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Interval Session #99 - Shane Moskowitz

By Dave Devine - Febuary 19, 2009

While winter on the East Coast means a full slate of indoor track competitions for high school athletes, their counterparts in Oregon and Washington have few opportunities to test the legs and take to the track on the undercover circuit. The University of Washington in Seattle offers a slate of open meets that Northwest high schoolers typically enter unattached to chase good marks on the generous 307-meter layout.  Central Kitsap WA junior Shane Moskowitz has not only been shaking up his winter mileage with some racing there, but hitting distance PRs which top his 2008 outdoor bests and bode well for his looming spring campaign.  Last weekend at the UW Open, Shane ran a personal best 4:17.66 for the mile and a short time later rolled an 8:38.67 3k which was the equivalent of his PR for 3200 meters. 

Last fall, Moskowitz rose from a promising sophomore harrier to the favorite to win the Washington 4A state meet as a junior in November.  He was a disappointed runner-up there, and again at the OR/WA BorderClash  two weeks later, but those finishes spurred him to a big effort at Foot Locker West, where he nailed down fifth place and a trip to San Diego.  At the National meet he was 14th overall, making All-American, and crossing as the third underclassman in the race.  Since then, he’s upped his mileage and drawn some lofty goals for the outdoor season, all of which could spell trouble for his Washington competition.

DyeStat senior editor Dave Devine heads north on I-5 for a mid-winter rustbuster with one of the latest distance stars to emerge from the Evergreen state.
1) Congrats on your great distance double at the UW Open last weekend!  The indoor season tends to be pretty low-key in the Northwest, but you've taken advantage of some of these meets at the University of Washington to drop your mile time and get in some strong distance races.  Can you take us through the races last weekend, how close together they were, and just the general environment of meets on the 307-meter oval at UW?

The two races were only about an hour apart, which made me pretty nervous. But I knew I was in good shape so I decided to keep with the plan.  At the beginning of the mile I got my entire foot stepped on by another runner’s spike, which made the first lap painful.  And a great pair of ID Nike Milers destroyed! But I was happy about the race. All I was shooting for was a PR, and I achieved that. Then, going into the 3000m I did not expect anything great because the races were so close together and my foot was injured.  But I felt surprisingly strong throughout the race and came out with another equivalent PR.  For the track itself though, it is for sure my favorite track to run on. We have very short indoor seasons (if it's a season at all) in the NW; it's a great change from outdoor. And I actually prefer the UW track over any track, even though the laps do get confusing due to the awkward 307 meters.

2) Rewinding back to cross country for a moment, I know you had a couple of runner-up finishes in high profile races when you were right in the hunt for the win, losing to Mack Young at the Washington 4A state meet and Andrew Kimpel at BorderClash.  But then you went down to Foot Locker West and finished fifth, punching your ticket to San Diego.  What did that FLW race do for your confidence, and your feeling about where you stood in relation to some of the other runners in the region?

State and BorderClash were big setbacks for me. I was really upset losing at State (where Mack Young had an awesome race, congrats) and I planned to come back and win over a talented field at BorderClash, but was beat by Andrew Kimpel, who I think is the best 'kicker' in Washington. So I wasn't too surprised when I tried to outkick Kimpel.  I told all of my teammates that those races would not matter to me at all if I qualified for Foot Locker Nationals, so I focused on that race and I knew I had a 'chance' to qualify as long as I had a great race. Finally redeeming myself and qualifying gave me the confidence I needed after my two upsetting races earlier, and it secured all my negative thoughts of not knowing if I was as good as all the awesome California talent.

3) Overall, how was the Foot Locker Nationals experience for you?  Did you become friends with or get to know anyone that you'd only read about prior to heading for San Diego?  What things did you take away from racing against the nation's best that you think you could apply the rest of this year and next?

