A Conversation With Anastasia Korzenowski

(Photo provided by Anastasia Korzenowski)

First of all, how did you first start running?

I initially began running because my parents forced me to. I had never really considered running, but once I started, I loved it and I am so thankful they made me give it a try.

Did you parents force you because they had been runners too, or just because they knew you were a good runner and wanted you to take advantage of that?

The main reason my parents forced me to join was because they thought running was something that I'd be good at and that I would end up enjoying it. They both did enjoy running when they were younger, but that didn't really play a role in them forcing me to do it. They had simply seen how much I ran in other sports and thought it would be a good thing for me to try.

What are all your personal records, including cross country?

Cross Country (5k): 17.28

800m: 2.20

1600m: 4.53

3200m: 10.52

Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?

I used to play soccer, but once I began cross country and track, there wasn't time for both and I needed to choose, so I quit soccer and focused on cross country and track.

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

The most memorable competition I have been in was the Lakeville Mega Meet in 2012. I was a 7th grader, and it was the first time I won a race, so it's a night I'll always remember.

Who are some people that have been helpful to you in your athletic career?

Some people who have helped me along the way are first off, my parents. They are the ones who first got me interested in the sport, and I always know I can count on them to support me, no matter what! My coaches have also played a huge role in getting me where I am since they have been there since my first season and always make sure to help me reach my goals as well as help me to learn to be a good leader.

Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

Besides teammates, someone I've always enjoyed competing against is Tess Misgen, from Shakopee. We have both been running for our high school teams since 7th grade and have competed against each other many times and we push each other in every race.

What is a challenge you have faced in your athletic career?

The biggest challenge I have faced over the course of my athletic career was my freshmen year, when I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease (which is a thyroid disease). When I was first diagnosed, it took time to get the disease under control, so I wasn't able to run to my full potential during that time. It reminded me that you can't take anything for granted and helped me to work even harder.

Now that your high school cross country career is finished, what reflections, memories, feelings, and/or comments do you have about it?

Now that my high school cross country career has ended, I have had a mixture of emotions. It was very bittersweet, because I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the season. I accomplished my goals for the season and felt very strong about everything I accomplished, but it's still sad because it's the closing of a chapter. My high school cross country team was something I had been a part of since I was a 7th grader and knowing that it was the last time I would run with most of those people was the hardest part. There is still a part of me that will miss high school cross country, but I am also very excited for what's to come in this track season and in college running.

(Photo provided by Anastasia Korzenowski)

What are your main goals for this track season?

I have a few goals for this upcoming track season, first is to simply continue to improve my times as well as make it back to State in my events. But my biggest goal for this season is to finish the season strong. I want to look back on this season and know that I did my best and be proud of all that I have accomplished over my high school career.

Tell us a bit about your decision to attend the University of Minnesota.

This past fall, after much thought, I made my decision to continue running cross country and track at the University of Minnesota. It wasn't an easy decision, but in the end, it was the right choice for me. It's a great school, they have an amazing program, and I got along very well with the coaches and the team. Also, I have always been a huge Gopher fan so I'm super excited to be running for them next year!

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

I can be a little superstitious before meets, and I have a few routines. I usually listen to the same songs before my races and I always wear the same necklace during the race. I also always eat the same Jimmy John's sandwich on race day.

Which songs and what Jimmy Johns sandwich?

The sandwich I always eat is the Slim 5. A few of the songs I always listen to during warm ups are Mean by Taylor Swift, Battle Scars by Guy Sebastian, and Now or Never from High School Musical 3. The songs don't sound like your typical pre-race soundtrack, but they each are tied back to some memory or joke from the previous track or cross country seasons.

When not accumulating miles or turning left, what might we find you doing?

Besides running, I am usually either working, shopping, doing something outside(ice skating, hanging at the beach, hiking, etc.) or hanging out with my friends and family.

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

One strange thing about me is that before races, I get incredibly hyper and slap-happy. It's my way of dealing with the nerves, so I will often laugh hysterically and sing songs during warm ups, but once I get on the track, I calm down and find my zone.