Technique: What is it about running that attracted you to it?
Townsend: In middle school, my friend wanted to try out for it and she wanted me to come with her. So I started doing it. It was nice to be on a team, but kind of be an individual sport too. I like how you have to be committed to be good at it.
Technique: Is running cross country more physical or mental?
Townsend: There’s definitely a big part that’s physical, but I think to be really good at it, it’s more mental. You have to get over the fact that it’s not always going to be perfect conditions. It’s hilly, its got terrain, the weather isn’t always great and the start of the race is never great.
Technique: How difficult is it being an athlete who competes year-round with track and cross country?
Townsend: It can be pretty tough because we don’t really get an offseason and there is always school, too. It’s very time consuming, but it’s also fun.
Technique: Besides running, what else do you enjoy doing?
Townsend: I like reading. I used to play piano, but I haven’t really got to keep that up here. Just hanging out with friends, just kind of normal stuff.
Technique: What is your advice for anyone who wants to start running, not necessarily competitively, but just for fun?
Townsend: Especially if you’re just starting, I would say that there is no such thing as too slow. Just because you aren’t as fast as someone else, you can build it. Running is the type of sport that the more you do it, you can’t help but getting better.
To be great, there obviously has to be some natural talent, but you can still be good and enjoy it without it. It’s also good to have a partner. It’s much easier to go on long runs when you have someone to talk to.
Technique: What is the hardest part about being a student athlete at Tech?
Townsend: Time management is obviously really important. You have to be able to be mentally and physically stressed out at the same time.
Like if you’re doing badly in school, you have to push yourself to do better. If you’re doing bad running, you don’t just stop. You can’t give up on either. You have to be able to overcome both challenges at the same time, and still sleep.
Technique: What is your favorite memory while competing for Tech?
Townsend: This was in track, at Penn Relays this past year. It was the race I qualified for regionals for. It was so different. Just during the race, I knew I was tired, but everyone else just seemed more tired.
The previous race that I ran the 10K in was ACCs, and I just fell apart in it. Then a week later, my coach wanted me to run it again. I guess I overcame the mentality that I just did awful in the last race, and I told myself that I was just going to push it and not give up in this one. It was a much better race than I expected and it got me into regionals. So that was a big deal.