Foot Locker, to me, was as great as what people say about it. It was the best running experience I have ever had, and the Hotel 'Del' was the most amazing place I have ever seen, let alone stayed in! While I was there it was awesome to meet all the athletes I read about every day on DyeStat, but probably the person I talked to the most was Trevor Dunbar. He was a really humble athlete, like he seemed to be in his famous 3200m video.  Also, my roommate Drew Shields and I have kept in touch a little over texting. In San Diego, I talked to other athletes and I realized that I was one of the lowest weekly mileage runners there. Before Foot Locker I was running a max of maybe 35 miles a week.  And now I'm at about 50 miles a week and I feel a lot stronger. So that's what I'm gonna try to apply through the rest of my high school seasons.  Also, I remember Drew saying he races to win before racing to achieve a time, and that's what I always think about before a race now.

4) Washington has always been chockfull of talented distance runners, especially on the boys’ side.  You had to contend with guys like Miles Unterreiner, Joey Bywater and Jono Lafler on a regular basis last year.  What factors do you think make Washington such a strong state for distance running, and are there any guys this year you particularly look forward to racing?  Guys you know will always give you a run for your money or with whom you've developed a friendly rivalry?

It was awesome racing against Unterreiner, Bywater, and Lafler last year, and I think Washington has runners like them because there are a lot of great coaches behind our teams.  When it comes to friendly rivalries, I have so many because all of the runners are very close and we all talk before and after races.  A few that I am looking forward to racing, but can also give me a run would be: Conor Peloquin, Kevin Rosaaen, Mack Young, Andrew Kimpel, Drew O’Donoghue-McDonald, and Andrew Gonzalez. 

5) You've got a twin sister, Shannon, who has also turned into a very strong runner in Washington, finishing as the second WA runner at BorderClash last December.  Watching the two of you after that race, it seems like there's a real closeness and high level of support there.  Can you talk about that relationship, the highs and lows of being twins in the same sport, and what it's meant to see Shannon really come into her own this year as a distance runner?

Our team actually has two sets of twins; the Macovjak brothers are the other set.  Being a twin is great, but it has probably been the most proud season I have had, seeing my sister become an amazing runner this year. I have told her many times that she has made a much larger improvement over the last year than I have. We are close in that we give each other advice and help each other when we’re not happy over an outcome of a race. But when it comes to our love of the sport, I exceed her by miles! Her talent even moreso than running is her vocal chords. That girl can sing!!! And lately I have had to respect that by trying to stop forcing her to put in a few more miles here and there.

6) I was on the Central Kitsap Track website this week, and it seems like there's a real...pro wrestling theme.  On a photo page of the top returners, a lot of your teammates even have nicknames like Tiger and RoadKill and Man Hands, but under your picture it just says, "Shane."  Don't you have a nickname?  And what's the story on the pro wrestling slant to the site?

Honestly, I'm not so sure about the whole wrestling aspect... But the nicknames is something I have not been fortunate to obtain. The head coach progressively makes up names and they 'stick.'  It's just a kind of fun tradition that the coach has been doing.

7) In the last eight months or so, you've gone from a very good up-and-coming runner in the state of Washington to an All-American at Foot Locker.  Was there anything you changed or added heading into this year that helps explain that jump, or is it a matter of maturation and consistency?  Is there a favorite workout you have that lets you know you're really ready to roll, and how about the hardest workout you've ever run?

Well, the only way I can explain my improvement is that I love running and I always want to become better. I always make a list of goals I want to achieve, and those are my motivations for the season. This season my number one goal is to break the junior 3200m state record of 8:57. One workout I have started doing about three days before a race to see if I'm feeling good is 2 sets of 10x200m at 30-32 seconds with equal rest, and 5 minute rest between sets.  My hardest workout would generally just be interval sessions containing a mixture of 800's, 400's, and 200's. Usually those are the hardest for me.

8) Its always nice when we get to interview people who are also avid readers of the site or frequent visitors to the message boards.  Of course, one of the interesting things about the message boards is the anonymity they provide and the following some posters generate.  If you could meet any message board poster on DyeStat, who would it be, and why?

Well, I know most of the posters on the Washington/Oregon threads, but yesterday a poster with the name of 'michak' made a post saying, "I had a dream about shane...... Actually it was a dream about a meet that shane should be at and he won all the distance events in my dream"

And first of all I would like to ask him if that was true... And tell him that's creepy.  Haha.

Photos: Top, Tyler Tjomsland from 2008 WA 4A State meet; bottom, John Dye from 2008 Foot Locker West

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