All posts by Empire Runners

The Empire Runners Club is a welcoming community of runners that invite people of all ages and backgrounds to join us in camaraderie, training, races, and other club events.

Photo Essay – Anthony Rink, 2015 XC State Championships

(Local runner and photographer Anthony Rink went to the 2015 state XC championships, and here are some of his photos with captions.)

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Sonoma Academy girls team post race at the finish line of the CIF state cross country championships. At this time all athletes have to remove the electronic chips from their shoes before leaving the finish area. Athletes Rylee Bowen, Mckenna Sell, and Kayja Mann.

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Start of the division one girls race, just over a quarter mile from the start. This leads down the road to the entrance of woodward park where they take a hard left turn onto the park course.

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Two leaders of the division four race. They are just past the two mile mark of the three point one mile course. On the left is athlete Morgin Coonfield who finishes second overall.

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Just after the start of the division three boys race. As the runners begin to sort out their best position to be in for the race.

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First place division three boys race. Athlete Austin Tamagno finishing in 14:45:9 as the second fastest overall athlete to compete.

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Almost one mile into the division five girls race. The pack of runners begins to thin out as they get further into the race. Sonoma Academy athlete Rylee Bowen hangs onto the front pack of runners to pull her through the race.

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This is the two mile mark of the division five girls race. As the front pack of the race thins out Rylee Bowen is positioned right behind the first runner. Bowen continues to move up and win the race.

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Finish of the division one girls race. Athlete Delaney White on her final push to the finish line, placing 12th.

Running is not punishment, by Catherine DuBay

It happens on the soccer field. It happens on the basketball court. It happens in PE classes. It happens in our Armed Services and probably got its start there. It even happens on the track. And IT drives me crazy. IT is the use of running as punishment.

As an athlete or parent of an athlete you have probably seen it or experienced it yourself. You are at soccer practice and your team is goofing off. The coach has had it and so he/she sends the team out to run laps. Or you are late for basketball practice so while the rest of the team does warm up drills you are sent out to run around the gym 2 times. And my favorite of all is the PE teacher who has the kids do pushups who aren’t behaving. I thought I had mellowed out on my frustration with this until I recently witnessed another misuse of fitness as punishment. I caught the tail end of a practice (sport, location, etc. need not be revealed) where several of the players were running “lines” while a few were standing and watching. I asked why this was and was informed that the team that won the last practice game didn’t have to do the run. What is this teaching about our view of exercise? The losers do drills and the winners watch? When in reality the reason the winners are winners are that they DO the drills and they work hard and it pays off!

Why are coaches, teachers and fitness professionals using running (and exercise in general) as a punishment? What message is this sending to the kids about how the ambassadors of sport and fitness feel about exercise? No doubt my friends, that running is hard and so are pushups, burpees, raising kids and most everything else in life that is worth the effort. This concept of hard work should be celebrated instead of used as punishment. Wouldn’t we be better served if we could find a different punishment for misbehaving athletes? Pick up trash around the field or gym? Sit out the first 10 minutes of the next game? Go sit in the corner by yourself for 15 minutes. Go play chess for an hour. Stop-I am kidding! Chess shouldn’t be used as punishment-it is really closer to torture.

What’s the solution? I believe it is not a matter of changing how coaches are coaching but simply in the message they are delivering. A coach should use running laps to settle down his/her athletes that are distracted and not focusing. Running has a way of settling restlessness and sharpening our focus. A coach should send kids out to run laps to settle them down a bit. Just don’t call it punishment. Tell the athletes why they are running; it will sharpen your focus. It will settle some of your extra energy. It will warm you up. All this is true and accomplishes the same task but with a different message about exercise.

I came across a story about Deangelo Williams, an NFL player with the Steelers this year, who grew up with coaches using exercise as punishment. He said that every time a kid got “punished” and had to do push-ups, suicide runs, laps around the field, etc. he would join in with them because he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to get extra conditioning and certainly didn’t want any other kids getting an advantage because they were doing work while he watched.

In conclusion; I have a great appreciation for our youth coaches and PE teachers. I have been a coach and know that it is a huge amount of work for a little amount of money (if any). I have seen how coaches have changed people’s lives and instilled a lifelong love of fitness and athletics in our youth. Keep this love of sports and activity alive by showing kids how hard work and physical discomfort are not punishment but necessary aspects of achieving great success in sports and in life.

Run on my friends.

