Alexi Pappas's Roads Scholar Blog: February

Each month, 2013 RRCA Roads Scholar Alexi Pappas will provide a blog post offering an update on her training, competition and life in general as a post-collegiate road runner.


February is short but meaningful! It is a month best characterized by love and… snow storms. 


Indoor Track is short but meaningful! It is a season best characterized by love (a feeling of affection for the chance to finally step on a rubberized artificial running surface after many months of the hill-mud-stricken unevenness that is cross country!) and… snow storms! Good thing we’re racing inside.


My February Indoor season was short but meaningful. I took home a W and PR at the UW Dempsey in the 3k and 5k respectively. I got a taste of racing again and am well prepared for the spring season. 


In February, I ran the longest tempo of my life around a one-mile loop with a man and his dog. The biggest challenge was not the distance, not the man, and not the dog, but the tree that fell down in the middle of our workout— we proceeded to run around the fallen object, thus lengthening our workout by at least 5 meters every mile, thereby pushing us to the outer limits of mental toughness. Needless to say I am a better runner because of this experience. I will not blink should a palm tree fall onto the Stanford track during a race this spring.


I look forward to racing on the road again this March—I will compete in the US 15K Champs, the Gate River Run in Florida. It will be my longest race ever. 


But the real question is, which other elite athlete will be paired as my roommate...?!


As when elementary school teacher switches the seating arrangement of a classroom, all of us kids wait in anticipation for just who we will be sharing our pencil sharpener (toothpaste) with next.


Your Loyal Roads Scholar, 




Follow Alexi on Twitter: @AlexiPappas

Alexi Pappas's Roads Scholar Blog: January

Each month, 2013 RRCA Roads Scholar Alexi Pappas will provide a blog post offering an update on her training, competition and life in general as a post-collegiate road runner.


After so many years of running, one would hope a girl would have learned how to properly prepare for a race. She should know what to do 48 hours out, 24 hours out, one minute prior to a race… but! this is not always the case. And this is not the case for me. This goes for warm-up routine, etc. (I have dabbled in anything from pasta to seaweed for prerace dinner and certainly paid the price!)


And since January is about new beginnings, for me, January is about learning the beginning: I finally took the time to learn how to prepare for a race. Coach kindly nudged me to get out on the roads and practice my prerace routine. I ventured to the Oregon coast and raced the Rogue Brewery Resolution Run 5k. I had the routine in my head. I knew what to do and when.


Things were going beautifully until I got lost along the way to the race and started my warm-up exactly 11 minutes late. This was only a slight discomfort compared to the giant dead octopus I encountered whilst on my warm-up jog.


I fortunately didn’t let *any* leg get in my way, and came away from the road race victorious on both the men’s and women’s side, winning a hand-blown glass medallion that is equal parts jewelry and medal, and unmistakably Pacific Northwest.


What I found is that sometimes race preparation is about being incredibly prepared for the unexpected.


Speedily yours,


Alexi Pappas's Roads Scholar Blog: December

Each month, 2013 RRCA Roads Scholar Alexi Pappas will provide a blog post offering an update on her training, competition and life in general as a post-collegiate road runner.


The end of 2013 was challenging but fun. I encountered some of the toughest circumstances I’ve ever run in, but completed some of the best workouts of my life.


The circumstances:

1.     Alexi has no running water for 12 days.

2.     Alexi’s car is buried under snow for 11 days.

3.     Eugene, a town we love mind you, proves to be ill equipped to remove snow from roads (no snow plows in sight, no salt in sight).

The results:

1.     Alexi learns to keep her water running in below freezing temperatures so the pipes don’t freeze.

2.     Alexi learns how to walk down her hill through snow to the grocery store, where she finds provisions, meets teammates for daily (sometimes bi-daily) rides to indoor practice, and also schedules necessary grocery-store-seating-area group meetings with classmates in the days leading up to finals.

3.     Alexi learns how to cook with snow.

4.     Alexi learns how to make stir fry with soda and soy sauce when water runs low.

5.     Alexi learns how to make friends with neighbors who offer showers and occasional bowls of soup.

6.     Alexi completes the longest and toughest workout of her life to date (11 k continuous, varying pace) in the smallest turf circle she’s ever run (about 60 seconds around).

