Written by Student Intern Sean Davis
Many of us cannot stand to run. Most of us can't even bear to run more than a mile. For Mary Kriege (MK), her life is all about running. Running on average about 60-70 miles a week, Kriege is a machine. With outstanding records so far in her collegiate years such as 21:16 in the 6k in 2012 NCAA West Region Championship, Kriege isn't stopping.
Santa Clara Broncos (SCB) caught a few moments to speak with Kriege about her passion for cross-country as well as her goals for her next two seasons as a Bronco.
SCB: Can you tell us a little about what being a Bronco student-athlete means to you? How do you balance your running, academic and social life?
MK: It's definitely a challenge to be able to fit in running, school and a social life. After two years at Santa Clara, I have been amazed at how well my teammates and students-athletes from other sports have been able excel at this. To me, being a Bronco student-athlete is about learning how to make the most out of all the opportunities we are given. Although it can be hard to set aside time for everything, loving every moment of it motivates me to manage my time well.
SCB: After running for two full years for Santa Clara, what would you say has been your greatest moment?
MK: I'd say my greatest moment so far was at the Bronco Invitational last year in 2012. I ran 17:29 for the 5k course that day, which was two seconds faster than my 5000m track time the season before. It was a breakthrough race for me, and being towards the end of the regular season, carried me on to a successful postseason. Our coaches train everyone with the goal to have their best races at the end of the season, and that race was a testament to our training system.
SCB: If you were not a runner, what sport or activity would you want to do?
MK: I always thought I'd be a good MMA fighter, but everyone else seems to disagree.
SCB: Most people dread going on a two-mile run and could not even comprehend what a 60-70 mile week feels like. What is it about running that drives you to put in the miles day in and day out?
MK: Personally, I love competing. Once I have a goal in my head, I'll do whatever it takes to accomplish it. For me, the desire to improve from season to season and reach my full potential as an athlete drives me to put in the work. On days when it's 90+ degrees out and I'm supposed to go out for my second run of the day, I just think about when it's race day and how I'll want to be confident that the training I did made me the best competitor could be.
SCB: What is your favorite part about racing? Do you enjoy a tactical slow race with a hard finish, or a race that is all out from start to finish?
MK: My favorite part about racing is definitely the competition. It's fun for me every season to see how my team compares to our competition to look at what we can do to get better. When it's race day, the ideal situation for me is a race that doesn't go out too fast or too slow. That's the type of race when runners have the fastest races they can and when we see records get broken. When a race is slow until the finish, the winner is usually just the person with the best finishing speed and the winning time isn't anything spectacular. Whereas with an honest pace from the start, athletes run as fast as they are capable of and the best overall runner will finish first.
SCB: What kind of goals are you setting for yourself this season and how do you plan on accomplishing them?
MK: Last season my 6k personal best was 21:16. I'd like to be under 21 this season, which should put me in the top 10-15 in the WCC. As long as I stay healthy to make sure I can get in good workouts, the rest should fall into place. Santa Clara finished sixth in the WCC meet last year. I think this year's team has the talent to move up and be in the top four this November. We're returning five of our top seven, and have had a lot of girls improve this spring in track. We're deep enough this year to have a breakthrough season. All we need to do is stay focused on our goals and make sure we do all the little things to stay healthy.
SCB: Is there anything different in regards to training or preparation you are doing this summer to get ready for the 2013 cross season?
MK: This spring I had a stress fracture and couldn't run for about 10 weeks. I just started running again at the beginning of the summer, so the last couple of months I've slowly built up my mileage. Since I haven't been able to run as much as I could in past years, I've been making up for lower mileage with cross training a few days each week. I'd rather be out running 70 miles per week than in the pool or on the bike, but this summer has been all about making sure I'm injury-free and ready to go when it counts.