Jim Crowhurst’s Running Blog!

The following is from  Albert Caruana at Cross Country Express –  http://www.crosscountryexpress.com/2016/01/covering-high-school-track-cross.html

For those of you that were faithful visitors to Jim Crowhurst’s sites that covered Cross Country and Track & Field in the Redwood Empire (NBL, SCL and CMC), you are in luck. Jim has the site back up which you can find at the link below. The site includes tons of statistics dating back many decades and will be a great resource for those 3 leagues for this coming track and field season.

http://www.redwoodempirerunning.com/

The site is no longer associated with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat so donations are welcome to help with the upkeep of the site. Check the link on the site for more information in regards to donations.

 

’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE PRACTICE, by Val Sell

(An ode to the Montgomery XC team by Val Sell)

’Twas the night before practice and all through the house,             Every creature was running, including the mouse.                                    The singlets were hung by the chimney with care,                                         In hopes that fast times soon would be there.

The athletes were nestled all snug in their beds,                                        While visions of torture danced through their heads.                             And Karen with her Banjo and Brad in his cap,                                                  The coaches were ready, soon needing a nap.

When out on the track there arose such a clatter,                                                   I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.                                              Laced up my old shoes, and then ran oh so fast,                                                 The field I would go, like the youth from my past.

The moon on the breast of the up coming season,                                         Gave the light of mid-day, for all the good reasons.                                   When what to my wondering eyes should appear,                                             But the kids doing warmups, some chasing a deer.

With the boys at the lead, so lively and quick,                                                              I knew in a moment, it must be ole SLICK.                                                            More rapid than Pumas, his mates they all came,                                           He whistled and shouted, and called them by name.

Now, JAZZY! now, JESSIE! now PEETY and MAYO!                                            On, NOODLE! on, ACORN! on, SKIPPER and CHEETO!                               To the curve on the line, the start I will call,                                                          Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

With summer came Humboldt, hill training and more,                              Dorm slumber, hall dining, and talks while you snore.                                      The runs were a plenty and the stairs were a sight,                                                If you woke before Kevin, you would be alright.

 The miles now run, and the team looking good,                                                  Now surely was time, to return to the hood.                                                             So run as they might, as I stood all aglow,                                                                  The coach had high hopes, with her ducks in a row.

The season then started, with all the new faces,                                                   The oldies, the newbies, and all kinds of paces.                                                      The days they were hot, and through it high-n-low,                                              Our only retreat, was to swim Il-San-Jo.

The park was their friend, the place they would train,                                            At times they would fall, at times they would strain.                                        The trails there are many, roll up and then down,                                             The freedom was joyous, the laughter abound.

The coaches were there, with all kinds of wisdom,                                              To train them, fix them, and teach them of epsom.                                            What to eat, what to drink, and sleep we’d agree,                                               We gather, and lecture, remind of rule three.

Now it wasn’t all fun, our days in the sun,                                                            Some ran even faster, though others were done.                                                 The races were few, and gave each, time to shine,                                              Their goal was quite simple, a Duckie of mine.

The Finals upon us, the end was now here,                                                           Don’t worry, you’re ready, there’s nothing to fear.                                                 The friends here are many, and memories had,                                                Some stories don’t tell, or make Val really mad.

The time has now come, for the old coach to part,                                              For the last fifteen years, has brought to my heart,                                               A wave of fond moments, too many to mention,                                               I hope you had fun, for that was the intention.

Your story ends not here, this is just the start,                                       Wherever life takes you, and while we’re apart,                                              Think back to this team and the time that we had,                                                 Be happy, be joyous, be merry, be glad.

Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time is Now!

Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time is Now!

In October, the Santa Rosa City Council took a big step forward to realize the vision of a Greenway to Spring Lake. The City Council voted unanimously to begin a General Plan amendment process for the Caltrans right-of-way property – the future Southeast Greenway. This process will launch in 2016 and there will be many opportunities for the community to participate and provide comments and ideas.

One of these opportunities will be on Saturday, February 20, 2016, when everyone is invited to attend a free two-hour public meeting at Montgomery High School to find out how to participate in the City’s General Plan amendment process.

