Scott Bush, editor-in-chief of Run the Roads, interviewed Rebecca last week, “Stepping Up Her Game“, to discuss her season thus far, her experience at the World Cross Country Championships, coaching, her training and why she has her own Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as a website.
The next couple days in Jordan were all about getting adjusted to the new environment and of course the 6 hour time difference. I slept great on the first night but got close to no sleep the second night. Each day, twice a day, we traveled to a stadium with an outdoor track and practice loops for training. I went there once each day and did my 2nd, shorter run, either from the hotel or on a treadmill at the hotel. The practice loops were nice because they were dirt paths with some hills and twists and turns. I ended up doing my workout on it and enjoyed it.
On Wednesday we all took a bus to the Dead Sea. It was about an hour or so to get there and had some amazing views of the mountains along the way. The bus stopped at a great lookout point so we could all take some pictures. We arrived at the Dead Sea and stepped off the bus to what felt like a 20 degree temperature change. The warmth felt so nice because back in Amman we had somewhat chilly temperatures with drizzle. The sun was shining and the Dead Sea beach was just a few steps away. There were Tiki bars and grass umbrellas scattered across the beach. We all pretty much ran down to the beach like a bunch of kids and stripped down to our bathing suits or, for those like myself that didn’t bring one, sports bras and shorts. So, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the Earth and is so rich with salts and minerals nothing can survive in it. People go there to soak up all the minerals for health benefits. In addition to this, because it’s so rich with minerals, it creates lots of buoyancy. So, when you float on your back you rise above the water more than normal and your feet just pop up out of the water, it’s very weird. Then everyone started taking the mud from along the shore and just plastering it over their bodies. It was actually clay and as a former art teacher I was tempted to somehow bag it up and ship it home to throw a pot.But, instead I decided to slather it all over my body and hope that my skin would be glowing after. We only had about an hour to play before we headed back. We passed some camels on the way back and the bus driver was nice enough to stop so we could hop on one. I think I was the first to jump on. I wasn’t totally prepared for the jolt it gave me as it got off its knees to stand up. I got a couple photos and tipped the camel guy a dinar. We headed back and called it a day.
Thursday hit and it seemed like the vacation was coming to a close. The reason why we were all there crept closer. We had a short outing planned for Thursday and then it was really time to get down to business. Small groups took cabs to some Roman ruins right in the middle of Amman. There was a huge amphitheater there that we opted not to climb in order to save the legs but we took lots of pictures. We then went to a couple shops to look for gifts and make some good or not so good deals on jewelry that may or may not be phony. That night the senior women had our pre-race team meeting with coach Peter Tegen. Peter gave a very inspirational pep talk and I thanked him for it. I certainly know of his incredible coaching history and was honored to get to know him. Thanks Peter!
On Friday morning we were able to see the race course for the first time. We were all decked out in our fancy US gear and had some team photos taken at the finish area before we jogged the course. Luckily the predicted rain held off and the course was bone dry. The senior women’s team ran together and assessed the course. We all agreed that the course was challenging, but seemed somewhat similar to the Derwood course where the trials were held. We had lots of positive thoughts about what we could do as a team as well. After seeing the course we headed back to the hotel. All that was left to do was relax and wait.
Last night I was able to spend some time and interview Rebecca. In her first interview since returning home from Amman, we covered a wide array of topics including the World XC Championships, her coaching, the 2009 season so far and what to expect the rest of the year. Today’s installment focuses on the recent World XC Championships where Rebecca was the third American in 36th place. She talks about the experience, things she learned, and of course the race itself.
Filed under: cross country, Krush Program, Team USA, World Championship | Tagged: Amman, Dead Sea, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, State College HS, Team USA, The Terrible Towel | Leave a Comment »
Borrowing from an idea I heard on Runnerville, where Toni Reavis interviewed popular figures of the sport for his radio show Runner’s Digest while he ran with them, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and interview Artie as we ran together last night on the Tracks course. I figured why not record some of the things we discussed for the Web site to keep the fans informed. It’s still a work in progress, but I think a good first step for the new segment. Last night’s run included Artie, Paavo, Bailee, Raven, and myself. Hope you enjoy it.
