The XC Countdown is a series of interviews previewing the 2017 cross country season brought to us by Jordan Brannan, a two-time winner of the Indoor Meet of Champions 3200 meter. He'll be joining NJ MileSplit for some summer cross country coverage. Brannan graduated from Colts Neck this past spring and will be attending Iona College this coming fall. - Robert Kellert
Chloe Wong - SR
11:13 3200 PR ✓
5:15 1600 ✓
NXN Finalist ✓
18:45 5k PR (Bowdoin Park) ✓
7th Holmdel returner @ 18:55 ✓
127 days until the Meet of Champions
Q. How is your training going?
Pretty slow. I just got cleared today from a pretty bad sprain in my ankle. The other day, I biked 20 miles, and I've been swimming and water running. I used to swim on a team for 90 minutes every day, but I stopped that in favor of winter track my sophomore year. Today I ran a little, but I'm building up very slow. We generally aren't a high mileage team; the longest I've ever ran is 13 and that was because we got lost [she laughs]. Usually we don't go over 90 minutes, but that's not until September. I'm not sure how my recovery is going to go yet, but typically when practice is 6 days a week in August I'll start hitting 30-40 miles per week.
Q. When do you start bringing up the intensity?
Yesterday would have been my first workout; the rest of the team did 8x400. We do workouts early on but they aren't intense, starting at 4000 meters [distance of entire workout] then working our way up into the 5 and 6ks. One of our more interesting workouts is called the T100 where you would set your watch to go off every certain amount of seconds based on how fast your T100 pace is. So if my T100 pace is 24 seconds, I'd have to hit the 100 meter mark on the track or trail before my watch goes off. We do that as kinda our tempo. We also do morning runs [doubles]. We'd show up at the high school at 6 in the morning and do, like, 3-4 miles nice and easy. Our coach will have breakfast for us in his room and you end up going to school with wet hair after the showers [she laughs].
Q. Are you training with anyone this summer?
Our coach has optional practices, but we have group runs once a week with Ridge, North Hunterdon, and Hillsborough to run together. We all bring food and stuff. It's a lot of fun meeting people from other teams. I feel like not everyone has something like that.
Q. Do you have a racing style?
I tend to just go for it. I don't go in with a plan. I usually try not to think about it because I know that I already trained, and I know I can physically do it, and the only thing holding you back is in your mind.
Q. Last year you peaked at the perfect time to qualify for NXN. What can you attribute that to?
I think a lot of other people peaked very early, but last August I got a concussion while body surfing, so I was taken out for 2 weeks. It paid off because my training shifted over by the same amount, so instead of peaking at Groups or MOCs, I peaked for NXR. But also, it's my coach[Rich Refi]. He's been coaching for so long, he has it down to a science to peak at the perfect time.
Q. What did you think about last year?
Indoors didn't really go great our focus has always been on outdoors-but I sprained my ankle before I could really race at my peak. But I'm coming back this cross country to make up for it. Last year, cross country was my best season ever; to have my PR at a course like Bowdoin is still kind of insane for me. I wasn't even expecting qualifying for nationals, it really was the greatest moment of my life. I was like crying and hugging random people after the race I was so happy
Q. How are you staying motivated?
I have a lot of motivation to show up because I told my coach and all my teammates I would show up. You can't leave anyone hanging, you know? If your coach is willing to wake up at 5:30 for your morning run, you'd better be there. It's a responsibility thing. I'm really looking forward to racing in general. Early on in the season, I know I shouldn't be disappointed if any of the local girls beat me because I know the real racing is at Holmdel Park. The season in general is really exciting, training and being with everyone on my team. Success is not about the destination, it's about the journey