At the meeting, there will a chance to meet the members of the Southeast Greenway Community Partnership, which includes the City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Regional Parks, LandPaths, the Sonoma Land Trust and the Southeast Greenway Campaign itself.  You will hear from:

Dave Koehler, Sonoma Land Trust’s new Executive Director and keynote speaker, who will describe his role in the creation of the San Joaquin River Parkway. His colleagues will explain how the Sonoma Land Trust is playing a leadership role in our negotiations with Caltrans, and coordinating fund-raising to purchase the property from Caltrans. City staff will explain the steps in the City’s process which includes hiring consultants to develop a land use concept plan, preparing a General Plan amendment, zoning designation and an Environmental Impact Report for the Greenway. City staff will also describe the many opportunities for public input and comments.

Based on this meeting and a series of public meetings to be held in 2016, the Southeast Greenway will become what our community imagines. The vision may include:

  • Walking/running trails and bike paths with connections east to Spring Lake Regional Park and the future Sonoma Valley Trail and west to the Joe Rodota Trail and the SMART Trail and stations
  • Safe routes to all the schools in the area
  • Neighborhoods parks and meeting places
  • Community gardens and restored walnut groves
  • Restored oak woodland, creeks, wetlands and Sumner Marsh
  • Opportunities for outdoor education
  • Economic stimulus of the surrounding area.

2016 is a pivotal year for the Southeast Greenway. Come find out how you can play a role in creating a vibrant Greenway in Santa Rosa and share in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for community imagining during the coming year.

 Event:  Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time Is Now!

Where:  Montgomery High School Cafeteria, 1250   Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa;

When:  Saturday, February 20, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm;

Child Care:  Provided by licensed bonded childcare providers (drop off at 9:45 am);

Translation:  Spanish language translation service available;

Refreshments:  Free coffee, tea and light refreshments;

Bike Parking:  Free and secure bike parking by Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition;

Auto Parking:  Available in the Montgomery High School parking lot.

For more information, visit http://www.SoutheastGreenway.org or call 707-703-1922.

Empire Runners Appreciation Party! by Shirley Fee

Jan16_ ERCdinner2015_001Once again we are ending another great year for the Empire Runners Club. Many of our members have achieved their goals of running faster, or running longer distances, or becoming involved in club activities by volunteering at races!

Empire Runners Club Annual Appreciation Party

Who: Empire Runners Members and their Guests

What: Awards Ceremony and Dinner catered by Tagliaferri’s Deli

When: Saturday February 6th 5pm to 9pm

Where: Finley Community Center Person Auditorium , 2060 West Colllege Ave. Santa Rosa, CA

Online Registration deadline February 3rd

Jan16_ ERCdinner2015_002The annual appreciation party is about awarding members for their participation in our races by running or volunteering. It is an evening we can enjoy, eating great food catered by Tagliaferri’s Deli, being amazed by how well we runners “clean up”. We get to wear something besides sweaty shorts and t-shirts. The women actually get to let their hair down and put on a little makeup, dress up and show the world we can be pretty and feminine too. The men get to wear pants and nice clean shirts showing that they too can look pretty darn good.!

Jan16_ ERCdinner2015_008It is a time for the non-running spouses to meet the other non-running spouses. You can get together and commiserate with each other on what you go through while supporting your crazy running spouse. Believe me, you are appreciated.!

The other great thing about this party is the silent auction, there are always great items to bid on. There are great wines, tasty fudge by our very own Chocolate Man, food items, apparel and so much more.!

I always enjoy the entertainment section and the award ceremony where we recognize so many of our members for their dedication and hard work. !

It is a great evening for socializing, telling war stories, getting to know new members and just relaxing with great food and good company. !

I hope to see you there!

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McGuire’s Breakfast Run 2015, by Mike McGuire

Since 1980 McGuire’s Breakfast Run has been held in the neighborhood around Hidden Valley School. Originally it conflicted with the New York Marathon, but we came to an agreement with them, moving to different Sundays, to the satisfaction of all involved.

Jan16_McGuire003Our Breakfast Run is an actual 3K course and a close-to-10K course that gives runners a chance to build up an appetite for the pot luck that follows. This year we probably had the biggest turnout ever. The club policy of free entry to club members has added incentive to runners who want to challenge the steep ups and downs of the longer run. Despite a couple of misdirects, we had 43 finishers in the 3K and 33 in the 10K. Complete results are posted on the club website, for the 10K and the 3K.

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Many finishers and family members were able to stay for breakfast which included a wonderful selection of hot and cold items. Expectations ran high when awards were given out. The traditional choices are lottery tickets or large chocolate bars. The gambling spirit was in the air as the lottery tickets were snapped up before the candy. We had our biggest ever winning ticket – $20! Lots of people stayed for quite a while to chat and enjoy the post event cool down.

