The Golden Girl Of Greenway - An Interview

(Photo provided by Ellyssa Peterson)

Personal Records

200: 30 seconds-Split

400: 1:04

800: 2:25- Split

1600: 5:12

3200: 11:32

4K CC: 15:00

5K CC: 19:16

2013 CC State Meet: 54th, Iron Range All-Conference

2014: 15th, All State, Iron Range All-Conference

2015: 11th, All State, Iron Range All-Conference

2016: 10th, All State, Iron Range All-Conference

2015 State Track: 3200: 3rd Place, 1600: 8th Place

2016 State Track: 3200: 9th Place, 1600: 6th Place

How do you pronounce your first name?

UH-LYSS-A

What sports did you participate in as a child?

I only ran as a kid. I did play tennis with my mom and brother for fun when I was younger though. My mom and dad were runners, and when I was six years old I started running too. My first reaction to distance running was I wanted to run too. I have always loved running since I was six years old. When I was six years old and when my mom would go on her six mile run, I would run one or two of those miles with her. I have a grass running trail in my back yard, and that is where I got started running. I chose running because it was something my mom and dad had been doing and I loved the way I felt when I finished a run.

Who are your coaches and how does each one influence you?

My coaches are Will Floersheim, James Earley, Jeri Peterson, and Rhaya Anderson.

Floersheim has been my coach since 7th grade. The year he started coaching GNK Cross Country was the year I joined. Floersheim has always pushed me to do my best. He is also the one who brings me back down to earth when I am too hard on myself. He has always told me to do my best and don´t sweat the rest. He is passionate about cross country and track, but he's even more passionate about helping kids reach their full potential. He is the only coach I know that runs back and forth in cross country meets and track meets to give splits. I believe he put on six miles one track meet just from doing that. He truly is the coach of a lifetime.

James Earley is the assistant cross country coach, and he always reminds me to stick to my pace and don't go out too fast. He always has some words of wisdom and before races he tells our team to ¨act like we have been there.¨ Jeri Peterson has my track coach since I was in seventh grade as well. She does not coach distance in track but she is always there for me. She is an unbelievable coach and she has a heart of gold. She always knows exactly what to say to calm my nerves. Rhaya Anderson just started as the head girls track coach this year and she is very kind and motivating.

(Photo provided by Ellyssa Peterson)

What is your training like?

My training preseason consists of a lot of long runs on weekends and lactic threshold runs. Ladder workouts that Floersheim has our team do seem to benefit me the most. Switching paces during the ladder workout helps me remember how to change paces. During cross country, my team does hill training. We would run up our local Ski hill. It is extremely challenging, but it makes us better.  GNK Track does most of our training on the track for speed and on a gravel road for longer runs.

How about injuries?  Have you had any?  What is your approach to avoid them in the future?  What about cross training such as weight training or Nordic skiing?

I have had a number of injuries and setbacks in my high school running career. My seventh grade year, I suffered a bruised bone on my foot. My freshman year I had a pulled hamstring.  My freshman and junior years I suffered from low-ferritin in my blood.

It was a really hard to have low-ferritin levels as a junior because I felt like I was trying so hard yet something was holding me back. Halfway through a race I just felt so fatigued. However it was only a set back.  I remembered thinking to myself that if I am afraid of failing, then I probably do not deserve to be successful.  But I overcame those doubts and made All-State in cross country again.  

The most important thing I have learned for myself is to believe in myself. My junior year of track I found out that I have one leg that is half an inch longer than the other. I had to get a heel lift to compensate for that. I have been doing a lot more strength training than in my younger years so I feel a lot stronger. My approach to avoiding injuries is to just listen to my body and not run myself into injury. I also stretch and use my inversion table so I do not get too sore.

Do you like running with other people or alone?

On long run days I try to run with the boys as much as possible. However on speed days, I can't really keep up with the boys so I just try to stay as close to them as possible. I believe running with the boys has helped my training because in order to get better you have to run with the best. When I was in seventh grade on the cross country team there were only two other girls and a couple of boys. I remember running with Coach Floersheim a lot and trying to keep up with the fastest senior boy on the team. When more people started joining cross country, it was nice to have more people to run with. During my eighth grade year, there were only eighth grade boys on varsity and they were about the same speed as me. Now they are juniors and seniors. Back then it was hard because I had to push myself alone.


(Photo provided by Ellyssa Peterson)

What is your general race strategy?

My general race strategy has always been front running. I have made serious mistakes such as running far too hard in the beginning of a race and pushed myself beyond my fitness level. I have learned to run hard yet controlled. I think my race can change from race to race and it depends on who is running as well.

Do you feel pressure to win?

My senior cross country season, I definitely felt the pressure to win everything. It definitely got to me in the beginning. At the end of the season, I realized that success is rarely a straight line and running is supposed to be fun for me and I can not put too much pressure on myself.  I decided to run for myself and it worked out in the end. People will come up to me and talk to me after a bad race and it is hard to not get discouraged.  Mostly people just tell me I go out too fast. People do get surprised when I don't win a race, but I have to block that out. The minute I start listening to the people around me is when I know I have already lost. People will always have something to say, but only I know myself. I know what I'm capable of doing.  Even at my best people will always have something to say, but I have to keep moving forward. For me, I have had a lot of setbacks in running. However, I know that a lot of my success has come after a lot of disappointment.

Would you please explain the Greenway/Nashwauk Keewatin cooperative? 

Greenway and Nashwauk-Keewatin are separate schools. However, Greenway combining with Nashwauk has only made the program even stronger. I believe that Greenway and Nashwauk are stronger teams together. Besides cross country and track & field, football, golf, and wrestling are also combined sports with Nashwauk-Keewatin.

The track we have practices on is in Nashwauk, and the bus brings Greenway students to the track. Everyone on the track and XC team get along really well. In cross country, it is like a big family. Everyone is friends with everyone. GNK Cross Country has a very tight bond.  I am so thankful it has combined. A lot of great athletes and great friends have come from Nashwauk. I really do run with the best.

Are you involved in other extra curricular activities or community events?  What is the benefit of doing those things?

Besides cross country and track, I was also involved in Close-Up which is a government based organization. As a cross country team, our coach Floersheim always has us volunteer at a local food shelf. It reminds us that no matter how hard running may be for us, there is always somebody that has it harder. It is really great to come together as a team and volunteer for our community.

Why did you choose The University of North Dakota?

I chose UND because I felt at home there. The school was not too overwhelming. I talked with the coach and he said he thinks I would be a good 3,000-5,000 meter runner. That was great because that was my vision as well. The new track facility they have there is top notch. I went there and met some of the cross country and track members and they were all very kind and made me feel at home.


(Photo provided by Ellyssa Peterson)


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