Sophomore Isaac Alderfer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) ran three top-4 ODAC finishes at the Finn Pincus Invitational last weekend. Individually, he took seven seconds off his PR in the mile, coming in eighth overall in 4:26.20, No. 4 in EMU history.
Isaac is No. 6 all-time at EMU in the 800m, when he placed third overall with a PR time of 2:00.06. He also ran the final leg of the distance medley relay, making up seven seconds on a team from Milligan before finishing just behind them.
The three times last week put Isaac third in the ODAC in the 800m, third in DMR, and fourth in the mile.
What was your mindset coming into this season and how did you prepare for it?
The main thing I had to think about entering this season of track is the fact that I have not raced in a track meet for the past two years. I missed track last year because I was in the Middle East on my cross cultural. This means the beginning of the season is about working out some of the “racing rustiness” as Coach Bob refers to it. I have been doing a lot more fast workouts to prepare myself for running shorter events than I have gotten used to in cross country, which has been a lot of fun and I feel like I am just beginning to start to feel pretty comfortable on the track again.
How do you train and go about your competitions each week?
I think I go to bed much earlier than the average college student, hopefully by about 10:30pm, but that means I also need to get up pretty early in the morning to make up for that. My favorite time to practice is the early morning, and we often have a practice option at 6:20am, because getting that much intensity into such an early morning usually gives me a better attitude for the rest of the day. Especially during the weeks leading up to competitions, I am careful about getting appropriate sleep and nutrition. One of Coach Bob’s favorite workouts is a series of broken 800s on the track, where we run a really hard 200m and then after a fairly short break run another 600m at a less intense but still pretty difficult pace. Over the past several weeks we have been doing that workout several times and gradually making it harder each time we try it. Getting to see that improvement and running workouts with strong teammates is really exciting.
What specific goals do you have for this season?
This season I would really like to qualify for the national meet in March. If I can stay healthy over the next several weeks I think it is a real possibility, but I will probably be right on the edge so it will take a couple more races where I can improve a little more each time to reach the point that will be realistic. Overall, this season is a bit of a test to see specifically where I am at in my training, and how to move forward from this season over the next several years.
What are you looking forward to most this season?
I am really looking forward to running the distance medley relay this season with a few of my teammates. Relay races are easily my favorite part of track. The sport is generally considered an individual one and it is entirely possible to complete most races as an individual, so relying on your teammates in a relay becomes the ultimate form of accountability. The team is made up of Justice Allen, Alijah Johnson, and Jansen Miller. We raced once already and learned a ton from that first time on the track as a team. I am really excited to run again and start making improvements to eventually be competitive with the top teams at meets.
Any struggles or hardships you have faced or are facing? How has it helped you in track?
I was injured for most of cross country season, so I got the vast majority of my work during the past several months either in the pool or on my bike. While it was a different and often exciting way of training for me, ultimately returning to running from mostly cross-training has come with its fair share of difficulty. It actually got me really excited about the men’s triathlon club team being started next fall by Andrew Nord and a whole new world of methods of exercising.
What is something you have learned about yourself during your time as an EMU Royal?
During my time as an EMU athlete, I have learned the value of confident and stable leadership. The EMU running program, in many ways, lacked these elements for a number of years, but has since seen some changes. A new eccentric head coach with a strong vision and commitment to the team, as well as exemplary role modeling by captain Collin Longenecker and others have been instrumental in changing the team dynamics and the potential for EMU’s running program in the coming years.
What is your major and what do you want to do after college?
My major is environmental science, and I also have a minor in photography. After college I would love to be involved in a way I can utilize both fields, and hopefully do so in a location where that would be beneficial. As far as jobs are concerned, my ideal job is something I have never heard of and don’t know exists. I want it to surprise me, whatever that may look like.