And if you have any questions you want me to ask Rebecca and/or Artie for the next interview segment just put them in the comment area to this post or e-mail them to comments (at) runningrebecca (dot) com
Filed under: Indoor Track, Krush Program, On The Run, World Championship | Tagged: 3000m, Artie Gilkes, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Jacksonville, Jordan, Krush Program, On The Run, Penn State National, Runner's Digest, Runnerville, running, Running Rebecca, Toni Reavis, Tracks, USATF 15k Championships, USATF Indoor Championships | 2 Comments »
This year the World Cross Country Championships were held in Amman, Jordan. I had feelings of excitement and nervousness about making the trip. Both feelings were based on the unknown, I had no idea what to expect.
After committing to the team everyone received numerous e-mails as to how we should best prepare for the trip. As we came closer to the departure day it seemed a little overwhelming, and as always I managed to underestimate the energy needed to pack. I did my final workout the day before leaving and felt really good about going into the race. The trip alone was on my mind more than the race itself, possibly a good thing. My first concern was the flight. I’ve never enjoyed flying. A couple things bother me about it, the possibility of motion sickness and crashing, and in that order. I have a phobia with vomiting and it’s a miserable phobia. Surprisingly about 10% of the population has this very phobia. I have a nice record going, I haven’t vomited since I was 4 years old. So, I always come prepared with lots of remedies when I fly, ginger pills, acupressure wrist bands, and emergency Dramamine. So far so good with all of it. But, a 10+ hour flight increases the chances of having to deal with this phobia. I’ve learned that the best way to deal with it is to not think about it, and also serves as an excellent exercise in focus, perfect for a runner.
After receiving the huge package of beautiful USA gear in the mail and doing a little research on Jordan and of course Petra, the excitement level overrode the nervousness and I knew I’d be fine. My first leg of the trip included an 8 hour layover at the JFK airport, which was where the teams would meet up and catch our direct flight to Amman. I had planned to somehow get a shake out run in there. I thought of some options such as, finding a fitness center at the airport, running up and down the walkways in the airport, taking a cab to Central Park, crashing a nearby hotel fitness center, or running in the airport parking lot. I had to do the latter option. I made it to JFK and met up with some of the other team members. Fortunately I didn’t go for my shake out run alone, one of the junior men joined me. We got about 4 miles in while exchanging our life stories. It was nice to get the run in and out of the way. Surprisingly the 8 hours flew by and we boarded the Royal Jordanian plane. We were clearly in the minority, not so much in race, but in age, there were many, many Jordanian toddlers and babies on this flight. My iPod and ear buds would prove to be crucial to get through this flight. Again, surprisingly, the 10 hour flight seemed to pass quickly. I had the pleasure of sitting next to one of the junior girls, Alex Dunne. We had lots in common and got along very well, she’s a great gal.
We stepped off the plane, entered the airport, learned of the depressing exchange rate, made it through customs, and were greeted with blinding camera flashes, TV cameras, and people wanting interviews. It was a little weird. We were hustled onto a bus decked out with fringe, faux crystals, and window curtains. I felt like we were on an episode of “Pimp my Jordanian Ride.” So, we then met the guy that would end up being the most helpful person for us on the trip, Adam. He was a Jordanian that worked with the IAAF committee and was assigned as the US team’s personal guide for the trip. I’m not sure how we would have survived without him. We then started the 45 minute bus ride to the hotel, complete with a couple police cars to guide us there, a great way not to draw attention to the bus full of Americans, ha. Our USOC Security Officer, Larry, put an end to this idea once we made it to the hotel, thanks Larry.
We got to the hotel in Amman and got ready for a run. The sun was starting to set and we were told not to wear any US gear outside the hotel, and not to run alone. I ran with my roommate, Delilah, and quickly learned that Jordan was not flat. The hotel was surrounded by steep, winding roads, along with crazy rubbernecked drivers. We cut the run short and headed to the treadmills in the hotel. Unfortunately we were women, and women’s hours were not at that time, we ignored it and got in with the help of the IAAF people. I lasted about 5 minutes because the hotel decided to combine the sauna with the treadmill room, so I broke some more rules and went back outside alone. I just stayed pretty close to the hotel and was fine. Every car that passed took a long hard look at me, a female, uncovered, and running.
We had a team meeting and then had our first meal. We had all of our meals at the hotel and the food wasn’t too bad. I was happy that there was always rice, vegetables, potatoes, and a meat dish. There was always an interesting array of desserts consisting of lots of puddings and gelatinous dishes.
We all got ready for bed. I was exhausted because I hardly slept on the flight. I slept really well until I was woken at 4am by the sound of whistling winds, driving rains, and the Muslim prayer that gets broadcast throughout the city 5 times a day. It was pretty eerie and at this point it really hit me that I was far from home.
