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Interval Session #78 - Megan Marsico

By SteveU - October 30, 2008

Megan Marsico was largely unknown outside of Virginia before this fall.  As a freshman, she ran mostly in the 19:00s for 5K and high 18:00s for 3M.  By the VA state meet last fall, her soph year, she was down to 18:21 for 5K, good for the Class A title and 7th best overall.  Then in track, she lowered her times to 11:00 and 4:59 – good, but still nothing the presaged this fall. 

With improved strength and mental focus, Marsico has leapfrogged several of her rivals and emerged as perhaps the state’s top runner and one of the 5-10 best in the region.  Her times have been in the mid-high 17:00s all fall for 5K and she has two sub-17:00s for 3M, including a 16:41 at her district last week.  Earlier, she had schooled a top field of athletes from several states at the McDonald’s Invitational at Maymont and topped a course record by the venerable Catherine White at the Metro Champs.

The Glenvar VA junior has a post-season full of possibility ahead of her.  DyeStat senior editor SteveU got a few words with Megan Marsico before her regional meet this week.
1) Megan, congrats on your season to date.  You’ve had an outstanding year on all counts and the thing most notable is your dramatic improvement from last fall (and spring).  Can you talk about the things you've done mentally that helped foster this improvement?

During the summer, I worked out every day.  This fall, I have gotten control of my nerves and I have my mind focused only on my grades and running.  I have the desire and motivation, to put all my energy into school and running.  I have given up many things to better benefit my running.  I thank the Lord for the gift He has blessed me with.  I could not be physically and mentally prepared without Him.

2) Can you tell us a little bit about how you first got into the sport, either in high school or before, if relevant?  What was it that really got you hooked?

When I was younger, I did many different sports.  During my basketball season, my coach said to me that I should get into running road races like 5Ks and 10Ks.  He saw me run suicides and said that I would be a good runner because I never got tired.  He also knew about running because he had a daughter that was a runner.  I was nine when I stared racing and gave up the other sports I did.  My basketball coach trained me for the races.  Ever since, I love competing and am so glad that he got me into the sport.

3) I’ve read that your school has a tradition of outstanding runners, including Foot Locker Finalist Trish Nervo.  Has that tradition been an inspiration to you at all?  Can you tell us about how Coach Myers has inspired you and helped you to develop?

Even before meeting Trish Nervo, I knew about her.  My 8th-grade P.E. teacher always talked about her and how talented she was.  She showed the class her Foot Locker National tape and gave it to me afterwards.  I really look up to Trish Nervo with her accomplishments and achievements.  She actually lives on my street, which was really neat. 

Coach Dickie Myers has had a  major impact on my life in many ways.  He has given up so much of his time and has always been there for me.  He has inspired me to take every day as a new opportunity to get better.  I can’t thank him enough.  He is such a awesome coach!

4) The race that really grabbed peoples’ attention on a national basis was, of course, the McDonald’s meet at Maymont.  Can you tell us about your mental approach going into that race, your race plan itself, and how you executed it?  How big a victory was that for you?

I went into the race not knowing where everyone was in their seasons. So I went out with the girls and broke away later on.  I got mentally prepared by praying, consultation with my coach, and just getting really excited about the meet.

5) I also read about a course record you set the other week that I believe was a Catherine White mark … I think on a course you’d run before?  Can you tell us about that and what that meant to you?

I had ran that course earlier and was familiar with it, which helped me feel more comfortable with it.  Catherine White is a really talented runner and I look up to her as well; she had some really great times.

6) Having gotten to this stage of the game, what are your state meet and post-season (NXN or Foot Locker) goals at this point?

I take one race at a time and set goals as I go.

7) Can you tell us about what really drives you in the sport, not just to excel, but also fuels your love of running?  Is it something you get a lot of support for from your family and friends?  Did you have a strong athletic background in the sport previously or is this the first sport where you’ve really found success?

I really love running because it’s something that is mind over matter.  You have to pull your own weight and you have no help.  I also love that you find out more about yourself when running.  You control your body and its up to you whether you hurt and push yourself.  I have an awesome family that supports me and is there for me.  I did basketball, softball, soccer, tap, ballet, and gymnastics before I started to run.  Once I got into running, that was it for the other sports; I had found my passion for the sport.

8) Finally, what are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not running and studying … and what subjects in school fascinate and motivate you the most?

I really love to go biking and hiking when I’m not out running.  On the other hand, I love to bake.  While in school, history and psychology are my favorite subjects.

Photo by Ken Charnock from McDonald's at Maymont 08.

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