Q & A with Michigan Cross Country runner Rebecca Walter
Cross Country runner Rebecca Walter, in only her third year at the
The win was definitely one of the most noteworthy to me because of the whole aura that surrounds the Big Ten championship. Of course, the opposition is always significant both from a team and individual standpoint which elevated my feelings of accomplishment. I was just so happy!
Having achieved so much success as a freshman and sophomore, what are your goals for your last two years at
My goals have not changed that much since high school in terms of the overall picture. I realized that whatever improvements I made always satiated me for the time being. I also saw that so many runners seem to take so many steps backwards for every step forward. Therefore, at the possible cost of quick success, I decided I would be much happier with a more gradual, but consistent climb. I hope to continue running faster and placing higher, but only at the rate in which my body will allow me.
What do you think has been the key to success for the
Barely into my freshman year I had already realized that the team is more than a year-to-year program; it has a history which motivates us. Another motivating factor, of course, is our coach, Mike McGuire. He has been the impetus of our motivation, and his training has obviously paid off for us.
What is the biggest misconception about cross country that the average sports fan has?
I often get the question, "Wow, how do you possibly run that far...every day!" Everyone wonders, but the truth is, like any sport, it didn't happen overnight but rather is a gradual process. You don't start up running 70 miles a week; In high school it started with a two mile jog, and just slowly moved from there.
Cross Country is both an individual sport and a team sport. How do you balance your emotions if you do well, but the team does not, or vice versa?
Everyone understands that some days are great and some are just off. Because it's such a mental sport, I just try to help the other girls get their head back into it, just as they do for me.
Who has had the most influence on your career, or been your biggest role model, up to this point?
I have to thank my parents for their influence. They have always stood behind me without pressuring me, unless I needed a good pep talk. Also, they both have amazing balance in their lives, which is something I admire and try to adopt myself so that running remains a vital piece but not to the detriment of other parts of my life.
The last two years Michigan has defeated Michigan State in the Big Ten Championships by the slimmest of margins, has that natural rivalry made being on top of the conference even sweeter?
A win is always sweet, but we have been given a greater level of satisfaction because our wins have not been tainted by a lack of competition. We do have MSU to thank for that.
Finish this sentence: If I wasn't a runner, I'd be a...
World traveler. As soon as I have the time I would like to study abroad and travel to Europe and
You are from a town less than an hour from
U of M has everything I was looking for: a good education, a phenomenal coach and team, and the location just fit. I looked at a few other schools, but this was the obvious choice.
I know one of your idols is neurosurgeon Ben Carson, did the fact that he received is medical degree from UM play into your collegiate plans?
What I admire about Dr. Carson is that he grew up in a broken home in
You have run in races across the country and across the world, what has been the most exciting place that running has taken?
I love running locally so that my friends and family can watch, but
I understand that you have been water skiing since you were very young, what about that sport draws you to it?
I think underneath everything, I truly would like to be a sprinter, and to that I have no chance. In the same regard, I am drawn to the quick pace of waterskiing. When I am out there, there's no time to think or I will miss the patch of smooth water or the chance to make a perfect cut and spray. At 35 mph, it's all about showing off for a couple minutes, but it's something that is all in good fun. That seems hard to come by in other sports.
I've heard that this summer you got very into reading Russian fiction, who is your favorite Russian author and book?
I read War and Peace a couple years ago, so I embarked on Anna Karenina this summer. I think Tolstoy has the most amazing technique of introducing a plethora of characters, yet I sympathized for every one. Nothing else does that for me, not even MTV's Real World.
What are your plans after college?
I am hoping that running takes me to the next level since I would like to continue competing. At the same time I will either work on the side or continue my studies in psychology. After that, who knows? Somewhere warm, I hope.