Coming off a season where she placed second in the county and fifth in the state in the 3200-meter run, lowering her personal best down to 11:23, Aimee Moores enters her senior year of cross country at Quince Orchard High School. She will attempt to return to the top fifteen in the state while leading a rebuilding team that graduates three of their top five. She discusses balancing swimming with running, her favorite types of cross country races, and what she expects the 2008 season has in store.
MoCoRunning: Your first few years of running for QO, you got to develop behind Cara Harrison and Anya Oleynik. When you became #1 on the team your junior year, was that kind of scary?
Moores: It was definitely a little scary, but also exciting. As a freshman, I was completely clueless about the sport. I joined halfway through the season and pretty much ran every race without a real goal other than beating my previous time. I started to learn more about cross country as a sophomore, while Cara was still there, and by the time she left, I think I was pretty well prepared to take over. Plus, I still had Stephanie Joson, so I didn't have to worry about losing a workout buddy.
MoCoRunning: Is it true you are really a swimmer at heart?
Moores: Haha, interesting question. There's no question that I love the sport, and that it's a big part of who I am because I did it for so long. I can watch a swim meet for hours on end without getting bored, and I can recognize and name so many more international swimmers than I can runners. At the same time, I'm definitely better at running than I am at swimming, and I think the two sports are similar enough that a lot of the things I enjoyed most about swimming are still there in running. I started running to train for triathlons, and since I have such a hard time choosing between swimming and running, I'd like to say I'm a triathlete at heart.
MoCoRunning: Have you heard of Michael Phelps?
Moores: At this point, who hasn't heard of Michael Phelps? Surprisingly, my old team used to swim meets against his when he was younger. I actually met him and got his autograph when he was 15 and had just gotten back from swimming 100 and 200 fly in his first Olympics in Sydney. He's a really nice guy...he talked to all of us and must have stayed for at least 2 hours after the meet was done to sign stuff, even though some kids were coming back more than once! I think they could've spared some of the attention for our other swimmers too during these Olympics, but the eight golds was ridiculous and awesome, and I'm definitely a huge fan!
MoCoRunning: You have shown that you can swim during the winter and still qualify for the outdoor track state championship, but the real question is...can you ever win the Devil Takes the Hindmost without running indoor track?
Moores: At this point, it certainly seems like the answer is "no" haha. I'm always a little out of shape for running coming out of swimming. That being said, I seem to get more consistent each year about running in the off-season, so we'll see- maybe this year I can finally get it!
MoCoRunning: Last spring, you ran great in the 3200 at the county championship. You later ran even better at the state championship, but you had quite a scare at the regional meet. What was going through your head as you were running in sixth place at the end of that regional race?
Moores: I think the major thought was probably "ouch" haha. When I was done with the race, I was pretty upset with myself for letting my team and my coaches down, and extremely disappointed with my performance. I had the majority of my AP tests that week, and I let the fact that I was tired get to me. I went into the race with the wrong mindset and it definitely showed, but, thankfully, I learned from it and used it to fire me up for states.
MoCoRunning: What adjustments did you make for the state championship?
Moores: Well, I knew for sure that I needed to get more sleep before states, and having HSA week right before the meet definitely helped with that. More than that, though, I knew that my biggest problem at regionals was my attitude, so that was the major adjustment. Leading up to states, I focused on getting psyched for my race so that, by the time I got there, I was a little nervous but a lot excited.
MoCoRunning: During the summer, do you typically run fairly high mileage? Do you do much cross training?
Moores: Oh summer mileage. I try my best to run as close to every day as I can, but sometimes that doesn't work out. Since I swim and coach for my community swim team, I'm at the pool about eight hours a day, and the free hours left for running are usually at extremely inconvenient times. I was definitely better about running this summer than I have been other summers, and I have my friend Maureen to thank for that- she actually made me get up early and run! Overall, my mileage typically isn't very high, but if you count swimming two and a half hours a day with running I guess you could say I cross train.
MoCoRunning: What type of weather do you enjoy running in the most?
Moores: Definitely the cold! And if it's raining that's even better! I know that sounds crazy but I absolutely can't stand the heat. Cross country states last year was my perfect kind of day running-wise, and I was so happy for that weather after an entire season of hot races.
MoCoRunning: Were you there for the mudfest at Octoberfest a few years ago?
Moores: Yes! That was the craziest meet I've ever been to, and I absolutely loved it. I don't think I've ever been so muddy in my life, and I think if I had wanted to, I could've gone swimming in the middle of the race! But even more fun than running the race had to be watching the course get progressively muddier and the falls get progressively more frequent in the races after mine. I thought some of those freshmen were going to get washed away.
MoCoRunning: Do you have a favorite cross country course?
Moores: My favorite cross country course is probably the course for the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh. Usually Lehigh is our first speed course in the season, as opposed to a strength course, so almost everyone gets a PR. It's flat and fast, and the meet is always a lot of fun (especially with Dorney Park the next day), so it's really hard not to like the course.
MoCoRunning: What is Dorney Park?
Moores: Dorney Park is an amusement park right near Lehigh that we always go to on Saturday after the meet. Lots of roller coasters and not a lot of people, its a blast every year!
MoCoRunning: What do you think the 2008 cross country season has in store?
Moores: I'm extremely excited for the upcoming season. At Concord Camp, Alyssa Henshaw, Britt Eckerstrom and I got to run together for all of our runs, and we managed to have a blast while still pushing each other. I'm hoping that the season will be a lot like that. There are some really talented girls across the county, and I can't wait to see how we race against each other and make each other faster. For QO, this is a rebuilding year, and it will be a lot of fun for us to see just how good our teams can get. And of course, I'm really excited to watch my brothers run; Geoff will be entering his third season, and my youngest brother Alex will be starting his first!
MoCoRunning: If a movie was made about Quince Orchard cross country, who are some of the actors and actresses that would play your teammates? Who would play Pelkey and Majkrzak?
Moores: Well, Majkrzak has such a biblical look about him, I think that someone like Jesus or Moses would be ideal. Seeing as how that's slightly unlikely, we might just have to settle for the actor who played Leonidas in 300. Pelkey is trickierů he has such a unique look that there isn't really an actor that comes to mind. Maybe Bruce Willis; he could pull off the soul patch/ goatee, the earring, and the short hair pretty well. And I suppose our team could be played by the cast from Prison Break because they seem to run about as much as we do!