A Throwback Post
Last summer, I published a “Life Stuff” piece on my friend Chris Frias, Cal Poly 10k school record holder and 2016 Olympic Trials marathon competitor. He is currently training to qualify and compete in the 2020 trials. There’s a lot of good insight that comes with such high quality athletic experience. Chris has kindly packaged up a good chunk of it here in this “Meet the Athlete” interview format for you to enjoy. Thank you, Chris!
Current place of residence: Ventura, CA
Best Event (running): 5k/10k
Day job: Manager at Mile 26 Sports
Favorite hobbies (besides running): I love coaching. I helped out with Buena’s cross country and track teams last year and have been a VYBA (youth basketball) coach the past two years. I also like hiking and going to the beach.
Favorite non-sport accomplishment: Getting my Master’s degree from Cal Poly.
Current race goal: Sub 14 5k, sub 29 10k, sub 64 half/sub 2:18 marathon
When did you start running? Initially started running to get in shape for basketball my freshman year of high school. I found out that year I was surprisingly pretty good at it so I decided stick with it. Thankfully I did too, because playing ball at the collegiate level probably wouldn’t have been realistic with my 5’7 frame.
What gets you out the door to go for a run? My dedication and love for the sport along with my strong desire to get better each and every day. Running has been my passion for the past 14 years now and it will continue to be for the rest of my life.
Who inspires you and why? My mom is my greatest inspiration. She battled stage 4 pancreatic cancer for 17 months and never was negative or gave up hope. She fought until her very last day. He strength, willpower, and bravery are things I truly admired.
Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: The best encouragement I’ve been given throughout my running career has always come from Cayla. She always tells me she’s proud of me after every race no matter the result. I’m usually pretty hard on myself if I’m not running up to my standards, but I can always count on her to give me the positive feedback I need to lift my spirits back up.
What is your most significant “success” in sport thus far, and what did you learn from it? Breaking the 10k school record at Cal Poly (which had stood for 31 years) is what I view as my most significant success. I learned that all the sacrifices I had made leading up to that brief moment in time knowing what I had just accomplished had all been MORE than worth it. In that moment I found out how much I truly loved the sport.
What is your most significant “failure” or setback in sport thus far, and what did you learn from it? Last track season I probably had the biggest setback of my running career due to life circumstances. My times and performances weren’t up to par with my expectations by any means. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally come to the realization that no matter how hard or how smart you may train, sometimes the ups and downs in life will ultimately determine how well you’ll actually perform. I know things will get better, and therefore my running will improve, but for now I’m just doing all I can to continue to compete at the highest level possible.
Hardest race you’ve ever completed: Completing the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Trials was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. It pushed me to my limits physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had to stop at least 15-20 times to stretch to ease the cramps I was having in virtually every muscle in my body (or at least that’s what it felt like). There were also times after stopping that I would have to just start walking to keep my momentum going. My ultimate goal was to finish the race so I was determined to cross the line by any means necessary.
Pre-race ritual or superstition: Be done eating at least 3 hours before my race. And if I eat a sandwich, it’s GOTTA be from Subway.
Training tips: Consistency in training leads to consistency in racing. Not much of a secret but a very important concept to understand.
What are 3 habits that you believe have helped you reach and maintain an elite running lifestyle? I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, I drink in moderation, and I take care of my body on a daily basis (stretch, roll, etc).
What is the first thing and last thing you do each day? First thing I do is wake up and get ready for my run every morning; the last thing I do is get in bed, watch Netflix, and KO every night.
Dirt, Pavement, Grass, Sand, Treadmill, or Track? Track
Hot or Cold? Cold
Snot rocket, sleeve, or tissue? Sleeve
Solo or group training? Group
Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate
Watch on your left wrist or right? Left
Morning or evening workout? Morning
Hat or visor? Hat
Cheerios or Wheaties? Cheerios
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate
Any other fun facts about you? I’m a fantasy football and basketball NERD. I spend way too much time doing “research” to try to win in leagues I’m in with friends.
What is your first thought when then alarm goes off for an early workout or race? Man it’s way too early to be doing this.
Second thought? Don’t lay in bed any longer or else you’ll never get up!
What is the last thought in your head before the gun at a race? Try to relax.
First thought after the gun? Get out hard and GO!
Any final thoughts on mental game? Positive self-talk can significantly influence performance and can be the difference in having a great race or a poor one. Negative thoughts can be very detrimental to performance and can ultimately lead to mentally checking out of a race/workout. I feel like running is about 70% mental and 30% physical. You can be extremely fit yet never perform well in races if you aren’t mentally tough.
With so many obstacles in my life right now, I’ve found having positive thoughts and positive self-talk to be even more crucial to my success in my training and racing. I find myself having to use positive self-talk more frequently now than I have in the past to help me keep an honest effort in workouts and in races.