Tag Archives: Cross Country

The Real Maine Bros

21 May

Tonight at 6PM is the premier of the long awaited “The Real Maine”.  If you haven’t heard of it, where the hell have you been?
Here is the link to the site where the movie will be streaming, along with clips and info about all of the guys:


I’ve met most of these guys before and they’re real chill, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited something like this was made.  I think Erik sums it up best when he said ”  It’s one thing to see Kiprop run 3:30, but when you see someone who’s relevant to you run well it raises the level of expectation. It’s like, I know what he does, how he trains, how he lives. If he can do it why can’t I?”.  This is a regular, albeit talented, group of guys who are extremely dedicated to what they do.  They are REAL runners.

Here’s a quick last minute series of interviews I put together with some of the guys. Thanks so much dudes, we will continue to enjoy watching you kick ass this year.

Mark Feigen:

Feigen or Gerard Butler?


How did Kyle approach you about this trip to Maine? Were you pretty much on board right away?

Kyle asked me what my plans were for the summer and I told him that I didn’t have any. He said he had been talking to Riley and Erik about getting together for the summer and asked if I would be interested in joining them. It seemed like it probably wouldn’t happen but since I had no other options I said I was in.

When I’m home in the summer in Texas I get to run with a lot of runners from different teams such as Texas, Tulsa, and Arizona. Getting to run with people from different programs is one of my favorite things to do since it’s a nice little refresher from the normal school-season training and it allows me to learn about a lot of different point of views on training. What did you learn from this group of guys that helped with your running (philosophies/training aspects)?

Getting to run with guys from different schools and areas is definitely one of my favorite things too. Training and talking with Riley and Erik showed me that there are a lot of different ways to accomplish the same goals. Erik has probably run twice as many miles as Riley since being in college but somehow they have very similar PR’s. Different styles work for different people but as long as you believe in your own training you have a good chance to be successful.

Sharing running philosophies. Or discussing peeing in public

I know some people who have headed out to New Mexico for the summer to train and I’ll be doing a stint in Colorado, do you think the change of location helps focus on the training while keeping things interesting, and what would you tell somebody who is still on the fence about doing something like this?

Getting out of the usual training environment and into something different is a good way to keep training from getting stale. When i’m in the city I do the same runs all of the time and taking a break from that for portions of the year is fun and makes me excited to get back to school in the fall when the season starts up again.

Avoid this cabin in the woods though, unless you have Bruce Campbell with you (Anyone know this reference?)

How many runs did you drop Merber on?

We probably only dropped kyle on a few runs but he definitely complained about us going too fast pretty often. Riley loves to one-step.


Kyle Merber:


When we hung out in Ann Arbor last year, I believe you were only running about 2 to 3 miles a day. In case there are readers who don’t know, tell about what your setback was and how you overcame it to have such a successful year:

In August of 2010 I stepped on a piece of glass while on a training run. It pierced my trainer and tore my flexor tendon. I was out for 7 months and my entire junior year. It took two bouts of PRP to help me overcome the tear. This was a tough time in my life, and Erik does a great job of doing that struggle justice in the film. There was a large chunk of time when I became quite depressed because the future of my career was in question. But one day I will look back and view this as the turning point for me. The reason I was enthusiastic to be a part of the film is I wanted to give credence to those who are injured and say that it gets better. Once you encounter a serious injury, it becomes part of who you are as a runner. And that’s a powerful vendetta.

All of you have had some pretty impressive successes this season, most recently your 3:35 comes to mind. Do you attribute some of this year’s successes to the time spent out in Maine? 

I don’t necessarily point to Maine as the reason for any of our success. However, I think that anyone who shows a willingness to dedicate oneself to training will experience improvements. We weren’t the only group of college kids to have a training camp in the summer, we just did it with a film major. I definitely think getting a great base in is essential for any runner, and we all walked away with some new found strength. That probably could have been accomplished in most US states, and probably even parts of Canada, but we had a lot of fun in the process.

