Coming fresh off of her 3A cross country state title, B-CC's Addie Tousley discusses how she has developed from a 29 minute 5k runner to one of the state's elite distance runners. After moving to Montgomery County from Alaska five years ago, her older brother Elias, who is mentioned several times in this article, paved the way for the Tousley family by winning multiple county, regional and state titles in outdoor track. Addie has accumulated several regional titles herself, but now finds herself with the one title that Elias never grabbed, the state cross country title.
MoCoRunning: Congratulations on winning the 3A state title! At what point did you begin believing it was possible? How did you and your coach approach this topic?
Tousley: Thanks. I think Elias told me somewhere around sophomore year that states would be a possibility later on...I didnít believe him. I donít think I actually realized it was a possibility until I was predicted to go second, then I decided it might be fun do the unexpected. This year my coaches worked really hard to prepare our younger runners for states (only two of our seven had run the course before). They had some alums send us some advice which I think may have just freaked out the freshmen more, but it was fun to watch their faces get really worried whenever there was mention of the dip. In the end I didnít really talk to my coaches much about strategy, Iíve found itís usually best to go in and see how it goes.
MoCoRunning: It looked like you had control of the race the whole way through, but it must have been nerve-racking. What was it like during and after the race?
Tousley: In general, I really donít like leading races and I wasnít really planning to lead this one, I just went out my usual pace and nobody ended up in front of me. Once I hit the soccer field I decided to put some distance between myself and the rest of the pack just in case the last few hills hit me really hard (luckily they didnít). In the maze I got to look back a couple of times and realized I had gotten a pretty good lead at that point. I decided not look back and just tried to get through to the end. The end of the race and pretty much everything afterwards seemed a little surreal. Iím generally a little out of it during races but I remember thinking it was pretty funny that I was going to get to break through the ribbon at the end of the race rather than focusing on actually finishing. It didnít sink for a while afterwards that Iíd actually won.
MoCoRunning: The county championship race was such a crazy race with no one really emerging until the very end. What was it like running in that pack of about ten girls for nearly the entire race?
Tousley: Counties was one of the stranger races Iíve run in my career, but thatís just because there are so many talented runners in our county. Any one of the girls in that pack could have easily beaten me on another day. The first couple of miles I was pretty content just to float around the pack. None of us really wanted to take the front so we kind of traded off. When we got onto the asphalt path in the woods I realized I didnít feel like I was working hard enough and still had a bit left. I was pretty worried about going too early but when Britt went, I decided to try and hold on for as long as I could and it worked out pretty well.
MoCoRunning: Back in your freshman year, you were pretty much a JV runner. Then sophomore year you were 13th in the state, junior year 3rd, and now you are the 3A state champion. Can you explain how you've been able to progress so well over four years?
Tousley: Haha, my success in running can be blamed on my parents and my brother. I was dragged (very nearly literally) to my first cross country practice because my parents were sick of me being home after school (after I quit ballet and soccer when we moved when I was in seventh grade) and my brother gave them the idea. My coaches still joke about the fact that I used to run around in circles in my backyard (which isnít very big). So I guess relative improvement is partly based on the fact that I started out so bad. Most of it comes from the fact that even after I ran my first 29 minute 5k, I have never had any doubt that I could do better. I also give a lot of props to my coaches (Desmond and Young) who ignored me when I complained and didnít give up on me even though I can be annoying at times.
MoCoRunning: What role does Elias Tousley, the Alaskan Fury, Haverford Superstar and B-CC Superfan, play in your training and race strategy? Does he like to call up to give advice and motivate you, or is he too busy off in college? Did Elias have any magical words for you at Glory Days that caused you to bounce back at counties like you did?
Tousley: Well first off the Tousley racing strategy is generally to have no strategy and kick really hard at the end. Elias is probably the best older brother anyone could ever ask for and even though he rarely picks up his phone and isnít particularly talkative I always feel like I have to run faster whenever heís nearby. The difference in my times from Glory Days to counties has more to do with the fact that Glory Days is my least favorite meet in any season and we had a pretty hard workout two days before hand.
MoCoRunning: Did he tell you anything before the state championship?
Tousley: I actually talked to Elias right before I went to warm up at states...when I asked for advice he told me absolutely nothing useful (because he didnít want me to over-think the race). In fact I think he laughed at me.
MoCoRunning: Is he jealous that you won a cross country state title and he didn't?
Tousley: Decidedly not, Elias just isnít the jealous type.
MoCoRunning: You must certainly be thinking about college yourself. With the way you've been improving, do you think that you would like to see how much more you can improve by running in college?
Tousley: College. I try not to think about it. Iím going somewhere and I will be running there mostly because I canít imagine not running. In terms of improving, Iíll think about that when Iím done with track season this year.
MoCoRunning: The last two cross country seasons, you have been miles in front of the rest of the girls on your team. It looked like this season was going to be much of the same for the B-CC girls, but now your team has a bunch of girls running under 21 minutes. Where did the rest of these girls come from? How has it affected you to have a stronger team around you?
Tousley: To be honest I wasnít really looking forward to cross-country this year, until a few races into the season I was mostly just focusing on making it through to indoor. Working out alone or with the boys just isnít as fun. Luckily, things didnít turn out how Iíd expected. I love my team, as many stupid questions as they ask (cough, cough Darcy) and I wouldnít have made it through a lot of bad days without them. I could never get too depressed during hard workouts when Ava was dancing or waving to people during repeats, Claire and Allison were updating me on the newest freshman drama, and Darcy, Kate and Kate helping me make fun of the freshman three. Those freshman are going to do some damage before they graduate. Oh and watch out for Susannah Derr, another freshman...she reminds me a lot of myself.
MoCoRunning: 9:24.78 and everyone returns. I'm talking about your 4x800-meter relay and indoor track is right around the corner. Are you excited for what B-CC could do this upcoming track season?
Tousley: I donít want to jinx it but as long as we all stay healthy we are going to have some fun.