7.     Alexi doesn’t wash her clothes and develops a tolerance for her own body odor.

8.     Alexi *runs* to her final academic final out of necessity and completes her Masters work at the University of Oregon. She is now a Master.

2013 left me feeling like a very strong but very dull pencil—that is to say that I am learning what it means to develop a strong base.  


I welcome 2014 with embracing arms.  I am more than excited for the upcoming track season. I will compete sparingly but purposefully indoors in preparation for outdoors.


Your Loyal Roads Scholar,



Follow Alexi on Twitter - @alexipappas

Alexi Pappas's Roads Scholar Blog: November

Each month, 2013 RRCA Roads Scholar Alexi Pappas will provide a blog post offering an update on her training, competition and life in general as a post-collegiate road runner.

"I’m glad I’m not the only crazy out here.” said the man who always walks his dog at exactly the same time I always run the Amazon trail. We pass each other daily—generally we simply exchange friendly eyes or a wave. It is true: there is something special about Eugene, a place where not even the sky’s most wretched brew will stop the trail rovers from roving. Fall has come, and I feel lucky to be back in Eugene.

For me, this month brought with it new and old. After spending the summer racing and writing on the east coast, I arrived in Eugene with a mattress-tied-to-the-roof-of-a-car parade and moved into a new place—I live a shocking 5 blocks from where I did while a 5th year runner for the University of Oregon last year, but still-- the new place indicates “new year!”

After my last race of the summer season—my first outdoor 5k (where I finished 3rd at the US Champs in Providence!), I eagerly began practice with my new team, the Oregon Track Club Elite. I am so glad to once again be a part of a team. And it does really feel like a team. I took the month to adjust to the new training style, and also adjusted my goals and mind-set for the professional race calendar, which I learn is very different than a college runner’s three-season schedule.

I feel lucky to have had the chance to race in the NYRR’s 5k Dash to the Finish—my first race with new coach Mark Rowland and new teammate Sally Kipyego. The experience showed me that I can compete with the best, but I still have a ways to go. I loved the energy of the NYC Marathon weekend, and felt an enthusiasm for the sport that I carry with me back to my friends on the trails of Eugene.

Your Loyal Roads Scholar,


Follow Alexi on Twitter - @alexipappas

Friends on Facebook Interview with Alissa McKaig
Alissa McKaig talks about being a professional runner, competing at the world championships and her experiences at this year’s Boston Marathon on Friends on Facebook.  Access the podcast.
An Interview with Ben True

Ben TrueOn March 24, 2013, Ben True put together one of those dream races in a distance runner's life, and took sixth in the World Cross Country Championships. On a tough course, with cold, snow, a tough hill and terrible footing, True, along with Chris Derrick, finished in the top ten and lead the US team to the silver medal, and a huge upset of the Kenyan WC team, which finished third. 


Ben True is a distance coach's dream, with a background in cross country skiing, cross country running and track and field. Last year, in 2012, Ben ran Personal bests at 3,000m (7:44.1), 5,000m (13:20), and 10,000m (27:41). 


Interveiw courtesy of RunBlogRun



An Interview with Mattie Suver

Mattie (Bridgmon) Suver graduated from the University of Oregon as an All-American.  She currently trains with the American Distance Project in Colorado Springs and holds PRs of 16:02 in the 5K, 32:59 in the 10K and 1:13:14 in the half marathon.  Mattie attended the inaguaral RunPro Camp in 2011.  Her recent accomplishments includes being the 2012 US Club Cross Country Champion and female winner of the 2012 Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon.

An Interview with Dathan Ritzenhein from Run Blog Run

Dathan Ritzenhein announced last week that he would be running the Bank of America Chicago marathon in the Fall of 2013, just like he did in 2012. His personal best of 2:07.47 gave him the proof that yes, he, Dathan could run a good marathon. He will also be running the Shamrock Shuffle, on April 7, 2013, also produced by the Bank of America Chicago marathon.

After a year that included just missing the US marathon team, where he finished fourth, then, making US team at 10,000 meters, and then, a fine marathon in Chicago, Dathan Ritzenhein took some time off at the end of the year and is just rounding into shape. His second place at the US Club Cross Country Championships, after a battle with Chris Derrick, shows that he is on the right path for 2013. 

