Friday, March 2, 2012

5 Questions with World Indoors competitor, Jackie Areson

Jackie Areson on her
way to a World's bid
(photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
The IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, are a week away and we'll try and do a few 5 Questions with interviews with the competitors during this period as we ramp up for the last international competition before 2012 Summer Olympics!

Jackie Areson is now almost a year into her professional career as a runner. After an excellent career at the University of Tennessee, Areson has begun to make her marks on the pro circuit. Things started going in a positive direction around Thanksgiving with her win at the famed Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, and most recently, she was the runner up at the USA Indoor Championships (in the 3000), gaining her a spot on the World Indoor Championship Team. Follow her on Twitter here.

5 Questions with Jackie Areson

1. Writing About Running: First off, congrats on making the Worlds team. Was this the goal race all indoor season? Did it unfold as planned?

Jackie Areson: Initially, my only hard effort for the indoor season was going to be at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix. I ended up not being in the race I wanted, so it was more of a lesson in pushing a race and learning to push from the front. The goal from the start was that I wasn't going to run at USA Indoor Champs. But things ended up changing quite a bit. I found out the night before the race that I was running, after running a workout that Thursday, and 10 miles the day before. So needless to say it definitely didn't unfold as planned. I went into the race really relaxed, knowing I was in shape and ready to run with anyone, but not really expecting much considering the circumstances. I ended up feeling much better than expected, even with the slow early pace. I was unsure about going to World's as I'm extremely focused on getting that 5000m Olympic A standard in April, but I figured I can't pass up an experience like this. I figured, this is why I run, right?

2. Writing About Running: You've been with the Oregon Project for almost a year now. How has the transition been from college student-athlete to professional runner?

Jackie Areson: The mindset is completely different, at least it is for me. In college, I would just go from meet to meet, not necessarily having a concrete plan. Just trying to run fast. There was always the thought... "there's always next year, next season." But now, it's much more planned, much more focused on the few races you have. For me, I raced so often in college, and I took that for granted. Now I race much less, and it gives me a much more aggressive mindset when it comes to racing. In terms of the actual transition... it was extremely hard for me. My training was going to great when I moved out to Oregon, but my racing was going in the opposite direction. I always thought people were being ridiculous when they would say the transition is hard, I didn't believe it. But it really was hard on my body, even though I have no explanation for it. But my body is finally coming around to the racing again and I'm excited. Even though it has been hard, the fact that I have an amazing coach in Steve (Magness) really keeps me at ease. I have complete faith in his abilities and I know he's the only person that can get me to where I know I can be, whether it be this year or the next. It will happen. Another aspect that is really exciting and different is the fact that I am learning a lot about coaching. Steve and I have countless meetings and discussions on training, anything you can imagine, it's been discussed. That's exciting for me, because when it makes sense and I know exactly what everything does for me, I get excited.

Areson had quite a career
as a Tennessee Volunteer
(photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
3. Writing About Running: Speaking of college, you had quite a career at the University of Tennessee, which included a national title at the 5000 indoors. What were some of your most proud moments as a Vol?

Jackie Areson: I can't deny that my national championship was an extremely proud moment. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and overcoming a lot of injuries and illnesses and hurdles throughout my college career. But it was almost more of a stress reliever. I was extremely happy I won, but, it took a toll on me. Now, the further out of college I get, the more the team moments stick out in my mind and the more they make me proud to be a Lady Vol. I would say the 2 relays I was on at 2010 Penn Relays. And the 2010 and 2011 SEC DMRs. Those are the most special to me.

4.  Writing About Running: Looking ahead to outdoor, what will be your focus leading up to the trials? and what are some meets you are targeting?

Jackie Areson: My focus, like many others, will be on getting that Olympic A standard in the 5000m. As of now, the plan is to run a 5k at the first Stanford meet, to get a good effort in and to remember what it feels like to run a hard 5k before I try to go for that sub 15:20 at Mt. Sac 2 weeks later. After than, maybe some 1500's and then most likely the Prefontaine 5k.

Areson is part of the Oregon Project and
 is coached by Steve Magness
5. Writing About Running: Finally, what does being able to run for Team USA mean to you and what do you hope to get out of your trip to Istanbul?

Jackie Areson: What I hope to get out of this trip to Istanbul, is to stay focused and not let being in a different country stress me out and affect my training and racing. I didn't do a good job with that last summer in Europe, and it's something I really want to get down before I go back this summer. As for being able to run for Team USA, it's an amazing opportunity, I feel lucky to have come back from a disastrous summer to be in this position and on my way back up to the level that I think I belong. But at the same time, I approach it as any other meet, just another chance for me to be aggressive but also have fun and race girls much better than me. It will definitely be humbling.

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