the top ten at the US Cross Country Championships.  On the track, I hope to continue breaking PR's in the steeple, 1500 meters, and 5K. 

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