Most flattering pic I could find from the meet

Related to the last question, what do you think is the biggest thing you learned/took from The Real Maine Experience?

The biggest take away I left Maine with is that there is an infinite number of ways to train. Over the course of the summer, we had plenty of talks about workouts and training plans. Every one of our coaches brought something different to the table, but all produce results. The main objective in training is to find a way to stress the body, and then recover so you come back stronger. The variables employed to accomplish that goal will vary greatly.


This is less of a question and more of a request, I think you should grow just a ‘stache for track natties, how do you feel about that?

Request: Denied. I am a light beard kind of guy.

P.S–I stand by “easy days easy.”
Riley Masters:

Wrigley Field Riley

What is one thing you learned about each guy there while in Maine?

Mark and Erik always have something witty and funny to say. There aren’t a lot of serious conversations that go on around them. Mark is the kind of guy who will call you out on anything, he keep you on your toes. Erik is the guy in the group who finds a few good one liners and uses them obsessively in every situation. Chris is a super competitive kid. Whether he is racing, playing wiffleball or horse shoes he is GOING TO WIN! Kyle is the kind of guy you go to if you need advice; but regardless of the problem you go to him with, he’ll give you some kind of antidote about his injury or winning millrose. In all seriousness, they were a great group of guys to spend the summer time with. All of them are extremely hard working with very big aspirations. I learned a lot from all of them.

words of wisdom from the Millrose Champ

When asking Erik about the funniest thing/story of the trip he told me to ask you about that one, is it a story you’d like to tell?

The story Erik is referring to involves a minor procedure I had when I was a freshman in high school. I would love to share it with everyone, but I am not sure I could do it justice with out telling it in person. The content of the story is jaw dropping but my timing and delivery is what makes it great!

All of you “Real Maine” guys are having great seasons, which is great because to the viewers it helps validate everything that you guys say in the movie. Looking back at your college career so far, what kind of advice would you give to the graduating high school seniors who will be going into their first semester of college next fall to achieve the levels of success that you, Erik, Chris, Kyle, and Mark have?

The advice I would give to young runners is to be patient. Running isn’t something that comes to you overnight. Sometimes it takes a while for all of your training to pay off, but if your patient and stick with it then eventually you will see the benefits and rewards of all that hard work.

Hard work is paying off, 3:37 is blazing.

Erik van Ingen:


I read in a previous interview that the idea stemmed from Quentin Cassidy’s escape to the cabin in the novel Once a Runner. This has actually been something that I, and I’m sure many other runners, have dreamed of since reading that fantastic book. To all of us who have had this in the back of our heads but have never acted upon it, would you recommend it and what words of advice do you have in terms of finding a place and a group of people to do it with?

I would definitely recommend it. It was a fun summer, the best of my life. My advice is keep it basic, real cheap. To quote fight club, “It’s only when we have lost everything that we are free to do anything”. As far as a group, chemistry is key. The dynamics of how each person interacts within the group is priority. We knew that going into the summer and stayed true to that.

Running to him was real..

Here’s where I try and ask some questions that haven’t been asked yet.

This film is your final project/thesis type film, correct? Who do you consider some of your artistic influences and who is your favorite director?

Yeah, this project was my senior thesis ,after the fact though. I had another project lined up, but bailed it for this. TRM was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I look for artistic inspiration in a lot of different places. I think that’s how an artist is pieced together is being influenced by so many things that you can sift through the good and bad and create a style that reflects you. I really admire well rounded artists. Mos Def comes to mind for me. He’s one of the most influential hip hop artists of our time, he performs on broadway, he’s been on screen with some of Hollywood’s biggest actors. I also like figures that transcend genre, like what the Fugees have done with their live performances. I think being able to combine multiple influences to create a unique sound is brilliant. I’m using hip hop as an example mostly because that’s something that I hold close to me in terms of a personal interest, but I feel that I can still pull ideas from other forms of art and have them compliment whatever it is that I’m working on. As far as a favorite director, I’m a huge Derren Aronovsky fan. His aesthetics are so dark and gritty. The struggle and internal conflicts that his films deal with are something that have always resonated with me. I can’t relate to wrestling or dealing heroine, but the ideas that are conveyed by the subject matter is something that I can relate with.