RBR, # 1.Tell your me about your plans to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2013?

Dathan Ritzenhein: I am so excited to get that word out there. The anticipation was tough, I am no longer feeling  like being a secret agent. It is nice to announce it and get it out early. The marathon was great to me last year. Finally, at the Chicago Marathon, I had something good in the marathon. I found the winning formula at Chicago.

RBR, #2 What did you learn from your experience in Chicago in 2012? 

Dathan Ritzenhein: Before, in marathons, I would get so wrapped up (on the training). Now, I see it differently. I don't need these specific workouts. Sometimes it is not going to happen. It is just another race.  I would read between the lines. I had nine weeks of training after London for Chicago last year that were great.

An Interview with Amy Van Alstine of McMillan Elite

AmyVanAlstineFlagstaff, AZ - May 15, 2012 - Amy Van Alstine comes from Midland Park, New Jersey, where she attended Midland Park High School and graduated with personal bests of 5:09 for 1600 meters and 10:57 for 3200 meters.  She went on to compete for University of Richmond in Virginia, earning multiple Atlantic 10 Conference Championships, NCAA Championship berths (2010 Cross Country and 2011 Outdoor Track), and All-America honors.  She holds school records in the 1500, 3k, and 5k and the conference meet record in the 1500 and was the 2011 Atlantic 10 Track and Field Athlete of the Year.  She holds personal bests of 4:19.38 for 1500 meters and 15:42.67 for 5000 meters.

An Interview with Devotia Moore of Greater Boston Track Club


devotiaBoston, Massachusetts – February 24, 2012 - Devotia Moore hails from Jamaica, New York.  She attended Townsend Harris High School, where she competed in a wide range of events: 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m, 3,000m, 5,000m, 2,000m steeplechase, and cross country.  After finding her niche in the 800m her junior year, she chose to continue her career at Duke University where she majored in International Comparative Studies.  The 2011 All-American (Indoor DMR) and Duke record holder ran a personal best of 2:03.45 and was a part of Duke University’s 4x800m relay team which won the Championship of America at Penn Relays in 2011.  She now trains in Boston with the Boston College Eagles and races for the Greater Boston Track Club.  Most recently, she took 11th at the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, NM.

An Interview with Bridget Franek of OTC Elite


Eugene, Oregon – June 21, 2011 – Bridget Franek is from Hiram, Ohio, where she attended Crestwood High School and won four state titles (4x800, 800, 1600, 3200) her senior year at the  2006 Ohio State Track & Field Championships.  As a prep, she also competed in soccer, basketball and swimming.  While at Penn State University, she was a 10-time NCAA All American and set six Penn State school records - in the 3000 steeplechase, the mile, the indoor 1600, the indoor 3000, the 4 x 1500 and the DMR.  She also won the NCAA Division I title in the steeplechase in 2010 and while she was still a Nittany Lion, she finished third at the 2009 USA Track & Field Championships to earn a spot to run at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships.  After graduation last summer, Franek joined the Oregon Track Club Elite, which is based in Eugene.


An Interview with Scott MacPherson of Team Rogue


Austin, Texas - June 8, 2011 - Scott MacPherson, a native of Plano, Texas, returned to his home state after running collegiately at the University of Arkansas to join Team Rogue to start his professional running career.  As an Arkansas Razorback, who graduated in 2010, Scott was a three-time All American who competed in events that included the mile, 3000 meters and the steeplechase as well as cross country.  As a prep at Plano High School, he ran 4:12 in the mile and 8:54 in the 3200 meters and was a two-time Foot Locker cross country qualifier.  Team Rogue, a relatively new training center, is based in Austin.


An Interview with Heather Kampf of Team USA Minnesota

Heather DornidenMinneapolis – Feb. 28, 2011 – At the University of Minnesota, Heather (Dorniden) Kampf was a nine-time All American and the highest decorated Gopher women’s track athlete. By the time she graduated in December 2009, she was the only Gopher who had competed in every NCAA Championship in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track during the time she was at the University. She was also an NCAA Indoor Champion in the 800 meters.