Filed under: cross country, Team USA, World Championship | Tagged: Alexandra Dunne, Amman, Delilah Di Crescenzo, Emetophobia, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, JFK Airport, Jordan, Muslim, Petra, Team USA, USOC | 1 Comment »
Rebecca Donaghue (State College, Penn.): I got a good start, but I had a bit of trouble breathing once the race got underway. My legs felt pretty heavy, especially going up that last hill. I’ve never felt that bad finishing up the hill. I know that the altitude here isn’t that high, but it does make a difference. I’m very happy that we got fifth as a team.
I think competing against international fields helps make you tougher. I am so proud to represent the United States and wear the uniform.
Filed under: cross country, Team USA, World Championship | Tagged: Alexandra Dunne, Amman, Ashley Brasovan, Bobby Curtis, Chris Derrick, Delilah Di Crescenzo, Emily Pritt, Francisco Medrano, German Fernandez, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Image of Sport, Julie Culley, Kathy Newberry, Kirby Lee, Luke Puskedra, Max King, Neely Spence, Patrick DuPont, Ryan Hill, Ryan Vail, Team USA | Leave a Comment »
Neely Spence (6:18) is 34th place after the first lap, 4 seconds behind the leader. Emily Pritt (6:21) is the second American running in 47th place.
Spence moves up 10 spots to 24th as they complete the second lap. Her time of 13:20 is 50 seconds behind Genzebe Dibaba who leads the field after two circuits with a time of 12:30. Alexandra Dunne (13:38) and Ashley Brasovan (13:38) make big moves lap two. Dunne moves up 28 spots to 32nd place while Brasovan jumps 22 positions to 34th place.
Spence and Brasovan have Team USA off to a good start on the day. Spence led Team USA by finishing 19th in 21:33, while Brasovan was 26th in 21:55 and Dunne was 34th in 22:15. The winner was Genzebe Dibaba in 20:14. Spence and Brasovan lead Team USA to a fifth place finish as Ethiopia wins the team competition.
Chris Derrick (16th), German Fernandez (22nd), and Luke Puskedra (35th) are out with the leaders, completing the first lap in 5:15, 5:16, and 5:19 respectively. The leaders went through in 5:14.
Fernandez and Derrick are still in striking distance as they go through two laps in 11:12, 18th and 19th places, while Pukskedra goes through in 11:16 and moves up to 26th-place. The lead pack finished two laps in 11:09.
Fernandez moves up to 13th, finishing 3 laps in 17:14, 19 seconds behind the lead group of six. Derrick is in 19th-place (17:19) while Puskedra is running strong in 27th along with the Austrailian star, Ryan Gregson.
Fernandez finishes 11th in 24:13. Derrick moves up to 15th (24:20) and Puskedra finishes 30th in 24:53. The winner was Ayele Abshero (Ethiopia) in 23:26.
Fernandez and Derrick lead Team USA to a fifth place finish as Kenya wins the team competition.
Kathy Newberry (5:59), Julie Culley (6:00), and Rebecca Donaghue (6:02) lead the US women in 23rd, 25th, and 32nd places respectively through lap one. The leaders complete the first lap in 5:52.
After two laps, a pack of five, which includes 3 Kenyans, an Ethiopian, and a New Zealander, lead the way in 12:36. Culley (12:56), Newberry (12:59), and Donaghue (12:59) are still together in 28th, 29th, and 32nd respectively.
Two Ethiopians and a Kenyan lead through 3 laps in 18:58. Culley moves in 23rd-place completing three laps in 19:58. As Dongahue (20:08) and Newberry (20:10) are still together in 32nd and 33rd.
Kenyan Florence Jebet Kiplagat wins in 26:13. Culley finishes 21st in 28:08 to lead Team USA. Delilah DiCrescenzo (28:34) finishes in 33rd, Donaghue (28:37) in 36th, and Newberry (28:50) in 40th to complete the scoring for Team USA.
Team USA finishes in fifth place as Kenya wins the team competition.
Max King, Brett Gotcher, Robert Curtis, and Ed Moran lead the US in 33rd, 38th, 48th, and 64th places respectively in a tight pack where 6 seconds separate the first seventy places.
A pack of seven leads through 2 laps in 11:15 while Curtis (45th), King (46th), Moran (51st), and Gotcher(53rd) lead the American charge as they sit 7- and 9-seconds behind the leaders.
Curtis (17:25) moves up to 37th place after 3 laps while Moran (17:31) and King (17:33) are in 44th and 45th. The top 6, consisting of 3 Kenyans, 2 Eriteans, and an Ethiopian, completed 3 circuits in 16:58.