Yo it’s 6 Million Ways to Die, from the seven deadly thrills,
Eight-year olds gettin found with 9 mill’s

I don’t think many people realize how good of a skier you were (I assume you still are). Do you still hit the rails in the winter?

Skiing, that was my first love. It will always have a spot in my heart. Unfortunately this was the first year in my life that I didn’t ski. I see skiing as a detractor from my training. It’s a very tiring sport as is running. Pounding out a run in the morning then spending the day at the hill is a bit too much for my body. At this point, my eggs are all in the running basket so I’m fine with it. I’ll always have skiing when I decide to hang up the spikes.

Did Kyle get dropped on every run you did?
Kyle got dropped many a time, he also did some dropping. Contrary to popular belief he’s not a big pussy.

Did y’all have workouts to do while out there and if so did everybody do their own separate workouts or were there times when y’all did them together?

We were all on different schedules. Mark and Kyle had similar workouts being that they have the same coach. Riley’s training was flexible so at times he would hop in with them. As for me, I was getting back into things after a long outdoor season so I was just getting in some miles. We had some days where we had to do our own thing, but for the most part we all ran together.

Bros before hoes

Tell me about your decision to release this online for free to the public:

As for releasing it online for all to see. I want this to be something that others can appreciate. Everyone is going to pull something different from it. For some it will be a different perspective, others might be motivated. Whatever it is, I want a lot of people to see it and I want a lot of people to pull something positive from it that they can apply to their own running. Making it to view for free is only going to heighten the exposure. I’m young with very few expenses. I figure I have plenty of time to make money in the future. Right now it’s about fine tuning my skill set and promoting what I do.

We appreciate the hours of work you put into this

One of the most intriguing things about this film to me is that it’s by runners that people like me can actually relate to. From the clips so far it looks “real”, that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s not a Saint Ralph, but rather a down to Earth group of guys who are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goals in the sport. What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

That was one of the biggest things I was going for, was making something real, something relatable. We are college kids working our asses off to be the people that we want to be. Almost every runner our age can relate to that manifestation of self. I think a great example is Kyle running 3:35. That came out of nowhere. We were texting the other day and he said the first thing he thought when I ran 3:38 was “shit, I need to get to sleep so I can get on my horse”. It’s one thing to see Kiprop run 3:30, but when you see someone who’s relevant to you run well it raises the level of expectation. It’s like, I know what he does, how he trains, how he lives. If he can do it why can’t I?

No guts, no glory

In retrospect, what do you think is the most important thing you got out of this trip? Sorry that’s kind of broad. 

This trip was the first time that I could just relax. I can get super tightly wound. I was able to just get away, do something new, and have fun. I had a purpose, but no outside stress. We were a bunch of kids out running on some dirt roads, nothing more, nothing less. As a filmmaker I have grown a lot in the past year because of this film. I learn very well in a hands on environment. There’s no better way to learn about making a movie than to actually make a movie. For the group as a whole, I think there’s this bond that we hold. We’re not teammates and we sure as hell aren’t doing each other any favors when it’s race time. A bystander wouldn’t notice, but we can look each other in the eye and know that there’s something there. We are the real Maine.


#Shit Runners Don’t Say

20 Jan

First off, I’ve added a “Stop Censorship” Anti-SOPA banner to my blog, cuz that shit is whack.

Secondly, I’m rushing this post before going off to a date with my lovely girlfriend (swag).  But inspired by my Sh*t Runners Say post and the youtube video “Shit Nobody Says”

, here is my rendition of Shit Runners Don’t Say


“I love watching race-walking”

Still more interesting than the WNBA.


“I’m glad I drank 2 4 lokos last night!” (*this only applies to the offseason/runners who drink in season (a.k.a. not me))

post loko 20miler? Not happening.


“Go with the Rivals”

Old Dyestat joke, some of you will get it.

