Team NB's Craig Miller on the Outdoor Nationals Experience
Many of Team New Balance's own professional athletes ran at New Balance Outdoor Nationals during their high school days. Included in the group is Craig Miller. Miller, an eight-time All-American at the University of Wisconsin, ran at Outdoor Nationals in the mile. Finishing third in 2004 and second in 2005, Miller took a lot away from competing on high school's biggest stage. We asked the 23-year-old, whose personal best in the mile is 3:58.98, a few questions:
NewBalance.com: First off, when you think back over your experience at Outdoor Nationals, what was the biggest thing that stood out in your mind?
Craig Miller: The biggest thing that stood out in my mind was the level of competition was so much better. The runners were the best high schoolers in the country, and I was really happy to be a part of it, but I was also not happy just to be there. I knew I had to have the best race of my season if I wanted to be competitive.
NewBalance.com: As a high schooler, you don't usually get to face so many great athletes at one time. Did racing at nationals help prepare you for college racing?
Craig Miller: It definitely prepared me for college racing because most of the runners competing at Outdoor Nationals were also going to Division I colleges, and I would be racing against them several times in the following years. The extra amount of pressure that comes with a National Championship race also prepared me to deal with college racing because in college there are the best American runners that you competed against in high school, but also a lot of Africans, Europeans, and late bloomers. The extra depth in college made almost every race as quality as Outdoor Nationals.
NewBalance.com: Did you learn any lessons from Outdoor Nationals?
Craig Miller: The biggest lesson I learned from Outdoor Nationals is that if you want to have continued success after high school, you have to think beyond your region or state, and realize there are runners everywhere training and racing well. It motivated me to train harder and be more serious about running.
NewBalance.com: When you competed at Outdoor Nationals, what were your emotions like – did you go in nervous, confident, excited?
Craig Miller: My emotions before the race were the same as just about any other race (and they still are). It's a mixture of nervousness and excitement, and I just want the race to start. After the first initial scramble at the start, everything settles down and I just focus on running.
NewBalance.com: If you could give one piece of information to a high schooler competing next week, what would that be?
Craig Miller: The best advice I would give them is to just relax and try not to over think anything.
NewBalance.com: You competed at Outdoors twice. What did you take from the first year that helped you in the second year?
Craig Miller: Confidence was the biggest thing I took from the first year that helped in the second year. In my first Nationals race I ran a 4 second PR and ran really well. That gave me the feeling that I could possibly win the next year. I didn't win, but I went for the win and I would not have tried to do that unless I had the confidence from the previous year.
The 2011 New Balance Outdoor Nationals will take place on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro from Thursday, June 16 to Saturday, June 18.
Follow all of the Outdoor Nationals action on Facebook.
He kinda looks like Conan O'Brien.