Kate Grace is ready to fly in the 1500m at the USA Outdoor Championships. After a minor quad tweak early last week, she's feeling fully recovered, energized and race-ready. If you won't be in Sacto this weekend, tune in to NBC Sports Network, Friday at 7:03pm PST, and potentially (we don't doubt it) in the finals on Sunday morning. View the full Oiselle Team race schedule at Nationals for more details, and get your K8 fan girl tees ready!
Kate! What day are you flying to Sacto?
I flew out yesterday (Wednesday)! 48 hours is the magic number to arrive before a race - get in and relax, but don't spend too long waiting, sitting in nerves.
After you tweaked your quad last week, how is it feeling now?
The quad thing was a good lesson in taking small breaks to avoid major setbacks. I did something while squatting, and ended up not working out as scheduled. But a day in the pool and another one easy, and all is back feeling good. I ran a great tune-up workout on Sunday, which was a nice confidence boost.
What are you most excited about for this weekend?
In the race, I'm excited to mix it up with all the Americans. I haven't raced a lot of these women this year, and almost none of them in a 1500. It's always fun getting to see how everyone matches up.
Speaking of matches!! I'm World Cup watching... so I'm looking forward to that on Thursday.
And, just generally pumped to see people. My family will be there. Plus, the Oiselle crew was epic last year in Des Moines. Can't wait for that energy.
What goals do you have going into the 1500m?
Well, I go into races with the goal of winning, so there's that. Jenny (Simpson) is the heavy favorite and on a roll right now, and in general, the middle distances are deep with talent. For me, one of the goals of this weekend (and the reason we chose to run the 1500), is to practice my tactics and racing in championships, against high-level competitors. I've never raced the 1500 at an NCAA or USA championship, I want to go in there and be smart and competitive.
Who else are you excited to watch compete?
Ooo, so many people! I'm looking forward to the Women's 800. That was me last year, so I have some personal connection to the event. Plus, everyone's amazing right now. I've never met Britney (Henry), I'm looking forward to that, and getting some hammer time. All the Oiselle athletes. Ashley (Higginson) in the steeple, and other friends from NJ. The Women's 5k (just because there are so many strong women. I love the suspense and mental build-up in the race).
And that's not even starting on the guys! Men's 1500 and 400. Just spitballing here.
The forecast is going to be HOT! How do you plan on hydrating?
Yes it is! Hydrating has been happening all week, can't do last minute with that one. I switch in various drink mixes, so I'm not water-logging myself, and making sure I get a good balance of electrolytes. Currently using Osmo Preload Hydration, some Nuun, Emergen-C packets, and the occasional splurge on a juice or green drink.
Speaking of hydrating, do you have a race day morning breakfast routine?
My routine's a bit different than someone who races early, like on the roads. My races are anywhere from 3-7pm, so there is a full day (and more eating) that happens. That said, I try to keep as close to a normal routine as possible, getting something in every 2.5-3 hours, until 2 hours before the race, but some times that can be just a small snack or bar.
Mid-morning I will have a cup of oatmeal, with nuts or nut butter. Then, for a meal (5-6 hrs before the race), an egg-white veggie omelet, some potatoes, and fruit. For snacks, I choose from picky bars, apple or banana, maybe carrots.
How else will you prepare this week in training?
I had a final pre-race workout on Tuesday. Every day from here out there is a shake out or two, some strides, but nothing heavy. The biggest reminder is to not do stuff out of boredom (cross-training, extra ab work, excessive PT). That's only wasting energy (I tell myself this, yet still totally get the urge). That said, with the travel, I will do extra stretching and mobilization exercises to make sure everything is limber and aligned.
- Lacrosse ball hard on any soft tissue (for me, special attention on plantars and glutes)
- Lots of neural flossing
- Quick yoga flows (down dog to warrior), and modified pigeon for hip opening
Any tips for calming nerves?
Up until the day of the race, I spend as little emotional energy as possible on it. It's something that's happening, but I'm not actively thinking about it throughout the day. Except for while running, or laying down to go to sleep. That's the dream scenario time. I don't picture the full race so much as the feeling of running, of making a move, of winning.
And day of? I've been thinking about that recently - the difference between nervous and excited, or different types of nervous energy. I think a key is coming from a place of deep respect: respect for yourself, and respect for your competitors. You are proud of yourself, and you are proud of them, equally and greatly. In that mindset, this is no shame, in any scenario. Without shame, there is no fear. And when you go in fearless, that's when you are most dangerous.
(In talking about this, I've learned there are sports psychology methods that may be similar. Need to look more into those!)
After rocking the 50/50 tee at Portland Track Fest, can we expect to see any outfit changes this weekend?
Haha, I'm totally inspired by Maggie Vessey's recent concoctions. Musing on a few things... we'll see.
Finally, where will we find you after Nationals? Besides celebrating...
The plan is to head to Europe. There will be 3 weeks of high-level international competition, before a break in the season for their championships. My races there aren't set yet. Subject of the next blog...