August 4, 2003

Catching Up With Benjamin Gauen

Aug. 4, 2003

Senior Benjamin Gauen is expected to shoulder much of the load for the Bronco men's cross country team this season. The Seattle, Wash. native is a three-time all-West Coast Conference honoree and finished among the top-10 in the conference championships in each of the last two seasons. Recently SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with the finance major to find out his thoughts on training, this year's team and a number of other topics.

Q: What have you been doing this summer?
A: "I have been working at the Valley Fair Nordstrom selling women's shoes. The money is really good at Nordstrom and all the attractive feet is an added bonus. Other than that I have been training hard and hanging out with friends."

Q: What are your goals for this season and what predictions do you make for the team's success?
A: "My personal goals for the season are to be the team's leader and improve on all my past performances. I want to break into the top five at our conference race and finish in the top 40 at the regional race. Our team goal is to continue our steady improvement into making a name for ourselves in the West Region. We have already made it a team goal to finish in the top 13 at the Regional race. This will be tough to accomplish considering the West Region is going to be the most competitive it has ever been, but if everyone stays healthy it is within reach."

Q: Who would you identify as your biggest inspiration athletically?
A: "That is a tough question for me to answer because I find inspiration from so many different athletes in so many different athletic realms. Lance Armstrong is the first person that comes to mind. Just watching the pure gut determination shown on his face during the Tour de France got my blood boiling. Although I think Aron Ralston, the Colorado climber who amputated his own arm after being stuck behind a boulder, takes the cake for the most hardcore athlete I've ever heard of."

Q: Who is your closest friend on the team and why?
A: "The other seniors on the team (Ricky Brackett, Kevin Edwards and Michael Wall) are my closest friends. We had a great group of guys come in my freshman year and it was really easy to bond with them. All of us are good buddies outside of running and Ricky and I have been roommates the past two years. We went to rival high schools and competed against each other in big high school races so it's cool that we are now teammates."

Q: What do you think of John Maloney?
A: "John's a great guy and coach. He is definitely the goofiest coach I have ever had, but he is fun to be around. He knows a whole lot about stuff you did not know there was that much information on--just go on a long roadtrip with him if you don't believe me! My teammates and I respect him because he exemplifies the perfect compromise of being a really serious and knowledgeable coach and a guy you can just joke around with. Although I feel like his newlywed wife, Liz, has tamed him down quite a bit!!"

Q: What are your thoughts on the departure of last year's senior class?
A: "Losing last year's seniors was a huge blow to the program. Besides losing a lot of talent, this year's seniors were suddenly put into leadership roles they didn't have to be in over the last three seasons so the adjustment was hard at first. Right now we are excited to be at the helm (no pun intended) of things and making this team our own. More than anything though, I'm going to miss all the friendships I've had with them. We will be buds forever, but it will never be the same (sorry for the melodrama there)."

Q: Describe a typical training schedule designed to peak in championship season.
A: "During the summer our goal is to consistently put in miles and work on base training so that we can peak when it matters in November. We do a lot of long runs during this time. Our top guys will be averaging 80 miles a week in late August and into September. When we start racing in September, more attention is focused on quality workouts like mile repeats and hill workouts. The mileage is kept high at this time too. When we get into the championship races in late October and early November then our mileage is cut back and we start doing faster paced workouts. The idea behind this is that we already have a huge aerobic base from the summer and early racing months so all we need to work on is our anaerobic speed for the package to be complete. We are always well rested and fast going into the West Region meet.

Q: What are your career plans?
A: "I think I want to go to law school. I don't really want to be a lawyer, I just want to stay in school as long as possible so that I don't have to get a real job. In the long future, I think it would be cool to work for the FBI or a homeland security agency."

Q: If you were a superhero, which one would you be?
A: "I don't really like superheros, but if I had to be a fictional character it would be a toss up between James Bond and Indiana Jones -- booya."