The lead pack has grown to 10 as they complete 4 laps in 22:43. Curtis (23:32) moves up one spot to 36th. King (23:43), Ryan Vail (23:48), and Moran (23:52) round out the top 4 Americans in 44th, 47th, and 54th respectively.
After 5 laps, the lead pack of 12 goes through in 28:38. Curtis (29:52)leads the American charge in 39th with Vail (29:54) and King (29:54) in 44th and 45th. Moran (30:15) is in 57th.
Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia) wins in 35:02. Vail (36:54) makes a big charge on the last lap to be the top American in 33rd. Curtis runs 37:00 to finish in 37th, while King (37:05) and Edwardo Torress (37:38) round out the scoring for the US in 40th and 58th respectively.
Kenya wins their third team title of the day as the US finishes in 8th place.
Filed under: cross country, Team USA, World Championship | Tagged: Alexandra Dunne, Ashley Brasovan, Ayele Abshero, Chris Derrick, Delilah Dicrenscenzo, Emily Pritt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Florence Jebet Kiplagat, Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam, Genzebe Dibaba, German Fernandez, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Julie, Katherine Newberry, Kenya, Luke Puskedra, Neely Spence, New Zealand, Rebecca Donaghue, results, Ryan Gregson, Team USA | 1 Comment »
Universal Sports will be providing coverage as well.
Race Schedule (all times listed below are Eastern)
07:30 am W Junior Race
08:00 am M Junior Race
08:40 am W Senior Race
09:30 am M Senior Race
Filed under: cross country, Team USA, World Championship | Tagged: Amman, Delilah Dicrenscenzo, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Julie Culley, Katherine Newberry, LetsRun.com, Lindsey Scherf, Mike Scott, Rebecca Donaghue, Robert Johnson, RoJo, Samia Akbar, Team USA, Universal Sports | 1 Comment »
Rebecca’s training has gone well leading up to the race. She’s been over in Jordan for 5 days now and seems to be acclimating well. The trip started with an eight hour layover in the JFK International Airport. She took that time to get in a run in the airport parking lot. To me this represents a highlight of the trip. I think this act is emblematic of the dedication Rebecca has to continually improve in the sport. I read an interview with Haile Gebresalasie where he revealed running under similar circumstances. His point was that he always got his runs in “no matter what”. Or as Chuck Noll used to say, “What ever it takes.”
In Jordan, Rebecca has had several runs and drill sessions and a workout. All seemed to have gone according to plan. It hasn’t been all business. The team made a trip to the Dead Sea and road some camels. But, now the race start is in sight and the business of running will be the continued focus for the rest of the trip or at least until the post race shake out run. I know Rebecca will get a huge lift when she puts on that USA uniform.
Even in Jordan, half a world away, Rebecca’s thoughts aren’t far from State College and in particular the State High girl’s track team. It seems the biggest obstacle she’s had to over come with the travel is not jet lag or time change but rather not having a direct view of how her girls have been training this week. The biggest pre-trip stress was laying out the week’s training for the girls. She will be anxious to hear their results from this weekend’s upcoming meet.
Rebecca is running in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan on Saturday. So far the trip has gone well and sounds like a very unique and exciting experience. This marks her first time competing for Team USA at a World Championships. Rebecca takes great pride in representing the USA in international competition. There seems to be few opportunities one has in life to represent their country. It is not lost on Rebecca that there are and have been many others in the same part of the world representing the USA. Regardless of political views, there are sons and daughters of the USA wearing a different kind of uniform and doing so in harm’s way. She has many friends who have gone to Iraq and come home and gone back over again. With the World Championships in Jordan and bordering Iraq, it is impossible not to think of friends, soldiers, and lives who are facing a far greater struggle than that of a foot race. It is not lost on Rebecca that while she and other citizens of the USA will be representing the country in the field of athletics that right next door other citizens of the USA will be representing the country in war. I hope this fact is not lost on USATF. If I had one wish it would be that our old teammate, Jason Cullinane, could somehow go to the race. But, alas he will not see the race or any race until the Army says his work is done in Iraq. Thankfully, many of our other friends are back home and running! Hopefully, soon they will be running with Cullinane.
Filed under: cross country, Team USA, World Championship | Tagged: Amman, Dead Sea, Haile Gebresalasie, IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Jason Cullinane, JFK International Airport, Jordan, Logbookone, State College, State College Girl's Track, Team USA | Leave a Comment »