Tag Archives: Lukas Verzbicas

Wisco Invite/The Debut of Lukas!

14 Oct

I knew I was taking too long to make new posts when my mom texted me telling me to make a new post.. My bad y’all. School started, I’ve been putting in 100 mile weeks, and I’ve even been hanging out with a pretty girl.  A real live girl!

So here’s a new post fresh for you running folk.

As everybody who follows college running at all knows, the hottest meet this week is the Adidas Invite in Madison, Wisconsin.  Us Wolverines are out here to kick some butt and gain some more national points hopefully (ranked 26th in the nation right now!).

Just about everybody who’s anybody is here.  Just take a look at the teams in the varsity races:

College Men (39)
• Air Force
• Arizona
• #23 Arizona State
• #6 BYU
• Cal
• Clemson
• #28 Florida
• #16 Georgetown
• Georgia
• Harvard
• Illinois
• #7 Indiana
• Iowa State
• Kansas
• Lamar
• Marquette
• #26 Michigan
• Michigan State
• #17 Minnesota
• Nebraska
• #25 New Mexico
• #13 Northern Arizona
• #29 North Carolina
• #9 NC State
• Notre Dame
• Ohio State
• #10 Oregon
• #14 Princeton
• #24 Providence
• Purdue
• #4 Stanford
• #21 Syracuse
• Texas
• #27 Texas A&M
• #22 UCLA
• #19 Villanova
• Washington
• William & Mary
• #2 Wisconsin
College Women (42)
• Air Force
• #14 Arizona
• Arizona State
• Boston College
• #27 BYU
• #10 Cal
• #30 Clemson
• #22 Florida
• Georgia
• Harvard
• Illinois
• Indiana
• #23 Iowa
• #9 Iowa State
• James Madison
• Kansas
• #15 Michigan State
• #21 Minnesota
• Nebraska
• #7 New Mexico
• Northern Arizona
• #13 North Carolina
• NC State
• Northwestern
• #25 Notre Dame
• Ohio State
• #12 Oregon
• #28 Princeton
• #2 Providence
• Purdue
• San Francisco
• #6 Stanford
• Stony Brook
• #8 Syracuse
• Texas A&M
• Toledo
• UCLA
• Vanderbilt
• #1 Villanova
• #24 Washington
• William & Mary
• Wisconsin

Insane right?  Every team in the Big 10 will be in the race (with the exception of Penn State).  In addition to the insane battle for first between Stanford, Oregon, Wisco, BYU, and Indiana, the race will feature some of the best individual runners including Chris Derrick and a handful of Kenyan superstars.

For most of these teams, it’s the deepest meet they’ll see outside of nationals.  More runners in the field than the national contest and 2000 meters less racing for things to spread out makes quite an intimidating field even for the veterans.

Which led me to wonder how some of the young guns in this race feel they are prepared.  I caught up with Oregon’s new duck Lukas Verzbicas to see how his transition into college has been and what his thoughts on finally wearing the Big O tomorrow are.

I didn't create this pic, but whoever did had quite a bit of time on their hands.

Me- Hey Lukas, thanks for letting me interview you again, I’m sure people are pretty excited to see your debut tomorrow.  So how has your college experience been so far? College, as I’m sure you’ve found out, is a major change from high school life, are you enjoying the independence and the great support from the Oregon Athletic Department so far?

LV- Oregon is great! I absolutely love it. It took a few weeks to adjust to the college lifestyle but by now I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can say I had it going real good in high school, but Oregon is the place to be so now it’s even better. Everything I can possibly need or want is provided here. I’m making use of the multimillion dollar training and treatment facilities and therefore am thankfully staying very healthy.

LV keeping it classy in Eugene

Me- How is it having a team full of great runners to train with and how is the team looking this year?

LV-  I’m running more than ever but the transition has been very smooth with the coaching staff knowing perfectly well how to keep improving me. What’s really better is that every day I’m running with athletes that are just as fast if not faster than me, this not only helps to run faster in practice but it’s mentally easier to share the pain with others. Plus it’s such an awesome group of guys that they could be my best friends even without running. 

Hopefully you're bro-ing out with this dude

Me- The ducks have a storied reputation in the running world, how does it feel to finally get to put on that jersey and represent your school this weekend?

To represent Oregon is a tremendous honor. I’m not just saying this to sound proper. After experiencing for myself how passionate the university and especially the community are about running I can’t help but know that I’m running not just for my own self, but that I’m representing something so much more. I feel very thankful to every one of them. I’m a day away from my first college race and I feel completely fit and ready along with everyone else on the team. The excitement just keeps building up :)

Thanks once again for the interview Lukas, I wish you the best of luck tomorrow.

NOTES:

-Season is going well for us Wolverines.  We’ve put in some solid miles and workouts, and picked up a nice win in Florida (where despite being from Texas the heat got the best of me).  I’ve improved my 8k to 24:35 at Illinois and I’m looking to run well tomorrow.

– I MET DEREK RUBIS AT THE COURSE TODAY!!

– 7 of the top 20 from the 2008 Texas 5a XC state meet will be in the race tomorrow, including the first 3 finishers, Lone Star rematch?

Until next time,
Eat, Run, SWAG.

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Swagged Out Runner of the Year: Lukas Verzbicas

26 Jul

Thanks for letting me do this Lukas. I don’t know whether you go by Luke, Lukas, or Lukas-Bieber, so I’m going to call you LV.

The 400m of the race I was in front of LV before getting absolutely destroyed

There have probably been a ton of articles about you on the web, but it’s safe to say this one will be a little different. Before putting together these interview questions, I went to a couple of online running message boards and asked actual runners of all ages what they wanted to know about you. Here’s what America, the greatest country on Earth, wants to know about you.

Did Bieber steal your haircut, or did you steal his?
Who’s Justin Bieber???