“I love doing triples!” (Dual meet 4×800, mile, 2mile)



Stress fractures are the best!

Everybody knows at least one girl who has gone clubbing in "The Boot"


Man, runners have such big boobs!

Lol, false.


“I can’t believe I ate that (insert junk food treat), I feel so guilty :(” (*applies to guys only)



“Man the coverage of the track meet on TV was great!”

Track On TV <<<<< Track IRL


21 Nov

Last blog before the big day, can’t believe it’s finally here!  Good luck to everybody tomorrow.  Remember all those miles you’ve run and the sacrifices you’ve had to make to get to this day.  Enjoy your time out there, we’re all extremely lucky to be able to do this.

I took some time to sit down with the Lady Wolverines today to interview them about their season and the nationals experience.


What song would describe your team? Out Here Grindin’- DJ Khalid . Ever since our freshman year, it’s been our fantasy to get to the line and just grind in the air to this song.

Is there any quote you can think of that describes y’all as a group?– Be Frantic but not in a Frenzy.



Adidas Swag

 You are both here as true freshmen, do you feel you were able to jump on and contribute to the team right away? Did you expect to be on varsity this year? What are some things you’ve learned from your upperclassmen teammates?

Ellen– It’s been an amazing experience, the girls and coach Mike are just so awesome and I can’t believe that I’m here. No, I didn’t even expect to be running in college at all, I wasn’t very good in high school. We’ve learned everything from our upperclassmen. I’ve learned from them that life is a balance between running, school, and fun.

Brook– I knew I wasn’t planning to redshirt, but I’ve learned that college running is a lot harder than I thought it’d be, the races are more overwhelming, and what I thought was training hard wasn’t, I was wrong. It’s taught me what I want to do next summer to prepare better, and I think the biggest thing I learned is that you’ll do your best in xc when you let your teammates help you rather than just thinking you’re out there on your own. I’ve learned that tomorrow I need to go out there and focus on running as hard as I can for my team.

You two are the only two freshmen on the travel squad, tell me how thats been:

Ellen– Brook lets me borrow her clothes. We like to snuggle, sometimes. We have a telapathic connection. Brook has this problem where she has this foot fungus and I help her clean it before every race.

Brook– We’ve been roommates every meet and I feel like we’ve gotten closer each week. I feel like at the beginning of the year we were really competitive with each other and now I feel like we are so much closer and better friends. We’re always there for each other and we understand each other really really well. One day Ellen came in and I could tell she was mad, she didn’t want to admit it at first. But she did. She was mad the woman wouldn’t give her any cereal.

NCAA crushes?- Brook- Reed Connor.   Ellen- Zach Ornelas (haha Posada you Mexican)

SOPHOMORES (Freshmen eligibility)

I’m in the same boat as y’all with this being my first NCAA Nationals experience, how has it been for you so far?

M-Dubb keepin it real

Megan Weschler– So far it has been pretty chill, fun, and it’s been a good bonding experience. I think it will be a big eye-opener tomorrow when I’m at the course and cheering on my 7 hawt ladies, as well as the handsome young mens team. Shout outs to the Columbia guys and good luck to everyone.

Adorable. The puppy is too

Taylor Pogue– Big 10 freshman of the year. That’s pretty cool. How did it feel to win that award: I was very surprised, it felt good to be recognized and have my hard work noticed.

3rd Time’s the Charm (Juniors)

Knock Knock

Becca- indoor all american, 4 time all big 10, cat enthusiast.

This is the highest you all have been ranked since you’ve been here: what do you think has made the difference this year?

Two major factors have been Taylor Pogue and Meg Weshler. In addition, the upperclassmen have gotten a lot stronger this year and the newcomers (Brook and Ellen) came at a high level and prepared. We have a good team dynamic so the newcomers were able to more easily learn to do things right away. The atmosphere is great on the team.

