Run Like Regan - An Interview

Photo provided by Regan Duffy

Personal Records

800m - 2:27 split
1600m - 5:18.30
3200m - 11:10.32
4K (xc) - 15:01.00
5K (xc) - 18:17.00
State T&F 2017  - 12th (3200m)
State XC 2016 - 15th
State XC 2015 - 35th
State XC 2014 - 80th

Where were you born and what sports did you play when you were very young?

I was born in Minnesota. I was just like any other kid throughout childhood. I dabbled in swimming, gymnastics, soccer, dance, etc. Dance is what really stuck with me. I danced competitively for about seven years until I left it behind to devote all of my time for theater. Then, two years later, I did the same thing for cross country and skiing.

What sports do you compete in at the varsity level and how many letters have you obtained?

I have been competing in cross country, nordic skiing and track through the MSHSL since seventh grade at a varsity level. I have lettered four times in each sport.

Why did you decide to be a distance runner?  Describe the chain of events that led you to get excited about it!

When I was young, my dad used to run road marathons and the entire family would wake up early to go cheer him on. While we waited, I would run the road races that were held at the same event. I wasn't anything special. I just enjoyed chugging along and jamming to Hannah Montana as I "raced." As I got older, I stopped running as I became serious about dancing and performing. Once seventh grade rolled around, I didn't have a show to commit to and my brother was in cross country so I thought I would give it a shot. I was a middle of the pack runner which I had no problem with, but I was always sure to try my hardest. I aspired to be the girls on varsity.

To be honest, I am envious of my younger self. I was extremely tenacious and I can't remember a single race in my first two years of the sport that I was anything short of ecstatic after crossing a finish line. My love for the sport really grew once I got off of the roads and hit the trail. Trail running is what I love the most but whether I am running 30 laps on the track or 10 miles on a trail in the woods, I just can't help but love running.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles to become a good runner? 

I've had two bad injuries, both which occurred in the past two track seasons. In the 2016 track season, I injured my peroneal tendon which took me out for a little over a month. That was very difficult for me because I had high hopes for that season and it was put on hold because I something I could not control in any way.

This past track season I had some bad shin splints and a dietary change that definitely played a role in my race results towards the end of my season. It's really hard and emotional to be injured because running is a daily release from all of my life problems, so if I can't run, not only do I have to sit out on something I love to do but I also have other problems on my mind that I think about continuously.

Also, when I was young, I wasn't a hot shot. Physically, I didn't look like a good runner and I was a little crazy so no one took me seriously. That was definitely a huge mental obstacle to over come. I had to learn that other peoples' expectations for me didn't have to set a limit on mine.

What is your training like for cross country? 

John Fick is both my cross country and track distance coach. Fick is so special because he cares about our well being and other interests, which helps him understand how to train us and keep us excited about the sport. Fick is very humble and unassuming, but knows what he is talking about, which is what my teammates and I love about him. A typical week of training involves some speed work on the track, tempo, a couple long runs, and an intense distance workout at William O'Brien State Park every Saturday.

Photo provided by Regan Duffy

What is the longest run you do?  Do you run it by minutes or miles?  What do you do the day after the run?  Is it a hard or easy workout typically?

The longest straight run I do is 10 miles. I may rack on a couple more miles if I'm doing a long track workout. In that case, I may get up to 12 or 13 miles, but for the most part I stay under ten. On long runs I definitely go at a decent pace, but I've become accustomed to the long, somewhat fast runs so it isn't too difficult to recover.

What is the hardest workout you have done? 

The hardest running workout I've ever done was probably a couple weeks ago up North. It was 5 minutes at tempo pace with a one minute active break x2, 4 minutes at 5k pace with a one minute active break x2, two mile acceleration starting at tempo pace.

Please name some other coaches you have had over the years?  How have they helped you?

Eric Kaluza, was my cross country coach in seventh grade and he was very helpful. He was very educated on the scientific aspect of the sport. Sometimes, when describing how we would benefit from a workout, it sounded like he was speaking a separate language, but he was quite knowledgeable in his coaching.

The other coach that has been influential in my development as an athlete is Deno Johnson. I also nordic ski competitively and he is my coach for that. Deno has a strong passion for the sport of nordic and has been involved in the skiing community for a long time now. His coaching has helped develop me to be a very strong, well rounded athlete.

Forest Lake is the defending Section 7AA champion team.  How does that section and your team look to you at this point?

My teammates, Caroline Schessow and Amelea Hauer, are looking especially strong this season and I think the three of us have a chance at taking the top three spots if we continue to work hard this year. Other individual contenders for the section meet this year will be Molly Weberg, Emma Stertz, and Laura Dahlin. Teams that always have a strong showing at the meet, which I presume will be no different this year, are Andover, East Ridge, Cloquet, Elk River, and Forest Lake.

Where else will your toughest competitors come from and what are your relationships like with some of these people? 

I would have to say my toughest opponents are the other girls who made All State at the AA state track meet that haven't graduated yet. I can't even touch Anna Fenske or her teammate Lauren Peterson, but the other girls in the state, including Sophie Whicher, Emily Covert, Emily Kompelien, Morgan Richter, Annalise Davis, Maria Rickman, Aly Welch, and Leah Hansen are all girls that I consider strong competitors.

Although these are the girls on my radar, there are always people that will come out of the blue that you can never expect. This goes for the section meet as well. Everybody is so friendly. I couldn't say anything bad about anyone even if I tried. I've come to know some of the girls better than others, but the sportsmanship in this sport can't be matched.