A Bit Of This And That With Elizabeth Klecker

(Photo provided by Bit Klecker)

First of all, how did you first get involved with running?

My parents were big runners when they were younger so they always encouraged us kids. They never pressured us into running, but by the time I was in seventh grade my 4 older siblings all ran. I looked up to them and saw their success so I'd thought I'd try it out too.

What are all your personal records, including XC?

800- 2:18

1600- 4:59

3200- 11:10 (xc time)

5,000- 18:31 

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

I played soccer from kindergarten through the fall of my seventh grade year. I also played one year of basketball in 5th grade.

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

Probably the first time I broke 5:00 in the mile. It was something I was working toward for a long time, and to finally see one of my ultimate goals achieved was really rewarding.

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

Any lake conference girls. We have such great competition that no matter what event you run you'll be running up against some of the best in the state. I also like racing against my sister Sarah because we push each other really well.

(Photo provided by Bit Klecker)

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

My family has been a huge influence because we're all at different points in our running careers. They all give good insight into training and racing and life in general. Specifically, my brother Joe has been a big influence. He helped me train through a few winters and showed me how to take my training to the next level. My sister Sarah has also been a big influence because we run together and relate to each other well. Other than them, my coach Mike Harris has been really helpful to me. My teammate Renae Anderson is also a great training bud because she's super speedy and we push each other through workouts.

Your family is probably one of the most successful Minnesota running families ever. What have been the blessings and challenges of having such distinguished relatives within Minnesota's running community?
It has always been fun to be surrounded with such knowledgeable people. From an early age I have been educated by people around me about the sport in all aspects. I've been running year round since the summer before seventh grade, and I don't think I would have done that without the influence of my family. That said, when we were all on the high school team, there was competition. Having successful older siblings has always made me put pressure on myself to rise up to their level. It has ultimately been good for me, but when I was younger I let it eat me up for a while and it made me super nervous before races. Now we have a family group chat where we get excited for each other about races and workouts. My oldest sister now coaches a high school team and I have three siblings who run in college (one of who I will be teammates with next year!!). It's cool to see how each of my siblings have grown since we were all on a high school team together. 

What is a challenge you have had to face as an athlete?

Last winter right before track season, I had a sacral stress fracture. It was really upsetting because I had had my best winter yet of training and was in really good shape. Coming into the season with 8 weeks of cross training and no running challenged my confidence as a runner. However I did learn from it and am smarter about training in the cold now!

As a senior, how have your perspectives, strategies, or attitudes changed since you first started running, and what advice would you give to younger track athletes?

When I first started running the summer before 7th grade, I ran because I loved it. Over the years I started to question why I was doing certain runs/workouts and would always come back to remembering why I started. I think that part is important. As I've grown older I've started to do every run with intent versus just going out for a run to go out for a run. I started really thinking about the purpose and benefit of each day. Lastly, never underestimate the power of an off day! 

What are your main goals for this track season?

I would love to improve on all of my pr's! Specifically breaking 4:55 and 11:00 in the two mile.

Do you have any college plans yet?

I will be attending the University of Minnesota next year to run and study graphic design!

(Photo provided by Bit Klecker)

How did you come to decide on The U?

I love Minnesota and the Minneapolis area, so ever since I was in 7th grade I knew the U would be a school I would be interested in. I took an official visit there in the fall, and I immediately got along with the team and coaches. The team dynamic is so amazing and is something I'm excited to be apart of. They were so welcoming that by the end of my visit I felt like I had already made friends on the team. Our incoming freshman class is also awesome and is made up of some of the best distance girls in the state. Plus, you can't beat Black Coffee and Waffle Bar for post-run waffles, which is within walking distance from the athletic facility, just sayin. 

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

At the start of each season, I experiment with different racing hairstyles. If I have a particularly good race in one, I'll keep repeating it. So far, a straightened ponytail has treated me well.

When do you decide to move on from a certain hairstyle?

I kind of start fresh at the beginning of each season. I test a few out, then ultimately decide on one for the championship races. It's definitely a process.

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?

You could find me taking photos, going to coffee and/or ice cream shops, going to yoga, biking, or walking my dog Mudge. 

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

I have my black belt in Karate!

(Photo provided by Bit Klecker)