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But with the stellar help of several volunteers, the gym at the school was cleaned better than before we arrived and everyone was soon on the way to a warm and bright Sunday afternoon. Thanks to all who attended the run and who were able to join us for breakfast. We’re on the calendar for next year, November 27. Come by to give it try. Who knows what your lottery chances might be?

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So What’s Your 2016 Resolution? by Michael Wortman

Here we are, the earth about to complete another rotation around the sun. As tradition many people decide it’s time to start a new year’s resolution. Just as much as that is a tradition, so is quitting the resolution by the end of the month. So I figure what a better topic this month than successful goal setting. When I work with my athletes I tell them to be S.M.A.R.T. when setting their goals. A guideline to successful goal setting this new year is to make them: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based. These are ideas to set you up for success and keep you on point when trying to attain your goals for the new year. Specific – When making a goal you should make it as specific as possible. When you make the goal too vague you never really know when you’ve completed it. At the same time you can quit on it whenever you want because you can just think… close enough. At what point do you really “get in shape” Are you thinking about cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, weight loss…? By narrowing down the goal you can hone in on what you really want to do. Measurable – This goes back to the being too vague aspect of goal setting. Usually with a goal you are trying to improve something, so make it tangible. Rather than saying “I want to be more fit,” say something like “I want to be able to run a mile in under 6 minutes,” or “I want to be able to squat 150lbs.” By having something that you can physically measure it will help stay committed. When you say “I want to be more fit” you don’t really have an end point to your goal; and half the fun of setting a goal is completing them and moving on to a newer, better goal. Attainable – Too often people decide to shoot for the moon when they start exercising, but don’t realize they’re barely able to get off the ground – leading to failure and eventually giving up. It’s not a bad idea to shoot for the moon as a long term goal, but sometimes you need intermediate short term goals to get there. When you make these goals you should be realistic about where you’re at personally and know what’s attainable. This isn’t just to say that you need to make your goals super easy, just make them something that can be realistically attained. Relevant – As we talk about long term/short term goals it’s good to make these short term goals relevant to your long term goals. Sometimes we make goals just because they seem easy to achieve or because it sounds like a good idea. But you should really be thinking of is; does this have a direct effect on what I want to do long term. Time Based – When leaving a goal open ended in terms of timetable it’s easy to keep pushing it back further and further. If you don’t have a timetable as to when you want to achieve the goal, there’s no sense of urgency to complete it. This is very important to keep in mind when developing short term/long term goals. You may have a goal that you want to achieve by the end of the year, but you then have other short term goals you can check off each month. An example for all of this is if someone who is currently running 18 minutes for 5k wants to set a goal to “get faster” should instead say something like: I want to run a 5k in 17 minutes by the end of December. On the way to this I want to start by increasing  my mileage by 20% each month for the next 3 months, then as I start doing more speed work lower my 5k time to 17:40 by the end of June and to 17:20 by the end of August. This way the goal is very specific in regard to the improvement to their 5k. They are making it measurable with a time. Taking a minute off a 5k in one year is quite attainable. The short term goals are relevant to their long term goals. And setting a deadline of December makes it time based. Like always leave comments or questions in the comments below, and let me know what you think and if you have anything you want me to talk about in future posts.

HOW CANCER CURED MY HOLIDAY STRESS, by Catherine DuBay

People talk about holiday stress and I feel sorry for them. The holidays do not stress me out at all. Other things stress me out; cooking, shopping, traffic, but not the holidays.

I actually love this time of year. When the days get darker and I have to wear gloves when I run and Starbucks cups turn red, I get really happy. This wasn’t always the case. I used to feel compelled to do it all. Decorate, bake, buy tons of perfect gifts, get the annual photo book completed, entertain and stay in shape. I was so busy trying to portray the life we see on the cover of holiday magazines, I would get to January 2 and realize I didn’t really enjoy the season at all! Then I got cancer one year and I was forced by chemo and surgeries to slow down a bit. I entered the holiday season with the perfect excuse to sit back and take in the season. My Cancer Christmas was about healing and celebrating life with family and friends. All the ideas on the covers of magazines that look so good and require so much work were not an option that year.

Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.
Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.

