Photo courtesy of George Washington Sports Information
George Washington University senior Megan Hogan, who boasts a 10,000-meter personal-best time of 32 minutes, 34.95 seconds and only started running in her sophomore year of college, took sixth overall in June at the USA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines. Looking at this fall's NCAA Cross Country Championships, where she took 27th last year after a fall, Hogan has her eyes on a top-three finish. Let's see how she does!
Did you go to Ballston Spa High School (New York)?
No, I went to Saratoga Catholic High School. I went to school in Saratoga. I didn't run until to college.
What were you doing in high school?
I played soccer and basketball and did Irish dancing and didn't start running at all until sophomore year of college.
Do you regret starting running that late or do you think it happened that way for a reason?
We didn't have cross country and track at my school and I tried to get a track program together, but it just never went through. We couldn't get a coach or anything. I wanted to do it in the spring. I was very much a soccer player in the fall. It never worked out. When I went to college I was recruited to play basketball and they needed people on the cross country team, so I was like, “yeah, I've always wanted to do that and it'll keep me in shape for basketball.” I trained the summer before my sophomore year and it's worked out.
So, aside from running, you're a hell of a basketball player and a great dancer too?
Yeah, I was recruited as a point guard and I did Irish dancing on and off until my junior year of high school since I was like six or seven years.
Did you do your long run today?
We did it this morning. I ran 15 miles. We went out to Great Falls, Virginia. It was a life-changing run. It was probably one of the most beautiful places I've run in my life. It's a hiking place too. People will be hiking there and you eventually run out far enough so you're by the waterfalls—The Great Falls, I guess. It's really pretty. It's the most beautiful in the fall, with the leaves changing. There's nothing like upstate New York foliage, but it's pretty nice in Virginia.
It's all trail?
It's hilly, but it's all trail. There are some rocky areas, but not that many. It's not like you stop running at any point to climb anything. You can constantly run on it.
Are you on trail a lot? Do you have to drive to places anytime you want to run on trails?
No. We drive out to Great Falls every Sunday because it's so pretty, but the Georgetown trails are really, really close. I live in Georgetown actually. That's where my apartment is. It's about a half-mile from me. There are trails—really nice trails there. I didn't even know, but there are deer in D.C. It's so funny. If you go and run early enough or if you go on the right trails, there will be deer out there. There's also the C&O Canal. That's not really all the exciting, but it's a trail. Also, if you get far out enough on Rock Creek Park, it's really nice out there. There are a lot of options of running out here, which is nice.
How is your training going right now compared to you going into previous cross country seasons?
It's going a lot better. Every year it's been going a little bit better just because I'm so new to running. I'm at 75 miles a week right now. I'm going to go a little bit higher than that. The highest I've ever gone was 80 a week and I'll probably go up to 85ish. We'll see how I'm feeling. I'm feeling great right now, just doing threshold workouts and things like that—a five-mile threshold or cruise intervals. I haven't gotten to any serious track workouts yet because I'm not even racing until the middle of October...whenever Penn State is.
You're opening up at Penn State?
I think so. After USAs, my coach was like, “I think we're going to open up at A-10s.” I was like, “you're opening me up at a championship race?!” (Laughs) We found out that regionals will be at Penn State and it would be really good for me to run the course a month before regionals. I like Penn State a lot, but it makes me sad that I can't race at Paul Short. I'm going to try to argue my way out of that because Paul Short is like my favorite race.
Do you think you're coach is preparing you for another long outdoor season and delaying the start of your cross country season?
Yeah and I started my training much later than I'm used to. I took two weeks off after USAs and then I started building my mileage back up. I started getting into workouts like the second week of August. He wants me to peak at nationals.
In your post-USA interview, you said you're shooting for top-three individually at NCAAs. Is that still the goal?
Yeah. That's what I'd like. I think last year, I would have been a lot closer to that had I not fallen. I honestly think I can do it. Obviously there's a lot of great talent out there this year. I'm definitely aiming for the top. I'm not going to be dissatisfied if I'm not top three, but I'm looking to be pleased with my performance.
Are you nervous going into your last one?
I'm a little nervous. There's always a little bit of nerves there. I'm more excited than nervous.
What did you do during your two-week break? Did you do any fun stuff this summer?
I was in D.C. this summer. I took two weeks off and just hung out with friends. I never really get the chance to do that. I'm so busy. I don't know why but I always fill up my life with so much stuff. I worked at a restaurant full time this summer. It's called The Founding Farmers. It's one of the most popular restaurants in D.C. I worked as the host there and had an internship at an architectural firm there. That was only like once a week, but those took up a lot of my time.
