Hayden DiBona: From swimmer to runner

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Name: Hayden DiBona
Personal bests: 1600; 4:30, 800; 2:01, 3200; 10:00, 5K: 15:52
Academic interest: Science - especially biology
Hobbies: Surfing, triathlon, unicycling, party starting
Interesting fact: Ants can lift 50 times their body
weight..., also - voted "best kisser" by neighborhood swim team.

How did you get involved in the sport and why?
Throughout middle school, I was a swimmer. I began doing some triathlons in eighth grade and found that I liked running more than swimming, and then joined the AMHS cross country team.

How have you seen it change?
I don't know that I have seen any major changes in distance running in terms of culture or training in my short running time, but I have definitely gotten the chance to see the progression of some great runners coming into the sport and some role-models graduate from it.

How do you feel you have grown in the sport?
Running and athletics in general has kept me busy and given me something to be proud of. Sports are a great teacher that results come from hard work and time.

What has been your motivation for this season?
Motivation for track and running in general for me has always been sort of an independent thing. I thoroughly enjoy the actual running and I like having a sport to focus on and train for. At the same time, I am pretty competitive, so knowing that some of my competitors are training hard pushes me to work harder.

How do you look at the rankings?
Before most of my races, I almost always spend a decent amount of time looking at the competition. I like to know what I'm going to face, and where I stand among the competition. This being said, I feel like the rankings can be meaningless as well. Anybody could be having an exceptional day and another could be having a horrible one and the conditions are different at every race. I don't like to put too much faith in the rankings for this reason.

What goes throughout your mind as the gun is getting ready to go as you are waiting in the blocks or starting line?
Right before the gun goes off, the phrase "it's go time" is always running through my head. I reassure myself that I am ready, and while the race definitely won't be easy, it is achievable.

Do you have a prerace tradition? Please explain.
I can't say I have a pre-race tradition really, but I'm pretty consistent in my warming up, and hopping around right before the gun goes off to keep my calves warm.

How would you rate your season so far?
I'm pretty happy with this season. Its not exactly the season I expected, I thought I would mainly be competitive in the two mile, rather than the mile and the 800, but nevertheless, I am happy with my PR's in the mile and the 800, and I am happy with some of my wins this season against some good competition.

Do you have any family members involved in the sport? Please explain.
Three of my cousins are or were on the Bishop England track team. Nick and Bea are both distance runners, and my cousin Erin throws. My younger brother is running on the mount pleasant track team, and its nice to see that he can begin to share my love for the sport. My brother Winslow swam for the College of Charleston.

What challenges have you encountered in the sport?
I'd say the biggest challenges that I have faced in the sport would likely be the addition of athletic obligations on top of school obligations. The combination of track, cross country, and triathlon along with the high workload that comes with being an Academic Magnet student can be very overwhelming at times.

Have you ever been injured? Please explain.
Towards the end of my cross country season my sophomore year, I got a stress fracture about two weeks before state meet. I had to stay away from running for the winter, but luckily i was able to return to track in the spring without any more issues with it. It definitely was a little difficult to gain back some of the speed I had built up, but in retrospect, it gave me a chance to get back into the pool and focus on swimming for a month.

What do you hope to achieve in the sport and in life in the future?
I really hope to run on a college team, and continue running for the long term.

Do you have post season track plans?
Immediately after track season ends, I am planning on taking a short break in order to make sure I'm staying healthy. After a couple weeks, Ill start doing some triathlon training and early cross country training for the fall.

What is your favorite workout and why?
My favorite workout is probably the classic 12x400 workout that the xc team does in the fall. We do this workout multiple times throughout the season, and it really allows for you to see your progress.

The hardest workout that i've done is probably 5x1,000 at or near 5K pace.

What goals have you set for the rest of the season?
For the rest of the season my goals are to try and go have a great few races at state meet. Im competing in three individuals and the 4x800. I think I have a good shot at winning them, and thats what I'm going to try and do.

Looking at the 2014 state meet, what do you remember and how did that make you prepare for the 2015 state meet?
Last year I only ran the 3200. I was lucky enough to win it, and I think this really gave me the mindset that I was capable of winning races. This increased my confidence coming into the 2015 track season, and I think it has made me a stronger competitor.

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what it would it be and why?
Nothing I'm not already doing.

Fun questions
Pre-race pump-up song: In the Air tonight - Phil collins
Post-race meal: 2x#2's from McDonalds.
Go-to karaoke song: Rich Girl - Daryl Hall and John Oates
Favorite book: Into Thin Air - John Krakaur
Last movie you watched: Jaws
Favorite race or event to watch: I love watching a competitive 1600.
If you could go on a run with any athlete, who would it be?: probably Trace Hall or Chris Bailey