Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Road to Houston: 5 Questions with Olympic Trials competitor, Addie Bracy

Winning the Mag Mile
Today, we were lucky enough to have 5 Questions with one of the fledgling stars on the road circuit on her "Road to Houston." We'll have a few more of these features over the holidays as we lead up to the big day on January 14, 2012.

Addie Bracy has had a busy year. She's PR'd on the track in the 5000 and 10,000 and has PR'd on the road in the Half. Unfortunately, she'll have to miss the Marathon Trials due to injury, but expect her back on the track in 2012 as she takes aim at the 2012 Olympic Track Trials in Eugene (this June). Follow her on Twitter here.

5 Questions with Addie Bracy

1. Writing About Running: You've had a few strong performances in the past year. What were your PR's in college and what has been your progression been since graduating from UNC in 2009?

Addie Bracy: In college, I focused primarily on the 5k and the steeplechase.  My college PRs in those events were 16:20 in the indoor 5000 and 10:16 in the steeplechase.  Since graduating, my coach (Ryan Vanhoy) and I have shifted our focus to the longer distances.  It took me a year or two to adjust to the difference in training, as well as my training environment, and while I did have PR performances during my first two years out of college, they were minimal and didn't reflect where we believed my fitness was.  It wasn't until the last 8 months that I really felt that I had a breakthrough.  Last spring, I had significant PR's on the track, running 33:08 in the 10,000 and 15:49 in the 5000.  I also recently had a big PR in the half marathon (1:14:09).

2. Writing About Running: You were a Volunteer Assistant Cross Country coach this fall with the UNC Cross Country team and now you're training for the trials in Colorado. How's that going?

Addie Bracy: This Fall actually marked the beginning of my third year as a Volunteer Coach and it's something I really enjoy doing.  It gives me a chance to play a different role in the sport and give back, in a way, to the school that started my running career.  Training for this sport can sometimes force you to live a very self-centered lifestyle because of the sacrifices that you have to make, and being involved at UNC gives me a chance each day to take my focus away from my own training and to help others with what they are trying to achieve.

I am currently back in Chapel Hill training.  I recently finished up a 5-week altitude stint in Nederland, Colorado during October and November.  I went out there with my good friend and former teammate, Brie Felnagle, my twin brother, Ian Bracy, and a recent Appalachian State graduate, Brandon Hudgins.  The trip went really well and we got in some great training.  While in Chapel Hill, I do most of my training alone, so it was great to have a small group to train with for a few weeks.  This was my second time doing a "training camp," and I find them very beneficial and a necessary part of a big buildup, because they take you away from any kind of distractions that you might find at home and really allow you to get in several weeks of intense and quality training.

Steepling for Carolina
3. Writing About Running: Your one of four former Tar Heels that I've counted in the trials, with Shalane Flanagan, Blake Russell and Heather Tanner. What's it like having a group of girls from your alma mater that have similar goals as you do?

Addie Bracy: I've always been very proud to be a Tar Heel, because of the rich athletic tradition that exists at UNC.  You always feel a certain bond with someone from your alma mater and I feel a sense of pride when I see them doing well.  Women like Shalane and Blake are the people that I looked up to in college, in addition to other former teammates in other event groups like Alice Schmidt and Erin Donohue.  It's definitely a special feeling to be competing at some of the same events as them.  Even though we are no longer wearing UNC jerseys, it's something that kind of always sticks with you.

4. Writing About Running: . Most recently, you ran a big PR of 1:14:09 for 4th at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. What'd you takeaway from that race just a month out from the trials?

Addie Bracy: The Las Vegas half was a big confidence booster for me.  We didn't cut back in training much at all for the race and it was something we were basically using as a glorified workout, so I really wasn't sure of how it was going to go. But, I felt great throughout the entire race and was surprised at how comfortable the pace felt.  My goal on a good day was to be in the top 5, so I was very happy to achieve that.  It was also a pretty cool experience to race down the Las Vegas strip at night.  It was definitely unlike any other race I have ever run.

Writing About Running:  What's one of your favorite workouts that you've done during the past year to prime you for your recent PR's?

Addie Bracy: One of my favorite workouts that we do several times throughout a season is 400 or 500 meter repeats.  We do 20-25 of them straight through, and the rest is a 100m quick jog between each, so there is no actual rest.  This workout most simulates a race to me, because there is not real rest and the pace is still pretty quick, so it takes a lot of mental focus.  It is one of those workouts that is a long grind and gets progressively more difficult to where you are really digging deep during the last several intervals, much like a race.  When I can complete this workout, feeling pretty good, I always know that I am ready to run fast.

Running the 10,000 at the 2011 USA Champships
5. Writing About Running: After the trials, what are your racing plans? You ran the 10k at USA's last year. Is a return trip to Eugene in the plans?

Addie Bracy: I was recently diagnosed with a femoral stress reaction and have since decided to pull out of the marathon trials.  My coach and I decided that running through the injury wasn't worth the risk of potentially losing my spring track season.  So, the Olympic Trials in June are now my new focus and are definitely in the plans.  I have hit the B standard for both the 10,000 and the 5000.  Assuming that I have a speedy recovery, I would hope to be competing in some of the early track meets, focusing primarily on the 10,000, and trying to hit a time that will secure my spot at the trials in June.  Racing the 10,000 last spring was my first time competing at Hayward Field and it was an amazing experience.  I can only imagine the excitement that surrounds an Olympic Trials event, and I hope to be a part of that.

Stay tuned for more articles this week and continued coverage leading up to the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, TX on January 14, 2012.

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  1. Great read Addie! Wishing you the best at the track trials. I will definitely miss your face at the marathon trials!