Baby, Baby, Baby Ohhh

What kind of product do you use for it?
Mane & Tail

LV, he's an animal.

Do you have a girlfriend?
At the moment no, had to end all relationships before leaving to Oregon 😦 It sucks.

What is your idea of a perfect romantic evening with the girl of your
dreams (the girls want to know, so try and be specific with this one!)
Anything would be perfect with the girl of my dreams but if I had to choose I would make her a really nice dinner, then we would go out to a concert (either John Mayer or Dave Matthews Band) that’s at a beautiful park where afterwards we would walk around in the dark holding hands while eating ice cream. Once we have nothing more to say to each other we would just gaze at the stars and end up kissing. We would have to be in the moment to know where things go on from there…

2 is always better than 1

Do you have any interesting/odd talents?
I can hold my breath under water for a ridiculously long time, never lost that contest. I can go without sleep for days. I hold one of the records at my old basketball club for most free throws made (I can’t remember the exact amount, but I wasn’t good enough to pursue it over
running).

Pic taken right after LV held his breath under water for 3 days.

If you had to choose one sentence/quote/phrase that describes the way
you live your life, what would it be? 
Find something you are passionate about and do it with enthusiasm,
then you will never have to call it work.

What is your favorite animal, and why?
Gazelle, when I was little I was told I look like one when running.

Looks just like you bro

Are there any other sports that you are good at?
Basketball all the way.

*Insert Only Plays 3 Quarters Joke Here

Favorite Book?
Way of the Peaceful Warrior and 4 Hour Body

Favorite Movie?
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never… Haha just kidding. Being a runner I’m sort of obligated to say Without Limits, but I actually love the movie so it’s okay. I’m also a big fan of Where The Wild Things Are and Bruno.

LV <3's Bruno

How much can you bench press?
Never tried it, but probably more than you suspect. Swimming requires arm strength.

OK, on to the running questions.

For these first few, I have had several requests from high school
runners wanting to know about how you have trained these past several
years.

What kind of summer training did you do in high school to build your base (mileage, cross training)?
My training consisted of swimming, biking, running. This is a lot different than what high school runners do so I cannot really relate. Per week Average: 20,000-25,000 yards swimming, 110-130 miles biking, 30-40 miles running. The endurance and strength work is done in the pool, while speed and speed-endurance is done on the bike and run. This means that unlike typical triathletes I don’t bike over 40 miles at a time but it’s usually fast. Running is usually always some kind of workout unless it’s a shake out run. Swimming is where the recovery and endurance work is completed.

Did you do workouts in the summer? If so, how early in the summer did
you start them and how often did you do them?
Of course I do workouts. They are all done through out the entire summer, but as I said it’s not just running so that’s a little different.

Did you have a favorite workout in high school that you would do often?
I really enjoy fartleks, it’s hard but it produces amazing results. In high school it would typically be 8×2 minutes with 2 recovery in between, or ladder 1-2-3-2-1 twice or three times with same recovery in between.

Lulz

Out of all of your impressive victories and races, which one meant the most to you, and why?
Running sub 4 means the most to me. Maybe my two-mile time is more impressive but I’m most proud of the sub 4 because of the conditions that it was achieved in. Rain, wind, and the best high school competition in history made it so much more meaningful to me.

FREAKING MANIMAL

Ok, with the internet being full of rumors, usually false, let’s just
clear some things up so no more dumb rumors will go around.

State it here for all to see: Will you be attending, and competing for, the University of Oregon next year?
I don’t know why that would be a rumor, but yes Oregon for all those.


At the current moment (and I know many things may change with coaching decisions and how you perform on the track on college), when do you think you will focus your efforts on the triathlon again?
Unless running isn’t working out I don’t think I’ll be focusing at all on the tri, maybe just a recovery swim or bike here and there but nothing serious.

Would you attribute a lot of your success to the strength you gained in the triathlon?
Most definitely, the aerobic base I have from triathlon I couldn’t have ever gotten in running alone.

The Champ is Here

What are your biggest goals for the future? (Running, Tri, a career, anything)
Don’t want to reveal too much, I like to keep the anticipation, but a team national championship in the present and the Olympic Games down the road are a must for me.

LV, you should do a tri on this.

I have decided to award you the High School Runner Swag-Star of the Year award (The HSRSSOTY , It’s super prestigious).
I believe you deserve this award for absolutely crushing the souls of every high school runner you’ve raced in your penultimate HS year. In addition, the swagger you bring to the track has been very impressive.
I thought your finish at Footlocker, while some less important people found it cocky, was awesome. Take it all in when you finish, enjoy the moment, why rush through it right? Congratulations on receiving this award.

SWAG ME OUT

Time for your award speech!
Thank you very much! It sounds a lot cooler than many other awards I’ve received so it is definitely meaningful to be recognized in such a way. I think distance running needs a persona from its athletes that is cool and hip or as we like to call it “swag”. Seems to me we have that in high school and even at the college level, but we have to carry it over to the pro level as well. I mean look at Usain Bolt and sprinting, we have do something similar to what he is doing. Anyway I don’t want to get too bashed for saying such suggestions, there always seems to be someone who will criticize me and say his or her idea is better, but hey I’ve grown pretty used to it by now. I love reading about track online and the great things our fans love to say to us athletes, it’s just one more thing that makes distance running so unique to be a part of. So thanks again, it really means a lot, even if it’s just to me.

Any Shout-Outs?
I would be no where near where I am today without my family, thank you so much. They taught me almost everything I know and I’m glad my parents are moving on to spread their knowledge to other athletes as coaches right now. Also my friends and the community I live in, Orland park, is so great. The support is nothing like I expected, it’s really been the best these last few years, I will really miss this place, thank you.

Lukas V, a family man.