Track Chats - Laura Leff
This interview features Laura Leff, junior, West Genesee HS, Syracuse, New York. As a sophomore in 2011, Laura was 3rd in Footlocker Cross Country Nationals (17:33.90); and has track personal bests of - 1500m (4:33.98), mile (4:48.96), and 3000m (10:09.31).
When & how did you get started in cross country, or generally in your running career?
I started running modified track as a 7th grader because of my older brother. When I was younger, I followed in his footsteps and wanted to do everything he did. As soon as I started running, it became clear that it was going to be an important part of my life for a very long time.
Person/people most influential to your success in cross country, or generally in your running career?
My family, friends, and coaches all play a huge role in the amount of success I've had in my running career. If I didn't have the amount of support that they give me, there is no way I would be where I am now.
Your cross country coach(es)?
Jim Vermeulen and Lou Delsole have been my cross country coaches since I was an 8th grader running cross country for them on the varsity team. Their different personalities mix together well, and make running even more enjoyable.
Keys to your successful training program?
I would describe my training program as quality over quantity. Although hard workout days are extremely beneficial, the easy days that follow are just as important. I learned that the hard way this year when I found out I had multiple stress fractures in my feet right before the Millrose games at the Armory in NYC. Ever since then, I've learned a lot about the importance of cross training as a way of training without the impact on the bones and joints.
Why do you enjoy cross country?
Running in fields and woods versus running in circles on a track is a lot more fun. Also, there is a different level of team unity in cross country compared to indoor and outdoor track. In cross country, the team is more connected, like a family.
Your favorite cross-country meet(s)?
McQuaid Invitational, the NY Federation Championships, and the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego.
Cross country athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
Any runners who are capable of pushing me. I specifically like competing against Mary Cain, Jillian Fanning, and any Foot Locker returnees. One of my favorite aspects of cross country is meeting new runners that you can relate and connect to.
Your greatest cross country experience in your career so far?
Finishing third at Foot Locker Nationals was by far the greatest experience in my running career, mainly because I surprised myself with my own abilities. I will always use that moment as motivation for future races as a way to push through the physical and mental pain.
Goals for the 2012 cross country season?
Improving from last year while staying as injury-free as possible.
Long-term goals in cross country, or generally in your running career?
A major long-term goal of mine is to run for a D1 school. However, I still have many more high school seasons to focus on before then, and I plan on making the best of every one of them.
See Laura’s MileSplit webpage at http://ny.milesplit.com/athletes/1107465-laura-leff .
(photo from ny.milesplit.com)