Jill tearing up the Jersey Shore. Surfs up brah

Jill- 7 time all big 10, all american indoor, New Jersey lover

It’s your third time here as well, what do you think made the difference in your opinion?-

The difference is in leadership, great seniors like Jill and MG, and we definitely have a better team dynamic. We’re all a lot closer and I think that allows us to compete for each other rather than just individually and we do better individually because of that. It’s a good experience for the freshmen and for us since we haven’t had the experience being ranked this high before.

Danielle was a high school teammate of yours before coming here, how has that helped?– It eased the transition for me a ton, the comfort level of having somebody who I had trained with who was excelling with a whole new program and coach was very comforting.


I found the most flattering picture of you I could find ❤

How has your time been in Terre Haute so far, any fun activities?

We looked forward to this trip all season, because we get to spend 4 days straight with each other in a hotel. Since there’s not that much we can do (via racing) we have to think of ways to entertain ourselves such as making up dances in our Adidas vests and painting our nails to match the vests. We also have enjoyed walking across the field to walmart, and videotaping ourselves to make a movie. It will be PG. We also like to go out to dinner extrememely early, be at the course extremely early, and the banquet. We just like being early. (Mike likes being early). Spoiler alert, we’ll be eating dinner early in our matching vests at 5:27pm sharp tonight (Mike likes to be early, if you’re not 3 minutes early you’ll be late) Vests to impress!!


DT looking to finish off her career with a great race

Danielle this is your 4th trip to the NCAA XC Championships.  Can you give any advice to the runners tomorrow?  What have you learned and how are you going to use your previous experiences to race tomorrow?

Danielle– I think at this meet it’s really easy to be overwhelmed and kind of get lost in the nubmers of people and the people on the sidelines, one thing ive learned is you have to stay relaxed and not get flustered by the amount of people cheering and in the race. Another thing is with this course it’s really easy to get out too hard and a little too ambitiously and I think with the terrain on this course it really does beat you up a little bit if you go out too hard.  Tomorrow I’m going to run a little bit more conservatively and try to work with my teammates and be more concerned about doing my part to help my teammates and to motivate them to keep pushing.

You’ve been one of the team leaders for a while.  The girls really look up to you.  You’ve had your fair share of ups and downs, what messages have you tried to convey to your teammates this year, having been there and done that?

I think I’d like to send the message that it’s important to create that balance with your teammates to have a competitive atmosphere in practice while working together. I feel like it’s improved a lot since my freshman year and hopefully I contributed to that. I’ve tried to give the girls advice and tips for each race that we’ve gone into. Not just for the race itself but also for making that transition from high school to college. When I was a freshman I was putting girls on pedestals and getting really flustered from the depth at the front and everybody around me. I know a lot of the girls coming in aren’t used to that and I think that’s something we’ve worked on in practice with a lot of girls pushing around each other. We’ve also worked on trying to stay relaxed in the big settings and I try to reinforce their confidence.

Favorite athlete- Apollo Anton Ono and David Beckham (he’s gorgeous). And Kerron Clemont, he’s like a model.

Mary Grace:


Michigan's number one Kentucky derby girl

Like Danielle this is your 4th time out here at the NCAA championships. What have you learned from the previous experiences and what advice have you given to the underclassmen?

Every year the experience has been entirely different. My freshman year I became the alternate by chance when a few people became injured late in the season, so I was pretty wide-eyed about the whole thing and just happy to tag along. This year as a senior, it’s fun to come in here ranked 10th and have a lot of momentum carrying us forward. NCAAs requires a different type of pack running then you’ll find anywhere in the season, and if you’re not ready for that it can catch you off guard. My biggest advice for the underclassmen was just to be aware of your surroundings and not allow yourself to settle. The number of people immediately around you can be overwhelming if you let it (but they’ll do great!)

I asked the girls how you and Danielle have helped them in both running and off the course, what has it felt like being a leader and what kind of example have you tried to set for your teammates?

