Track Chats - Anna Maxwell
This interview features Anna Maxwell, junior, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, California. Anna was 28th in the 2010 Footlocker National Cross Country Championships, the top freshman. In 2011, as a sophomore, she was 24th at Footlocker. Anna has a 5k XC best time – 17:37. In 2012 track, she was 6th in the California State Championship 3200m; and had track PR’s of 800m (2:10.87), 1500m (4:32.74), 1600m (4:48.11), and 3200m (10:21.04).
When & how did you get started in cross country, or generally in your running career?
I went out for XC in 8th grade but quit after the first week to focus on horses and competitive soccer. I did however run 7th and part of 8th grade Track. When I got to high school I had the choice of sports and I thought cross country might help with soccer; so I called Coach Rob up and asked if I could come out over the summer and train. From there things just took off and I turned away from using running for just conditioning as my love for the sport grew; and I realized I wanted to focus on it.
Person/people most influential to your success in cross country, or generally in your running career?
Definitely my coach Rob Collins has supported me every step of the way with great coaching and as an all around role model. My parents have both been there every minute of the way helping me get through everything with a smile and supportive words of advice. Also having such a great and supportive team, many of the girls and boys inspire me every day to push myself a little harder whether on a particularly hard workout or during core workouts of ab’s and pushups. They are always optimistic and giving it everything they have. Other famous runners like “Pre” or Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher or Amy Hastings, have inspired me with their success and attitudes towards the sport; and I find them always inspirational.
Your cross country coach(es)?
Rob has always been there to support the team and me. He is ready to calm us down before meet, and always know what to say to get us motivated. He helps us strive for more and push ourselves to our limits. He is a great coach and has a great and successful program to show for it. He has helped develop the team and myself from nothing and I owe everything to him. He has been there when we are injured or our spirits are down, and has given everything for the program and my success. We are truly luck to have such a dedicated coach leading us to be the best runners we can be.
Keys to your successful training program?
My success as a runner is probably due to a great coach who comes up with great and challenging workouts for me throughout the season. I contribute all my success to him. I enjoy our low mileage program and it has seemed to work for me. We give our all in the workouts, and hopefully when the races start we are able to be where we want to be and have the strength and speed to achieve our goals.
Why do you enjoy cross country?
I enjoy the team bonding that is found in cross-country the most. I enjoy the team dinners before meets, to the sleepovers and travel to the invitational races. The girls are my family and we have become so close and spend every day together. The atmosphere of cross country is different and not as individualized as track. The Team cheers for each other and it is truly a group effort. At the end of the season and after all the work we do together we hopefully get to share the success of our commitment together; and that is truly special. I also enjoy cross-country because you get to be away from the cheering and the crowd, and without distractions. It’s just you and your competitors. You can truly focus on just getting faster each step and pushing yourself as far as you can without pressure. It becomes peaceful; and it’s easier to relax. You are simply running often in a beautiful forest or around a lake; and you are there and it’s just you running as hard as you can. The courses are all so different you can look forward to a different challenge on each course and each day. Sometimes it’s the weather that challenges you, maybe the hills, down-hills, and the competition - whatever motivates you. You know you will be pushed; and you can only be reassured by the confidence in the work you have put in to get you there.
Your favorite cross-country meet(s)?
It is different every year, because each year we get to experience different courses. I particularly love Footlocker Championships because you get to meet so many really cool people who share your love for running. I also always love to race at Mt Sac. It is a great team building event; and it’s on a challenging course. The Kamehameha Invitational in Hawaii was also incredibly fun last year; and I’m sure Nike Pre- Nationals will be an extreme experience as well this year. I am lucky to be on a very close team; and because of that they really are able to make all our meets super fun experiences and always memorable.
Cross country athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
Your greatest cross country experience in your career so far?
I have been lucky enough to make it to the Footlocker National Championship twice, once as a freshmen and once as a sophomore, and have my sights focused on it again this year. The experience there is always so great; and they do such a great job hosting the athletes that I look forward to it all year. From meeting the famous athletes and the opportunity to spend time with them and talk running, to meeting other super talented and dedicated runners from across the nation, to the goodies, and the beautiful hotel and course; they always make it a blast. Then on race day it is such big deal you feel like royalty and they are able to really get you pumped for the race with the banners, cheering, huge screens, music, cheerleaders, announcers, and with the general atmosphere you know its time to run.
Goals for the 2012 cross country season?
My goal this year is to win State as an individual and as a team. We were really close last year and barely missed it; and that has really pumped us up for this coming season. As a team I think it would be cool as well to get the state meet team time record for our division. As an individual I would also aim to qualify for Footlocker again and place in the top 15. I plan to have fun this year and enjoy every minute in practice, at our races, and with the team.
Long-term goals in cross country, or generally in your running career?
I would really like to run in college; and if that takes me somewhere to be an able to go with it. I love running and it will always be a part of my life; and I hope I can always keep my love for it as it has helped me grow as a person and athlete.
See Anna’s MileSplit webpage at http://ca.milesplit.com/athletes/1669208-anna-maxwell .