Dana’s year started off right where she left off in track last spring. At the Bernie Magee Class meet at Warinanco Park, she had the fastest time of the day by 50 seconds. On September 25 at the inaugural 6 Flags Wild Safari Invitational she again took the top spot with an 18:08 over a course that was thought to be not particularly fast. Last weekend she grabbed a new Holmdel PR by a huge 44 seconds over her race at MOC last November.
Last spring in her last race of the season, Dana led off Bernards 4x800 meter relay team at the New Balance Nationals, finishing 6th in 9:00.38, the 6th fastest time in the US and #5 all-time in New Jersey. Only a junior, Dana owns PRs of 5:03.91 for 1600 meters, 10:55.69 for 3200 and 19:27 art Holmdel.
1. How was your summer training? How much mileage were you able to get in on a weekly basis?
I am lucky; I get to spend the entire summer in Woods Hole, Cape Cod. I train there mostly just building up my base mileage. My highest week was 40 but the average was around 35. Training alone is difficult some days but most of the time I love it because I get to run by the beach and past a lighthouse. It is hard being away from the team especially on long runs but I have a very athletic group of friends that run with me now and then up there. I also went to Gold Medal Running camp at Dartmouth, which was hard but fun and rewarding.
2. What is your coach’s (Dave Szostak) approach to XC training? Do you run a lot of distance, tempo runs, hills, intervals, etc?
We vary what we do according the master chart Coach Szostak has carefully developed. During pre-season we had high mileage with a long day of about eight to nine miles and two workouts a week. One day of each week we would do about two 2000’s at interval pace and hill circuits at the top loop. The second day we would switch the workout and only do one 2000 with more hills. Now with meets, we usually have shorter workouts on Mondays, race on Wednesdays, and turn it up for the bigger Saturday meets with average mileage in between. Coach Szostak spends a lot of time calculating what is best for every member of the team and it has really paid off with our high level of fitness.
3. How has your training gone this year so far? You looked very comfortable at the Six Flags Wild Safari race and no one got within 10 seconds of your time. Did you have more?
My training has been going great. I feel good during workouts and on races days. The group that I run with every day has gotten faster this season. When I am in pain, my “struggle face” as my teammates call it, comes out. I am happy to say that it has not made an appearance this year. I’ve felt like I have had more left at the end of every race so far this season which really excites me when I think about trying to reach my potential when it is time to peak.
4.So, did you go on Kingda Ka at Great Adventure after the race?
Yes, I went on with the girl from Virginia who came first in her race. It was fun distracting ourselves from the imminent 0 to128 mph in 3.5 seconds by talking about how it would be fun to race each other. Runners are the nicest people in any sport in my opinion and it was fun to meet a new one while preparing myself for the famed Kingda Ka. Cutting the line was great too since it avoided the nervousness that I felt when I went on with my team while waiting for a half an hour. The second time I’m pretty sure we were laughing the whole time; it was great.
5. Do you remember your first race and how you did in it?
My first race was in winter track, freshman year. I believe it was JV 4 x 8. I don’t remember my time but I do remember Mr. Szostak being surprised at it and saying something along the lines of “you wont be running JV races anymore”. I was new to track so I just ran.
6. Is Baby Mama your all-time favorite movie or just your current favorite?
It is up there as a favorite. Baby Mama is an amazing movie to quote. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are really hilarious people. It is just an all around good movie. Another good one in the good quoting category is Blades of Glory with Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell.
7. Have you started to think about what you want in a college? Big/small, near/ far, etc.
I am just beginning to start looking around. I have no idea about what I want because I don’t know about too many schools and things they have to offer. I am planning on deciding which schools to visit soon to so I can narrow down the huge selection of colleges.
8. Does Bernards great track and XC history resonate with you? Bernards has been such a storied program over the years. (Last year’s 9:00.38 4x800 at the New Balance Nationals supplanted your former school record of 9:03.4 dating back to 1983. How nice was that!)
I refer to them as the crazy eighties ladies with the insane school records that are very difficult to break. Mark Wetmore of CU who has coached many great American runners was coach at Bernards first which is crazy to think about. It motivates me that Bernards has a strong running history. A couple of the girls on the team and I had lunch with Meg Waldron and it was very cool to hear her talk about her accomplishments and time at Bernards. It was also awesome to beat the school 4x800 record! The race at NBN was dreamlike since none of us thought we would place. We all had PR's and it was an amazing way to end last season.
9. What are your favorite and least favorite school subjects?
My favorite is English and my least favorite is physics because it is at the end of the day and I sit in the back of the room. It’s a bad combo when I am tired.
10. What do you want to accomplish this year in XC and track both individually and as a team?
I want to do well in all my meets leading up to states and win sectionals and groups. After that I would like to run in the cross regionals. From a team perspective, I want us to qualify for MOC and for everyone to improve their times to close our gaps. In track this year I want to break five minutes in the mile and lower my 3200 time. This year also I want to go to NIN and NBN individually and as a team.
11. What drives you crazy, really annoys you until you want to scream?
My little brother is in fifth grade this year and goes to school at the same time as my sister and I go everyday. Although he is ten and knows every day what we have to do to get ready I always seem to find myself yelling at him to, “Do something or we will leave you!” Some examples of this are sleeping through his blaring ihome alarm, faking sick (I am convinced), not finding the clothes to wear (even when they are in his room), or just sitting wrapped in a blanket on a chair in the kitchen. I love him but when it is my attendance and my sanity on the line he needs to just move!
12. What do you do in your spare time when you’re not studying or running?
In the small amount of spare time that I get (aka Saturday nights) I hang out with my friends. I also like photography and discovering new music.
Hear Dana's comments on her Victory in the E Race on Saturday