This Saturday (5/24), Kate Grace is heading to the IAAF World Relay Championships to race the 4 x 1500m relay. As if making the US team couldn't be any sweeter...they're racing in the Bahamas! Accompanying her will be Heather Kampf, Katie Mackey, Morgan Uceny and Sara Vaughn. Before she jets off to the tropics, we caught up with Kate to get her pre-race thoughts. Take a read and follow @fastk8 on twitter for the action. (LIVE coverage online and on Universal Sports)
Have you ever been to the Bahamas? When do you leave?
Never!!! I leave (today) Wednesday 5/21...4am wake up, baby. Of course, that means as of 8pm I have packed nothing.
What do you think about racing a brand new event? Nervous? Excited?
Eeee I'm excited/nervous. I've never done a 4x1500. We used to do the 4x800 at the Penn Relays. That's probably the closest I've come to this type of event - it's a raucous crowd, in a big stadium.
The nerves come from not knowing exactly where I'll be in the race. These things can get strung out, so it's conceivable that if I don't start, I could be running alone (not in a pack). As a newer 1500m runner, that's a bit scary (pacing myself). But, I will prevail! I'm visualizing good one-on-one footraces, and dramatic, glorious chase-downs of the leaders, of course.
I actually try to keep pretty zen this far out. No use wasting the energy. I have two (almost three) full days once I arrive to get amped. I focus on calm, happy thoughts: getting to meet teammates, see the hotel, etc. Getting more excited and more anxious as I work through these questions. ;D
Just like in college when you get to know your new roomies, have you been talking with your teammates ahead of time?
The USATF set up a Voxer account for everyone on the team. I have never used the app, but it's one of these group text deals, where you can start chats with any number of people, and send text, pic, or even voice messages in the chat stream. The team managers have been using it to send us quick reminders, and of course, wherever there is a group message, there is a member in the mood for some fun, who decides to troll everyone's phones with jokes and random updates. So, aside from practice and laundry times, I've been getting funny texts and voice shout-outs from sprinters who are already there. I wish I was brave enough to send a Team USA spam text!
Do you know other people on the US team?
Not many. I know most of the 800 and 1500 women, and some of the men, from races and general meet overlap. But I'm excited to widen that circle (and get to know the mid-distance kids better).
Who are you most excited to get to know and watch race?
Mmm, I have a bit of a crush on the whole women's 4x4 team, so that will be fun. In general, 4x4s are awesome to watch.
If you had to pick an alter ego on the US men’s 4 x 1500 relay who would it be and why?
Iof, not sure! I know Garret, Will, and David, and am looking forward to meeting the others. (well. technically I've met Leo, but this is one of those "met you once" situations in which I never know how to act. Do you reintroduce yourself? Risk offending if they remember you? Or act like you know them, and look kind of crazy when they have no idea who you are? You ask if I'm nervous for races, I'm actually more nervous for those types of encounters with various people!! Ack. Thinking about it, maybe I'll end up eating lunch in the bathroom. Avoid avoid avoid!!).
What will you do if you get the stick way behind or way ahead?
Ack. Bringing up my worst nightmares here. This will be a topic for discussion with coaches over the next few days. Good news is, I'm expecting some super race powers from the USA jersey, so that will help.
What’s your mantra for this race?
Look at that, what a perfect lead-in... warning, project plug ahead!
I've been doing this side-blog, posting one favorite quote or mantra per day. I line them up the week ahead, and the one I have set for Saturday is a Bannister quote:
"There comes a moment when you can't go on waiting indefinitely. You just have to accept an all-out effort."
That is him talking about his decision to go ahead with the race which resulted in breaking the 4 minute barrier. I just finished a book on it, and was surprised to read that up until even 20 minutes before the race, he wasn't sure if he was going to run. The weather sucked, nerves were high, etc. I love the idea that even before this pivotal moment, there were doubts. It reminds me that the set-up doesn't have to be ideal to make history. This event (the world relays) was not on my schedule, we were not prepping for it, but sometimes, you just have to say, "fuck it, let's do this," and go run your heart out.
Full disclosure…which male team member are you most excited to get a picture with?
Actually, one thing I miss from college days is team camaraderie with guys. That type of interaction is so fun, and doesn't happen much anymore (until Bro-zelle, of course, #brobird). Did I just skillfully evade the question? You betcha.
Call or text? Call for anything meaningful. if a text convo goes over 4 total messages, it's taking more time than a talk.
Sweet or salty? Salty
100’s or 200’s? 200's
Night owl or early bird? Night owl who keeps trying to change her ways!
Open spaces or concrete jungle? I like both! Definitely open spaces for training (really communing with rivers lately). But i need frequent trips to the concrete jungle.
TV or movies? Movie trailers!
Caffeine or decaf? Caffeine!!! I'm trying to cut it out in the 5 days leading up to races. Though, i'm currently hyped on iced coffee (ha, can you tell? spastic responses...) which is to say, that isn't working so well.