For me as a leader, I think I’m best able to contribute to the team in a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. As a runner, I’m pretty solidly in the second wave, but that’s important too because someone from that pack will ultimately be the 5th man. My biggest impact I think has been on trying to help foster good team chemistry and keep things running smoothly. Overall though, I just care a lot about my teammates, this program, and this school. The best example I can set is to be passionate about the things I do and hope that it’s infectious

With this being Danielle and Mary Grace’s last NCAA’s, can I get some quotes on how they have helped you over the past few years?:

Meg Wesch-Danielle- always like a big sister and watching out for and supporting everyone

Becca- Mary Grace was my host when I was a senior, I feel like we have that special bond, it’s going to be weird when she’s not here. Danielle, like, cares.

Lindsey- It won’t be the same when they’re gone, they’re an integral part of this top 9

T-Pogue- They’re both people that will be remembered for a long time on our team. They’re like institutions

Ellen- Danielle is just so down to earth and so motivating.  I was a little bit hurt earlier in the season and she was so encouraging the whole time. She always has really good advice. And Mary Grace is really organized and goal oriented and that has a good influence on us.

Brook- The best thing about Danielle is how happy she is all the time, she’s positive and really cheerful. I like how Mary Grace is everybody’s biggest fan, she’s really good about making sure we have everything together apart from xc.



Running with the Wolverines:

The trial of miles, miles of trials are over.  Good races and bad races are in the past.  It all comes down to tomorrow, nothing else matters.  Tomorrow is our chance to take advantage of the opportunities we’ve been given, and damnit, we’re going to give ’em hell.

Cross Country 2011: Tips for Incoming Freshmen Pt. 1

20 Aug

I’ve been quite lazy with my posting lately y’all.  I’m sorry ❤  I was busy driving across the country and turning my swag on in Kansas, Wisconsin, and finally upstate New York. Here, here’s proof:

"1, 2, 3, Not only you and me"- Britney Spears

“1, 2, 3, Not only you and me”- Britney Spears ❤

Anyway, as of yesterday, Cross Country 2011 has officially begun for us Wolverines (Via our first practice yesterday).  We have the largest freshman class we’ve had in a long time, by far.  That inspired this post (or series of posts over the next few days).


I made so many mistakes as a freshman.  I’m here to help y’all so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.  I’m going to do a series of posts with tips and advice. Here’s the first installment.

College!! You made it!


Who cares how fast you were in high school. You’re in college now.  Nobody wants to hear about that time you ‘totally killed that course record at district’.
A.) You run an 8k/10k now (or 4/6k for girls right?), your HS times are irrelevant.
B.) You could have been a national champion in HS but that doesn’t guarantee success in college. Some no-name walk on may just show up and kick your ass.
C.) The Kenyans you’re about to race walked at a faster pace than your PR 5k time when they were 6 year olds making their daily 20 mile trek to school.
D.) DONT, EVER, FOR ANY REASON, wear your high school letter jacket around campus. Earn a college varsity jacket like a real man.


While being one of the top runners on your team the first week in September may seem super cool, it’s not much fun when you’re injured and not on the travel squad in November when the real racing occurs.  I’ve definitely had difficulty not going too hard too soon but I think I’ve finally got the hang of it.  Your upperclassmen, if they are any good, will warn you about the dangers of overdoing it in the early season. Listen to them. They’ve been there, done that.

Don't be like this guy (drinking and driving is bad)


First of all, you probably shouldn’t date anybody as a freshman. Freshmen girls are all about ‘finding themselves’ through a series of 4 lokos and frat guys.  You want to get cheated on or dumped? Then date a freshman.  But def. don’t date a freshman on your team while you’re a freshman.  Anything goes wrong in that relationship, and it will I guarantee you, and voila the whole girls team in your class hates you.  Plus, unless you have some ‘special equipment’ you probably don’t want the girls on your team discussing your performances off the track.

If any of y’all wanna ‘holla at me’ though, let me know 😉      Just kidding I’m 20, I do not wish to be with you during your first time drinking. I don’t wanna come visit you in your dorm. I don’t wanna go to meet ‘lax bros’ and go to the ‘chill frat bro house’.


More tips to come in the following days…