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Interval Session #14 - Ashley Brasovan
October 31, 2007

Anyone who had watched her this fall in Florida already knew it. To them, what happened at Great American was probably of little surprise. But when Ashley Brasovan emerged into the final stretch during that race – alone, against the best field of the year – all national XC fans knew that anyone who wants to win in San Diego will have to match strides with the Wellington FL dynamo.

Getting to the Foot Locker Finals, though, that’s the rub. From her freshman season two years ago, Brasovan quickly established herself as the best runner in Florida and clearly in the small group of favorites to win Foot Locker South. In each of her first two seasons, though, she struggled to emerge from the surging pack in the woods at McAlpine and finished between 15th and 20th.

Things seem to have changed, though. Last March, four months after her sophomore FL South race, she took at modest early pace in the Nike Indoor 2M and ramped it up to 5-flat tempo. The victory proved to everyone that Brasovan could win a national-level race. And her victory in the hilly woods at Great American was a pretty good way to rehearse the FL South course. Don’t be surprised if she’s in the fight for the national title the second weekend of December.

DyeStat News Editor SteveU takes in some South Florida sunshine with the state's brightest star as she moves into the her state meet season.

1. Congratulations on your season so far. Of your races to date, Great American seems to have been the biggest and best. Can you talk a bit about your approach to that race and how your victory has positively affected your season?

For Great American, I mostly just tried to stay calm before the race and relax. I just wanted someone else to set the pace for the first mile and then take the lead if I felt good. The race gave me a lot of motivation because I train mostly by myself, and the only way I know where I am at is to compete in races like that.

2. As much as you improved between XC and track last year, it seems you got better again over the summer. What did you do during the summer in terms of mileage, types of workouts, and any cross-training to get to the level you're at now?

Over the summer, I did a lot of base work. I didn’t get to start training until July because of NON. I went to Coach Benson's Nike camp for a week and kept my mileage around 50-60 per week. I didn't really start tempos or anything else until late August. I also do weight training about 2 or 3 times a week.

3. When a lot of people in the sport see girls who are shorter and more slender than average do really well at a young age, they often assume they have health problems, or will develop health problems or burn out later on. You have improved consistently every season and your high school career so far seems to defy that stereotype. Are you aware of this general image issue in our sport and can you share what is unique about you in this regard and what you have done to stay healthy and consistent?

I have seen great runners ruin their career because of eating disorders. I make sure that the one thing I do in addition to training is to eat enough because the proper food (and the right amount) helps you to run faster and stronger in the long run. It's sad to see girls who starve themselves and end up injured, especially if they had such a bright future ahead of them.

4. After last fall's disappointing end at Foot Locker South, the one knock on you was that you couldn't win the biggest race. Yet late that winter, you came up to Maryland and won the Nike Indoor 2-mile with a terrific move the second mile. How did you bounce back from that tough Foot Locker loss and run so well at NIN? How satisfying was that triumph?

I think my loss at Foot Locker South last year just encouraged me even more to train harder and realize that everything happens for a reason. I think by doing bad at Foot Locker I realized I needed to step it up more and that led me to a more successful track season.

5. Foot Locker South is coming up again soon and it's obvious again that not only are you one of the best (in most eyes, THE best) runner in the region, but perhaps the best in the nation. What are you doing this year to mentally prepare for that race and get yourself ready to make it to San Diego after two misses?

This year I am just trying to stay calm and focused. I am trying not to let the fear of failure keep me from doing well.

6. It isn't every day that champion distance runners come out of South Florida, but you have become a great all-around runner from an area that's hot and flat. Can you talk about being a distance runner down there and what you can do to get ready for hillier courses that you eventually face?

I try to do most of my workouts in the morning so I don't get too overheated in the afternoons. As far as hills go, the nearest one is about two hours away. I will drive there about once a month and hope for the best when I hit a hill in a race!

7. Looking at your track and XC times at different distances, you seem to get better as the race gets longer. Are you looking forward to racing 5k or 10k on the track in the future, or even the marathon? On the other hand, are you working on getting stronger and quicker for the 1600 and 800?

Speed is definitely one of my weaknesses. So I really like longer races. I think in college I might enjoy the 5000 on the track, and when I graduate, I would really love to try some half marathons. One day I want to go all out and do one of the 100 mile races just to say I did one!

8. Can you talk about the support you get from coaches and family as a distance runner? It looks like your coach is an accomplished runner herself. How did you get into the sport and what kind of coaching have you gotten along the way?

I actually was recruited to run track in gym class in 6th grade. I really didn’t even want to and just did it to stay in shape for swimming. Then I realized how much I loved running and ended up quitting swimming freshman year to focus solely on running. I have had about three different coaches in the past three years, so I get a lot of help and input from some of my friends and their coaches who help me out. I put together everything I have learned and somewhat invent my own schedule.

9. Most female distance runners seem to be outstanding students and I'm guessing you're no exception. What are your best or favorite subjects in school? And outside of running and studying, what are we likely to find Ashley Brasovan doing for fun when she has some free time?

I really used to despise history, but this year I have found a little niche for it. It's almost like reading one big story. I really like to shop, chill with friends and I LOVE the water. I like to scuba dive, water ski, tube, and almost anything else that involves water. It's really convenient to live in Florida because the beach is like 20 minutes away, so I can do these things as much I have time for!

Photos by Pat Davey

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