The decorations went up but not all of them. We baked but only when we really felt like it. I bought a few gifts but only if I saw something that had meaning or purpose instead of just because gift giving had to perfectly equal between both kids. Kids watch closely. At first they count to make sure they each get the same number of gifts. As they get older they start to calculate the value of the gifts to be sure an equal amount was spent on both kids. The cancer Christmas I bought gifts but my kids went easy on me and didn’t get too angry when they noticed an inequality. We entertained that year, but no one cared that my linens didn’t match or the food was from Oliver’s. They probably preferred this given my cooking!

It turned out to be one of my favorite holidays ever! I swore to myself that regardless of how much better I would feel the next year, I would not go back to my pre-cancer manic holiday state. For the most part I have not! Here is what I learned the Christmas I had cancer:

  • Gifts that matter: Buy 1-2 meaningful gifts for each child. Don’t bother with a score card. Life is not fair. Sometimes one kid will get a spectacular gift because you found something really cool for them and the next year might be a bust. My favorite gift as a child was the year my sister made me a ski outfit-yes, with a sewing machine! Pants and a jacket. I really wanted skis, boots and poles but our family couldn’t afford it. I loved that outfit and still can hear the sound of it as I skied down the mountain. Or better yet, spend a day with your kids. All day. No electronics. Ok, maybe half a day. They won’t forget it.
  • Demand some ME time. I like to run. I make sure to run throughout the holiday season. Some of my best runs are in December running through the neighborhoods looking at lights. Also enjoyable are runs/hikes in Annadel as it is much less crowded. Whatever your ME thing is, don’t sacrifice it this time of year! That quick errand instead of a workout can wait until AFTER your workout or your ME time. Stores open late this time of year.
  • Have Fun. Doing something with your family and friends should be a priority this time of year. That’s the true meaning of the holidays. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Bowling is our family favorite. Holiday light tours are also fun. A family night hike on a full moon is wonderful and even better; this year there is a full moon on Christmas Eve.
  • Slow down you’re moving too fast…Breath. Relax and be in the moment. Blah, blah, blah…you have heard it so much but have you done it? Play a game with your family. Head’s Up (by Ellen) is a blast and everyone in the family can play. You just need your phone or iPad and 10 minutes. It lightens everyone’s mood and will make you smile.

Don’t wait for cancer or some other life crisis to slow you down and force you to enjoy the season the way it was meant to be. Do it this year. And put happy back into the Holidays.

Happy Holidays and Trails my friends.

Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.
Photo by Mike McGuire at the 2014 Xmas Relays in San Francisco.

 

 

REESEY BYERS: EMPIRE ALL STAR, BY ALEX WOLF-ROOT

(An ongoing series of interviews of redwood empire runners by Alex Wolf-Root)

Today we switch over to the men’s side, starting with Reesey Byers from Santa Rosa HS. Reesey was the first Redwood Empire prep to crack the 9-minute barrier for 3,200m, and then went on to set D1 school records at Sacramento State. Reesey is currently training in Sacramento where he represents SRA Elite.

Dec15Byers_Alex005Let’s start with your record-breaking 3,200m. Was sub-9 expected? How did it feel accomplishing such a goal?

I definitely wanted to break 9 minutes, though I was very disappointed with my end result. My proudest race was when I ran 8:19 in the 3,000m and that indicated that I was ready to run low or sub 8:50, but the race did not go as planned at Arcadia. It was still a great experience.

And how does it feel having that record broken just one year later?

I expected Luis [Luna] to break it. I knew he had the talent and the drive. It was great to watch him beat it live. I was happy for him.

Well you certainly had talent and drive as well. You were a stud at SRHS from the start. How did your time as a Panther turn you into the standout runner you are today?

Dec15Byers_Alex002The better I got, the more driven I became. One person I definitely give credit for my success today is Rory McLeod. He was my inspiration and a great teammate. I looked up to him so much and watching him run I thought “Wow, I would love to be as fast as him one day!” I had other great teammates as well and we pushed each other day after day. Also I had amazing high school coaches. They invested a lot of time in me and helped me grow each year.

In your mind, what are the highlights of your Panther career? What, if anything, did you not accomplish that you thought you could, or should?

