Track Chats - Erin Finn
This interview features Erin Finn, senior, West Bloomfield High School, West Bloomfield, Michigan. In 2011 cross country, Erin was the Michigan State Division I State champion and 2nd in Footlocker Nationals. In 2012 track, she was the Michigan State 3200m champ (10:17.86) and winner of the New Balance National Indoor 5000m (16:19.69). Erin's other PR’s are mile (4:47.08) and 2 mile (10:18.82).
1. When & how did you get started in cross country, or generally in your running career?
When I asked my mom this, she told me that I have always been a runner. Whether it was out on the soccer field, in the gymnastics gym, or just playing around, I was always running. (I used to think that I was a good soccer player -- this is not true. I only had the speed to get to the ball first when I kicked it in a random, uncoordinated direction.) It is safe to say that running has always been a part of me. I first realized that I might be good at running when I started to beat my mom in a two mile fun run as a little kid. However, I did not begin to actually train until seventh grade, when I began running middle school cross country. I soon fell in love with both the sport and the unique camaraderie of the team. I have since been hooked!
2. Person/people most influential to your success in cross country, or generally in your running career?
It is impossible to reach your goals without the help of others; I have been blessed with the presence of great role models in my life. Both of my parents have shown me the dedication that it takes to be successful, which is important in becoming a good runner. Not only do they set a great example, but their constant support is essential in my training and racing. Former Michigan athletes who set a new standard for excellence have also taught me to believe that more is possible and have helped me to strive to be stronger and faster. Shannon Osika, Brook Handler, Gabi Anzalone, and Megan Goethals are all from Michigan and are all currently running at division one universities. Lastly, I know that God has blessed me with the talent of running. The knowledge that this blessing was given to me for a reason makes me want to work my hardest in order to excel to praise Him.
3. Your cross country coach(es)?
My current West Bloomfield High School coaches are Coach Nate Belill and Coach Brian Murphy. They are both really great guys who are constantly trying to learn and help me to reach my full potential.
4. Keys to your successful training program?
Consistency is key when it comes to successful training. Although big workouts are important, it is much more beneficial to make it through a year without getting injured, thus possibly forgoing some tough workouts in order to make sure that you do not get hurt. Always listen to your body; if something is hurting, make sure that you stretch and ice it. Don't be afraid to take a day off or easy if that is what your body is telling you to do. As always, sleeping and proper nutrition are other big factors in a successful training program, too.
5. Why do you enjoy cross country?
One of my favorite quotes about running is by Erin Leonard and goes: "People ask why I run. I say, 'If you have to ask, you will never understand'. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels." I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. There is something special in running for me -- it is stress-relieving, freeing, and fun. Every runner knows this. Additionally, the people that you suffer through this wonderful pain with for hours a day soon become a second family.
Cross country is extra-special because it not only combines running AND friends, but also adds in the element of racing. I love testing myself and pushing myself to the limit. It is exhilarating.
6. Your favorite cross-country meet(s)?
My favorite cross country meets are the Spartan Invitational, the Oakland County Cross Country Championships, and Foot Locker Cross Country Championships! Hopefully I'll have some good races at these meets!
7. Cross country athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
I like to race anyone who can help push me to a new personal best. This season, I cannot wait to race Grosse Pointe South twins Hannah and Haley Meier and Foot Locker returnees!
8. Your greatest cross country experience in your career so far?
I raced at the 2009 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and placed seventh as a sophomore. No one expected me to place as well as I did, so it was really cool to finally realize that I deserved to be racing with the top girls in the nation. I hope that I make it back this year!
One other awesome experience happens a little more frequently. Before every cross country meet, my team has spaghetti dinners. It is a ton of fun to spend time with my teammates and makes cross country even more worthwhile.
9. Goals for the 2012 cross country season?
I hope to qualify for the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and possibly try to pull off the NXN double! I will have to see how everything turns out though. More importantly, however, I hope to follow God's plan for me and honor Him in all that I do.
10. Long-term goals in cross country, or generally in your running career?
I definitely want to run in college and I hope that I can run professionally after that. Like most athletes, I have my sights set on the Olympics. Racing at the 2016 Trials would be an incredible experience. I hope to do medical research when I get older, so working on shoe and running research in general would be really fun to do, too!
See Erin’s MileSplit webpage at http://mi.milesplit.com/athletes/1062988-erin-finn .
(photos by footlockercc.com)