The Western men’s cross country team has been putting together an impressive run. After finishing second overall at the Saint Martin’s Open last month, the team secured fourth place at the 43rd Annual WWU Classic on Saturday, Oct. 8. Junior Isaac Derline finished his last race at the front of the pack after bouncing back from multiple injuries he dealt with last year. Derline is now looking toward the next two weeks and preparing for a strong finish at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships.
Q: What got you into cross country?
A: I did track in junior high just to stay in shape because I didn’t make the baseball team. My language arts teacher thought it would be a good idea to try out long distance. Once I started it, I really enjoyed it, and then I just kept up with it. Once high school came around, they offered cross country, and my mom said, ‘You should try it,’ and I did. Ever since then, it’s been a good love-hate relationship.
Q: What are you looking forward to about having the GNAC championship held at Western this year?
A: We hosted it last year, but I didn’t compete there because I was hurt, so it’s nice having it at home; that way you get proper rest. You don’t have to travel, so you don’t really get tired and your legs can stay fresh. You just don’t have to travel far.
Q: What is your daily regimen?
A: Normally, it’s just a regular run each day, but twice a week we will have workouts that are either speed oriented or strength oriented. So something like a tempo run. Whenever we don’t have those days, it’s recovery days or regular runs, just to stay fresh.
Q: Do you do any strength training?
A: We do weights every workout day. So, twice a week, just after the hard days.
Q: What would you say to someone that is thinking about getting involved in cross country or running in general? Do you have any tips?
A: The only way you are going to get better is if you keep running the mileage. It’s good to cross-train, like swimming or biking, but the only way you are going to get better at running is by actually running…You just have to enjoy it. You can’t force yourself to enjoy it. It has to come naturally or else you are not going to have a good time, and you are not going to stick with it.
Q: Do you listen to music when you run?
A: If I’m running on my own, I do. I will usually leave an earbud out just so I can hear my surroundings and other people because the trails around here are really busy. I like listening to music.
Q: Where are you from originally? Is it a lot different terrain here? What do you like about it? Dislike about it?
A: Kent, so about two hours south. Back home [the trails are] all cement aside from maybe one or two places where you can run on [dirt] trails, but other than that you’re running through neighborhoods and cities, so it’s pretty boring. Here, you can find a new trail almost every day. The only thing is, it’s either uphill or downhill, so you don’t get a lot of flat areas. Other than that, it’s pretty much perfect up here.
Q: For the GNAC, are you aiming for a new personal record?
A: Not necessarily. It is more about team standings at this point, and if you race good, a good time might come. We have a conference this weekend, and then in two weekends we’ll have regionals. In order to make it to nationals, you have to be in the top five for men. So for us, it would be nice to do good here, but it’s more of a tune-up to get ready for regionals in a couple of weeks.
Q: Do you have a certain pre-race ritual you do or the team does?
A: As a team, we normally get together the night before, maybe have a pasta feed or just have dinner; just relax and try and ease the tension. For me, I usually like to plug in some music, usually Led Zeppelin or some rock and roll, and zone out the day of the race, keep to myself a little. Once it comes time to roll, just let it loose.
Q: Is team connection/dynamic good?
A: Yeah, it’s really important to have a strong team because it is good to succeed on your individual level, but you need the team strength in order to move forward. Over this last year, we’ve really developed that. We’ve gotten really good about that.
Q: Do you have a day camp?
A: We have recruits come up that are seniors in high school. We’ll ask them to come up, and then we will show them a couple places to run, run with them and hang out for an evening. [We] get them accustomed to the culture and try and get them to come here.
Q: Do you have a post-race snack?
A: Chocolate milk, granola bars and maybe a banana.
Q: Why chocolate milk?
A: It tastes good; it just tastes really good.