US Half Marathon Championship - Q&A with Comfort and Rolland
This coming weekend we have two of our Haute Volée women racing in the US Half Marathon Championship in Houston, TX. Both Caitlin Comfort and Megan Rolland are coming off of great races this fall and last spring. In September, Megan set a half marathon PR in Philadelphia while Caitlin finished 3rd at USATF 20k Champs in New Haven, CT. Two months later Caitlin raced to an eleventh place finish at the US 12k Road Champs in Alexandria. In December, Megan joined us for Club XC Nationals in Bend where she looked healthy and strong after capping off a year of several PR's. We are excited to see how their races go in Houston and look forward to what they have planned for 2014. I spent a little time catching up with them as they go into their races this weekend:
Kristin: What has been the highlight of your fall season racing wise? What was special about that particular race?
Caitlin: The highlight of my fall season was probably my 3rd place finish at the 20k Champs in New Haven, CT as it was my first race in the Oiselle uniform!
Megan: The highlight of my fall racing season was probably my half marathon in Philadelphia. This was my first half in 3 years that I did not have any stomach issues! I ran conservative but still ran a PR and it gave me confidence in knowing that I have more to give at this distance.
Kristin: Did you take any time off this fall? How long and if so, why?
Caitlin: Luckily, I’ve had a consistent and injury-free year of training so I really haven’t had to take much time off. As long as I’m healthy and feeling fit I’m going to keep knocking out those miles!
Megan: I did not take an official time off but I traveled to Germany and Spain for the month of October and during that time I ran but did not have any workouts. It was a mental break for me to be able to run in amazing new places without having to worry about workouts and a traveling schedule.
Kristin: What has been your favorite workout leading up to US Half Championship?
Caitlin: 6 miles at 6:00 minute pace followed by 8 x 50 sec. sprint hill repeats.
Megan: Although my falls are dedicated to half marathons and road races, I am still a track girl at heart. My favorite workouts are ones that include the track. Even during the fall racing schedule I usually have 1 track workout a week. I am one of those weird runners who love 400/800/1k reps on the track. I did a great workout last week that included 10 x 800m with 1:00 rest in between. I also did 8 x1200m with 1:30 rest on the track this week that I loved. There is something about a great track interval workout that makes the endorphins flow.
Kristin: What are your goals for Houston?
Caitlin: I have my eyes and heart set on a top ten and/or a 1:14 finish!
Megan: My goal for Houston is to RACE! I have a tendency to zone out in the second half of races and not think about the race. I am working on staying strong and relaxed the first 5-6 miles and then let go, race and finish strong. With this in mind I am aiming for a PR as well.
Kristin: Have you been to Texas before? If so, what did you enjoy about it? If not, what are you expecting to like or enjoy there that may be different than your hometowns?
Caitlin: I raced at the University of Texas in Austin a handful of times when I competed for Wisconsin. Besides battling through a 10k in 80 degree heat and 100% humidity, I loved my experience in Texas. To be honest, I’m just looking forward to racing half naked in above freezing temperatures on dry streets. This girl is tired of wearing 3 layers of clothing on every run. Did I mention that I like Texas BBQ? Because that’s what I’ll be eating immediately after my race.
Megan: I have been to Texas once in college for DII nationals. I remember sideways stoplights and a store called the Piggly Wiggly. I am from a small town in Idaho and live in a small town now so big city atmospheres always have me in awe. I am hoping to hear lots of southern drawls and y’alls.
Kristin: What do you see as your goal race or your two goal races? And what do you hope to accomplish in 2014?
Caitlin: I hope to break the 32:50 minute-mark for the 10k, run my first ever marathon, and stay healthy in the mean time!
Megan: Everything I am doing and training for right now has a focus for the spring track season. My goal in 2014 is to get the USA “A” standard in the steeple chase. I have two big meets where I will try and go for it this year: Stanford and Mt. Sac. While chasing this goal I hope to keep PR'ing in everything from the 800 up to the 5k on the track.
Kristin: Besides training and racing what gives you the most joy in your life? Or how do you relax and have fun?
Caitlin: My loved ones give me the most joy in life. Besides surrounding myself with those people, I love being outside and taking in the beauty of nature. My gal pals and I also like to attend concerts every so often, even if we’re not familiar with the musicians. Traveling, or in my present case, day dreaming about traveling is something that excites me. So to sum up: On a perfect day I would be somewhere in Europe…laying under a pretty tree…listening to my favorite songs…and mapping out my next run or hike.
Megan: Between working and training full time I do not have much spare time. So when I do, I love to grab a book and curl up on the couch if it is rainy or go enjoy some sunshine on the beach. Any time I get to hang out with my partner and fur baby (Labrador dog) is a good time. I am also learning Spanish right now and that has been really fun. I also love love love traveling everywhere!
Kristin: Who's on your concert bucket list? What's the best concert that you have seen recently?
Caitlin: I saw Ray LaMontagne in concert three years ago, so I wouldn’t say that was ‘recently.’ It was the best performance I have and probably ever will have the privilege of sitting through. I’d love to see Phantogram, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Jose Gonzales (among many others) at some point before I have to invest in a hearing aid.
Megan: I don’t make it out to many concerts but recently I saw the Shook Twins in concert for the second time and they put on a great show.