March 14, 2012

Catching Up With Record-Breaking Bronco Runner Erin McCarthy

By: Kaitlin Fuelling 

Senior Erin McCarthy (EM) talks with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SBC) and discusses what has contributed to her success, her favorite place to run and her pre-race routine.

SCU: First off, congratulations on setting the school record in the 1500m.  You were able to beat Whitney Porter's time from 2009 by over three seconds.  How does it feel to leave a lasting legacy here at SCU?

EM: Thank you!! It was exciting because PRing in the 1500m.  It was the last thing I really expected from Saturday, so hearing my time after I crossed the finish line made me smile. But I think the most exciting part about this season is that this record is going to change every week. We have such a great pack in the mid-distance crew that it wouldn't surprise me if four or five girls have their names on it over the next two months. Intersquad competition is what builds great running programs and so this can only bode well for the future.

SCB: What do you think has contributed to your success as a runner here at Santa Clara?

EM: My coaches and team. All 24 girls provide such great energy at every practice, it makes it easy to look forward to any workout. And aside from that, the coaching staff. I have dealt with a lot of injury in the past and Felipe and Chantelle have really worked hard to establish a unique training schedule for me this season. They have been wonderful in all the work they have done with me in order to help me stay fit and healthy.

SCB: You had mentioned in the past that you incorporated a lot of cross-training into your routine while training for cross country.  Was this routine the same when preparing for the track season?

EM: Yes! More than ever. I actually only run three days a week, sometimes four. My main goal is to get myself to make it through this entire season injury free, and so I am basically running workouts, races and one other aerobic run with the team, and getting my endurance base in the pool/on the bike the other 4 days.

SCB: Do you have any weak areas or places you would like to improve on racing-wise?  What do you consider to be some of your strengths in racing?

EM: There are always places to improve. But it changes race to race. At this point, probably the third 200 of the 800m or the third lap of the 1500m, its when people can gap me by a second or two, so I need to work on making sure that does not happen. My biggest strength is probably my last 300; I like sprinting.

SCB: Did you set any other goals for this season? Is there anything else you would like to accomplish before the end of the track season?

EM: I did not come very goal heavy into the season.  Mainly I just wanted to enjoy my last season and accomplish as much as I can in my time left. I would love to run in the 4:20s for the 1500m - that has been my goal since sophomore year, so I suppose that would be the icing on the cake.

SCB: Still a ways away, but what are your plans for after graduation?

EM: As of right now, I am going to graduate school at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (in Barcelona) to study for my masters in economics.  And hopefully making it home to enjoy Colorado for a bit before I leave.

SCB: What is one of your favorite races? (Place and/distance)

EM: My favorite race is probably the 1500m at Cal for the Brutus Hamilton. The track is yellow! 

SCB: Because track is more of an individual sport, how do you remain connected as a team?

EM: WCC is in the beginning years of forming a conference for track, so when that happens the team aspect will definitely be more like cross country- but we still continue to do all of our workouts/runs as a team and are always lining the track for one another's race.  We spend basically all of Saturday's together for the rest of the season, so there is plenty of time for us to maintain the team unity we have in cross country. It is exciting to watch each other excel in events that are more fine tuned to our specific talents.

SCB: Do you have any superstitions or fun routines before you race?  What is your favorite pre and post-race snack?

EM: I used to have loads of superstitions, now I really don't have any. I always listen to Dispatch and Nizlopi before a race to calm myself down, but that is pretty much the one consistent thing I do. My pre-race snack is peanut butter on a waffle with banana slices! But my favorite place to race is probably UC Davis, because post- race I cool down to this ice cream place in downtown Davis, it's delicious!!