Are you studying architecture?
I'm going to school for interior design right now. That's what I'm studying in grad school. That was what I was studying as an undergrad at one point, but I changed to fine arts.
An interior decorator, is that goal for a job?
It's a subject I know NOTHING about.
I don't like the term “decorator”. (Laughs) I prefer “interior architecture”. I think there are interior decorators out there and then there are interior designers out there. I think designers are more like architects, except all on the interior. I know all the computer programs and technical stuff that they do, except I know it all on the interior of the space, rather the exterior of the building. When I talk about interior design, I always say “interior architecture” or I'll say “interior design NOT interior decorating”. (Laughs)
I hope I'm not offending you here, but let me get this straight: we're not talking about colors on a couch. We're talking about archways for doors and windows and things of that nature?
Right, because a lot more goes into it. It's a lot more technical than people think sometimes. There are people who just decorate too, which I don't think you necessarily have to go to school for. I have to know like building codes and fire codes and things like that. These days, everything is about sustainability and being green. I have to know what it take to make a certain space a certain level of “greenness”. That's what I'm studying. I like it.
With you already running the longest NCAA distances and with you being relatively new to running, are you going to move up in distance even more when you graduate?
I think I'd like to hang out at the 10K for a little while. I like the longer distances and I don't want to just jump right into them after colleges. I'd like to build my way into them.
Do you recover well from those 10K races on the track?
I'm getting there. I can go for a long run the day after a track 10,000. I've learned how to eat right after a hard workout or race or long run. I've learned how to rest my body afterward. The only problem is, after a race, I have trouble sleeping. My adrenaline is always going and I always have a pint of ice cream after a race—it's kind of a reward to myself to have a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I'm on a sugar rush and I can't stop thinking about the race and I'm really excited. I don't get a lot of sleep the night after the race. The next night I sleep like a rock.
You don't sleep the night AFTER the race?
The night after the race. If I race a 10K—which is typically at night, that night right after the race, I'll eat and have my pint of ice cream and try to go to bed and just up all night thinking about the race and my mind is running a million miles an hour.
...and you're all jacked up on sugar?
Yeah! (Laughs) Then I'll also wake up early because I'm so used to waking up early. I'll go running and I'll come back feeling really tired and sleep for like 12 hours.
In the beginning was it hard for you to get used to all the running stuff? Like going to bed early for runs?
I don't really remember. I don't think it was that bad. I've always been the type of person who doesn't stay up very late anyway. My mind just stops working after a certain time. You know how people stay up studying? I don't have trouble adjusting. I'll go to bed early and wake up really, really early.
What times do you have in mind when you hit the track this next outdoor season?
I definitely want to be sub-32. That's the only thought I've given it. The 5K was really frustrating this year because I couldn't race more than five times total. I know I can run well under 16 minutes, I only raced it twice. Penn Relays was a mess and I didn't have enough opportunity to race it. Once I race the 5K again, I think I'll go well under 16. I think I can do that.
If you could have one meal, prepared by anyone, what would you have and who would make it?
Oh, man! I just like a lot of food. My favorite food is peanut butter. I'd have a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I eat it EVERY morning for breakfast. Every morning without fail. First thing in the morning, that's what I do. I make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I'm very picky about my peanut butter, though. It has to be a certain kind. There are two companies: there's the Saratoga Peanut Butter Company that's really good and then there's one called the Vermont Company. Am I allowed to be saying this right now?
You can say whatever you want.
Vermont Peanut Butter Company puts whey protein in their peanut butter. They have all these really awesome blends, like half-peanut, half-almond with flax seeds and cranberries and good stuff. Then they put whey protein in it. It's genius. Anyway, I eat peanut butter like every day and go through a jar every two to three days.
These sound like hard-to-get jars of peanut butter. How are you getting the hook-up for these?
My mom sends them to me. She sends me packages with my coffee and my peanut butter! I'm obsessed.
Can you share a crazy running-related story?
I was going out for an easy run and I can get to the trails a lot of different ways. There's a street called “End Street” and it's a really busy street. There's a lot of shopping areas. I was running mid-day, around lunch time. Obviously it was really, really busy. I was running and there was a giant wasp—someone as a giant bee. I was like, “ha! That's so funny!” I just kept running. I hear all these people laughing and it turns out that this bee is chasing me. I'm running in the middle of the road because I don't use the sidewalk. This bee is chasing me down the road and it was so funny! He was going for a long time.
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Updated on May 15, 2013, 11:12am