April 24, 2014
Freshman Erin Finn recaps her school record-breaking performance in the 5,000m run, and discusses new goals she has set for herself and the team and wrapping up her freshman year at Michigan.
On her school record-setting performance at Mt. SAC ... "We went out slow as a group and I was really frustrated -- I think about a lap or two into the race I kind of yelled, 'we came to Mt. SAC to run fast'. So from there I crept my way up into the lead to bring the pace down a little. After the first mile, I was thinking that all hopes of running a PR or anywhere close to the record were out the window. After that, the laps just kind of clicked by and I didn't even realize the pace -- I was just running for feel and I didn't notice how many laps had gone by, and then all of a sudden we were near the end. Actually, they were off on the lap count -- they said we had one more lap to go than we did, so that was a little confusing. When I finally got the end, first, I didn't think I was anywhere near the record and was just hoping I PR'd from indoor. Then I found out that I was in the low 15:40's so I crossed my fingers that I was a second below rather than a second above. When I found out I was really excited."
On breaking a 29-year old school record ... "It's really exciting, especially with all the incredible runners that we've had here at Michigan. It's really an honor, being able to finally get that record and to be in the same sentence as the other wonder Michigan female runners from the past."
On what goals she has her sights set on now ... "Definitely Big Tens. I really want individual and team titles. I think that winning as a team would be the icing on the cake this year. We've come so close twice already, so hopefully third time is the charm."
On remaining physically and mentally healthy through three distance seasons ... "There is still a long way to go in outdoor season and I'm feeling good. The new trend in the weather is going to be really helpful in re-motivating me. Now that classes are winding down, we'll have more time to sleep and recover and that will also help. The bigger the atmosphere is at meets, the more excited I get. I feel like I perform well when there is a lot of excitement and a lot of energy. The meets getting more important will help, the nicer weather will help, as well as the relaxation from the tough regular winter schedule."
On the biggest challenge she's faced as a collegiate runner ... "It was definitely tough adjusting your standards. Obviously you don't lower them, but you have to be able to accept that 'hey, I'm not going to win every race or most races like I did in high school'. You also have to couple that with school because in high school it was a lot easier to get A's in all your classes. So you just have to understand that you have to make a few more sacrifices in college and that you have to perform as well as you can and understand that it might not look as good as it did in high school that it's really a lot better."
On the support of her coaches and teammates this year ... "Actually yesterday was a really great example -- I was really struggling on the hill workout and Brook (Handler) was kind of my partner for the hills and she really was there for me and helped bring me up the hill when I was really not feeling it. We came back and still had another 1,000m on the track and Taylor Manett was telling me to believe in myself and that there's always a little bit more to give. That really helped -- through a tough workout they were there for me. Also, having all of my teammates cheer for me in the 5K at Mt. SAC was really cool -- I heard everyone cheering for me. They're also there to listen to me whine about classes and help me make decision about that to study. There are always ears there to listen and people to give advice and laugh with me."
On being named U-M's female Rookie of the Year for athletic and academic excellence ... "I personally believe that distance running and academics really go hand-in-hand because it's about keeping up with the grind and pushing through when things might be boring or tough. I feel like the same practices you use in running really apply to school. They're both really important to me to do well in. I think they really complement each other and when I'm doing well in school, I feel like I do better running wise. So when I'm not doing well in either it's tough. This year has flown by, but fortunately I still have spring semester to be a freshman. I can't believe how fast it's gone by. I remember in fourth grade feeling like days would never end and the school years seemed to last forever, and now as you get older, time really does fly by, as cliché as it sounds."
Previous Spotlight: Erin Busbee