Photo by Don Rich
MileSplit US: You were 2nd last year at Foot Locker Northeast and 34th at Nationals. That was coming off of a MOC victory that year. This year you were 8th at MOC. How did you get yourself into the game mentally prior to FL Northeast?
Tyler Udland: The state meets, especially MOC, were rough for me this year. I certainly was not going into FLNE in the same situation as I was last year. I just didn't put that much pressure on myself before regionals and told myself to relax. Even though I had a few rough races I knew that I was in good shape so if I just didn't get too down on myself and stayed confident I could have a better race.
MileSplit US: Were you pleased with 2nd again this year in the Northeast?
Tyler Udland: I was very pleased with my 2nd place finish. Whenever you do that well against national caliber competition you have to be happy. I really just wanted to earn my way back out to San Diego so to get 2nd was an added bonus and a confidence booster.
MileSplit US: What is different for you this year compared to last year?
Tyler Udland: In terms of my training not much is different this year compared to last year. However, this year I was a little more proud of myself at the regional race because it would have been very easy for me to get down on myself and let the previous race affect me negatively, but I was able to bounce back and get to where I wanted to be.
MileSplit US: At Sunken Meadow you stayed with the pack and then were the only one to cover Brad's move on Cardiac hill. Was that a defining moment of the race where you just decided to go for it?
Tyler Udland: (Photo by Geoff Decker) Actually, the defining moment in the race for me was right after cardiac hill. Brad made a huge move on cardiac and really got away from me and then I was only in about 6th at the top of the hill. Right after the hill though I made a big move to close that gap a little and move into second. That was really the point in the race where I decided I had to go and it really made my race. That was a big moment for me in the race and that is what really made me happy with my race and not just content.
MileSplit US: What does it mean to you to have earned your 2nd trip to the National race in as many years?
Tyler Udland: It means a lot to me to earn a second trip to Nationals. Not that many people get this experience twice so I feel extremely fortunate to get to go again. Making this race again really makes feel like all the hard work I have put in throughout all of high school has paid off and afforded me one of the best and most unique experiences of my life two years in row. I am just very grateful to go back again.
MileSplit US: Looking back on your season to date, what is most special to you about the season?
Tyler Udland: What has been most special to me this year about the season has been our team. We had several set backs this year and everybody on the team was really tough and poured their whole heart into the team. This was the most dedicated and resilient team I have ever been a part of and I am just really proud of how we carried ourselves this year, even in adversity.
MileSplit US: What goals do you have for your race at Nationals?
Tyler Udland: (Photo by Don Rich) I really want to run a much better race this year than I did last year. My goal though is just to run the best race I can. I want to finish the race and have no regrets. If I go out Saturday and run the best I can I will be happy no matter what the result (that's not to say I don't want to place very high). In the past I have gotten too worked up about what I HAD to do, so now I try not to over think it too much and just focus on doing the best I can on that day.
MileSplit US: What did you enjoy most about San Diego last year?
Tyler Udland: What I enjoyed most last year about the whole experience was meeting all the other kids and just spending time with them at the hotel after the race Saturday. The hotel was really cool and just unbelievable.
MileSplit US: What are you looking forward to during your trip to San Diego, outside of the racing?
Tyler Udland: I am looking forward to everything I enjoyed so much last year. I really can't wait to meet everybody and to see the pro runners again and just hang out at the hotel.