MileSplit - How is your fitness now that you are in the middle of the 2013 season. What excites you the most about the rest of the season and what you want to accomplish?
Grant - Everything is going really well. My track season extended late into the summer, so my start to cross country training was somewhat delayed. I had a minor ankle injury from soccer early this fall, but thankfully it healed quickly. Training has been going well, and I can feel my fitness improving weekly. My coaches and I are aiming to peak around late November/December in time for Foot Locker. Last year I ran at Foot Locker regionals against some top guys, but missed the cut for nationals, so this year I’m definitely excited to perform at regionals, and get a shot at Nationals against the best guys out there.
MileSplit - You have had some great races this fall, especially with the win at Portage! Where does this put your confidence going into the rest of the season?
Grant - Thanks a lot! Portage was a big race for me, it was the first time I really decided to open up and just push myself the entire race. Portage really boosted my confidence, but I know that times aren’t everything, and what really matters is if I can perform on the big stage against stiff competition. So right now I’m trying to keep everything in perspective and focus on my training, mental preparation, and winning races.
MileSplit - Where do you go from here and continue to focus for your upcoming races?
Grant - I’m trying my best to take things one race at a time right now. There are some major races in Michigan coming up, so I’m focusing on staying consistent and healthy. I’m really looking forward to states this year, but of course, Foot Locker is always on my mind.
MileSplit - When & how did you get started in cross country?
Grant - I started running a little bit in seventh grade in middle school. However, I didn’t focus on it too much because of my involvement in soccer. I didn’t start focusing on running until my sophomore year. Our team placed second in the state in track my Freshman year, and that really got me motivated to start doing proper training to get faster.
MileSplit - Person/people most influential to your success in cross country and why?
Grant - Definitely my family and coaches. My family is always there for me whether races are going well or not so well. I have a great support system at home, both of my parents ran in college so they have great insight and understanding of the sport that they share with me. Mike Scannell, one of my coaches, has been very influential to my running. His advice is always spot on, whether it is for training, or mentally preparing for races, his advice is always helpful and has shaped me as a person. One of the coolest things about him is that he runs and does workouts with me, so there is a good connection between us.
MileSplit - Who has influenced you the most so far in your life and what they mean to you and your success?
Grant - My family means a lot to me. My brother and sister are both very good athletes, which keeps things around the house competitive and fun at the same time. My grandfather was a great runner in college, so I guess there’s a bit of history in my family regarding running.
MileSplit - What are the keys to your successful cross country training program and what work did you put in to start off so well this year?
Grant - After my track season this summer, I took a much-needed vacation and 2 weeks off from running completely. That may have put me a bit behind fitness wise, but I think it was a good thing considering how long cross country season is. After the time off, I started with base training, and did not race right away. Coming back into racing, I took things pretty slowly, and tried to have some solid training before getting into any big races.
MileSplit - What are the keys to your team's unity and how you train to reach your goals?
Grant - We have a tight knit team at Grand Blanc. Most of us have been running together for a long time and know each other very well. We all do primarily the same workouts, and are very supportive of one another. A lot of times after workouts we’ll hang out or go get some food together. We train in different phases throughout the year and all have individual and team goals that we shoot for.
MileSplit - Your favorite past performance in a cross country race and why?
Grant - As a sophomore I ran at Foot Locker regionals in Wisconsin. It was by far the biggest cross country meet I had ever competed in. I had a big PR there, which was very pleasing, and placed 20th. I didn’t advance to nationals with that performance, but the excitement from the meet was very memorable for me. Some of the biggest names in running were there and it was an honor to compete against them.
MileSplit - Who are the cross country competitors you most enjoy competing against and why?
Grant - Michigan is home to some of the toughest cross country runners in the nation. It is exciting to race here because there are many competitive invitationals throughout the season. I like racing in tight, fast races because it pushes me and makes the race go by more quickly. I enjoy racing with the most elite competition possible because it brings out the best in everyone.
MileSplit - What is your greatest non-running experience in cross country so far and why?
Grant - Every year before the season starts, our team camps out in a park for 3 days for a cross country training camp. We always have a good time and get to know everyone a lot better. One time, raccoons invaded our campsite, and we had to try to fend them off in the middle of the night. It was a pretty heated battle, but in the end, we were victorious and reclaimed our campsite from the raccoons.
MileSplit - Do you have any long-term goals in running?
Grant - Yes, I would like continue running in college and go All-American at some point.
MileSplit - What was your favorite performance from the 2013 World Junior Champs?
Grant - The semi-final of the 1500. Best race of my life. The race played right into my hands because I was not the strongest guy in the field by any stretch, and the pace was constant and relatively slow. My finishing kick was something I had been working on for a long time, and it definitely paid off when I needed it most. Looking back on the race, it’s still a surreal feeling. Just to have raced against competition from all over the world is and be able to compete at that level is something I will never forget.
The Fun Run
What music do you rock while working out…
Grant - I don’t really listen to music while I work out, but before and after I like a variety of music. I’ll listen to anything, from country to alternative to rap, my favorite genre and artist changes pretty much every day.
Do you like to run in the mud or the grass…
Grant - Growing up in the Midwest, you get used to racing in whatever Mother Nature sends your way. If I had my choice it would be to race in sunny, warm weather, however that’s not always the case up here. Running on the grass is always ideal, but I don’t have any issues with running in the rain and mud and on tough courses.
Do you hang out on Facebook or Twitter...
Grant - Twitter, I don’t get on Facebook much anymore other than for event planning. I just like the layout of Twitter more, and there’s always something on there that will make me laugh.
Do you like going out or chilling at home...
Grant - It’s about 50/50 for me; sometimes I’m just exhausted from a long day and would rather hang out at home. Whenever I have some free time though, I like to go out with friends and have a good time.
What gear is your favorite while running...
Grant - Nike all the way. Their racing and training gear is top notch, it doesn’t get much better than the style and performance of Nike.