Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Short Prep Time, But Good Results for Stephanie Price

Photo courtesy of Twin Cities Track Club

After a short hiatus, Stephanie Price returned to the sport in style at the USATF XC Club Nationals in Lexington, KY.  She talks about her return on the Twin Cities Track Club's site HERE, and below.

Down the Backstretch: The US women's team for Scotland is almost "team Minnesota."  When did you find out that you were going to go?

Stephanie Price: Last week on Thursday I received an email from Aron McGuire(of USATF) informing me that I made both the Scotland and Jamaica(NACAC) teams. I was beyond ecstatic to be selected as this is such a great opportunity for me to represent the USA, to get a solid race in, and to travel to Scotland.

DtB:  You’re running with the Twin Cities Track Club(TCTC).  How did you get hooked up with them?

SP: It was sort of a random event that led to me getting hooked up with TCTC. I met someone who knew Mike Reneau, the driving force for getting the TCTC restarted in the Minneapolis-St Paul area. After meeting with Mike and learning more about the TCTC, I decided that this club was something I would be honored to be involved in and represent in races. 

The Twin Cities Track Club has a great community focus and philosophy of promoting the enjoyment and positive benefits of running for all levels of runners in the Greater Twin Cities Area. This ideal aligns with what I feel running should represent and it is important for me to support values that I believe strongly in.

DtB:  What prompted you to run the Club championships? 

SP: Running Club Championships was somewhat of a last minute decision. I had heard of the race opportunity and it was in the back of my mind. However, when I first started working with Chris Lundstrom, we had talked about just getting in some good training while focusing on finishing my nursing degree. 

However, I started to get the itch to run again and have always loved XC. So, ultimately I could not pass up this opportunity to race in a competitive XC race, especially when my TCTC teammates Joe Moore(who has also been selected to run on the US team in Scotland and Jamaica) and Mike Reneau(who is running the Houston Marathon on January 13, but might run the NACAC meet if selected based on his 14th place finish at USATF XC Club Nationals) were making the trip to compete. 

So without much planning in advance, I ended up in Kentucky and had a blast getting back out there to compete on a muddy cross country course!

DtB:  Mike (Reneau) said that you had only six weeks of training going into the USATF meet.  Pretty impressive results.  He said you weren’t even sure you had spikes, but that you pulled a spike bag out of your closet when you left for the meet and when you opened it up the shoes still had the grass and mud on them from the 2011 NCAA Championships.
SP: This is true. Prior to starting to work with Chris, which was about six weeks before Club cross, I hadn't been doing any specific training. And, yes, a bit embarrassing but true about the muddy spikes. I had to dig up my old XC spikes, which I had assumed I would never wear again. They still had the spikes and caked-on mud from the 2011 NCAA Championships, so we all had a good laugh about that.
DtB: You have sort of been on a hiatus from competitive running at the top level until the USATF meet, what were you doing in the interim?

SP:  I finished my career as a Golden Gopher last spring and have been fairly busy since. This past summer, I moved to Sioux Falls for 12 weeks for a full-time nursing internship in the neonatal intensive care unit of Sanford Health. I then traveled to the Philippines at the end of the summer for three weeks to do some healthcare volunteer work in Leyte. I returned to Minneapolis in September to finish my last semester of school, and just graduated this December 2012 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

I am now studying for my nursing boards to get my license as a registered nurse. I will potentially take my boards in February. In the meantime, I am in the process of doing job applications and interviews for potential positions in the nursing field. In addition to studying for my boards, I am working part-time at Gear Running Store and training. My nursing career is a priority to me, but I am also very passionate about running and competing at a very high level
My short-term goals are to get stronger with some specific training, get back into racing fitness and confidence, and to just go out and be very competitive at a variety of longer distances. My long term goals include eventually the marathon, and balancing a nursing career with a professional running career.

I am training fairly intensely right now with specific, focused volume and intensity under Coach Chris Lundstrom. I run with a variety of people, and on my own, as I do enjoy the freedom of my independence with training. I do a majority of my training and runs with other athletes coached by Chris such as Michelle Frey, Katie McGregor, Jenna Boren, Mike Reneau and Joe Moore.

I also try to get out on my own for runs, and to run with other friends I have in the running community such as old teammates or people who come to community runs we hold at Gear Running Store. It makes my training much more enjoyable to spend it with a variety of people, especially good friends that I can have great conversations and laughs with that make the miles pass quickly.

DtB:  Sounds like you had to sort out all the requirements of doing what amounts to a dual career of nursing and elite running.  Both are pretty demanding professions, both physically and mentally. What went into making the decision to pursue both?  What do you see as the challenges?

SP: For me, it is very important to have balance and maintain perspective in life. I know that personally I would not be happy with a running career being my main focus and priority in life. But I also would not be satisfied giving up my love for competing to solely pursue a career in nursing. 

I am passionate about both a career in nursing and pursuing running at an elite level. So for me it was an easy decision. I think many people will question the ability to manage both professions, but I strongly believe it is not only feasible for me to manage, but feasible for me to excel at both. I know that most importantly I have my priorities straight, have taken the time to really evaluate what I want in my future careers, and I have maintained my passion, determination, and dedication to both. 

There will definitely be times when it will be a struggle or requires me to be flexible with what life brings. I learned this firsthand while managing nursing school with Division I athletics, and also during my internship completing 12-hour shifts while training. Some of the challenges will involve managing the limited time I will have for training, adapting my body to nursing shifts while getting in quality runs, managing a work schedule with racing plans, and prioritizing life/family and friend/running/work balance. 

But if I never forget that running is a gift in my life, and not the definition of my life, and I take what work and training gives me one day at a time, and really listen to my body and learn to be flexible, I have no doubt that I can have both a nursing and running career. 

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