Interview for Soonar Soundings
Interview by George Rehmet
This interview appeared in the Winter 2004-05 Soonar Soundings.
1. How did you get involved with running?
I ran track at Aptos Middle School in the 8th grade mainly because my friends were. Then as a freshman at Lowell I went out for cross country and was hooked…been running every since.
2. How did you end up coaching at Kezar? At SHC?
The DSE approached me about coaching track workouts back in 1994. We started out at SF State and moved when daylight savings time ended to Kezar, where we have remained (Kezar has lights, SF State does not). 10 years later the day (Thursday), time (6:30pm) and cost ($4 per session) are still the same.
I was the team captain of my Lowell high school running teams, I loved being in a leadership role for cross country and track and wanted to some day be a coach. At UCLA I was the team manager for the women’s team and after college I assisted at Lowell for a few years. In 1998, I was beginning graduate school at USF to get a masters degree in sports management and wasn’t planning on coaching that year. Then my mom saw a listing in the Independent that SHC was looking for a head cross country coach. I thought it might give me something else to do besides school and I had always dreamed of being in charge of my own program. While trying to make a decision about applying for the job, I ran at Sawyer Camp Trail with Tower (Raymond Yu) and talked over if I should go for it or not. I decided to apply and got the job. 7 years later, I am the head coach for both cross country and track & field, work full-time at SHCP as their Facilities Coordinator and have had an amazing 7 years at SHCP with numerous championships, great moments and new friends.
3. Why should someone do a workout with you at Kezar?
The workouts are a great way to improve your speed/kick at the end of a race, your ability to pace well and/or get a hard workout in. The company of the other runners helps people to push themselves. The workouts I write are designed to challenge you to improve yourself and yet not take the fun out of running.
4. Besides your track workouts, what are other ways for runners to get faster?
A weekly tempo run is a great supplement to any training plan. Tempo pace means different things to different people. I define it as a “strong” pace, close to 10K pace. The idea is to run for about 20 minutes at a faster pace than you would normally run.
5. Is coaching high schoolers different? How?
Coaching a high school team is very different:
1. They are all training for the same race distance.
2. I see them daily to oversee their training.
3. They have little running training background and expect to be directed about virtually every aspect of their training.
With the adult population, people’s goals vary from “getting in shape” to achieving a certain marathon time. I only see them once a week so they do a lot of training on their own. I see my role as giving them a good speed session that will help their overall running but I realize that my workouts are just one part of their training program.
6. What’s a typical training week for you?
I don’t get a lot of specific training in myself. I do whatever I can with the team and/or go for a run with Malinda after work.
7. What is your favorite race(s)? Why?
I think the Nicky’s race (a 3 mile and 10K that took place in Berkeley) was my favorite. Why? Because I always did well at that race. I ran 5 of the 6 years they held the race and was either 1st or 2nd overall in the 3 mile, the last 4 years. I got to know the race director, who is the father of “Nicky” who died of leukemia, and other people associated with the race. It became an annual reunion to see them. The goodie bags were phenomenal and I sure won my share of wine from them!!
(2005 edit: Steve Woo’s ANA Cable Car Chase is becoming a new favorite. How can you go wrong with sake at the finish line?! But I do seem to keep just missing out on that trip to Japan! When’s Steve going to start giving an award to the 2nd San Franciscan?!)
8. What has kept you going for 10 years at Kezar?
I love coaching and the group of people who come out on Thursday are lots of fun to be around.