Endurance: Kate Grace

5 Questions with Kate Grace

February, 15, 2013
Kate GraceChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesKate Grace's next race: Saturday night's women's Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games.
Kate Grace is off to a hot start on the indoor track circuit this winter. The 24-year-old, who is sponsored by Oiselle and trains with Frank Gagliano's New Jersey-New York Track Club, turned more than a few heads with an 8:55.06, second-place finish in the 3,000 meters at the University of Washington Invitational at the end of January, outkicking Abby D'Agostino and Jordan Hasay over the final 100 meters to finish less than a second behind winner Brie Felnagle.

Grace, a four-time All-American at Yale, competed in both the 800 and the 1,500 meters at last summer's Olympic trials. She'll turn her attention next to the Wanamaker Mile this Saturday at the Millrose Games in New York City, where she'll line up amongst a loaded field that includes D'Agostino and Hasay, as well as Olympian Emma Coburn, high school phenom Mary Cain and others.

We recently caught up with Grace, who'd just wrapped up a month-long training stint in Arizona with her New Jersey-New York Track Club teammate, Olympian Julie Culley.

Last summer you competed in both the 800 and 1,500 at the Olympic trials, and most recently you ran a big 3K PR of 8:55 indoors. You're running the Wanamaker. What do you feel is your best event, and where do you see yourself focusing heading into the 2016 Olympic cycle?

The 1,500. My training this year will focus on that event, with the understanding and hope that increased strength will help improve my 800, and upped mileage will allow me to drop my distance PRs. In college, I was an 800-meter runner, who occasionally ran 15s to spice it up and help get points for my team. Since joining Gags in January 2012, I have more than doubled my mileage and workout volume, and added tempos and long runs. It's fun testing myself with new work, and exciting being able to meet those challenges. The fact that I have the speed background, and am able to hit the strength workouts, tells us that there is a lot more to come in the 1,500. Before the 3K, we were saying it's like opening a present on Christmas morning: Not quite sure what we’re going to get, but I think I've been good, and I can’t wait to find out.

Speaking of Wanamaker, this is the first year they're hosting a women's mile, instead of the 1,500. What does it mean to you to be a part of that star-studded field, which includes a few of your NYNJTC teammates, and do you feel like you have a bit of a home-track advantage being from the area?

It's been a dream to run at Millrose, and I couldn't have asked for a better field. All runners that I greatly respect, but also not a clear favorite. The field is open, and that makes for the best kind of race -- one in which no one can be counted out.

As for New Jersey-New York Track Club teammates, there is a sense of sharing in each person's success. They have been there every day, all fall, doing the same, quality training. And I am as excited to see their improvements start to transfer from practice to race as I am my own. Plus, we get to hang and goof around all day to keep calm.

I actually have not raced much at the Armory. But, I know the warm-up loop, and I know where all the bathrooms are. That's all it really takes to feel comfortable!

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