By: Gabe Taylor '12
Coming off a 10th place finish at the WCC Championships last season, sophomore Ben Demaree (BD) dedicated a large portion of his summer to training. With the 2011 season just underway, Demaree has already made an impact, dashing to a 17th place finish at the Stanford Invitational. Demaree filled SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) in on his summer, his favorite cross country course, and what lies ahead.
SCB: What did you work on most in the offseason?
BD: This summer, my training was focused primarily on building a strong aerobic base for the racing season. My peak mileage was around 90 miles per week, nearly all of which was run on trails. Another goal of mine for the summer was to include variety in my runs. For example, if one day I ran 10 miles on very hilly terrain, the next day I would make an effort to run a flatter route, even if my effort levels were the same in both cases. The idea was to increase my leg strength while not compromising my ability to run flat and fast.
SCB: What did your normal training/workout session consist of?
BD: Pretty much all of my runs were done in Forest Park, a large green space in the northwest section of Portland. Typically, my runs were 12-13 miles long, although on Sundays my long runs reached over 20 miles. The pace I ran depended on the terrain and how I felt that day. By summer's end, I could comfortably run sub-6:00 min/mile for my long runs; other days, when my primary goal was recovery, the pace was more relaxed.
SCB: How did you spend your summer when you weren't training for the season?
BD: My summer really consisted of two things: running and work. Over the summer, I worked as an engineering intern at a medical device company in Vancouver, Wash. It was a great experience, but I was really tired towards the end of the week as the miles and the working hours started to add up. Regardless, I was very pleased with the quality of my training. I did take a short trip to Central Oregon with 11 of my high school teammates, where we ran the Cascade Lakes Relay, a 216-mile, two-day long relay. That was really an awesome trip, and our team, Wolverines XC, placed fourth!
SCB: How did you feel about your performance at the Stanford Invitational?
BD: Overall, I was definitely pleased with the way I ran at Stanford. I stuck with my teammate, Robbie Reid, for most of the race, who I think helped pull me along, especially through the tough middle stretch. The heat on the course made conditions pretty testing, although the weather was still better than in recent years. 24:28 is a solid time, for sure, but I know I have more left in me!
SCB: What's your most memorable performance or race to date (either in HS or college)?
BD: I could point to a lot of memorable performances, but the one I always tell people about is my race at Nike Pre-Nationals my senior year of high school. I won the race and beat out many of Oregon's top runners. The details are kind of fuzzy, though I remember just feeling really great and outkicking the rest of the guys in the lead group over the last 300 meters or so. For a guy like myself with a limited amount of foot speed, that's definitely something to be proud of.
SCB: What's your favorite cross country course? Why?
BD: I'm a big fan of the Crystal Springs cross country course, where the WCC Championships are held. I'm the kind of runner who does well with hills, so this is my kind of course. At last year's WCC Championships, I must've passed 15 or 20 guys on the hills alone. Still, it's one of the most difficult courses I've run.
SCB: Do you have any superstitions? Or do you have any traditions before a race?
BD: I don't think I have any weird pre-race habits, just the usual good night's sleep and balanced breakfast. I've come to realize that there's only so much a runner can do on race day to make sure they run their best. One of my former coaches used to always tell me before races, "The hay is in the barn." The real work is done in the months leading up to the race, not in the hours before.
SCB: What are you looking forward to most this season?
BD: I'm excited to see what we can accomplish as a team. We've set the bar high for ourselves: we want to make to the NCAA Championships. I'm confident we're going to be the best cross country team in Santa Clara history, and I'm looking forward to being a part of it.
SCB: What do you think you're capable of doing this season?
BD: Individually, my goals are to run in the low 24's for the 8k and place in the top 10 at WCC Championships. Given the hard work I put in over the summer and the past month, I think I'm capable of accomplishing both of these tasks. Staying healthy is the last part of the equation, and I'm continually taking care of the little things I need to do to maintain my health - ice bathing, stretching, and getting enough sleep.
SCB: You're a bioengineer major. Do you know what you want to do following college?
BD: When I tell people I'm a bioengineer, most of them think I'm studying to work in a lab where strange varieties of plants and animals are grown. In reality, I want to be a biomedical engineer, someone who designs and builds medical devices. I'm still unsure of what type of medical devices I'd like to develop. My work over the summer in the area of electrotherapy was very interesting, so that's something I might explore in the future.