Dec15Byers_Alex003My highlights were definitely when I ran 8:19 in the 3,000m and 4:11 in the 1,600m. Those were my favorite races by far and also my best performances. They really gave me a lot of confidence. Also making it to state for the first time my junior year in the 3,200m. It was my first time running at that level, and that year I had nearly a minute drop in my best time (despite running 9:06 in lane 3!). As stated before, I definitely think I could have run a faster 3,200m, as well as going sub 4:10 in the 1,600m, but I’m not complaining. I am very happy with my career as a Panther.

And due to it being such a great career, some were a bit surprised that you chose to go to Sacramento State instead of a “bigger” athletic power. How’d that decision come about?

I know, a lot of people were confused, but I knew I would be much happier at Sac State. The decision was between UC Berkeley and Sac State. I felt a stronger team bond with Sac State’s team, and the coaches really showed a lot of interest in me and promised to give individual help as well. I don’t regret my decision to go to Sac State at all.

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Well that decision certainly worked out! What was it about that program that brought out the best in you?

My teammates definitely brought out the best in me. I made some of my closest relationships through Sac State’s XC and track teams. I became a better person from the people I met while on the team. And Sac State had a very good track team. We were conference champions across many seasons.

From my point of view in the stands, one highlight was your 5,000m win at the 2013 Stanford Invite. Tell us a bit about that barrier-breaking moment.
Dec15Byers_Alex008It was definitely a mixed feeling. From the workouts I knew I was fit enough to break 14, but actually doing it and winning the race was unbelievable. It was the greatest feeling ever. Although many think I was in 13:30’s shape that year (having closed mile repeats in 4:10-4:15 etc),,,

Despite some great accomplishments, especially your first two years, you had a rough second half of college. Can you tell us a bit about those struggles?

There were several factors that played a roll in the rocky end to my collegiate career. Right after my sub-14 season, I found myself undergoing a coaching change that was very difficult on me mentally, especially right after a very successful season. I then had a life changing illness in the fall of my last year. I had a staph infection that was in the bones and disks of my lower back and in my blood stream. It was literally killing me from the inside, and it was misdiagnosed for six weeks. Eventually I had to be rushed to the emergency room and was hospitalized for about a week. I was then given a central line for another few months and was without exercise for 4 months. Once I was healthy, I tried to save my last track season but, due to missing 4 months of base, I did not have the strength necessary to run very well. I also suffered from a slightly torn hamstring and am still dealing with it to some extent. It’s been a rough ride since last year.

Dec15Byers_Alex006But things seem to be smoothing out now that you’re running post-collegiately. After first running for Strava you’re now with SRA Elite. What’s the post-collegiate journey been like so far?

I knew a few friends that ran for Strava and they really were interested in me, so I joined Strava and loved it. Unfortunately I did not have the immediate access to the support I needed. Being in Sacramento made it difficult for me to take advantage of what they had to offer. I then realized it would be much more beneficial for me to join SRA Elite. I would have immediate access to the support they provided and I would have a team to train with. I am really loving it so far and they take great care of their athletes. I am currently getting some coaching guidance from them and it is working well. I am just getting over my hamstring injury and getting back into great shape.

Going back to the Redwood Empire, we’ve had quite the history of distance runners. Why do you think this small area has turned out so many solid athletes?

That’s a good question. I think part of it is because there are so many good places to run. Running is a popular sport in that area as well. There are many races that are put on in that area that encourage people of all levels to go out, test themselves and have fun.

Dec15Byers_Alex004What would you tell the HS athletes reading this now?

I would tell them to be patient, not to give up, and just have fun. Running takes a lot of hard work but it’s important not to think of it as a job. Have fun with it. Go places that interest you. Chase your dreams. If you want it bad enough, it will come in time. Just keep plugging away, day in day out. There is always room to grow in the sport. Do the little things. To be a successful runner, it’s important to take good care of your body.

What should we expect from Reesey Byers in the future?

I definitely am very driven. My goal is to make the Olympic Trials in the 5,000m. That is my dream. Expect a fast 5,000m this year. Now that I am healthy and taking the right steps to be the best I can be, I think I can really do something special.

Anything else that you want to add?

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in my journey to be a successful athlete. It has been a bumpy road but it’s how you deal with and get through the adversities of life that make you a better person, both athletically and in general. I have gone through a lot but my drive and determination keep me going. It is also important to stay hungry and stay humble, because there is no telling what life will throw at you, but as long as you are determined enough, your body will achieve what your mind believes.

Thanks again Reesey, and we can’t wait to see what you do this season, especially come Independence Day!

Dec15Byers_Alex009