Blythewood's Deogracias Confident for Saturday

How would you rate the season so far?
I like to stay optimistic, but I'll be real with you, chief: not so great. It's been one injury after another (and as a result very inconsistent training), and for my last season as a high school runner, that can be pretty demoralizing. Though, I have enjoyed the recruiting of my senior season, and witnessing the development of my teammates and friends across the state?

How did you get involved in the sport?
I began running in earnest my sophomore year, after failing to make the freshman basketball team the previous year. The basketball coach said I could run, so I did. I dabbled in a little lifting and "ran" track as an eighth grader and freshman, though in no meaningful capacity.

What do you hope to achieve this weekend? Please describe/explain.
Despite the struggles I've experienced this season, I am confident I'll get a top finish! I've worked hard to overcome my injuries, I've been conservative on my injury during these past few races and workouts, and I'm ready to put it all on the line for my last high school cross country race! I want our team to do well too, and I'm confident to no end that we could have almost all of our varsity under seventeen!

What is your training like this week?
Very light and conservative. The past few weeks, I have done the bare minimum needed to maintain my fitness in light of my injury. I still believe in my strength from my successful training during the summer, and if I still have a fraction of that summer fitness I'll be happy. I have two physical therapy sessions this week, one the day before state.

What part of the race do you feel is your strongest and most 
challenging? Please explain.
Many do not like to share their strengths in weaknesses, but I've never been good at hiding my hand. I'd say that my strength lies in my hill power, so that's where I like to make my move. My weakness is probably surging too early, something we definitely saw at Coaches Classic and Mike Moore back in September, where I took the lead too soon and paid the price.

What do you hope to do after the regular season?
I really-really-really want to take the time off to heal my leg. I wanted to run Foot Locker South, but continuing to train and race at a high level will be detrimental to my health in the long run. Seeing my history of track-season injuries, I've decided to make my training more conservative and more consistent this off-season. I'll do a couple of indoor meets and a couple of road races to prepare myself for the aggressive racing of the track season.

Did you run into any challenges this summer?
This summer, no. I was able to work hard and train at an elite level the entire summer. My issues arose the week before school started, when I switched the bulk of my mileage from the morning to the afternoon; I continued to maintain similar endurance paces to my summer running, despite vastly increased temperatures, and that was ultimately the downfall of my early season. I experienced prolonged heat-exhaustion and iron depletion, that sadly only went away after I strained my sartorious muscle on a set of hill-repeats. But it wouldn't be running if it was easy! These obstacles are necessary to my development as a person and runner, and I wouldn't be the same without them

What keeps you motivated?
The unending desire to become the greatest I can possibly be: better than yesterday, and better yet tomorrow. My potential is limitless, and I can't let myself get down about injuries or interruptions, no matter how long. There's always tomorrow, and if tomorrow doesn't work out, then there's the next day!