Posted on Jul 15
Team New Balance: Meet Maggie Vessey
How did you get started running? My mother motivated me to go out for cross country and track in middle school because it was obvious from the speed I displayed on the soccer field that running was/is my talent.
When did you recognize that competing professionally was something you aspired to? In 6th grade my PE teacher/track coach, Craig Broadhurst, watched me run and said simply, yet emphatically, "You know, if you keep up with this, you could be in the Olympics one day". I've never forgotten those words or the feeling I got or the thoughts I thought when I heard them.
When did you recognize that competing professionally was something that you could do? I had a pretty tumultuous college career. I moved from the 400 up to the 800 in my 2nd year when I realized that although I could win Big West conference in the 400 I would never be competitive on a national stage. After enduring and learning a ton from personality clashes and a navicular bone stress fracture I went on to run a PR in every heat of the 2005 NCAA Championships and eventually take 2nd in the finals. Up until that meet, I was nowhere near being a nationally recognized athlete and no one pegged me for finishing that high. I went on to make the finals at the USA Outdoor Championships in 2005. Because this all happened in spite of the fact that I spent so much time injured and wasted so much time giving only a fraction of my time, energy and heart to my race, I thought that if I truly gave myself to the sport and to my race and to the process of understanding myself as a person and how that transferred over into how I responded as an athlete, I could be great.
Favorite training venue: Nisene Marks State Park
What is your favorite workout? That's a funny question because every time I think "This is going to be a fun workout," because it seems easy, it never is. So, I would say 10x100m with a 100m walk between, because the recovery is long and the interval, short. It taxes you in unimaginable ways when you average 11.9!
What is your least-favorite workout? 4x800, running the 1st and 3rd 200 in 40 seconds and the 2nd and 4th 200 in 30 seconds. The change of pace and length of interval are rough! I actually crossed the finish line the other day and asked my coach what I ever did to him for him to do this to me!
Favorite racing venue: Hayward Field and Monaco
Is there a place where you get an extra lift or home court advantage? I race well at Los Gatos All-Comers because I'm the local girl and they treat me like a star there. I get the best lane and they'll put me in heats with guys so I can be competitive with people. They are really great to me there.
Favorite race event: 800m
Do you have any superstitions related to competing? Not anymore! In middle school and high school I would have lucky hair ties and things like that. Nowadays, I won't let that type of silliness get in the way of the body, mind and spirit knowledge that I have trained HARD and I am ready to give it my all.
What is your pre-race / warm-up routine? Walk a few minutes doing little stretches and sideways and backward walking to ease my body into the work. A set of sprint drills. Jog easy for about 10 minutes, or until my mind and body start to feel open and loose. Leg swings. Dynamic flexibility. A 2nd set of the same sprint drills. 6 strides ranging from easy pace up to sprint mode. Pop my spikes on for 2 more longer, aggressive strides.
What gets you most excited to compete? Relaxation and calm, quiet confidence that for the next couple minutes I will be completely engaged in an activity where I will hear nothing and think of nothing but giving my best effort to get to that finish line as fast as I can.
What food or snack is your guiltiest pleasure? I'm a sucker for some cheesecake!!
What activity, apart from running, best-defines 'me time' for you? Being at the beach, hiking in Nisene and hanging out with my mom and my sister.
What person has most-shaped your career or life? Jeff Troesch, my mental coach, has guided me on my interesting path from being a girl, and turning into a woman. My coach, Greg Brock, has taught me about truth and honesty and simplicity and taking a step back to be in awe of it all.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Honesty's the best policy. The truth may hurt you, but it will never harm you. Safety is no accident. Live in the grey, it isn't always black or white. Life will go on after this race. When I was all worked up before a race my coach would say, "You know someday you'll look back at all this and just smile." Man, is that relieving!
Most embarrassing running moment: In college I showed up at the starting line, whipped my shirt off and had forgotten my racing top so I was just standing there in my sports bra. The official made everyone wait while I ran up into the stands to get my top.
Proudest running moment: Overcoming my self imposed obstacles to becoming one of the greatest, most specifically, the 7th best 800m runner our country has seen. Winning Pre. Running a world leading time.
Who would you most like to run with? My dad
What tips do you have for new runners? Take it slow. Find places you love to run at and switch off between a few so you don't get bored. Mess around with pacing to keep yourself efficient and engaged. Definitely incorporate some basic strength training into your routine. Do some push-ups, pull-ups and lunges and make core a real focus. Warm yourself up properly and cool yourself down. The key to getting better is consistency and one can't be consistent if injured. Do all the little things (core, stretch, healthy eating practices, strength train, rest, recover, sleep) so you can do the big thing—run!
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Coach: Rose Monday
Personal Website Event(s) & Personal Bests:
- 800m: 1:57.84
- 400m: 53.61 Major Achievements:
- 2011 Zagreb IAAF World Challenge winner, 800m
- 2011 USATF Championships 2nd place finisher, 800m
- 2011 Daegu World Championship finalist, 800m
- 2009 Prefontaine Classic winner
- 2009 Rome Golden Gala winner
- 2009 Ghent winner
- 2009 Monaco winner (world leading performance)
- 2009 Berlin World Championships semi-finalist
- 2009 World Athletic Final runner-up