In her first cross country season competing since she transferred to Carolina, Kylie McCoy has finished in the top 25 each of her three races as a Tar Heel. Most recently at the Notre Dame Invitational McCoy smashed her personal record to run her 5K race in 17:12.
Congratulations on your PR at the Notre Dame Invitational! What was your game plan going into the race?
Thank you! Going into the race I planned on getting myself in a good position early on and then to gradually work on moving up throughout the race. My goal was to run and not worry about what I would have left in the end and to be able to shift gears midway through. I believe I was able to pull this off around the two mile point and carry that momentum to the finish.
The Notre Dame race has typically been the kick-off to the meaty part of Carolina's cross country schedule and you saw a lot of ranked competition on Friday. What was that like?
It was exciting to be competing against other strong runners and to see where our team falls among some of the top-ranked teams in the nation. I think our team still has a lot of potential to show and can definitely be even stronger contenders for later in the season when it truly counts. If everyone can have a great race all on the same day, I think that our team is going to surprise a lot of people.
What can you take away from South Bend that can help in tough races like Wisconsin in a couple of weeks and ACCs at the end of October?
This past weekend will help me tremendously for the tough races approaching because it made me feel more comfortable running in a large pack of runners. This is my first cross country season as I redshirted my freshman year and running cross country in college is a very different experience from running cross country in high school. In high school, the largest pack I remember running with in a race was barely 10 people. Now, I am surrounded by 20 to 30 other runners from start to finish. It is definitely an adjustment and something that you have to be prepared to respond to in a race-like situation. There is so much going on when you are completely surrounded by other runners so it is important to not let all the action distract you from your race.
What part of a training week do you look forward to most? (i.e. conditioning runs, morning workouts, rest day before competition, etc.)
I really look forward to the rest day before competition when our whole team is together hanging out at the hotel. We usually eat out as a team or order takeout and I just love doing absolutely nothing but hanging out with the team the day before a big race. It's also a really fun day because we usually are traveling somewhere I have never been before!
What is the most interesting thing you could tell us about Coach VanAlstyne and/or Coach Reckart?
Coach VanAlstyne is one of the most organized and detail-oriented people I know. He sends out an email every Sunday with our schedule for the upcoming week, the times we are going to meet, the workouts we are going to be doing, where we are going to be meeting, etc. He even includes a very inspirational "Quote of the Week". As far as detail-oriented, Coach VanAlstyne introduced us to rope-stretching, an injury-prevention technique, and we meet every week for organized rope-stretching. He also opens up the ice tub for us every Sunday, even though we don't meet for practice, but because he knows that it's "the little things" that count. Coach Reckart is extremely good at V-ups, a core exercise that she has us do when we meet for core two to three times a weeks. I don't think I have ever seen anyone do a V-up as good as her (well, maybe Annie LeHardy).